Amy White

SRJC Alumna, Associate Director of Media Relations at Lehigh University

Woman standing at railing, in front of the Oak Leaf office

As a Santa Rosa native, Amy White was familiar with Santa Rosa Junior College long before she ever attended a class on campus. Her dad taught her how to drive in one of SRJC’s parking lots and during high school, many of her dates involved activities at SRJC, like the Planetarium.

Although Amy was accepted to several four-year universities after graduating from Montgomery High School, she chose to stay close to home and attend SRJC on the Doyle Scholarship.

At SRJC, Amy studied general education, with an emphasis on journalism, media studies and communication with a goal to become a journalist. She joined the Oak Leaf, SRJC’s student newspaper, and worked as a staff writer, columnist and page editor.

“I met my tribe at the Oak Leaf. I’m still friends with some of the people I met through the newspaper. I got excited about the world of media while working there.”

Amy’s activities at SRJC also included a role in student government and playing viola in the orchestra and student string quartet. She also lived on campus in Kent Hall, one of the former dorms at SRJC.

Amy speaks highly of the faculty at SRJC, including Roger Karraker, Richard Speakes and Martin Bennett. “Roger was the Oak Leaf advisor and my journalism teacher. He was influential in teaching me the professional standards for journalism. Richard taught me how to find my own voice and be confident in it. Martin redirected my focus and opened my eyes to the American Studies major at UC Davis. 

He realized that I had an interdisciplinary and contextual interest in history and culture. He knew faculty at UC Davis and helped me get in touch with them. I then changed my major to American Studies and minored in Communication studies.”

SRJC helped Amy develop the skills necessary to be successful as a transfer student at UC Davis. “SRJC prepared me and helped me mature enough to be ready to transfer. It allowed me to make mistakes and get confidence in myself and my abilities and find faculty mentors.”

After graduating from UC Davis with a Bachelors of Arts in American Studies and a Minor in Rhetoric & Communication, Amy launched her journalism career. She worked at newspapers in a variety of cities for over twelve years, starting in Sacramento covering government affairs and politics. Later, she worked as a copy editor, columnist and reporter for a variety of newspapers across California.

When her husband started graduate school in Missouri, Amy found a job in public relations at the University of Missouri. She fell in love with higher education communications and has focused her career path in that industry for the last ten years.

Amy and her husband relocated to Pennsylvania after her husband was offered a teaching position at Lehigh University. Currently, Amy is the Associate Director of Media Relations for Lehigh University. In her current role, Amy focuses on identifying stories, pitching to media, writing articles, and providing crisis communications support.

When she thinks back on influential SRJC experiences, the Speech 1A class comes to mind. “It’s a terrifying class you have to take, but it taught me how to step out of my comfort zone. I still use that class every time I have to speak in public. When you have a topic you are passionate about, it’s easier to talk about. I am drawn to doing public relations for things I care about, like education.”

“SRJC taught me how to discover my own voice and be confident in myself. We are all unique and bring something special to the world and SRJC was a place that encouraged me to be myself. It was a time of discovery and allowed me to take advantage of ways to recreate myself.”

Amy has capitalized on her love of education throughout her career. She has gone back to community colleges to retool for her career or take classes for fun in all three states she has lived in. “SRJC embedded in me the value of the community college experience.”

Interested in a career in journalism, media and communications? Visit SRJC's Communications Studies web page for more information.