I was saddened to learn recently of the passing of a smart, headstrong, compassionate young woman, a devoted member of the northwest Arkansas community, a scholar with huge dreams whom I am honored to have made giggle at least twice with my jewelry, according to her mother, Sallyann.
Jessamy Eve Samuels was an inspiration to anyone she encountered. A student of anthropology at the University of Arkansas, she loved people. “One of her favorite things to say was, ‘People are the best,’ Sallyann said. Jessamy was interning at the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville, Ark., and wanted to study Vikings for her Masters at the University of Iceland.
As founder of the Young Democrats of Arkansas’s (YDAR) Environmental Task Force, she had a gift for community organizing. One friend lovingly recalled Jessamy sneaking her phone into Arkansas Governor’s School to check in on the YDAR chapters she’d created: “I think Alma, Harrison, Clarksville, Ashdown and Cabot High Schools all owe their Young Democrat chapters to Jessamy.”
Sallyann reached out to me a couple of weeks ago to share Jessamy’s spirit and to request several necklaces to give to her friends. Each necklace reads “March Fourth”, Jessamy’s birthday and an ode to her brave spirit, which marches forth through the lives she helped shape in her 19 years.
A scholarship fund in Jessamy’s name has been established at the University of Arkansas, a tribute that scholarly Jessamy would surely adore. To donate to help another young leader march forth, please visit https://onlinegiving.uark.edu/
When you make your donation, please select “other department, program or fund” from the dropdown menu, then type “Jessamy Samuels Scholarship Fund” in the space provided.
You can also mail a check with a memo that says “Designation of Gift: Jessamy Samuels Scholarship Fund” payable to The University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc. to:
300 University House
One University of Arkansas
Fayetteville AR 72701