Yasmin Elqutami named The Student Life’s editor-in-chief for spring 2021 semester

The new editorial board will assume its position the evening of Nov. 28. (Courtesy from left to right: Kayla Alcorcha, Yasmin Elqutami and Claire DuMont)

Yasmin Elqutami PO ’22 was named editor-in-chief of TSL for the spring 2021 semester Wednesday after a unanimous vote by the editorial board selection committee. 

Kayla Alcorcha SC ’24 was selected as managing editor for life and style and opinions, and Claire DuMont SC ’23 was selected as managing editor for news and sports.

Elqutami currently serves as managing editor of TSL’s news and sports sections. She served as the life and style editor for the two prior semesters. 

“Serving on TSL’s editorial board as a managing editor and working alongside such a bright and dedicated staff has been the pride of an otherwise tumultuous year. I’m so proud of this newspaper and the team behind it, and getting to serve as its editor-in-chief is a great privilege,” she said. 

Elqutami, a first-generation college student and a member of the Pomona College FLI Scholars community, said she hopes to prioritize a welcoming newsroom “for any sort of student.” 

“I came into Claremont pretty insecure — I’m a first-generation student, and my hometown was always making headlines for being either the most illiterate or one of the least educated cities in the country. Winding up at this selective, elite campus was the largest culture shock I’ve ever experienced,” Elqutami said.

“But the TSL newsroom was the one place where my imposter syndrome didn’t exist. Coming in with zero journalism experience, I could very tangibly look back at every new skill and measure my growth as a writer and an editor. TSL built me up, and I know it’s done the same for other new writers.”

Elqutami will succeed current Editor-in-Chief Maria Heeter SC ’22, who served during the summer and fall 2020 semester and previously served as news editor. 

“Yasmin’s emphasis on compassion and empathy, as well as timeliness, has led TSL’s news section to new relevance just as the community needed it most,” Heeter said. “I have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead TSL through the coronavirus pandemic, and I cannot wait to see what the paper achieves under her leadership.”

Alcorcha, the incoming managing editor for life and style and opinions, previously served as life and style co-editor for the fall 2020 semester and was an editor of her high school newspaper, The Casa Revista. She is, to current knowledge, the first incoming managing editor who has not stepped foot on campus — apart from a tour of Pomona.

“As managing editor next semester, I hope to continue spotlighting student voices and helping first-years connect to a community they’ve yet to experience,” Alcorcha said. “TSL has made me all the more excited to eventually move to Claremont myself — it’s somewhat bittersweet to oversee stories about virtual campus culture, but it’s given me a lot of hope for the future we’re all working towards.”

Alcorcha, like Elqutami, is a first-generation college student. She is also a QuestBridge scholar and a prospective English major. 

“Because I have a Mexican and Honduran background, I was especially drawn to journalism as a form of truth-telling for people, groups, that don’t get as much recognition as they should,” Alcorcha said. “Being a first-generation student also adds to that, because I feel like I’m kind of carrying on a legacy with every story that I write or help produce.”

DuMont, the incoming managing editor for news and sports, previously served as life and style co-editor for the fall 2020 semester alongside Alcorcha and is a former television columnist and former editor-in-chief of her high school paper, La Vista.

“I’m looking forward to working with the news and sports sections to further the amazing coverage from this semester into the spring and continue the great work TSL is doing as a vital resource for the Claremont community,” she said.

DuMont is an English major and plans to continue pushing breaking news in her tenure as managing editor.

“As one of the main sources for 5C news, TSL is an asset to the Claremont community. It connects the community during the online semester with coverage on a wide range of topics, from spring reopening plans to the Harvey Mudd Soap Club,” she said.

“In the spring, I want to continue the incredible work the news section had this semester, providing breaking news on a quick turnaround, and as a main source for 5C news.”

The new editorial board will take over at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 28, the Sunday before finals week at the 5Cs begins.

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