Friends today remembered a Manchester woman, who died with her boyfriend in a motorcycle accident in Hartford early Saturday, as a loving and supportive person with a spunky nature and a zest for life.

The woman, Amanda-Caroline Hersey, 24, was working towards a master's degree in community counseling at St. Joseph College in West Hartford at the time of her death.

Tamara Stevens, director of residential life and housing for the college, said today that the campus community was reeling with shock over Hersey's death, and looking for ways to honor her memory.

A vegetarian with a particular love for penguins, Hersey was "spunky - very energetic, and couldn't understand why everyone wasn't a fan of 1980s music" as she was, Stevens said.

She could be extremely silly, knocking on doors of the residential hall to collect chocolate to satisfy her ravenous sweet tooth, but could also be serious, said Stevens, a friend for six years.

A residential assistant and peer counselor for the college for the last 2½ years, Hersey supervised 42 undergraduate residents at Rosary Hall.

"She was very supportive, and the way she spoke was the way she thought," Stevens said, adding that Hersey didn't beat around the bush and tackled problems as they arose before they grew too large.

And she is well remembered on campus for hosting a toga party with a twist.

As part of her job, Hersey was to hold a program on alcohol awareness and the dangers of binge drinking, but these types of presentations are poorly attended, Stevens said.

So, instead, she planned a non-alcoholic "Animal House" type party that got the message out with flair.

"She played her '80s music, and with the costumes and everything, it brought everybody out, and she got the info out, but in a really neat way," Stevens said, adding that students are thinking of holding a similar celebration in her name as a memorial.

Students are finding it difficult, as her death was so sudden, Stevens said.

According to Hartford police, Hersey and Bryan Hood, 23, of Marlborough, her boyfriend for the last year, were both found around 3 a.m. Saturday lying unresponsive with life threatening injuries in the roadway near 887 Asylum Ave.

They were taken to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, where Hersey was pronounced dead on arrival. Hood died later that day.

The road was wet from a daylong rainstorm, and the 2005 Suzuki SC5 may have been going too fast for conditions as it traveled from the downtown area, heading west on Asylum Avenue, police said.

Police said no other vehicle was involved in the accident. They have not released who was driving the motorcycle at the time of the crash.

"The preliminary investigation revealed that speed and wet road conditions due to the heavy rain were both factors in the crash," Sgt. Jason Thody, commander of the department's Crime Scene Division, said in a press release issued Monday.

Officials at St. Joseph College said today the entire campus is grieving over the loss, and that classes would be cancelled Thursday morning to allow students and teachers to attend the funeral.

Christine M. Looby, St. Joseph spokeswoman, said Hersey graduated cum laude when she received her bachelor's degree in 2005 and was inducted into the Psi Chi Society, the National Honor Society in Psychology.

She was on schedule to receive her master's degree in the graduate school's community counseling program in December of 2007, Looby said.

Stevens said Hersey was set to finish her course work this spring, and was deciding where to do her practicum next year.

She knew she wanted to work with children, and was debating between early childhood and adolescent counseling, Stevens said.

Born in Manchester and a graduate of Manchester High School, Hersey leaves behind her mother and father, Kathleen (Cratty) Hersey of Manchester and Douglas Hersey of Dover, N.H., and three sisters, Suzanne M. Hersey of Brooklyn, Conn., Leigh Wolsleben of Houlton, Maine, and Tacie Hersey of Rochester, N.H.