Mega-kudos to Santa Barbara word-slinger Starshine Roshell, who will be honored by the venerable Association for Women in Communications this month with its National Headliner Award for her talents as a columnist, teacher and academic marketing whiz.
It’s kind of a big deal, given that prior winners not only include niche media stars like Erma Bombeck, Heloise and Judge Jeanine Pirro but also household names like Barbara Walters, Katherine Graham and Eudora Welty.
Among other exploits, Starshine has been voted Santa Barbara’s top columnist in the Independent’s “Best Of” reader’s poll for ten years running, much to the chagrin of Nick Welsh and that whingeing geezer guy from “Capitol Letters.”
"I'm stupefied," Starshine told us of learning about the award. "Katherine Graham is a hero and I grew up reading Erma Bombeck. Her columns are what first tipped me off that a person could write wise, winky nonfiction about everyday life that would resonate with readers.
"Thanks to the local AWC chapter for nominating me," she added via text, with a requisite exclamation point.
Since her early columnizing days at the pre-meltdown morning paper, Star’s used her singular voice to churn out a steady stream of funny, engaging and deeply personal yarns in which she wrestles with family and relationship dilemmas, social and cultural conflicts and the joy and grief of feminism, Waves 1-3. Also: sex.
Along the way, she’s built an impressive portfolio career that includes lots of other, uh, communications stuff: writing coach on LinkedIn Learning (aka “Lynda.com”); author of four books of collected work; instructor stints at UCSB and SBCC; much sought after-emcee for non-profits and her current post as (all rise) Associate Director of Media and Communications at Fielding Graduate University.
Not for nothing, she’s also almost single-handedly responsible for bringing Target to Santa Barbara.
From Eleanor to Starshine. As every school child knows, the AWC, known in previous incarnations as Theta Sigma Phi and Women in Communications Inc., is celebrating its 110th year working to advance the reach and impact of women in journalism, media and other communications professions through a variety of education, research and publishing efforts.
In 2011, pioneering feminist Lois Phillips became the first Santa Barbaran to win the award. Alas, there was no Newsmakers then to properly trumpet the accomplishment.
The national organization began giving its Headliner award in 1939, right about the time it granted honorary membership to Eleanor Roosevelt, who soon after began closing her news conferences to male reporters.
You could look it up.
Images: Starshine Roshell; Eleanor Roosevelt (Smithsonian Magazine).