GAB Profile: Erina Lambeth (ABJ ’87)

Before Erina Lambeth set foot on campus, she knew she wanted to earn a degree from Grady College. She used the skills and knowledge garnered at the University of Georgia to launch a successful career in communications. Her experience includes all facets of internal and external communications, change management, marketing and community relations.

Today she serves as the head of Employee and Leadership Communications for Siemens Digital Industries division. Prior to this, Lambeth served in roles of increasing responsibility for Cox Automotive, GE, Tyco International, ADT and Prudential. Early in her career, she managed public relations and marketing for the Cayman Islands and the national flag carrier Cayman Airways.

Lambeth is a proud advocate for children with disabilities and supports two Georgia-based non-profits: Lekotek of Georgia, an organization dedicated to helping children learn through play, and The Moe Project, a non-profit dedicated to helping students with disabilities feel included on college campuses. She is also a founding Board Member of Mike’s Angels, whose mission is to help children in need in Guatemala.

When she’s not working or volunteering, you will find her playing Pickleball, traveling with her family and friends, enjoying a walk in the woods or reading a good book.

Three people sit in front of a green screen in a production studio.
Lambeth and some colleagues on a production set at Siemens.

Below is a brief interview with Erina Lambeth that have been edited for clarity and length.

Grady College: Why are you involved with the Grady Alumni Board?

Erina Lambeth: Service is an integral part of the University of Georgia’s mission and campus culture. I have carried that philosophy with me throughout my career and personal life. I am happiest when serving others. Being on the Grady Alumni Board enables me to give back to the University that has given me so much. Plus, it gives me an excuse to come back to Athens more often, walk down memory lane, and connect with the students who will shape the future of communications.

Erina and her neice, Claire, who will be a freshman at UGA in the Fall.[/caption]

GC: What are you hoping to contribute to the Grady Alumni Board during your time of service?

EL: I am a connector by nature. I hope to help open doors for the students and share my knowledge with them, though something tells me I will learn more from them than they will learn from me.

GC: What does being a graduate of our College mean to you?

EL: Being a Bulldog is an honor and a privilege. To be a part of this academic community means the world to me. With intention, I carry the UGA spirit of innovation with me wherever I go. I try to foster a growth mindset every day and make a positive impact in everything I do.

Two women show off their UGA shirts.
Lambeth and her niece, Claire, an incoming freshman this year, show off their UGA shirts.
GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

EL: Stay one step ahead of technology. Harness its power to make the world a better place. Always treat everyone who crosses your path with kindness.

GC: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

EL: Being in the presence of Dr. Beverly Bethune and learning from one of the first female professors at Grady was a gift. She kept pushing me to become a stronger storyteller. She showed me how to use a photo to tell a story. I went on to take photos for The Red & Black and learned the importance of looking at things from different angles, a trait that serves me well to this day. She influenced my leadership style as I watched as she treated all her students with kindness and always took a personal interest in their success.

GC: How has the network of fellow Grady College alumni helped you in your career?

EL: I’ve met so many wonderful alumni throughout my career. The Grady connection speeds the path to friendship. Friends naturally want to help each other and every alum I have ever met has been willing to help me, be it brainstorming a solution to a problem, discussing communication strategy, or opening a door.

GC: What modern challenges would you like to see current students and recent College alumni solve?

EL: The biggest challenge is how AI and ChatGPT will change the landscape of communications. The students of the future can influence how AI is applied and governed. We must harness the technology for the greater good.

Picture of four female students from the 1980s.
Lambeth and her friends from Creswell Hall during the mid-1980s.
GC: What is your favorite place on campus and why?  

EL: Creswell – It’s where I made lifelong friends. I recently went on a life-changing mission trip to Guatemala with three Georgia alumni. The bonds made at Georgia have given me some of my life’s best memories and experiences. I am thrilled that my niece Claire is headed to UGA in the fall, and I hope she lands in Creswell.



Grady College announces 2023 faculty and staff award recipients

Grady College is proud to announce the recipients of the brand new Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Award, the Darwin Davis Award, the Vera Penn Staff Award for Excellence and the Teacher of the Year awards. 

Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Award

Below are the first-ever recipients of the Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Award. Each winner – at the graduate student, staff and faculty level – receives a $1,000 stipend toward work travel or a DEI project or research effort.

  • Marcella Genut (AB ’18), staff
  • Haley Hatfield, graduate student
  • Booker T. Mattison, faculty
  • Marcella smiles at the camera outside of Grady College, while holding up her award certificate.
    Marcella Genut, academic advisor for prospective students. (Photo: Submitted)
Marcella Genut, academic advisor

Genut, academic advisor for prospective students, is a fierce advocate for accessibility and inclusion. 

“Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are always at the forefront of my daily life and an important aspect of the legacy I want to leave behind,” she said. “Having a progressive disability and being categorized as a minority has shaped me to be an outsider of the world. Never fitting in and not having a seat at the dinner party has motivated me to constantly push others to be more inclusive whether it’s at the workplace or in my personal life.”

Genut has recruited and comforted students from diverse backgrounds who were uneasy about coming to UGA. The Disability Resource Center often sends students to her for mentoring, which is over-and-above her work as an advisor. She has advocated for physical improvements to Grady College and works individually with students to help them find the resources they need, whether an adapted camera or a wheelchair repair shop.

Haley Hatfield, graduate student 

As a Ph.D. student, graduate research assistant and graduate instructor, Hatfield is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of their work.

“My experiences as an openly queer non-binary individual holding many positions have led me to recognize the critical importance of creating a more equitable and inclusive environment within academia and beyond,” Hatfield said. 

Hatfield’s research focuses on decentering Whiteness, the racist societal structure that favors white, masculine and Western ideals as the “norm.” Several of their studies have received top paper awards at major communication organizations when taking a critical approach to disrupting normative foundations in quantitative social sciences.

