A message to Penn undergraduates

With heavy hearts, we write to share that Sarah Katz ’24, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, passed away on Saturday, September 10, 2022, at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Sarah was pursuing majors in International Relations and Health and Societies and a minor in East Asian Language and Civilization.
Sarah was a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, and graduated from Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City. Before enrolling at Penn, Sarah completed a gap year at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, where she was granted a full merit scholarship to learn Mandarin.
Sarah’s passion and commitment to community health extended beyond the classroom. Since 2011, she served as Red Cap Ambassador with the American Heart Association, teaching CPR in high schools and underserved communities. During her first year at Penn, Sarah worked as a research assistant at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she introduced a bill to Pennsylvania state legislators advocating that all Pennsylvania schools become certified “heart safe” spaces. She returned to campus this semester eager to begin working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a health communications intern.
She was deeply involved at Penn, serving as a leader in the Penn John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society, a membership coordinator for the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, the social chair of Sigma Kappa sorority, and an active member in Penn Hillel.
Sarah’s family issued the following statement regarding their daughter’s passing: “We are devastated by this tragic passing of our beloved Sarah. She loved the University of Pennsylvania so much and was so happy and thriving. Sarah was fully engaged in so many aspects of campus life, academics, clubs, socially, and through internships. Words cannot express how much of a loss we are feeling. We so appreciate everything.”
University staff are working closely to support Sarah’s family and friends. An in-person support session will be held today, Sunday, September 11, from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Class of 1949 Auditorium in Houston Hall. Representatives from University Life, Student Health and Counseling, and The Office of the Chaplain will be present at today’s support session.
Additionally, Student Health and Counseling’s Let’s Talk program will have staff available for free and confidential drop-in conversations throughout the upcoming week.
Penn is a supportive community, and we are here for each other through challenging situations. We know that grief can affect people in various ways. Now and always, Penn stands with you, and we want to comfort you.
Please use the resources below if you need support.

If you have a personal or academic concern and want to talk to someone at Penn:
Student Health and Counseling (215-898-7021, 24/7): Any student can speak to a trained clinician by phone, day, or night. Students also can schedule virtual appointments. Read about Stress, Distress, and Crisis for additional emotional health support from Student Counseling.
The University Chaplain’s Office (215-898-8456) provides pastoral support, informal advising, and counseling to students in need of care and comfort. Chaplain’s Office staff are here “to be a shoulder, to be an ear, to be a friend, to be a fellow sojourner, to be an advocate, and a faithful presence.” The Chaplain’s Office works with faith communities and campus ministers who also provide spiritual support. Students of all faiths are warmly welcomed.

School advising offices:

  • College of Arts and Sciences (215-898-6341)
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science (215-898-7246)
  • School of Nursing (215-898-6687)
  • Wharton Undergraduate Division (215-898-7613)
  • Other faculty or staff you know and trust.

If you don’t feel well:
Student Health and Counseling (215-746-3535) offers comprehensive primary care, including services to help you eat well, sleep well, and reduce stress. Students must call first to speak to staff, who can determine whether to schedule a virtual or in-person appointment.
If you aren’t sure where to go or you’re concerned about a friend:

Student Intervention Services (vpul-sisteam@pobox.upenn.edu and/or 215-898-6081) supports students in crises, helps students access resources, and responds to concerns about students’ well-being.

The Division of Public Safety’s HELP line (215-898-HELP/215-898-4357) is a 24/7 service that connects Penn students, staff, faculty, and families with appropriate resources.