Success After Solebury School

Susan (Huang) Keefe '14
Penn State University 2018
University of California, San Francisco (D.D.S. student)

"I cannot say enough how much the ESL program helped me not only in learning English, but also understanding and adapting to the broader American culture. Cinnie [Wappel] and Russ [Carrick] never lowered their standards or tolerated any whining — I had to put in the work and earn my grades. This attitude was instrumental to my college career, where success only comes from personal motivation and determination.” —Susan

    Cinnie, Susan, and Britta at Susan and Matt's wedding.

Originally from Wenzhou, China, Susan Huang’s journey to the University of California, San Francisco  — where she has just begun her Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) — reads like an American dream won through dedication, really hard work, and the right guidance. Solebury School’s ESL Program, led by Director Cinnie Wappel, is well regarded for preparing our students for success in college and beyond, and both Cinnie and teacher Russ Carrick are known for their commitment to their students.

Susan also credits Math Department Head Britta Milks as instrumental in her academic pursuits. “Britta and the amazing math curriculum at Solebury challenged me intellectually and were major factors in pushing me towards a STEM career,” says Susan. “Britta, Cinnie, and Russ were not just my teachers but also my mentors, and I will always be grateful for the friendship and wisdom they have shared with me and that has guided me through these past years.”

This June, Susan graduated magna cum laude (with a 3.96 GPA) from Penn State University, having majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She was awarded the Mark and Sharon Robb Research Award for excellence in undergraduate research. Upon graduating, she submitted her thesis, “Direct Astrocyte to Neuron Reprogramming for Functional Repair in Intracerebral Hemorrhage Mouse Model” to the Schreyer Honors College to achieve  honors in Biochemistry.

This summer, Susan married her Solebury School sweetheart, Matt Keefe ’14. The newlyweds have since moved out west, both to begin grad school at University of California, San Francisco.


—Fall 2018

Meet another Solebury School ESL grad, Richard Wu ’13.

Read more Success After Solebury stories.