Booker T. Mattison, assistant professor EMST

In the College, Athens community and nationally, Mattison, an assistant professor in the Entertainment and Media Studies Department, is a leader in promoting diversity and inclusion. In his classroom, every student — each voice — is affirmed, critically assessed and developed.  This empowers students of all backgrounds to tell their own stories but, equally important, to value voices that are far different from their own.

Beyond the classroom and through the magic of moviemaking, in the many exhibitions of his films, panel discussions and community presentations, Mattison helps diverse peoples encounter and empathize with different ways of life.

“I am under no illusion that my art can single-handedly change the world,” he said. “However, my hope when I direct a film, write a novel or a screenplay is to realistically portray characters and worlds so that audience members can experience and then consider them in all their richness and humanity.”

Kristen Smith holds up her award with Dean Davis.
Kristen Smith, senior lecturer, Public Relations. (Photo: Sarah Freeman)

Darwin Davis Award

The Darwin Davis award was established in 2007 to recognize a member of the Grady College faculty or staff whose performance reflects those qualities of dedication and friendship that best capture the College’s “spirit.” The award is named for Arthur B. Darwin and Harold E. Davis, notable alumni of Grady College. 

Kristen Smith (MA ’92), senior lecturer, Public Relations

“This should come as no surprise to any of us,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College. “Kristen does so many things, large and small, seen and unseen. She serves as our link to the UGA Arts Council. She mentors students, she puts up with request after request (usually from me) for a design, and she brightens the day of everyone who encounters her.”

Jim Black holds up his award plaque with Dean Davis.
Jim Black (right), instructional resources coordinator, holds up his award. (Photo: Sarah Freeman.)

Vera Penn Staff Award for Excellence

The Vera Penn Staff Award for Excellence is presented annually to the individual who exhibits outstanding characteristics in performance of duties. The winner is considered an outstanding example for others and represents Grady College in a positive manner.

Jim Black (ABJ ’86), instructional resources coordinator

Among other responsibilities, Jim Black, the College’s instructional resources coordinator, manages the College’s equipment room and oversees student-run productions. He advises students on how to use equipment and what equipment will work best for a given project, and he routinely assists students with scripting, recording and post-production editing.

“He keeps an entire department sorted, organized and running,” explained the Vera Penn Committee. “Jim demonstrates the service concept every day, in ways large and small.  And he uses his good sense of humor to connect with people at a human level.  He has such deep experience and institutional knowledge – and a love of UGA, not least the Redcoat Marching Band – that he works independently and with enthusiasm and efficiency. Jim represents the best of the College.”

Teachers of the Year 

The Teachers of the Year are annually selected by their peers, based on excellence in the classroom and student feedback.

  • Chris Shumway, Journalism
  • Jeong-Yeob Han, Advertising
  • Joseph Watson, Jr., Public Relations
  • Keith Wilson, EMST
  • Jeong-Yeob Han takes a student's name card on stage at Grady Convocation.
    Jeong-Yeob Han, associate professor, Advertising. (Photo: Melanie Velasquez)
Chris Shumway, senior academic professional, Journalism

“The Department of Journalism is home to many skilled and committed teachers, and to me that makes this honor really significant—to stand out among such a strong group,” said Jon Peters, head of the Department of Journalism. “A committee of students and faculty selected Prof. Shumway on the strength of his teaching record and his multiple student nominations that noted his dedication, passion, enthusiasm and high standards. He goes above and beyond for his students, and he cares deeply about them and their success. He’s a creative and purposeful teacher.”

Jeong-Yeob Han, associate professor, Advertising
Joseph Watson, Jr., Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications, Public Relations

“Both Dr. Han and Professor Watson are shining examples of what a dedicated educator is in advertising and public relations,” said Juan Meng, head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “I appreciate how they always commit to the excellence in teaching, and their care for their students and passion to support student success are the reasons they rise to the top.”

Keith Wilson, lecturer, Entertainment and Media Studies

“Keith is such an effective mix of knowledge and teaching skill,” said Jay Hamilton, head of the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies. “Not only does he have a huge depth of knowledge, he’s so great at equipping and encouraging his students to top accomplishments.”

Grady faculty and graduate students present at ICA conference; Walker and Kim to receive Outstanding Dissertation Awards

Several Grady College faculty and graduate students will present their research at the annual International Communication Association Conference May 25-29, 2023.

The conference takes place in Toronto.

Among the highlights are the presentations of two Outstanding Dissertation Awards: one to Denetra Walker, assistant professor of journalism, and one to Solyee Kim, lecturer in public relations.

Walker’s award comes from ICA’s Ethnicity and Race in Communication Division. Her dissertation, written at the University of South Carolina, was titled “Gatekeeping Blackness: The Roles, Relationships, And Pressures of Black Television Journalists at a Time of Racial Reckoning.”

Kim’s award is the James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig Outstanding Dissertation Award for her paper, “DEI Sensemaking and Social Identity Signaling in Public Relations: Recruitment of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ Practitioners Through DEI Cues.” Kim earned this award through the Public Relations Division

Other faculty and graduate students participating in the ICA conference include (listed in chronological order of presentation):

Thursday, May 25

1:30 p.m., Charlotte Varnum makes a pre-conference presentation, “Eyes and ears: Examining how mobile users navigate and make listening decisions on podcast platforms”

Friday, May 26

9 -10:15 a.m., Yan Jin is the chair and discussant for a panel, “”Leading Strategic Communication Through Turbulent Times: How the Contingency Theory Advances Practice in the Management of Crises, Conflicts and Complex Public Relations Issues.” (2-Kenora, Sheraton)

Noon – 1:15 p.m., Juan Meng chairs the panel “Innovation in Strategic Communication Research and Education.” (2-Kenora, Sheraton)

1:30 – 2:45 p.m., Juan Meng and Michael Cacciatore co-present the paper, “The Integrated Role of Adaptive Leadership, Sense of Empathy, and Communication Transparency: A Novel Approach to Trust Building in Public Relations.” (2-Kent, Sheraton)

4:30-5:45 p.m., Yan Jin co-presents “Public’s Health Information Consumption During a ProlongedPandemic: The Competing Roles of Journalists and Digital Influencers and Their Effects in Combating Message Fatigue.” (LC—Grand Ballroom, Sheraton)

Juan Meng also serves on the International Journal of Strategic Communication Editorial Board which meets Friday evening.

