Karim Abou Najm Memorial Change-Makers Prize

Honoring Karim

Karim Abou Najm

Karim was born to Majdi Abou Najm and Nadine Yehya in Lebanon. He joined Davis Senior High School and graduated with high honors, before getting accepted to UC Davis. Karim was six weeks away from graduating with a bachelor’s in computer science with honors. While in college, he was also a full-time software engineer interning at multiple companies and working on a software design project to help hearing-impaired people. 

Karim at whiteboard

He established his company, Cornische, and participated in the PLASMA program for UC Davis undergraduate entrepreneurs. He was a member of the University Honors Program and received multiple honors and awards. 

Karim was awarded the Provost's Undergraduate Fellowship and was designated a National AP Scholar. He won HackDavis 2022 for Most Creative Use of GitHub and HackDavis 2021 for Best Use of Google Cloud. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, and posthumously received the Undergraduate Honors Program - Research and Innovation Award 2023.
Karim was a passionate, smart and caring young man who left us too soon. He’s a loving son, brother and grandson. He meant the world for his family.

For his short journey with us, he accomplished a lot. He took pride in helping others from lessons he learned through his studies and work. He mentored undergraduate computer science students and on-boarded student researchers to Miller Lab at UC Davis. He always gave a shoutout to his colleagues and supported them in finding opportunities on-campus and beyond.

In honor of the legacy Karim has left behind, the Karim Majdi Abou Najm Memorial Undergraduate Student Research Award fund was created to provide stipends to support undergraduate UC Davis students doing research. Visit the webpage to make a donation to the fund.

The Change-Makers Prize was established in honor of Karim Abou Najm to recognize high-achieving students at UC Davis pursuing additional skills, training or experiential learning in support of their academic journey. The prize will be awarded to students who are going above and beyond their coursework and seeking learning and growth opportunities that will enhance their skill set and have a positive impact on the world. Karim was not only passionate about research and knowledge, he was also generous with his time and believed in every student’s potential. This prize is meant to reward students that share in Karim’s ambition and humanity.

The Prize amount is $500 and use of funds is at the discretion of the prize winner. The number of prizes will vary annually. Examples of opportunities for students to demonstrate their desire for growth and learning outside of their coursework can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Conducting research in a UC Davis laboratory
  • Completing a technical certificate program
  • Engaging in an entrepreneurship initiative
  • Taking specialized coursework outside of UC Davis 
  • Doing an Internship or experiential learning

Eligibility Criteria

  • Open to any UC Davis undergraduate student
  • Overall UC GPA of 3.25 OR 3.25 in the last 3 quarters and in good standing
  • Applicants must be pursuing an opportunity to gain/use skill otherwise not gained in coursework
  • This opportunity is to be completed by April 5, 2025
How to Apply: Completed applications must be submitted by April 5, 2024 at 11:59PM PST. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Once you have submitted the online application, please email a .pdf copy of your resume and unofficial transcript to the Internship and Career Center at eastorer@ucdavis.edu.

Please contact the Internship and Career Center at icc@ucdavis.edu if you have questions about the application.

Elements of the Application

  • Application Form
    • Biographical information 
    • Essay Question (500 words)
  • Items to email to ICC after you submit the online application. 
    • Resume
    • Unofficial Transcript (to verify GPA)