UT grad killed in crash with Cedric Benson was ‘ready to change the world’ boss says

Posted August 20th, 2019


Aamna Najam, the 27-year-old University of Texas graduate who died Saturday in the motorcycle crash that also killed Longhorns football great Cedric Benson, was on track to make a big impact in the audiology field, her boss said Tuesday.

Before earning her Ph.D. in May, Najam interviewed for a job with AnyPlace MD in Cedar Park. The woman who ended up hiring her, Debbie Woods, said she wanted to speak with Najam after hearing good things about her and flew her in from Las Vegas where she was completing her residency. The interview went so well that Woods offered Najam a job on the spot.

“She had such a bright future in front of her,” said Woods, the vice president of business development at AnyPlace MD. “Very outgoing, beautiful, very intelligent. She cared so much about the seniors in this community. She was ready to change the world.”


Najam, Woods said, graduated with a 3.9 grade-point average in both her doctoral and undergraduate studies.

Najam was on the back of a BMW motorcycle driven by Benson when they crashed into a minivan in West Austin. The motorcycle was speeding, police said, when it encountered the van turning onto RM 2222 from Mount Bonnell Road. Najam and Benson both were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Two people in the van had minor injuries.
Woods said she is uncertain about the nature of the relationship Najam had with Benson, who starred as running back for Texas from 2001 to 2004 and whose death came as a crushing blow to his former teammates and coaches.
Najam’s funeral was Monday in Houston, Woods said.
Days before her death, Najam had returned to Texas from a three-week trip in Pakistan where she visited her grandmother and other family members, Woods said.
“We went to lunch on Wednesday and talked for two hours about Pakistan,” she said. “She loved her family so dearly. She was thrilled to be with them.”
Najam is survived by her parents and three siblings. Two older sisters are attorneys, Woods said. Her younger brother is entering his first year at the University of Texas.
“She was going to help move him in this coming Friday,” Woods said.