MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The life of USA medical school student, Samantha Thomas, 24, ended abruptly in 2020 after she was killed in a crash on the I-65 Service Road, but her legacy lives on through her medical school colleagues who have been selected for an $1,000 memorial scholarship, started by her family.
“She was very academic, her sister would tell you, anyone would tell you from a small child,” said Samantha’s stepmother, Christiana Hoff. “I think she’s very proud of the fact that this is something that her dad started and we as a family support.”
The endowment was established in September of 2020, shortly after Samantha’s tragic death.
At first, the scholarship was planned to be awarded to freshman medical students who were in the top 25% of their class, expressed a financial need and were U.S. citizens.
Samantha’s family then decided to award five, fourth-year medical students from each of the graduating classes of 2022, 2023 and 2024 because those students would’ve been doctors around the same time as Samantha.
So far, 10 students have received the scholarship.
“It means a lot for Samantha’s family and the USA committee to think about me as someone who basically embodies what she would’ve been like in the hospital with patients and how they interact with staff,” said Kaleb Malone, fourth-year USA medical student and 2022 scholarship recipient. “I was just very honored, very grateful to receive such an award.”
“I cannot even explain how much it means to me, I have received other awards in medical school but none of them match this,” said Kasey Andrews, fourth-year USA medical student and 2023 scholarship recipient. “She was so charismatic and such an amazing person. What she left to the school is even more than I think her family realizes.”
Last year, the USA College of Medicine announced they would contribute $125,000 to the scholarship and match every dollar donated up to $125,000.
“I think it’s wonderful to keep her name ongoing and for other students to be able to look up what happened to her and maybe be cautious of who they hang with,” said Samantha’s dad, Harold Thomas.
The Samantha Alison Thomas memorial scholarship will be presented to the graduating class of 2023 at an awards ceremony on April 28.