In May of 2022, Sara Stanley graduated from Western Carolina University with a degree in communication with a double concentration in broadcasting and journalism. She chose communication based on her passion for being the “voice for the unheard.”

Throughout her life, Stanley has lived in rural areas that are not covered by a daily news publication.

 “The effects of these areas are far more worrying than one may think,” she said. “Misinformed or uninformed citizens are a severe threat to a functioning democracy.” 

Upon entering college, Stanley had the intention of using her education to make a positive impact on local communities. While she was a student at WCU, she had several opportunities to create PSAs, put together fundraisers, write data-driven articles highlighting food insecurity and organizations working to help those in need and more. 

Stanley further explains she had the opportunity to learn from passionate professors during her time at WCU. She claims the passion and dedication among the communication department’s faculty and staff is alive and thriving. 

“ Every professor I had the chance to work with encouraged us to challenge and take charge when we enter the workforce,” said Stanley. “It was also emphasized that as much as this industry is cutthroat and competitive, it is also a tight-knit community of passionate people who are willing to help lift their peers up.”

After graduating from WCU, Stanley was awarded the Julie Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism Award at the SPJ’s MediaFest conference in D.C. According to Stanley, this opportunity has led her to many helpful connections, including “meeting and collaborating with a local broadcasting legend who has agreed to provide me with any help I need in the industry,” Stanley added. 

Currently, Stanley is working as a freelance content creator and consultant, working to help build websites, edit resumes, and manage social media accounts for businesses and creative individuals. She also has several articles in the works that she will pitch to several local news outlets in the coming year.

“I wanted to take a few months to figure out my goals, so I felt that freelancing fit my life best at the moment,” she said. 

Apart from working as a freelancer, Stanley works as a tasting room associate at a local winery and she hopes to use what she has learned from her job in future food and wine articles. 

As a result of a busy schedule, Stanley has been able to pick up on some daily habits along the way, such as making sure to complete any time-sensitive projects well before the deadline and she spends many nights editing after working at the vineyard all day. Additionally, she spends a significant amount of time answering emails and checking for job postings.

Looking forward, Stanley hopes to become a content creator for a food and wine-based publication as well as own a restaurant.

“I would love to share my love of food with people through my own restaurant. Ideally, it would be a welcoming environment that would also raise awareness of food insecurity and the ethics of where our food comes from,” said Stanley. 

Furthermore, Stanley encourages communication students to find something they’re passionate about and advises them to keep their options open. She also stresses the reality of burnout. 

“Take care of yourself first and your projects will turn out so much better,” she said.

Lastly, Stanley wants to share a “huge thank you to the entirety of the Communication Department faculty, staff and students included. This department truly became family and I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you for all of your support!”

Students can reach out to Stanley on her LinkedIn, Instagram, and email at