Saturday, May 27

9 – 10:15 a.m., Yan Jin chairs a session, “Addressing Misinformation and Benefits of Information,” and also presents with Xuerong Lu, a graduate student, “”There is a time for everything in organizational corrective communication: The effects of correction placement timing and refutation detail level on combating crisis misinformation.” (2-Elgin, Sheraton)

3 – 4:15 p.m., Michael Cacciatore co-presents the research, “Legitimate and appropriate science communication: The effects of anthropomorphic and satirical humor on source credibility.” (Dominion, Sheraton)

Sunday, May 28

9 – 10:15 a.m., Michael Cacciatore presents the research, “Cultivating interest in science through humor: Mirth as a leveler of gaps in science engagement.” (Cedar, Sheraton)

10:30 – 11:45 a.m., Juan Meng chairs the session, “Ethics, Listening, Purpose, and Dissensus: Various Applications of Public Relations” (M-Norfolk, Sheraton)

1:30 – 2:45 p.m., Hye Jin Yoon and Youngji Seo, a graduate student, discuss their paper, “The Individual/Combined Effects and Order Effects of Fear and Humor in Sun Safety Messages on Social Media” (2-Mackenzie, Sheraton)

4:30 – 5:45 p.m., Laurena Bernabo presents research on “Race, Representation and Identity.” (Room 2Kent)

Monday, May 29

9 – 10:15 a.m., Hye Jin Yoon and Youngjee Ko, a graduate student, present the research, “The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility Orientation in Green Demarketing Publicity and Advertising.” (2-Provnicial North, Sheraton)

Noon – 1:15 p.m., Karin Assmann serves as a panelist for the session, “Of the People, by the People, for the People: Re-Inventing Public Media to Support Democracy and Social Change.” She will also discuss her paper, “Crisis of Confidence: German Public Media Under Pressure.”

Vaccine hesitancy persists among parents

The majority of U.S. parents accept the recommended vaccine schedule for their children. But new research from the University of Georgia suggests vaccine hesitancy among a small but significant percentage of Americans doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

The study reviewed recent published data and studies on vaccination rates and acceptance from a number of sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual National Immunization Surveys, peer-reviewed journal articles and articles in respected national media outlets, such as the New York Times.

For the present study, the researchers defined vaccine hesitancy as reluctance or indecision that may cause a parent to choose not to vaccinate themselves or their children. Vaccine hesitancy is the reluctance or doubt about the value of a vaccine. It can cause parents to delay or decline a recommended childhood vaccination.

“Vaccine hesitancy is much discussed but needs to be better and more consistently studied,” said Glen Nowak, lead author of the study and co-director of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Center for Health and Risk Communication. “A key finding from this review is that many parents’ concerns about childhood vaccines have persisted over time.

“The recent studies we examined continue to show many new parents are concerned about the number of vaccines given at one time for young children, and many parents are concerned about potential side effects or safety. Unfortunately, all this persists despite years of widespread medical community and public health awareness and efforts to address vaccine hesitancy.”

Nowak previously served as the media relations director at the CDC and the communications director for the agency’s National Immunization Program.

“Our review is a reminder that the medical community and public health need to continually provide vaccine education, especially to first-time parents, about why vaccines are used, how vaccines work, what vaccines can do and what they can’t do,” said Nowak, who is also a professor in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Parents hesitant about HPV, flu vaccines

The researchers found recently published surveys indicate that most parents accept recommended childhood vaccines and have their children vaccinated on schedule.

However, their review of recent studies also showed higher levels of hesitancy for specific vaccines, particularly HPV and flu vaccines. Recent studies suggest that only three out of five teens are fully vaccinated against HPV, and 92% of parents with unprotected children in one CDC study said they were not likely to get them vaccinated.

The researchers also found that recently published research consistently found significant differences in vaccination rates across states and demographic groups.

For example, more than 88% of infants in Arizona received the hepatitis B vaccine at birth compared to only 62% of Florida newborns, according to one study.

Similarly, another study found Georgia, Maryland, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Kentucky had a 5% to 10% decline in kindergarteners vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella (known as the MMR vaccine) in the 2020-2021 school year. Several other states, including Washington and Idaho, also had counties with high levels of nonmedical vaccine exemptions.

Several recent years of CDC data showed lower rates of pediatric vaccination among Black and Hispanic children. Additionally, children who weren’t covered by private health insurance were dramatically less likely to receive almost all recommended vaccines, as were those in lower socioeconomic households.

Political affiliation may affect willingness to vaccinate children

The review also found some evidence to suggest there may be a connection between parents’ general political beliefs and reluctance to vaccinate one’s children.

The researchers recommend that more and continued research is necessary to better understand how political beliefs are related to parents’ understanding of vaccine benefits and risks.

The small number of recently published articles that were examined in the review suggested vaccine hesitancy among self-reported conservative individuals was associated with valuing personal liberty. The limited available evidence, however, primarily focused on COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and the idea that adults can and should be able to make their own medical choices.

“That’s different than what is often found when it comes to childhood vaccination hesitancy,” Nowak said. “This type of hesitancy reflects concerns beyond a vaccine’s effectiveness or safety, which are things doctors and nurses are often able to address. This type of vaccine hesitancy, which may pertain more to vaccines recommended for adults, involves things like, ‘I don’t want to get it because it’s my right to not get it.’”

Nowak noted that successfully addressing vaccine hesitancy based on philosophical or political values is a much harder hurdle for health care providers and public health experts to overcome.

Public health, medical community must continually invest in vaccine education

Another challenge in building vaccination acceptance and reducing vaccine hesitancy is that the population of parents with children who need vaccines is ever changing.

“Every single day, new parents are coming online, so efforts to improve vaccination acceptance can’t just be a single campaign and then it’s done,” Nowak said. “Vaccine education needs to be ongoing and highly visible, which would require a culture change in the public health and medical communities.

