Susan Schreyer ’73 is the author of the popular Thea Campbell Mystery Series set in and around Snohomish, WA, not far from where she now lives. The fourth book, BushWhacked, was released early June 2012 and begins with Thea discovering a human skeleton buried under a rhododendron in her backyard. A healthy dose of humor and a dip into the paranormal take the familiar characters (including Thea’s horse Blackie!) in a slightly different direction from their usual suspenseful adventures.
Changes of direction are normal fare for Susan. After graduating from Western with a major in sociology, she has had careers in the business computing side of the healthcare industry, trained horses and taught dressage, and maintained her roles as wife and mother. Several years ago she turned to mystery writing when life took an unexpected turn and she closed her training business to stay home for her then 11-year-old son.
“I dug deep to find an outlet that would keep me productive,” Susan says. “Thanks to Margaret Barrier and Gladys Kuoksa, I learned to love research and appreciate the workings of social groups. I put that major course of study to use in a manner I doubt anyone expected. Death by a Dark Horse was my first publishable work and cemented my love for creating entertaining stories with complex social relationships. Without a doubt, the years I spent at Western College laid a foundation of accepting challenges, afforded opportunities to grow and nurtured the courage to explore new interests — all vital traits for an author of mysteries!”
Susan writes two blogs: “Things I Learned from My Horse” and “Writing Horses.” You can find out more about her books at her website, www.susanschreyer.com
Lilina Cambouris Williams ’65 was one of the featured artists at the Agora Gallery in New York City recently and in the past three years has exhibited her paintings in solo shows at the Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, MD, as well as at The Arts Club of Washington. She also exhibits in the annual “Small Treasures” show at the American Painting Fine Art Gallery in DC, and her works have been included in the Brookside Gardens botanical art shows.
Born Eleftheria Cambouris, of Greek parents in Cairo, Egypt, she came all the way to Oxford, Ohio, to attend college in 1961, graduated with a B.A. in political science, and went on to earn a master’s in international relations from American University, Washington, DC.
“Lily” (as she was known at Western) took art classes throughout her university years and, while at Western, she had almost enough credits to have a minor in art. In fact, Dr. Leonard Kesl, one of her art professors at Western, tried to convince her to switch majors from poli sci to art. She enjoyed her art classes and remembers his commenting that he always found in her paintings an influence from her Greek and Egyptian cultural experiences. After graduating from American University, Lilina joined the World Bank and continued her interest in art with evening painting classes at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Upon retirement from the World Bank in 1999, she was able to devote full time to painting and studied further at Corcoran, receiving a Certificate in Painting and Drawing in 2001.
Lilina is married to Dennis Williams, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They have two daughters: Christina graduated from Johns Hopkins University and is currently completing her Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Massachusetts; and Elena, who graduated from Barnard College and lives and works in New York City.
Lilina will be one of the featured artists at the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum in Bethesda, MD, from May 29 to June 29, 2014. Those who cannot view her beautiful paintings in person can at least visit her web site: www.lilinacwilliams.com
Naphalai Chantarasak Areesorn ’74 is editor-in-chief of the upscale Thai lifestyle magazine, Thailand Tatler. She has been involved with the popular and successful monthly since the first issue 21 years ago, when she joined the staff as a consulting editor. She assumed the full-time position of editor-in-chief after leaving Chiva-Som Health Resort, an award-winning spa that she started in 1991 and managed for the next 10 years. In addition, she heads the editorial team of Blue Mango Publishing, publisher of Thailand Tatler, and its many other products.
Naphalai came to the U.S. from Thailand in her early childhood, attended Western for two years, then spent her junior year in Switzerland and returned to the U.S. to graduate from Colorado Women’s College in 1974. As a freshman at Western, she was one of 16 students living on the French corridor in Mary Lyon. Many close friendships were formed there as the small group shared the intensive experience of immersing themselves in all things French and, of course, speaking the language exclusively. They also had a lot of fun together. Good friend and classmate Betsy Salt, who visited Naphalai in December, remembers going ghost hunting in the largely deserted dorm. They didn’t find any ghosts, but enjoyed exploring the attic. Naphalai was not an eager participant, as Thai culture and Buddhist religion instill a fear of ghosts.
Naphalai returned to Thailand in 1974, completed an M.B.A. and spent the next 30 years in the media and hospitality industries, working for Bangkok newspapers and hotels. She is the founder of the Thai Spa Association, was its first president, and continues to act as an adviser. Naphalai and her husband live in Bangkok and have two sons, both in investment banking — one in Bangkok and one in London.
Donna Zimmerman ’04, from Cincinnati, made it perfectly clear as a first-year student in the Western College Program that she had an abundance of imagination. Together with team members, she submitted a proposal for a Natural Systems lab, the purpose of which was “to determine if there is a significant correlation between the lunar cycle and social activities and alcohol intake among Miami University college students living in dorms.” As a second-year, Donna petitioned and was accepted for enrollment in a team-taught pilot course, Rivers: Images, Policy and Science, part of the brand-new major in environmental science. Although they studied the hemisphere’s major rivers, they also took local field trips to Bachelor Wildlife Reserve … and the Western Duck Pond! Appropriately, she worked part-time in the WCAA office that year.
So no one should have been surprised when Donna (who now lives in Brooklyn, NY) made news last year, winning a contest sponsored by Urban Space NY, a special retail market developer, for most creative use of a repurposed shipping container. She and three cohorts (not the former WCPers) founded BBOX, a complete full-service radio station, entirely contained within and broadcasting live from a metal cargo container. Donna told GOOD magazine, “We're hoping to get some remarkable and wide-ranging material from the community. Brooklyn is full of wildly creative, insightful and opinionated folks. We created BBOX Radio to give them a platform."
They did just that. BBOX is today an established freeform community radio station, presenting original programming that includes music, radio journalism, screenings, live performances, exhibits and more. They have broadcast from the Brooklyn Historical Society; been covered by the Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and others in addition to GOOD; and featured on-air via WNYC’s Culture Desk, NY1, Britain’s BBC Radio 5 Live and Japan’s NHK. So successful that they have outgrown their box, they have relocated to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg and plan to move into a brick-and-mortar studio this summer. BBOX is accessible to audiences on-site, and online at http://www.bboxradio.com/.