“What can we do about this A-minus situation?”
An automatic “A” and semester-long reprieve from attending class—that was the reward for any communications student who could get their byline in a national publication.
Elaine Welteroth ’07, a communication studies major who was also a writer for the State Hornet student newspaper, took on the challenge. Welteroth successfully pitched a 200-word “blurb about footwear” to Figure magazine, then used the time gained from her release from class to continue writing for the publication.
“That opportunity was the beginning of my magazine career,” she said. “I really got addicted to that creative process. Coming up with that idea, pitching it, and then seeing it through to execution. I don’t know that I would’ve had that kind of discovery elsewhere.”
Since graduating from Sacramento State, Welteroth has gone on to have a distinguished career in print and television. In 2016, she broke new ground as the youngest person and only the second African-American ever to hold the editor-in-chief title for Teen Vogue Magazine. She wrote a NY Times bestselling autobiography, More Than Enough. She also has turned into an internet and television sensation with her role as a judge on Bravo’s Project Runway.
Welteroth credits the Sacramento State faculty, staff, and a supportive campus environment for helping her discover this inner strength.
“I would never have unlocked my courage to go after the dreams that were deeply embedded inside of me had I not had a woman, like Professor Michele Foss-Snowden, next to me,” she said.
As she looks at her many accomplishments and what she has learned in life so far, Welteroth says, “My lesson was, I have a responsibility to tell my story. I cannot be held up as a role model or as a trailblazer if I am not leaving that trail with some signposts along the way.”
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