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Communications Graduate Excels as Emmy Award-Winning Journalist, Passion for TLU Endures as Alumna

Jorge Jones

Before becoming a successful journalist in Austin, Texas, Jennifer Sanders ‘07 had different aspirations in life. Growing up, the Emmy award-winning broadcaster and storyteller contemplated becoming a pediatrician and, at one time, a dean of students at a higher education institution.

However, after discovering a love for reading, writing, and speaking in high school and shadowing a journalist in San Antonio, the TLU graduate set her eyes on one profession: journalism.

Sanders, who graduated with a communications degree and a minor in Spanish, is currently a reporter for Austin’s NBC affiliate KXAN-TV. Joining the team in 2020, the San Antonio native started off as a weekend anchor and has now transitioned into anchoring the noon and 4 p.m. weekday newscasts.

Jennifer Sanders, journalist, on NBC affiliate KXAN-TV

After nearly 15 years of serving as a journalist, Sanders has been recognized for her outstanding journalistic pieces. During her time as a morning news anchor at Nexstar Media Group, her documentaries, “Hidden History: The End of Syracuse’s 15th Ward” and “Hidden History: Syracuse Congress of Racial Equality” won the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Most recently, in 2022, Sanders was the recipient of the Lone Star EMMY award in the Diversity/Equity/Inclusion news category for her special report, “Housing History: Racial Displacement in Austin.”

“While we don’t do our work for the awards, it is one of the highest honors to be recognized by the standard-bearers for excellence in the television broadcasting industry,” Sanders said. “While these awards are deeply gratifying, they belong solely to the brave men and women who allow us into their homes and lives to share their personal stories.”

Jennifer Sanders, journalist

Prior to earning the privilege of reaching thousands of viewers across American households, Sanders knew the impact of a meaningful education. As she was nearing high school completion, the soon-to-be journalist started those much-anticipated college visits.

Sanders visited one of the top universities in the state, which was one of her top choices. However, just a few weeks later, the future Bulldog visited TLU for the first time as part of the Lone Star Scholars’ Academy. Following a memorable two-week stay, Sanders had found her future home in Seguin.

“After the first day at TLU, I knew at once it was the next stop on my journey,” she recalls. “The courses we took during those two weeks were challenging, the professors were phenomenal, and the campus was so beautiful and inviting. I don’t know if I even considered applying to other schools after visiting TLU.”

Enrolling in the Communication Studies program at TLU allowed Sanders to learn the tenets of journalism while building a strong skill set that would be applicable across the communications field. In addition to her communications studies, she decided to minor in Spanish as she developed a love for Hispanic culture, language, and literature throughout middle and high school.

“I can’t quantify the ways my TLU education has contributed to my success,” shared Sanders. “TLU changed the trajectory of my life. I found myself at TLU. I found my voice. I discovered my strengths and weaknesses. God revealed His beautiful plan for my life to me at TLU.”

Besides finding her voice at TLU, her undergraduate studies allowed Sanders to develop leadership skills serving as a gateway to a successful career in the broadcast industry.

“I am a better leader because of TLU,” she shared. “The rigorous workload that I balanced, along with my participation in multiple student-led organizations, prepared me well for my graduate-level coursework and for my career. My TLU professors, advisors, and fellow students challenged me in so many ways and I am forever indebted to them for catapulting me to success.”

After four demanding years as a communications student, Sanders has many memories of the institution that saw her develop into the journalist she is today. However, her fondest memory is defending her thesis while having the provost in the room take notes on future recruitment efforts.

After her time in Seguin, Sanders pursued a master's degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. Following the completion of her studies, she commenced her journalistic career in the Texoma region, followed by nine years with the Nexstar Media Group in Syracuse, New York.

Trevor Noah speaks with Jennifer Sanders at Syracuse University's 34th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in 2019

Today, as an alumna of TLU, Sanders continues to reinforce her commitment to the University through active engagement. In January 2022, she was selected as a Board of Regent, granting her the opportunity to take part in future decisions for the Institution in which she is so deeply connected. Additionally, she served as the emcee during the Brown Cultural Event featuring Steve Burns this past February.

Jennifer Sanders and Steve Burns at TLU in February 2023

Sanders continues to impact students through her service. Her advice to current Bulldogs is simple, “build relationships with alumni! We have so many connections across the globe, we will help you get your dream job, navigate the workplace, and ensure your success in whatever field you are in.”