All in the Family

Fresh from their Open House appearance, mother-daughter duo Roz Varon ’80 and Sara Janz ’18 reflect on their Columbia classroom experiences.

Roz Varon ’80 has worked as the ABC 7 News Chicago traffic anchor since 1989. Sara Janz ’18 freelances in television production: Just two weeks after graduating, she worked as a production assistant at the PGA Seniors Tournament.

They just happen to be mother and daughter.

The duo returned to Columbia College Chicago's Open House, taking the stage together to talk to prospective students and their families about their journeys to Columbia, the wonderful experiences they had as students, and the success they've experienced since. Afterwards, as students and families explored their future classrooms on campus, we asked both to reflect on their favorite classes as students.


Sara Janz

Race, Class, and Media

My Junior year I took a class called Culture, Race, and Media—anyone can, and should, take it. I loved my instructor and the sense of support and community she encouraged when discussing controversial topics. My final project was to create a work of art based on my major on one of the topics we discussed in class. I chose to make a video PSA on gender equality. I wrote it, shot it, edited it, composed original music for it –in fact, I entered it for a Crystal Pillar Award, which is the equivalent of a student Emmy—and I won! My Senior year I had an internship at an art gallery and edited a feature piece on wild-life photographer David Yarrow. I entered that for the same award this year. It’s been nominated, and I’ll find out on Emmy Awards night next month.


Roz Varon

Commercial Announcing

I took Commercial Announcing with Al Parker, who was the booth announcer at Channel 7 and the Radio Department chair. He was so instrumental in helping my career. In the Commercial Announcing class, we had to learn the internal sense of timing. Al would say, “Read this commercial spot in 30 seconds,” and he’d time it. We would read it and he would say, “Now read it in 29.5.”

He was the one who put me in touch with the students who had a production studio to help make my audition tape for TV. And then when I got hired [at ABC 7] I worked in the same building with him for two years before he passed away, so it came full circle. He had such an impact on me.

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