UT alumna Dr. Aamna Najam had worked just one week as an audiologist before she died in a motorcycle accident in August. Now, her family is starting a memorial scholarship to honor her.
“Education is really important to our family, and I think that was the driving factor in starting this scholarship,” Aamna’s sister Zara Najam said. “We understand that the time spent in going to college to pursue something often translates to needing money right away, but we want to encourage people to still pursue an education.”
The Dr. Aamna Najam Memorial Scholarship for Audiology will be offered to students pursuing the field of audiology, and donations for the academic award can be given through the Moody College of Communication.
Zara said her family wants to make sure those who value learning as much as the Najam family are supported while attending college.
“We also want to give the scholarship to someone who is not just wanting it for its profit but someone who is wanting to help the larger community as Aamna did,” Zara said. “Whether this person’s goal is to bring awareness to hearing disorders or help underdeveloped communities, we would like this person to be very involved in helping others.”
Navya Medi, an alumna of the University of Houston and close friend of Najam, said Najam’s life mission was to help others.
“Aamna was so full of life,” Medi said. “There would be no better way to celebrate or honor her than to help those who are going into the same field she was in.”
Craig Champlin, a communications sciences and disorders professor, said he was Najam’s adviser for a Doctor of Audiology research project. Champlin said the scholarship will be a great way to further the work she would have done.
“Every time we grant this scholarship, we will recognize her, people will say her name, think about her, and it will be this legacy that will continue on,” Champlin said. “Students will want to know who she was, and I think (the scholarship is) a terrific way of continuing what might’ve been.”
Zara said Najam’s first paycheck will be going into the scholarship.
“We wanted to make sure (the paycheck) went to something she’d be proud of,” Zara said. “We just hope this scholarship will honor the accomplishments Aamna worked for over nine years to achieve.”