In October, Zoë Plakias ’04 joined us by Skype from Davis, CA where she is completing her PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. She studies agricultural producer organizations in the United States. She is currently working on her dissertation and exploring academic and non-academic job opportunities beginning in Fall 2016. She attended Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA) for several years and worked on tall ships as a crew member and educator in sail training and environmental education programs for several seasons before getting her B.A. in Economics from Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA) in 2010. Students learned quite a bit from talking with Zoë (and we all learned quite a bit about navigating Skype in a group setting)!
In November, Sarah Banks Hartshorne ’05 joined us after visiting family in the area for Thanksgiving. Sarah went to Boston University, then transferred to Drew University in order to be closer to New York City after being a contestant on America’s Next Top Model. She graduated from SUNY Purchase after taking a few years off from college to pursue modeling full time. She worked as a model for seven years. Sarah was on the cover of Vogue L’Uomo, did commercials, campaigns and print work for many national and international brands and magazines. She also started doing standup comedy – in fact, her senior project involved a stand up routine! Two years ago Sarah married fellow Academy alum Ian Leue (’03) in Colrain. One year ago she “retired” from modelling and now works full time doing comedy and production. She’s the vice president and head of production at a nonprofit called Project UROK where she produces comedy videos for teens and young adults struggling with mental illness. Over 35 students spent the lunch hour with Sarah, enjoying her humor and her insights into the worlds of modelling, comedy, and – both poignant and inspiring – her efforts to destigmatize mental illness through humor.