Alumna turns the page at Teen Vogue, shares vision with New York Times

EDITOR
Sac State alumna Elaine Welteroth talks about her first foray into journalism in a New York Times interview.

The teen magazine famous for dishing out fashion and makeover advice is enjoying a historic facelift of its own. Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth ’07 (Communication Studies) is the force behind Teen Vogue’s transformation into a modern voice for an empathetic and engaged generation of readers.

Under Welteroth’s editorial direction, current issues of the magazine include fewer stories on fashion, beauty and style, and more on the progressive politics and social issues that impact and resonate with today’s diverse, digitally connected audience.

In a recent New York Times interview, Welteroth shares thoughts about her first foray into journalism and lauds a Sac State class that she says “changed her life.”

According to the article, the professor promised that any student who could get published in a national magazine would receive an automatic A. Welteroth pitched a story about plus-size footwear to Figure, a magazine for plus-size women, and her pitch was accepted.

Before her last semester of college, Welteroth interned at an international advertising agency, where she reportedly told a fellow intern that she’d rather be working at a magazine and showed him one of her stories from Figure. The other intern questioned whether her articles were real journalism, to which she replied, “I remember staying up for an hour and a half debating this man to the ground, telling him that beauty and fashion journalism is journalism.”

The editor-in-chief followed her heart and passion to become the second African American in Condé Nast’s 108-year publishing history to hold such a title and the youngest in Condé Nast history to become editor.

While content on the magazine’s robust website still includes articles on adolescent angst and celebrity crushes, the first navigation bar now reads “News and Politics,” a nod to Welteroth’s determination to move the needle on what’s considered news for teens.

“I felt like there was an opportunity to go a little deeper and to feature a different type of girl: someone who actually used their platform to be a role model and to be a thought leader. There was something shifting in the zeitgeist,” she told the New York Times. She added, “Teen Vogue has as much right to be at the table, talking about politics, as every young woman does in America right now.”

Welteroth was previously editor at Teen Vogue, which she joined in 2012 as beauty and health director. Before that, she was the senior beauty editor at Glamour, and worked as the beauty and style editor at Ebony magazine. – Anita Fitzhugh

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Sting? Rhys Hoskins shows big leagues that Hornets can slug, too

rhys-hoskins-phillies-jaffe
Among the national media outlets focusing attention on Rhys Hoskins was Sports Illustrated with its story: “Rhys Hoskins is the Phillies’ homer-happy, record-setting rookie outfielder.”

Rhys Hoskins knows how to hit a baseball out of the park. He did it at nearby Jesuit High School. He did it at Sac State. Now the former Hornet slugger is clearing the fences in the big leagues.

The Philadelphia Phillies left fielder is taking Major League Baseball (MLB) by storm. He hit his first 10 home runs faster than any player in MLB history and tied the Phillies record with five long balls in five straight games. He’s also the first major leaguer to hit 14 home runs in fewer than 35 games. Through 31 games, Hoskins’ stat line included a .296 batting average, 14 home runs and 32 RBIs. His hot start earned him National League Rookie of the Month honors for August.

Hoskins, 24, isn’t just making plays with his bat. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Sacramento native started the Phillies’ first triple play since 1953 with a highlight-reel sliding catch.

After playing for Sac State for three seasons, Hoskins was drafted following his junior year by Philadelphia in the fifth round (142nd overall pick) in 2014. After spending parts of four seasons in the minor leagues, Hoskins was called up by the Phillies on Aug. 10. He’s the first Hornet to play in the big leagues since Roland de la Maza, who pitched for the 1997 Kansas City Royals.

In an ESPN profile of Hoskins, Sacramento State head baseball coach Reggie Christiansen said, “He’s a pretty special kid, no doubt.” He said following Hoskins’ performance is “like watching a Disney movie.”

Hoskins, a former Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Player of the Year and three-time Academic All-WAC athlete, shares that special bond with Christiansen and the Hornet Baseball program.

