Teaching Students About Elizabeth Vargas

Educators often search for inspiring figures in various fields to introduce to their students. When it comes to journalism, Elizabeth Vargas stands out as a role model for aspiring journalists and a pioneer in the industry. This article will provide an overview of her career and achievements, recommendations for lesson plans, and suggestions for engaging students in discussions surrounding her work.

Elizabeth Vargas: A Brief Biography

Elizabeth Vargas was born on September 6, 1962, in Paterson, New Jersey. Her passion for journalism began at an early age, when she joined her high school newspaper at the age of 15. Vargas later attended the University of Missouri’s prestigious School of Journalism, where she earned her bachelor’s degree.

Starting her career at Reno’s KTVN-TV station, Elizabeth Vargas quickly moved on to larger markets like Phoenix, Chicago, and New York City. In 1996, she joined ABC News as a correspondent for their highly successful news magazine program, 20/20.

Over the years, Elizabeth has covered pressing issues such as tragic events like the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. One of her groundbreaking works was a documentary called “The Age of Anxiety,” where she revealed her personal struggle with anxiety and alcoholism.

Vargas’s dedication to journalism and bravery in sharing her story have made her a respected figure in the industry. She received numerous accolades throughout her career, including Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, and an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Lesson Plan Ideas

1. Biography Study

Encourage students to delve deeper into Elizabeth Vargas’s life by exploring books or documentaries about her life to learn more about her background, challenges faced along the way, and eventual success.

2. Interview Techniques

Analyze Elizabeth Vargas’s interviewing style by showing students examples of her interviews with high-profile figures. Discuss what makes her approach effective and how she asks probing questions without coming across as aggressive.

3. Mental Health Discussion

After watching “The Age of Anxiety,” have a group discussion about mental health and addiction in the workplace. Consider how Vargas’s experiences can be used to open up conversations about seeking support and breaking the stigma associated with these issues.

Engaging Students

– Ask students to draw parallels between Elizabeth Vargas’s journey and challenges faced by aspiring journalists today. Encourage students to consider how they can apply lessons learned from Vargas’s experiences in their own lives.

– Arrange a debate or role-playing activity wherein students can act as reporters covering various events, using Elizabeth Vargas’s style of journalism as inspiration.

– Invite local journalists or school alumni working in the media industry to discuss their careers and the impact of influential figures like Elizabeth Vargas on their professional journey.


Teaching students about Elizabeth Vargas provides an opportunity to introduce them to an inspiring figure in journalism. By discussing her accomplishments and strength in overcoming personal obstacles, educators can empower students to pursue their ambitions with courage, dedication, and compassion. Through lesson plans and activities focused on her career, educators can also build student skills in research, critical thinking, and communication that will serve them well beyond the classroom.

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