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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

History major called ‘kind, thoughtful’

Published: February 18, 2011
Section: Front Page

First-year history major Kat Sommers ’14, of Queens N.Y. died after apparently taking her own life at Brandeis University on Tuesday evening. She was 18.

Kat, who attended Archbishop Molloy High School, a Catholic coeducational high school in Queens, was known in her dorm on Gordon Residence Hall for baking “amazing cookies” and having a “great DVD collection,” a hall-mate said at a memorial service held in her honor Thursday morning.

Friends described Kat as a kind and respectful friend who could sometimes be sarcastic in a funny manner. At the same time, she also enjoyed her privacy.

One friend who spoke at the on-campus vigil said he first met Kat inside the Gordon study lounge, and that when she saw him pulling an all-nighter for a class she made him soup and let him borrow her spoon. Another described her as “one of the liveliest, most fun people I’ve ever known.”

One student said at the memorial that Kat had been having a difficult time at school and that she “went through hell this year” but that “Kat was the most stoic person I’ve ever met.

“She was incredibly selfless and didn’t want to cause anyone pain, even if it meant keeping her pain for herself,” she said.

Professor Sabine von Mering said that Kat had recently been sending e-mails to her about planning a student trip for her class. Von Mering said that Kat appeared very happy in class and at office hours even expressed her happiness with Brandeis and her family situation.

Another friend at the memorial said, “It’s difficult to have a moral of the story. It’s not going to be the same without her.”

There will be a wake tonight at the Fox Funeral Home, 9807 Ascan Avenue in Forest Hills, N.Y. from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral will take place on Saturday at St. Luke’s Church at 16-34 Clintonville Street in Whitestone, New York at 10:15 a.m.

The family has asked that people interested in making donations do so in Katherine Sommers’ name to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.