“I think the culture has been changing, but we haven’t crossed the threshold where vaccine education is a big part of public health and the medical world, particularly with pediatricians, family physicians, nurses and OB-GYNs.

“Until we get to that point,” Nowak continued, “I think we’re going to continue to see many parents and others be reluctant or have doubts about the safety and benefits of recommended vaccines.”

Nowak noted that state and local vaccination requirements for day care and school enrollment can be helpful to reach community immunity levels for certain diseases, but that mandates don’t build trust in the medical and public health community among parents.

“Trust is essential if you’re actually going to reduce hesitancy,” Nowak said. “We have to do more to educate parents, particularly first-time parents and during pregnancy, about the vaccines that will be recommended after the child is born, why those vaccines are recommended and the importance of young children getting those vaccines in a timely manner.”

Published in Pediatric Clinics of North America, the study was co-authored by Michael Cacciatore, co-director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication and an associate professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

GSAB Profile: Daniel Sattelmeyer (ABJ ’08)

Directing Patrick Mahomes and Michael Collins in Augusta for the Masters episode of our ESPN+ golf show, “America’s Caddie.”

As partner and head of creative at entertainment and brand content studio BARK BARK, Daniel Sattelmeyer (ABJ ’08) leads and supports a talented team of more than 25 media industry professionals in strategy, creative, production, design and post across the country, making award-winning series, documentaries, promos, commercials and content pieces for the world’s top brands, networks, studios, celebrities and clients on every platform. 

Sattelmeyer’s credits include director, executive producer and showrunner for “America’s Caddie” on ESPN+, “Show Me More” on AMC+, “Doc McStuffins” specials on Disney+, and long-form series on Nat Geo, FOX and Sundance, along with many more campaigns across Disney, Hulu, Paramount, Warner Bros./Discovery, Food Network, National Geographic, AMC, FX, 20th Century Fox, NBC/Universal and Sony, working with some of the biggest stars on the planet.

Outside of work, he enjoys tennis, golf, Nintendo and vinegar-based foods with his wife Teresa, daughter Lucy, son Murphy and dog Raccoon in Atlanta.

Below is a brief interview with Daniel Sattelmeyer.

Grady College: Why are you involved with the Grady Alumni Board?

Daniel Sattelmeyer: I’ve always wanted to give back to Grady and the industry at large, and I’m at the right point in my career when I actually know a few things (only a few though) to be able to contribute meaningfully. I’m excited to have a small part in connecting real world experience to higher education and keeping UGA at the forefront of fostering students to become the next generation of content creators joining the ranks.

Directing Keegan Michael Key and John Cena in England for an integration with the Paramount movie Playing with Fire and Food Network’s Chopped
Directing Keegan Michael Key and John Cena in England for an integration with the Paramount movie Playing with Fire and Food Network’s “Chopped.”
GC: What are you hoping to contribute to the Grady Alumni Board during your time of service?

DS: The board has such an amazing variety and decades of experience in every field of media, and I look forward to both learning from them and offering mine in a unique niche working in the middle of so many key players – major networks/streaming platforms, series, big brands and ad agencies. UGA plays such a huge role now in the film/tv industry here in Georgia and around the world, and I hope to further that mission.

GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

DS: Be a master of your domain. Whatever field you’re moving toward, know everything you can about that specialty. The best part of being in this industry is that “consuming content” is necessary for work. Watch everything in every genre, take note of what works, what inspires you. Lastly – work ethic, attitude, knowing your craft, thinking critically and being proactive are so much more important than your GPA. That’s what we’re all really looking for in our next hires.

GC: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

DS: The Honors in Washington program had the single biggest influence on my career. They connected me to Grady alumni in Washington D.C., where I had the opportunity to work for National Geographic Television during a summer internship in 2007. That was my first experience in a real network television environment with real producers making real content, and it had such a huge impact on my development. At the time, Nat Geo did a lot of reenactments, and they were doing a doc on the CIA experiments with LSD in the ‘50s. One night we were on set at a building in downtown Washington D.C., where I was appointed as the lead person doing crowd control on the street while they filmed a reenactment of the guy who supposedly fell out of a 10th story window after taking LSD, but the conspiracy was that the CIA pushed him. All these people start lining up around the street looking at this guy laying on the ground, and I had to tell them “oh nothing to see here, move along, just making television.” That was my first taste of the rush of being on a real set and being a part of creating something together, and I’ve been chasing that ever since.

Directing Mookie Betts in LA for an integration with Wells Fargo and Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race
Directing Mookie Betts in Los Angeles for an integration with Wells Fargo and Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.”
GC: What modern challenges would you like to see current students and recent College alumni solve?

DS: Resist the desire to skirt hard work for the shiny beacon of AI and ensure those tools are used responsibly and are complementary versus destructive. The power of human creativity is paramount, and we’re dangerously close to casually falling into a place we can’t return from.

GC: How has your field changed from your graduation to now?

DS: Exponential change happens so much quicker now. What once took 50 years to progress took 10 years, and now we see that same monumental change happening in only two to three years. Technologically, when I graduated 15 years ago, we were barely even using HD, still laying off to tape, transitioning from SD to HD, and now we have the tools to create, edit and produce high-quality UHD content in the palms of our hands. But beyond technology, I’m also inspired by the changes we’ve seen in the last 15 years to give more people of every background a seat at the table and ensure diversity across the board in front of and behind the camera. It’s a never-ending learning experience. There’s always more work to be done, but that’s what I love about the industry and my job. No day is the same. There’s always something new to tackle and something to get better at.

GSAB Profile: Robby Thomas (ABJ ’04)

Robby Thomas (ABJ ’04) is the vice president and general manager of WIS-TV, a television station in Columbia, South Carolina, affiliated with NBC.

