Samya Rose Stumo was an emerging leader in global health who was poised to make a powerful and positive difference in the world. Samya was passionate about improving health care access to women and underserved groups by making health care “people-centered” and by rejecting the status quo. Samya’s family, friends and colleagues describe Samya as “one of a kind,” “passionate,” “a trailblazer,” and “infectiously vibrant, intensely curious, and lived her life to the fullest. She had leadership, compassion, and intellectual rigor.”
Samya was transiting in Ethiopia with the healthcare non-profit ThinkWell when, on March 10, 2019, she died in the crash of Boeing Flight 302, a 737 Max, with 156 other passengers and crew. She was 24.
Samya’s family reports that, from an early age, Samya was bright, energetic and curious. She taught herself to read at age 4, and was homeschooled on the family farm until the 8th grade. Samya graduated from high school at age 16 and enrolled in UMass Amherst as an undergraduate. While at UMass, Samya was involved in several student organizations including the Undergraduate Anthropology Club, UMass Pre-Medical Society, Toastmasters, Campus Kitchen, and served as a residential assistant and peer mentor. In 2015, Samya graduated with great distinction from the UMass Commonwealth Honors College with a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish, and earned a Five College certificate in Culture, Health, and Science. In 2018, Samya went on to receive a Master’s degree in Global Health from the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. Soon after, in January 2019, she began working as an analyst for ThinkWell in Washington D.C., hoping to increase access to affordable healthcare in six countries across Africa and Asia.
Samya Rose Stumo Memorial Fund
The Samya Rose Stumo Memorial Fund will honor Samya’s memory and encourage others to follow her trailblazing path by providing scholarship support to undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Anthropology who are committed to promoting people-centered global health around the world, including the United States. In the future, the fund may also be used to support activities such as summer research projects, thesis research, or providing support for training that enhances recipients' career development.
An endowed fund will ensure that the Samya Rose Stumo Memorial Fund will provide support for students, and honor Samya’s indelible spirit, in perpetuity.