New York Times Portraits of Grief

Meredith Lynn Whalenn

Meredith Lynn Whalen wanted to be a successful portfolio manager and then the owner of a horse farm in Kentucky. And between those goals, she planned to cram in a lot of travel, including many cruises.

Ms. Whalen, 23, was a research associate at Fred Alger Management on the 93rd floor of 1 World Trade Center. She grew up in Canton, Mich., where she learned to ride and cheerfully cleaned out stalls. She graduated from the University of Michigan Business School in 2000. She had worked the summer before her senior year at Goldman Sachs in London but decided she wanted to work for a smaller firm, where she thought she would get more intense training.

"It was her dream job," said her mother, Pat. "My daughter loved the fast-paced life of the city and enjoyed all it had to offer, from the plays to the parks and museums and the night life."

Although she had been working just 15 months, Ms. Whalen was the front-line person for researching eBay , the Internet auction company, one of Alger's top holdings.

Ms. Whalen was already a veteran of four cruises. Her first, in the early 1990's on the Sovereign of the Sea, was delayed because of a fire while it was docked in San Juan, P.R. She had planned to leave from Barcelona, Spain, on Sept. 15 for a 12-night Mediterranean cruise with her mother.