“Reggie Christiansen and his staff taught me the true meaning of accountability, and how a persistent work ethic can set you apart from the rest,” Hoskins said in an email. “They gave me an opportunity to learn about the game of baseball, but also put me in the best situation to figure out what it means to be a good teammate and a better man. I am forever grateful to Reggie and Sacramento State.”

After ‘winding road’ to a data science career, Sadie St. Lawrence helps women find a home in the industry

At some point during her first year at Sacramento State, Sadie St. Lawrence ’13 (Psychology) realized she was sick of taking care of rodents.

Sadie St Lawrence

She was working in a lab called “The Neurobiology of Emotional Learning and Memory” and loving the opportunity to learn about science and conduct research. Working with animals? Not so much.

“It was another kind of life crisis where I said, ‘OK, how do I keep the things in my life that I love but get rid of things that don’t bring me joy?’ ” St. Lawrence says. “I honestly don’t even know how I came across data science, but as I read more about it I realized I had some of the core competencies, and then the other ones I thought I could develop.”

Just four years after graduating from Sac State and a little more than a year after earning her master’s degree online from Villanova University, St. Lawrence is the lead data scientist at Rancho Cordova-based VSP, heading up efforts at the United States’ largest vision insurance company to develop data-driven solutions to a variety of business challenges.

When she’s not working, St. Lawrence runs the nonprofit she founded two years ago, Women in Data. The organization – which is focused on raising awareness about the field of data science, educating businesses on how they can use data, and helping to advance women in the field – is borne out of her experience both as a woman in a male-dominated industry and as someone who did not realize until later in her education that the career was an option in the first place.

“The only way the field is going to continue to progress is if we continue to create diversity,” she says. “Any time we shut that off, we’re going to see things slow down. I love my work, I love what I do, so I’m just taking my two passions, data and women, and combining them to make them more diverse and make a better work environment for everyone.”

The lab “life crisis,” was actually the second of its kind along what St. Lawrence calls the “winding way” to her career. An Iowa native, she initially attended Casper College in Wyoming on a piano scholarship before transferring to Sacramento State, which had an exchange program with Casper that allowed her to receive in-state tuition. At the same time, she fulfilled her dream of moving to California.

By the time she came to campus for orientation, however, she realized she didn’t want her hobby to become her job. She had become interested in studying how the mind functions after reading a book about music disorders of the brain, which is how she ended up switching her major to psychology – and how she ended up working in labs like Evolutionary Ecology of Fishes and, yes, Emotional Learning of Memory.

“Sac State was great because I was able to explore so many different ideas with excellent teachers to guide me along the way,” St. Lawrence says. “I meet a lot of people who say, ‘I don’t know what I want to do with my life,’ and my stance is, sometimes figuring out what you don’t like to do is the best way to figure out what you do like to do. Sac State gave me a lot of options to figure out who I really am and what my passion is.”

While concurrently starting her career at VSP and taking graduate courses, she became dismayed that the only opportunities for women data scientists to network seemingly were only in the Bay Area. Drawing on her involvement with the American Association of University Women’s Sacramento State chapter as a student, she decided to take matters into her own hands, founding Women in Data in 2015.

The first meet-up drew just four people. But two years later, it’s an entirely different story. The organization now boasts nearly 600 members, just received tax-exempt status, and is looking to expand to other cities. Events include data science presentations that are open to the community, technical training, and other networking opportunities.

St. Lawrence’s hope is that Sacramento’s data science community becomes as strong as or even stronger than that of the Bay Area or Silicon Valley, especially as she has grown to love the region. In her spare time, she’s a dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner as well as an avid outdoors enthusiast – paddleboarding in the summer, skiing in the winter. And she continues to play piano, a thread that leads back to the start of the sometimes-meandering road to her present.

“At the end of the day, we’re all trying to just find our path,” she says. “You may take a different route to get there, but if you know your end goal and what you want to accomplish, you’ll find a way.”