Robby Thomas at the 2007 Georgia-Florida game gesturing up at the scoreboard that reads "Georgia: 42, Florida 30.
The 2007 Georgia vs. Florida game. Thomas was on the sidelines shooting highlight video on behalf of BTC-2, the local channel he launched for Brantley Telephone Company, Inc. in Nahunta, Georgia.

Born and raised in rural Nahunta, Georgia, the work ethic Thomas learned on his family’s farm helped him graduate magna cum laude with a degree in advertising from Grady College, where he also anchored the student-produced “Georgia Gameday” for two seasons and spent all four years working for UGA Public Affairs Broadcast Video & Photography. Thomas remains involved in the University of Georgia Mentor Program and as an unapologetic fan of Georgia football.

Following is a brief interview with Robby Thomas.

Grady College: What are you hoping to contribute to the Grady Alumni Board during your time of service?

Robby Thomas: I am enjoying a very rewarding career in local media. I think my experience in the industry for which Grady is working to prepare students gives me valuable insight into the ways we can ensure they achieve the best possible outcomes. Specifically, I majored in Advertising and aspired to work in New York City after graduation. I did that, but decided shortly afterward that NYC was not my long term desire. I only learned later that essentially every local television station in the country has a marketing and creative services department that is its own internal ad agency. I’m passionate about helping students understand the infinite pathways that can exist for them to pursue their goals if they’re open-minded.

GC: What does being a graduate of our College mean to you?

RT: It connects me to a network of tens of thousands of alumni who will immediately take a meeting with me based on our shared experience. Beyond that powerful network advantage, it also gives me great personal pride to have been a part of one of the country’s top programs.

GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

RT: “There’s a difference between compliant and committed.” It’s a Kirby Smart quote from a couple of seasons back, but I loved it because it’s a reminder that you have to be willing to commit to a standard of excellence. If it comes easy and cheap, you appreciate it so much less. If you’re just going through the motions, you’re not going to excel. It takes a strong work ethic and professional discipline to truly earn success. Look for the ways you can make a positive impact, and make it. Get after it.

Robby Thomas holds up his hand indicating a number one while petting Uga 10 in front of his dog house on the sideline.
Thomas with Uga X at Sanford Stadium. 
GC: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

RT: I’m where I am today because of Georgia Gameday. After a few of my friends dared me to try out my sophomore year, I wound up earning a seat on the anchor desk for my junior and senior years. My peers and those experiences helped expose me to professional interests and opportunities I may have otherwise never discovered. In fact, it was my Georgia Gameday co-anchor Jessica Foster-Bonner who recognized my voice on my resume reel when her news director was reviewing tapes for an opening with WMBB News 13 in Panama City, Florida, where I got my start. She vouched for me. I got the interview and ultimately the job.

GC: What modern challenges would you like to see current students and recent College alumni solve?

RT: Today’s changing media landscape creates all kinds of challenges as it relates to earning the attention of the audience. We see an entire generation of journalists entering their professional careers who have been bombarded by social media’s influencer culture and never really had the same relationship I had with some of the world’s most trusted media brands. Clicks and likes have been over-valued. Misinformation and disinformation are clear and present threats to our democracy. Artificial intelligence introduces new ethical considerations that will greatly impact journalism as a profession. But, technology also presents more opportunities than ever for our citizenry to be informed, prepared and connected. We can empower communities like never before.

GC: What is your favorite place on campus and why?

RT: Walking South Campus. It has changed dramatically since my time in Athens because of the demolition of my dorm, the old McWhorter Hall, but I like to walk those streets remembering my days as a work-study student for UGA Public Affairs’ Broadcast Video & Photography division in the Georgia Center. I worked all four years with that team and it played as pivotal a role in my development as Grady College.

Spring 2023 Grady College Graduates celebrate at Convocation

Spring 2023 Grady College graduates were celebrated by family, friends, faculty and staff at a Convocation ceremony May 10, 2023, at the Athens Classic Center.

More than 450 graduate and undergraduate students are graduating from the College this semester including more than 50 Ph.D. and Master’s students, nearly 100 advertising students, nearly 90 from the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies, nearly 110 journalism students and nearly 100 majoring in public relations.

Following a welcome from Dean Charles Davis, the audience welcomed the senior speaker, Victoria Marsha, an EMST graduate.

Marsha talked about recognizing what decisions may work for graduates and those that may not: “Take comfort in knowing that there are infinite possibilities for us…you make a choice and it’s not working, resist the regret and the urge to concede to those circumstances. Remember that it’s ok to seemingly work backwards, restart…that isn’t losing but rather starting fresh.”

She concluded her talk by imploring the graduates and audience to be kind. “These few words and choosing to remember that choices are moldable and not as binary as they may appear at first glance should hopefully provide you a great comfort. All of us are amazing creatures made up of every choice we have made and haven’t, they are all valuable parts of us, beautiful simply because you exist here today.”


Video coverage of Grady Convocation Spring 2023, filmed May 10 at the Athens Classic Center.
Pictures from the event can be found in the following UGAGrady Flickr albums:

Pictures from the graduate student and undergraduate student Graduation Celebrations are also available to view on our UGA Flickr account.

  • Two people hug before the Convocation ceremony.
    A graduate is congratulated before the Convocation ceremony. (Photo: Jackson Schroeder)

Grady College graduate students and their families are invited to a celebration on the Schnitzer Family Media Lawn outside Grady College from Noon to 2 p.m. following their UGA Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 11.

Grady College undergraduate students and their families are invited to a celebration on the Schnitzer Family Media Lawn outside Grady College from 1 to 4 p.m., before UGA Commencement Ceremony for undergraduate students, on Friday, May 12.


#ProfilesofTenacity: Jenna Monnin

Jenna Monnin is graduating with dual majors in journalism and political science major, and has also earned a Public Affairs Communications certificate. She has served as a Tieger Fellow for the PAC program, a student volunteer for Grady Newsource and a Panhellenic delegate and nomination committee chair for her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. During her time at Grady College, Monnin also participated in the Grady D.C. program, served as a hotline editorial intern with the National Journal and worked as a technology and Press Freedom Project and Policy intern.

