NMI students make an impact in Grady County

It may be a coincidence that Grady College and Grady County share the same namesake in Henry W. Grady, but they also share something else in common: a group of dedicated students making an impact with their skills and talent.

The Grady County logo that Megan Flory designed incorporated the Trout Lily, a special flower found in Grady County.

Grady County has been the semester-long focus of a group of students from the New Media Institute capstone course. Through the UGA Archway Partnership, these seven students were tasked with using their new media technology skills to improve the visibility and tourism in this small rural county in southwest Georgia.

“Our goal is to change this town for the better,” Kelly Buckman, an Entertainment and Media Studies student, said.

Over the course of the semester, the group has made the 500-mile round trip to Grady County three times getting to know the community, talking with its residents and uncovering the hidden gems that make this community special. They have toured sites, conducted research, taken pictures, edited video and enjoyed a lot of Grady County cuisine.

The NMI team members and their majors: (front, l. to r.) Elle Henderson (Advertising), Megan Flory (Graphic Design), Aisleigh Edouard (Communications); (back row, l. to r.) Tony Phan (EMST), Cassiday Chakroun (EMST), Maggie Duncan (psychology) and Kelly Buckman (EMST)

The students lovingly refer to themselves as the misfit team, but each student has his or her unique role in making sure the project is complete. The team consists of photographer Tony Phan, website specialist Elle Henderson, social media specialist Maggie Bell Duncan, content creator Aisleigh Edouard, videographer Kelly Buckman, design specialist Megan Flory and team leader Cassidy Chakroun.

Their guide throughout the semester was Sharon Liggett, operations coordinator with the Archway Partnership. It is Liggett’s role to match rural communities with projects, services and resources with which University of Georgia students can help. When Liggett found out that Grady County was in need of contemporary, current messaging focused on tourism, she turned to the New Media Institute. The NMI offers an interdisciplinary certificate program that focuses on using technological applications to address problems. The certificate is open to all majors at UGA and is housed in Grady College.

“This was a pretty exceptional project for Grady County and we couldn’t have done it without the New Media Institute students,” Liggett said.

The initial goal of project was to design new media messages through a web presence that could be used in a variety of local applications like education, retail and healthcare. What the community leaders of Grady County are receiving is more encompassing. Following extensive research and the development of personas of the type of traveler who would be interested in Grady County, the NMI team created a new logo and slogan, took high-quality photography, produced a 90-second video to be shown in visitor’s centers in neighboring states, designed print advertising and a one-page tourism guide, and enhanced Grady County’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. And, they created a website.

Projects like this are a win-win, Liggett explains. The communities win because they get fresh ideas from the students and professional deliverables that the county would not otherwise be able to afford. The students win because they apply the technological and messaging skills they have learned in their classes to practical, real applications, as well as gaining experience working with clients, meeting timelines and managing expectations.

“There is a real source of pride that we are bringing UGA home to Grady County,” Liggett said. “It’s exciting to have students share their experiences with community members, and to have the residents share their community with the students.”

The students and Sharon Liggett (in blue) enjoyed some home cooked meals during their visits to Grady County.

The relationships the residents created with the students made an impact, too.

Phan, an EMST major, explains that in a small town, people talk a lot, so word of their project spread quickly.

“They definitely know who we are and seem really happy to see us,” Phan said.

While some residents were a little uncertain at first, they quickly saw what the students were doing to help them.

Phan continued: “Most of the residents were super welcoming and were really interested in everything we had to offer.”

Along the way, community members opened their homes to the students for dinners, showed off their personal car collections and sites known only to the locals, and hosted bonfires where they would sit around and hear about what the students were studying.

Liggett said the initial reaction among the community leaders who have seen what the students worked on have very favorable.

“They were all just over the moon about how professional it was and how it captured the essence of Grady County,” Liggett explained. “This could really be a pivot point and a real source of pride to have something this beautiful and this well done that accurately targets the amenities there. This project is going to add so much value in the community.”

Maggie Bell Duncan interviews Michelle Dean, the owner of Pope’s Museum, for a social media post.

Not only has Grady County benefitted from the students, but the students have benefitted from the project by way of technical skills ranging from video editing and photography, to practical skills like managing client relationships.

“Overall, this has been an amazing project,” Duncan, a psychology major, said of the experience.

Flory agreed, and was pleased that many elements of this project were going to be used in the future. “This is a real project, not just a class project,” Flory, a Lamar Dodd graphic design major, summarized. “It has the potential to change people’s lives. That is more pressure, but it feels really good.”

While making a good grade was the initial goal of the students at the beginning of the semester, the project grew into something more than that. These students have made a difference in Grady County, which is a reward in itself.

 

The video the students produced about their Grady County project.

A few of the images that were taken for the Grady County campaign.

