Alumni News Detail

Susan Woolley Katz ‘88

Class of 1988
Susan Woolley Katz ‘88 was a Lifer at Friends, as were her sisters (Laura Kemper ’81, Lisa Anderson ’82) and parents (Cynthia Pyle Woolley ’56, Clark Hullihen Woolley ’57). Many other generations of her family also attended WFS.
On campus, Susan played field hockey and lacrosse, and served on the Girls Athletic and yearbook committees (as an editor). After graduation, Susan studied at the University of Virginia, where she graduated with an honors degree in psychology. She moved to the US Virgin Islands for two years, and later to the San Francisco Bay Area where she completed a PhD in clinical psychology.  She practiced at a major medical center in San Francisco as a board-certified neuropsychologist with expertise in dementia and ALS.  Susan published numerous scientific manuscripts on topics such as neuroanatomical correlates of apathy, diagnostic criteria for frontotemporal dementia, quantification of insight, and screening measures for cognitive and behavioral impairment.  Susan shifted from clinical work in 2018, and now serves as a Senior Clinical Scientist for Syneos Health, a global biopharmaceutical consulting company.  She lives in Sausalito, California with her husband Jon, and golden retriever, Hudson.  Outside of work, Susan enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking in Marin County and relaxing in Sonoma County. 
 
How did you choose your career in neuropsychology? 
At UVA, I learned that psychology could be applied to many fields, including but not limited to law, marketing, finance, and medicine.  I chose neuropsychology given its medical focus, specifically the relationship between the brain and behavior. It also afforded me the opportunity to serve as an expert witness, thus exposing me to the intersection of neuropsychology and law.
 
Please describe your past work with patients and current work in clinical research. 
My clinical work focused on diagnosing dementia, memory loss, and other cognitive disorders in older adults.  I also worked with patients with ALS, and developed an expertise with this population. ALS research was the basis for my scientific manuscripts and international presentations.  Currently, I work for a consulting company where I am involved with several neurological studies, supporting research to hopefully find new treatments for rare diseases.  
 
What are your current interests and passions? 
Animal rescue, dogs, cooking, traveling, interior design.

How has WFS impacted you since graduation? 
I’ve maintained lifelong friendships with many of my peers, which provides a sense of community even while living in CA.  I now realize that my involvement in WFS sports served as a proxy for collegial teamwork in various employment situations. 

What are your favorite WFS memories? 
Walking through WFS several years ago at an alumni event with my mom….Everyone knew Cynthia-I appreciated how the community made her feel so special and appreciated.
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