Second-year Graduate School of Education student Wendy Shung, 24, died on August 19. Her death was ruled a suicide, said Philadelphia Health Department spokesperson Jeff Moran.
Students received word of her death in an email sent to former Hill College House residents on Monday. University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy said that he could provide no further information at the time.
While at Penn, Shung was president of the GSE Student Government and had been a graduate associate at Hill. In May, she received a Master’s of Science in Education. Over the summer, she began a program by which she could obtain a Master’s of Philosophy and become a licensed professional counselor.
Before coming to Penn, Shung received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2011.
Lisa Huang, who met Shung while they were both studying in Pittsburgh, said in an email, “She’s one of my best friends, a mentor, a big sister, and she’s one of the most genuine people I know.”
“She had a heart to serve others,” Huang added. “I am so privileged to have had her in my life.”
Engineering sophomore Lina Huang, who became friends with Shung through her sister Lisa, said Shung was “so loving and caring.”
“She just kind of had this love that was understanding and non-judgmental,” Lina Huang said. “I barely even knew her and she just took me in because of my sister.”
Graduate School of Education student Kalyn Higgins, who served with Shung on GSE Student Government, worked closely with her to plan GSE events.
“She was very organized, very well spoken,” Higgins said, “just a really nice person, always smiling.”
Despite her studies and extracurriculars, Shung made a point to care for her hall in Hill. College junior Xandria James, who was in Shung’s hall, remembered Shung making them dumplings, ordering Insomnia cookies and planning hall dinners.
“She was big on bonding,” James said. Their hall nickname, she added, was “Wendy’s Wolf Pack.”
College sophomore Megan Guy worked with Shung over the summer at Freire Charter School, where they both were tutors.
We “ate lunch together for those days we were there,” she said in an email. “She was such a kind-hearted and overall energetic person and it’s hard to believe she’s gone. She will be greatly missed.”
City News Editor Sarah Smith contributed reporting.
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