To Monnin, tenacity means always giving yourself a chance. “It’s the act of doing the bold thing of starting, trying, applying, even when it seems impossible. Tenacity is a blend of stubbornness, authenticity and courage, and it’s something I live by,” she explained.

The interview below has been edited for length and clarity.

Why did you choose your major?

When I first came to UGA, I was an “intended” journalism major. From my experience with my high school’s newspaper, I knew I was drawn to investigative stories—especially when they involved politics. By the end of my freshman year, I had officially added my political science major. Double majoring has been difficult at times because journalism and political science are very different areas of study. However, I’m so glad I followed this path because I think it’s helped set me up for the career I hope to find in the journalism field.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Professor Joseph Watson and the Public Affairs Communications program have had such a great impact on my life during my time at UGA. Without Professor Watson’s guidance, I’m not sure if I would have been accepted to the Grady DC Field Study & Internship Program. If I didn’t have the opportunity to live and work in DC last summer, I don’t think I would feel as confident in my decision to pursue a career in journalism after I graduate. Additionally, Professor Watson chose me for the Tieger Fellowship in Media Relations for the PAC program, and this has allowed me to work on behalf of a program that has given me such awesome experiences.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?
Jenna Monnin with the friends she made while on the Grady DC program during summer 2022.

My most memorable Grady experience was getting the opportunity to live and work in Washington, D.C. on the Grady DC program during the summer of 2022. While I was there, I had two part-time internships: in the mornings, I was the Hotline Editorial Intern for National Journal, and, in the afternoons, I was the TPFP & Policy Intern for Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Getting to work in political journalism while also working to protect press freedom (an issue I’m particularly passionate about) was the most amazing experience. While living in UGA’s Delta Hall, I made dozens of new friends outside of Grady’s program. I’m so thankful that many of these friends will also be moving to DC in the future, so when I eventually head back up to the Capitol, it won’t be so lonely!

What are you passionate about?

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been the type of person to question everything. The pursuit of knowledge is something I am passionate about, but not necessarily in the way you might expect. I have loved my time in school (and I will admit, I am a bit afraid of life without academic structure), but the kind of knowledge that thrills me often cannot be found in a classroom. Going out into the world and asking questions is what excites me! The pursuit of information and sharing what you find with others is exactly why I want to be a journalist. Knowledge allows us to make our own opinions, engage with others, and hold our institutions accountable. I recognize that it is truly a privilege to “be in the know,” and my time at UGA has equipped me with the ability to think critically about what it means to be informed.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

One piece of advice I would give Grady students (especially those majoring in journalism) is to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Interviewing influential subjects or sources that have a sensitive story can be very intimidating. I’ve found that it’s very difficult to function as a journalist when you allow self-doubt to creep into your work. This may sound cliche, but, for me, being confident can sometimes be about “faking it till you make it.” Whenever I am nervous, I imagine how an extremely confident person would act in that situation and just try my best to emulate that. Let yourself be OK with being scared, but don’t let it impact the confidence you have in your own abilities.

Jenna Monnin (right) reporting live for Grady Newsource from a Georgia Senate runoff watch party for the 2022 midterm elections at Little Kings Shuffle Club in Athens Georgia.
What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

One thing people might be surprised to know about me is that despite my love of politics, investigative, and breaking news, I would literally drop everything right now if I had the opportunity to be a wildlife photographer or documentary filmmaker. My passion for conservation and love for animals started when I read my first copy of National Geographic many years ago.

What are you planning to do after you graduate?

After I graduate, I’m hoping to move to D.C. and pursue a career in journalism. I have a summer internship with a D.C. publication called The Capitol Forum, an investigative news organization, and I am very excited to experience what it’s like to cover antitrust and corporate investigation stories. I have experience in print, digital, and broadcast journalism, so I am trying to keep myself open to any opportunity that may come my way over the next few months. I would like to enter a journalism role that allows me to be near the action, so breaking news opportunities—especially those that can put me close to political issues—are something I am very interested in as a young journalist. In the future, I could see myself going to graduate school or law school, but I want to work for a few years before I make that decision.

What motivates you?
Jenna Monnin stands in front of the placard for “The Hotline” at National Journal’s offices during her summer 2022 internship in Washington DC.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that my mother is my biggest motivator because she has been the best support system over these past few years. However, as a journalist, I am motivated by the First Amendment privileges this country affords to members of the press. During my time at UGA, I’ve studied what it means to enjoy a truly free press and how that impacts both journalists and the public they keep informed. My summer internship at Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press showed me that there is still so much work to be done in this area and that any government encroachment can lead press freedom down a slippery slope. The First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press motivates me to take full advantage of this protection by ensuring that my work both elevates silenced voices and provides a forum for discussion and debate.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment in the past year was definitely my contributions to Grady Newsource’s political show this fall. Two of my packages ran on the election night shows, and I was able to work as a field anchor reporting live during Georgia’s Senate runoff. I am so thankful for the feedback and instruction I received during this time, and I am very proud of myself for putting in many hours of work to create multimedia projects. Working with this show in a politically relevant state like Georgia is an experience that I will never forget.

83rd annual Peabody Award winners announced

The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors announced the 35 winners elected to represent the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting, streaming, and interactive media during 2022. The winners were chosen by a unanimous vote of 32 jurors from over 1,400 entries from television, podcasts/radio and the web/digital in entertainment, news, documentary, arts, children’s/youth, public service and interactive programming. Of the 35 total wins, PBS produced the most with 6, followed by Apple TV+ and Disney+ (3 each), and HBO Max (2).

“Representing a wide range of mediums, genres, and narrative approaches, this year’s winners continue to advance what it means to craft storytelling that is compelling, powerful, and prescient,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody. “Whether capturing the lives of teachers in Philadelphia or young women in Afghanistan, these stories are powerful enough to make us laugh, cry, and learn. They are all deserving of this honor, and we are thrilled to shine a light on their amazing achievement. All citizens should seek out, watch, and engage these winners.”

