Student & Alumni Success

Sara Whitman 2019
From the beaches of New Jersey to the bright lights of Los Angeles, Sara Whitman ’19 took what she learned from Hofstra University all the way to “Entertainment Tonight.”

Now working as a media assistant for ET, Whitman has settled in nicely in Hollywood. After spending the last five years at Hofstra working towards both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Whitman’s journey is certainly just beginning.

Dan Hanson: What were your top moments at Hofstra?
Sara Whitman: My top moments are studying abroad through the Hofstra in Rome program (it was then called SCO in Rome) in 2016, being named anchor of Hofstra Today, attending the annual gala in 2018, and passing the master's capstone with honors. I also cannot forget the Hofstra in LA trip which led me to the connection that landed me the job I have now!

DH: What were some projects you worked on both inside and outside the classroom?
SW: The first project that comes to mind is when I studied abroad in Rome with LHSC. We teamed up with members of a non-profit media organization called Shoot 4 Change, and we created a PR plan to boost their reach as well as crafted a video they could share for promotion. Two years later, Hofstra students who had participated in the program worked together to create the Shoot 4 Change New York Conference, which hosted members of Shoot 4 Change and other creatives to discuss and analyze different topics in journalism and social change. I am super thankful for this experience and proud of what came from it.

The next project that comes to mind is of course my capstone project, which allowed me to talk to people with a range of opinions on the very controversial topic of women's reproductive rights.

Lastly, I was in charge of creating and running a blog for the Hofstra in LA trip I went on in January of 2018. The students on the trip and I had to write about what we learned each day, and I had to edit and post each student's write up every day.

DH: How did Hofstra set you up to succeed?
SW: Hofstra helped me succeed by pushing me and my classmates to land internships and strive for extracurricular experiences as soon as we could to prepare ourselves for life after graduation. I am pretty driven on my own, but Hofstra's constant mentioning of internships really got me going. Hofstra also has a chapter of Zeta Phi Eta, a pre-professional fraternity in the arts and sciences of communications. I got my first internship with the help of someone I met in Zeta, who is also one of my best friends and supporters. That organization really helped me with my early professional development.

DH: What can you say about the Hofstra MA in journalism program as a whole?
SW: The professors in this program clearly have a passion for what they do and have years of invaluable experience from which students can learn. The professors are excited to teach you, which makes it a bit easier to attend a three-hour class after a full day of interning! The best thing that came from this program for me, though, is the confidence I gained in myself to venture into my next stage of life.

DH: Tell us why you thought you needed to pursue a master’s degree.
SW: I am going to be honest. I didn't originally think, "I need a master's degree." However, the fact that I could complete my bachelor's and master's in journalism through the five-year dual degree program was enticing, and that's what ultimately motivated me to get my master's degree. It was also useful and comforting knowing I would automatically be enrolled in the program as long as I kept my undergrad grades up.

DH: Any ultimately, why Hofstra?
SW: I ultimately chose Hofstra because the journalism program seemed top-notch, the LHSC had strong emphasis on real-world experience and internships, and the proximity to NYC for those internships was a big advantage.

Dan Hanson BA’18, MBA’20 is a graduate assistant in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

Sara Whitman

Sara Whitman