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Early life and education
Alfonsi attended high school in McLean, Virginia. She graduated with honors from the University of Mississippi in Oxford in 1994, where she was a James Love Scholar. She was a student of author John Grisham and is believed to be the inspiration for the character of Darby Shaw in his novel, The Pelican Brief.
Alfonsi began her career in broadcast journalism at KHBS-TV in Fort Smith, Arkansas from 1994–95, where she served as a news reporter, weekend weather anchor, photographer and editor. She then became a general assignment reporter for WVEC–TV in Norfolk, Virginia from 1995–97, where she traveled with the military. Between 1998-2000, she worked as a reporter and substitute anchor for KIRO-TV in Seattle, Washington, where she covered the World Trade Organization riots.
Between 2000 and 2003, she worked as a reporter and anchor for WBZ-TV, the CBS-owned station in Boston, where she covered the ongoing Catholic church scandal, the Michael Skakel trial and The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island.
Alfonsi was named a CBS News correspondent, based in New York, in July 2004. She also anchored the CBS Evening News. She has traveled to cover stories including the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, the conflict in Israel, Hurricane Katrina, and the Sago Mine Disaster in West Virginia. Alfonsi had a near-miss in Israel when a missile landed close to her shelter. She was the lead reporter covering the Virginia Tech Massacre.
She was one of several correspondents who departed the network after Katie Couric took over the anchor chair from Schieffer in September 2006. On August 10, 2006, Alfonsi was featured on CBS's Public Eye blog.
On January 28, 2008, it was announced that Alfonsi would join ABC News as a New York-based correspondent for World News with Charles Gibson and Good Morning America. Alfonsi has occasionally anchored Good Morning America and World News.
In 2012, she left ABC to join the cast of 60 Minutes Sports. 60 Minutes Sports premiered in January 2012 on the Showtime Network. She has anchored the CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell, and Gayle King and filled in as an anchor for Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News. Alfonsi made her debut appearance on 60 Minutes on March 1, 2015 with an investigative story about fraud after Hurricane Sandy. In 2016, Alfonsi became a regular cast member on 60 Minutes.
In May 2013, Alfonsi gave the commencement address at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. Her speech was named by NPR as one of The Best Commencement Speeches Ever. http://apps.npr.org/commencement/speech/sharyn-alfonsi-university-of-mississippi-2013/