Samya Stumo ’15, died on March 10, 2019, one of 157 people lost in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Samya, a Sheffield, MA native, was enroute to Kenya for a work assignment with ThinkWell, a non-profit organization working to disrupt the status quo in global health development.
Samya, a gifted student, spent her final high school year in Peru on a Rotary Fellowship, before coming to UMass. She had a deep interest in cultures and people and was determined to make a positive impact on the world around her, and on a larger scale through her work and career.
Thomas Leatherman, a professor of anthropology, who worked closely with Samya on her thesis and research at UMass Amherst, described her as being “infectiously vibrant.” “Her exuberance and enthusiasm were contagious and her spirit often buoyed those around her. She was joyful, kind, spirited, and fearless. She was truly a ‘one of a kind’ individual whose life and career held such great promise,” he said.
In her personal relationships, too, Samya exuded warmth and care for others. “She cared deeply about family and friends. Much of what made her special were the values instilled in her by her family; values of personal integrity, independence, social justice, self-respect and respect for others,” said Leatherman.
Samya graduated from UMass Amherst with a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish, and earned a certificate in Culture, Health, and Science. 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 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 is survived by her parents, Michael Stumo and Nadia Milleron, who hosted a memorial reception, Saturday, March 23 at 1:30 p.m. in Sheffield, MA.