Entertainment programming was particularly strong in 2022, which led all categories with 10 wins, followed by 8 for documentaries and 7 for news. Entertainment winners Atlanta and Better Call Saul, which previously won Peabodys for their first season, are both receiving a second Peabody for their final season.

This year’s winners encompass a wide range of pressing issues across categories, such as the environment: Fire of Love (arts), The Territory (documentary), and The Power of Big Oil (public service); mental health: The Gap: Failure to Treat, Failure to Protect (news) and Life Is Strange: True Colors (interactive); women’s reproductive rights: This American Life: The Pink House at the Center of the World (podcast) and Aftershock (documentary); and transgender rights: We’re Here (entertainment) and ContraPoints (interactive). News winners this year covered subjects such as the gun violence epidemic in America, women’s rights under the Taliban, the war in Ukraine, and extremist threats to democracy, while documentary winners such as Batata and Independent Lens: Missing in Brooks County highlighted migrant struggles.

The 83rd Peabody Awards are sponsored by UBS, the world’s leading global wealth manager.

“These profound and moving stories not only inform and educate us on pressing issues and critical current events, they also help to connect and inspire us,” said Wale Ogunleye, Head of Sports and Entertainment at UBS. “At UBS, our goal is to help people manage their wealth and create lasting legacies. This year’s winners and the talented professionals who work with them are creating legacies of their own. We are incredibly proud to be the Presenting Sponsor for this year’s Peabody Awards ceremony and look forward to honoring the winners.”

The winners of the 83rd annual Peabody Awards will be celebrated on Sunday, June 11 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. This will be Peabody’s first in-person ceremony since 2019, as well as the first time ever in its history that the Awards will take place in Los Angeles. Bob Bain Productions is set to produce the event. Delta is the supporting sponsor and Variety is the media partner for the awards ceremony.

Peabody previously announced four specialty awards including NBC News’ TODAY as an Institutional Award winner; Lily Tomlin was named winner of the Peabody Career Achievement Award; Issa Rae won the Peabody Trailblazer Award; and Shari Frilot was named the winner of the Visionary Award.

The Peabody Award winners listed by category and in alphabetical order (network/platform in parentheses) are:


“Fire of Love”

The documentary Fire of Love centers on Katia and Maurice Krafft, French volcanologists bound by a mutual passion for the scientific study of active volcanoes. Directed by Sara Dosa, Fire of Love tells their story through the Kraffts’ own archive of images, featuring spectacular, up-close footage of volcanic eruptions taken by the couple as they relentlessly defy danger to gain proximity to ineluctable forces of nature. The result is at once an intimate portrait of an ordinary marriage and a celebration of scientific determination at its most extraordinary.

National Geographic Documentary Films presents A Sandbox Films Production / An Intuitive Pictures & Cottage M Production (Disney+)



Aftershock holds a mirror up to the country’s maternal-mortality crisis, presenting a sobering look at the deadly consequences of a medical system that routinely disregards Black women’s health. The documentary follows two families reeling from preventable deaths, tracing their ongoing journeys through grief and toward activism.

Onyx Collective and ABC News Studios present a Malka Films and Madstone Company Inc Production In Association with Good Gravy Films and JustFilms | Ford Foundation Impact Partners


Shot over the span of a decade, starting in 2009, Batata follows a Syrian family on a Lebanese farm as they seek to establish an existence as migrant workers harvesting potatoes. As the Syrian Civil War breaks out in 2011, filmmaker Noura Kevorkian stays with the family through the growing strife and conflict. Accounts of war typically drop viewers in after everything is lost, but here is the rare artifact that captures, with power and precision, the exact lives left behind.

Saaren Films Inc., Six Island Productions Inc., Musa Dagh Productions (Streaming platforms)

“Independent Lens: Missing in Brooks County”             

Set in Falfurrias, Texas, the site of a border checkpoint, Missing in Brooks County pivots around two families who arrive in the small town in search of missing loved ones. Their stories are layered within a spectrum of perspectives that exist within the county—from an activist detective and a team of forensic anthropologists working to help locate the remains of missing migrants to a paramilitary figure dead set on enforcing “closed borders.” The end result is a work that deeply internalizes the complexity of the subject without ever losing sight of the prevailing tragedy.

ITVS, Fork Films, Engel Entertainment (PBS)

“Independent Lens: Writing with Fire”    

The fearless journalists of India’s only all-female newspaper redefine traditional notions of power in Writing with Fire, a gripping film from Independent Lens about the intrepid team behind the success of the news outlet Khabar Lahariya. Their passion and bravery in the face of gender and class bias drive this beautifully shot documentary from directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh.

Black Ticket Films (PBS)

“Mariupol: The People’s Story”    

True to the documentary film’s title, the testimonials featured in Mariupol: The People’s Story collectively chronicle the way a once-bustling European center was ravaged in a matter of weeks as Russian forces gained ground and hoped to throttle the Ukrainian city’s services. Composed almost entirely of footage shot by residents who stayed and who bore the brunt of such attacks—with heartbreaking images of shelled buildings and abandoned corpses on the streets—Robin Barnwell’s documentary is an important assemblage of what was one of the most harrowing episodes in the still raging war taking place on Ukrainian soil.

Top Hat Productions / Hayloft Productions (BBC Select)

“The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks”            

This necessary documentary film from SO’B Productions demands a reckoning with the historical record of the life of Rosa Parks, and shows the depth, courage, and determination of Black resistance to anti-Black racism and white racial terror. Challenging the historical confinement to symbolic celebrations of Mrs. Parks, the film shows her as a central architect and activist at the center of the Civil Rights movement.

SO’B Productions (Peacock)

“The Territory”       

At the heart of the Amazon rainforest, the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau people are fighting the encroaching deforestation that threatens not just their lives and livelihood but that of the entire globe. Their efforts are here captured by a documentary intent on amplifying their plight and uplifting the tireless work of activists and indigenous groups that refuse to capitulate to the capitalist violence inherent in seeing land not as something sacred but as something to be exploited for short-term gain.

