Independent columnist Starshine Roshell will be honored by the venerable Association for Women in Communications (AWC) this month with its National Headliner Award for her talents as a writer, 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, Katharine 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 10 years running, much to the chagrin of Nick Welsh and that whinging geezer guy from Capitol Letters.
“I’m stupefied,” Roshell told us of learning about the award. “Katharine 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, Roshell’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 one to three. Also: sex.
Along the way, she’s built an impressive portfolio career: 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 nonprofits, and her current post as associate director of media and communications at Fielding Graduate University.
Not for nothing, she’s also almost singlehandedly responsible for bringing Target to Santa Barbara.
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.
The 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.