Photos: Kelly Buckman and Tony Phan 

 

 

New Media Institute students present capstone projects

New Media Institute students unveiled their capstone projects on Dec. 8 at SLAM, an end-of-the semester showcase of student projects and certificate recipients.

Groups celebrate and demonstrate their efforts to use technology as a tool to enhance daily life.

One group consisting of Christina Conner, Meghan Murphy, Dalena Nguyen, Jaco Van Rensburg and Shan Won developed an app for UGArden, a student-run farm, to enhance digital record keeping. The technological advances can help UGArden become a self-sustainable business.

“The possibilities in agriculture for new media technology are endless,” said Christina Connor. “In our case, new media is helping the garden keep track of important data that will impact the success of the business and the e-commerce component will broaden the herb garden’s reach.”

Connor says consistent record keeping will help UGArden attain organic certification.

To learn more, visit the UGArden NMI project website, or view the video below.

Another NMI group presented their work of using Universal Scene Description Zip Files (USDZ) as a way to sharing augmented reality files on the internet using only a link. The team featuring Caitlin Cooper, Mark Crafton, Brooke LeBlanc and Chanjo Moon pitched the idea of using USDZ files in mobile marketing to Chick-Fil-A as a new function to their mobile app.

“Chick-Fil-A has responded really well to our ideas,” said Brook LeBlanc. “We were able to receive constructive criticism from a Regional Marketing Manager to ensure that our digital products were on-brand, and this could be an activation that could be used in-store.”

LeBlanc says Chick-Fil-A’s international presence prevents widespread implementation of the USDZ technology, but her team is hopeful that brands will use it in the future to captivate current and future customers.

Learn more about the USDZ NMI project by visiting their website or viewing the video below.

To learn more, visit the New Media Institute website.

Emerging Media Double Dawgs informational session

Interested in being a Double Dawg and learning about emerging media?

What is the Emerging Media Master’s Concentration?
Emerging Media Master’s students learn to identify emerging media needs, create solutions to industry problems, develop content and applications, and strategically manage emerging media platforms to further their personal career goals and those of their employers. The degree is designed to accommodate students from a variety of different undergraduate backgrounds and professionals from a variety of industries.

What is the Double Dawgs Program?
The Double Dawgs program gives ambitious and motivated students a competitive advantage in today’s knowledge economy. By earning both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years or less, students can save time and money while positioning themselves for success after graduation. This program creates structured pathways for qualified students, and the Emerging Media Master’s Concentration is included in this program.

Questions? Email the Emerging Media Department 

Emerging Media Double Dawgs informational session

Interested in being a Double Dawg and learning about emerging media?

What is the Emerging Media Master’s Concentration?
Emerging Media Master’s students learn to identify emerging media needs, create solutions to industry problems, develop content and applications, and strategically manage emerging media platforms to further their personal career goals and those of their employers. The degree is designed to accommodate students from a variety of different undergraduate backgrounds and professionals from a variety of industries.

What is the Double Dawgs Program?
The Double Dawgs program gives ambitious and motivated students a competitive advantage in today’s knowledge economy. By earning both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years or less, students can save time and money while positioning themselves for success after graduation. This program creates structured pathways for qualified students, and the Emerging Media Master’s Concentration is included in this program.

Questions? Email the Emerging Media Department 

Grady College to host Drone Summit 2017

Grady College is joining CNN Aerial Imagery & Reporting (CNN Air), Turner Entertainment, the National Press Photographers Association and the New Media Institute to host the first Drone Summit October 20-21, 2017. The event will take place at Grady College.

The Drone Summit will gather the leading practitioners, manufacturers, technologists and educators involved with the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry for a two-day program. The event will begin with a Drone Filmfest—a pilot-submitted collection of drone footage—and will also feature panel discussions, best practice forums for using drones in media and entertainment applications and networking.

“Drones are an increasingly important part of the media landscape, be it journalism, film, public relations or advertising,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “We want to bring the industry together, get to know as many of the players as possible and build ties between them and our students.”

CNN, a leader in integrating UAS technology into its newsgathering operations, was selected by the FAA as one of the first three industry “Pathfinders” to develop safe uses in newsgathering. CNN has shared data and research that have helped formulate a framework for various types of UAS to be safely integrated into the national air space, and they continue to work to expand the safe and legal operation of UAS in newsgathering.

“Drones can be an invaluable addition to the journalist’s toolkit, allowing us to create unique and powerful imagery, to be more creative in our storytelling and more importantly, to add context and understanding for all of our viewers and users,” said Greg Agvent, senior director of CNN Air. “As a new and nascent industry, we’re making headway on the opportunities that are before us, on the regulations that impede us, and on the technology that will enable us, but continued collaboration and the exchange of ideas and information are necessary to stay on that upward trajectory.”

Grady College was also the first site for the Drone School for Journalists in March 2017.

For more information on this exciting new event, sign up for updates at http://georgiadronesummit.com/