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Wharton and Engineering senior Kevin Zhao died over winter break while traveling with his family in China, according to an email sent to Wharton undergraduates. He was 21.

His cause of death is currently unknown.

College senior Seaver Wang, who was Zhao’s friend since freshman year, remembers him as someone whose “interests were as diverse as his talents.”

“He enjoyed discussing everything from history to literature to politics to food, always eager to share what he knew and learn what he didn’t,” Wang said in an email.

He also recalled that Zhao was someone “eager” to try new things.

At Zhao’s urging, both he and Wang “hiked forest trails, visited museums, celebrated birthdays, made post-graduation plans to tour Europe and explored as many of Philadelphia’s attractions as we could,” Wang said.

At Penn, Zhao was on the board of the Wharton China Business Society. According to his LinkedIn account, he was also a research assistant at Wharton and a teaching assistant for CIS 120 in fall 2011.

Last summer, he was a product intelligence management intern at Yammer, a social networking site for companies. The past academic year, he worked for Urban Outfitters as an operations and customer analytics intern.

In high school, Zhao was a regional finalist in the 2009-2010 Siemens Competition for math and science.

Zhao’s family was not immediately available to speak.

Check back for updates.

Anyone wishing to contribute additional comments should email author Harry Cooperman at

General Assignments Editor Jody Freinkel contributed reporting.

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