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Town & Gown, UC San Diego

Meet Najah Ahmed
November's Student SpeakerNajah Ahmed

Chemical Engineering :: Dawn '87 & Matt Grob Family Scholar

Najah loves attending college, but she also appreciates the value of real-world practice and has pursued hands-on opportunities to expand her knowledge. She transferred to UC San Diego from Mesa Community College with a GPA of 3.85, and currently maintains a 3.75 and has completed three prestigious laboratory internships to date.

Her work in these internships has ranged from immersion in terminologies, tools and techniques used in most labs, to optimizing a 3D paper-based device for the collection and analysis of tumor- derived exosomes. “I’ve become more interested in the cancer research field, and the experience I’ve gained has made me motivated and boosted my confidence to pursue an advanced degree in the future.”

Her journey to this point is an against-all-odds story. Learn more.

About Town & Gown

Founded in 2007, Town & Gown sponsors lively monthly luncheon programs addressing the most interesting issues of our times, featuring UC San Diego professors and researchers, as well as luminaries from other organizations.

Town & Gown lunches are held each month, October through May, at Farmer & The Seahorse. These programs are open to members of Town & Gown and their guests.

Our Founder, Lucy Haugh, passed in 2017. Learn more about this remarkable woman.

Supporting Students

Access to the intellectual capital at UC San Diego is increasingly out of reach for many promising young people who aspire to learn, grow and ultimately contribute.

Town & Gown members voluntarily support undergraduates by donating to student scholarships throughout the year. The number of Town & Gown scholarships awarded annually has continued to increase as a result of our members' generosity.

After establishing a named Town & Gown scholarship several years ago through a pledge, Town & Gown member, and UC San Diego alumnus, Dawn Grob '87 fulfilled her $50,000 pledge to fund the Dawn '87 & Matt Grob & Family Endowed Scholarship. This year you’ll meet the first “Grob Scholar,” Najah Ahmed, a Chemical Engineering major.

This is the seventh Town & Gown endowment now generating a named scholarship:

  • Dawn '87 & Matt Grob & Family Endowed Scholarship
  • Lucy and Jim Haugh Scholarship Endowment
  • Sally and Louis Higger Memorial Scholarship Endowment
  • Minerva Kunzel Scholarship Endowment
  • Elizabeth and Joseph Taft Scholarship Endowment
  • Ursula and Hans Moede Scholarship Endowment
  • Bebe and Marvin Zigman Scholarship Endowment

Each of these endowments generates funds that are partly matched by our membership fees, so every member helps make it possible for us to award $5,000 scholarships. As the endowments are invested and grow over time, fewer membership-matched funds are needed.

The Town & Gown Named Endowed Scholarship program is unique at UC San Diego; it is the only named scholarship endowment that may be pledged with just a $5,000 gift and taking up to ten years to reach the minimum level of $50,000. (Five-year pledges are the norm for nonprofits.) A fully-funded named Town & Gown Endowed scholarship is $150,000.

Through visibility in our communications pieces, Town & Gown is able to acknowledge and thank those donors who have started their endowment. Once it’s fully funded and begins generating a scholarship named in their honor, it is the remarkable Scholars themselves who provide the real satisfaction to their benefactors.

If you’d like information about leaving a gift to Town & Gown Scholars in your will, please contact Suzetta Martindale at or (858) 246-0316.  Learn more.

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