UMass Amherst alumna dies in Ethiopian plane crash

  • Samya Stumo, 24, of Sheffield, is seen here in Denmark. The 2015 University of Massachusetts graduate was among those killed in Sunday’s crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Addis Ababa. VIA FACEBOOK

The Berkshire Eagle
Published: 3/13/2019 4:37:06 PM

SHEFFIELD — A Sheffield native and University of Massachusetts Amherst alumna with a passion for travel and global public health was one of 157 passengers and crew who died in Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Samya Stumo, 24, was on her way to Uganda to work on her first project with the global public health organization ThinkWell, her grandmother told The Boston Globe. Stumo was the grandniece of consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

Stumo was a 2010 graduate of Mount Everett Regional School, where she was an honors student.

She graduated from UMass Amherst in 2015 and received a master’s degree in global health from the University of Copenhagen, according to her profile on ThinkWell. She specialized in medical anthropology and health systems research.

She went on to be a consultant for the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, where she worked on a study to monitor viral hepatitis in more than 27 European countries.

In her new position as an analyst with ThinkWell, she was working on “strategic purchasing for primary health care in six countries.”

“I joined ThinkWell because I am passionate about resolving disconnects between policy and practice, making health care people-centered by nature, and inspired to impact change while rejecting the status quo in global health and development,” Stumo wrote on her profile page.

UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said in a statement the university community was deeply saddened by the news of Stumo’s death.

“Samya cared deeply about the welfare of others throughout her life and across the world,” the statement read. “While at UMass Amherst, she was honored with a special Salute to Service Scholarship for her commitment to public service.

“She was especially known for engaging others by earning their respect, friendship and trust, demonstrating a remarkable ability to relate to people in their communities.”

Flight 302 to Nairobi, Kenya, crashed 6 minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Some news reports indicate the pilots were having flight control problems with the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Because it is the second to crash in two months, at least 34 airlines have grounded the 737 Max models. On Tuesday, the European Union and many countries across the globe suspended all flights and the U.S. followed suit on Wednesday.

ThinkWell’s founder and chief executive, Yogesh Rajkotia, praised Stumo in a Facebook post:

“What a tragic day. The Ethiopian Airlines crash killed so many. Among them was a young member of the ThinkWell family. She was a rising star, contagiously enthusiastic about her work and about life in general. As a father myself, I cannot imagine the shock that her brave family is enduring. Sending condolences to all of those impacted by this awful tragedy.”

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