The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) flag will be lowered Wednesday, April 21, in memory of UNO faculty member Aja Kneip Pelster, Ph.D., MPH, who was a member of faculty in the School of Health and Kinesiology.
Aja passed away on March 11, 2021 at the age of 40.
Initially joining UNO as a graduate teaching assistant while completing her Master of Public Health degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Aja found a home with the School of Health and Kinesiology – eventually joining the faculty full time as an instructor and then an assistant professor upon the completion of her doctoral degree in public health. She was a recipient of the School of Health and Kinesiology part-time teaching award prior to her full-time appointment. “Dr. KP” was recognized by students and peers alike as an outstanding teacher and as a fierce advocate for students.
In addition to her role in the classroom, Aja served as assistant director of the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative, a cross-campus initiative that conducts research; provides evidence-based education; mentors students and health professionals; and engages with the community – all with the goal of supporting sexual health and wellbeing. She was the sponsor of the affiliated student group.
Outside of UNO, Aja was a voracious reader, avid knitter, world-traveler, adventurer, and volunteer, especially for causes like breast cancer awareness, HIV prevention, and others.
She is survived by her husband, Ryan; parents, Steve and Dede; sisters Brittany, Michaela, and Jenna; nieces and nephews; and in-laws. A streamed memorial was held for Aja on March 16. Donations in her memory are suggested for Casting for Recovery, Nebraska AIDS Project, Girls Inc. of Omaha, and Wear Yellow Nebraska.
The thoughts and condolences of the university community are with Aja’s loved ones during this time.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.