Scorpion Spotlight: Sara Garey-Sage ('11)

  • Alumni News
Christine Seiber
Sara Garey-Sage

Sara Garey-Sage (‘11) attends the Riverside Farmers Market to gather stories for the University of Nevada, Reno Shared History Program. Photos courtesy of Sara Garey-Sage


A European history class launched Sara Garey-Sage ('11) on a journey of examining the shared experiences of individuals and communities.

She was tasked with being on Louis XVI's defense team as part of a mock trial during her sophomore year at Sage Ridge School. The French monarch was found guilty in 1793 — but Sara's history class acquitted him.

"That opportunity to learn and utilize primary sources in a more creative manner really opened my eyes to the ways you can study history," she said.

That curiosity earned her a bachelor's degree in history at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 2015 and a master's in history at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2020.

Now, she immerses herself in people's stories about the COVID-19 pandemic as she aims for a doctorate in history at UNR. Her interest in material culture, which examines how societies use objects throughout history, can be exemplified through the rise in wearing personal protective equipment such as face masks — whether they are handmade, ordered online, cloth, paper or plastic.

Her work for the university's Shared History Program entails recording brief video testimonials at the Riverside Farmers Market

"People are really talking about the impact they've seen on their community and how they're just trying to help each other out," she said.

Regardless of the medium, Sara noticed people's stories carry a theme of community resiliency. She's received photos of signage posted at casinos when they temporarily closed. She's heard stories of parents, teachers and children adjusting to distance learning. On a personal level, she welcomed a Leonberger puppy named Jingle Bell two days before Christmas, mirroring a statewide boost in pet adoptions.

“I'm really interested in food history, and many local distilleries pivoted to making hand sanitizer because they were able to utilize a byproduct of their distilling process,” she said. “So that Reno distillery hand sanitizer bottle will become an important source in the future.”

To share your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, email with written responses, videos, photos or other digital materials. The Shared History Program team plans to offer a digital exhibit and archive for the community.

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One Year Later: Students Reflect on Distance Learning

  • Class of 2011
  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Scorpion Spotlight
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