National Geographic Documentary Films Presents A Documist And Associação Jupaú Film in association with Time Studios, Xtr, Doc Society Climate Story Fund / A Production of Protozoa Pictures, Passion Pictures, Real Lava (Disney+)

“We Need To Talk About Cosby”             

For decades, no figure shaped America’s perception of Black life with as much authority as Bill Cosby. His eponymous sitcom wasn’t just a massive commercial success; it also opened the door for countless other television series focused on Black characters. And yet, W. Kamau Bell’s deeply personal docuseries takes up the troubling quandary of Cosby in modern times, given all we now know about him—the man, the entertainment phenomenon, the paragon of respectability politics, and the predator.

SHOWTIME Documentary Films Presents, A Boardwalk Pictures Production, In Association With WKB Industries (Showtime Networks)


“Abbott Elementary”

Through deliciously funny, unfailingly thoughtful storylines, the mockumentary-style sitcom brings both depth and levity to its depiction of a grade school in Philadelphia, where a plucky group of educators work to ensure their students receive the best schooling possible, even as they face the kinds of challenges that are endemic to low-income districts. The show isn’t content to present funny scenarios absent any social context; Abbott Elementary insists on surfacing the structural issues that make its teachers’ work so hard.

Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios (ABC)


Few other long-running franchises loom as large in today’s contemporary pop cultural imagination than Star Wars. Yet amid stories of destiny-driven heroes and doomed superpowered villains, Tony Gilroy’s Andor tackles that familiar galaxy with plenty of spectacle, but also a keen-eyed commitment to mirroring our own mundane trials and tribulations as it follows scavenger Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who unwittingly becomes radicalized in the wake of a police state intent on crushing any and all signs of the Rebel Alliance.

Lucasfilm Ltd. (Disney+)


The experimental series, in which Donald Glover plays a shiftless Princeton dropout trying to manage his cousin’s burgeoning rap career, won a Peabody for its first season in 2016 for its sharp, evocative depiction of its eponymous city and the cast of characters making their way through it. Now, in its final seasons, the groundbreaking series has transcended its original success by introducing an anthology-style structure in Season 3 that deviates largely from the central cast, allowing the final two installments of Atlanta to display a wealth of creativity and insight.

FX Productions (FX)

“Bad Sisters”

On its face, Bad Sisters, the dark comedy from Catastrophe co-creator Sharon Horgan, is a whodunit about the death of John Paul Williams, a man who torments not only his wife, Grace, but also her four sisters. When the embattled quartet decides the only path to saving Grace from John Paul’s abuse is to kill him, they embark on a perilous, oft-thwarted journey, but the heart of the show is its keen, loving attention to relationships among women.

Merman / ABC Signature in association with Apple (Apple TV+)

“Better Call Saul”

It is a remarkable thing for a spinoff to surpass the artistic terms of its predecessor, even more so when that predecessor is as excellent as Breaking Bad, but that’s precisely what Better Call Saul did by the end of its six seasons. Featuring an array of career-best performances from a cast anchored by the quintet of Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks, Giancarlo Esposito, and Michael Mando, all operating within an impeccable creative infrastructure led by Peter Gould with Vince Gilligan, the show serves as a vibrant interrogation of its forebear as well as a closing chapter to an era of prestige television defined by male antiheroes like Walter White.

High Bridge, Crystal Diner, Gran Via Productions and Sony Pictures Television (AMC)

“Los Espookys”

Primarily a Spanish-language comedy with English subtitles, this half-hour American series pays homage to Latin America’s passion for the paranormal and Hollywood’s love of horror, all inside a deadpan comedy with telenovela influences, created and written by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega, and Fred Armisen. Cassandra Ciangherotti, Bernardo Velasco, Torres, Fabrega, and Armisen play a group of misfits who bond over their shared love of the macabre and turn their penchant for horror and gore into a start-up business

HBO in association with Broadway Video, Antigravico and Mas Mejor (HBO Max)


Mo, starring and co-created by Mo Amer (alongside Ramy Youssef), is a hilarious exploration of what it means to move through the world (or, well, Houston, Texas) as an asylum-seeking refugee, with the constant knowledge that your entire life may well disappear from one day to the next. Sure, he may now float from job to job in order to avoid ICE raids, and his mother still bristles whenever her son brings home his girlfriend Maria (Teresa Ruiz), but throughout this Netflix comedy, the humor comes from telling a wholly American story whose absurdity is only matched by its authenticity.

A24 (Netflix)


When Min Jin Lee’s book Pachinko was first published in 2017, the life and family history of main character Sunja—which spans much of the twentieth century and captures a history of colonialism and immigration in Japan, Korea, and the United States—gripped readers who welcomed such a complex tale of being and belonging. Adapting the bestseller for the small screen, Soo Hugh developed Pachinko into a handsome period piece that tenderly traces an intergenerational saga that begins in Japan-occupied Korea in the 1920s and splinters its aching melodrama plots in the lifetimes that follow, playfully putting that titular matching game at its center.

Media Res / Blue Marble Pictures in association with Apple (Apple TV+)


In this prescient Apple TV+ series, director and executive producer Ben Stiller and creator Dan Erickson, along with their brilliant cast, probe what it means to live a meaningful life if given the choice of separating our work and non-work lives. Severance details the emotional and psychological effects of the micro practices of discipline and control that its characters endure. And yet at its most hopeful, Severance examines the desire for meaning, the emotional power of memory, the bonds of social attachment, and the urge to rebel against subjugation and control.

Fifth Season / Red Hour Productions in association with Apple (Apple TV+)

“We’re Here”

Whenever Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen, and Eureka O’Hara alight on any given town during any one episode of HBO’s docuseries We’re Here, their purpose is clear: all three queens are eager to preach the gospel of drag. Drag isn’t a mask you hide behind, as they suggest with every new transformation of a local trio tasked with performing at the end of every episode; it’s a way to reveal who you really are.

HBO in association with House of Opus 20 and IPC (HBO Max)



Through her YouTube channel, ContraPoints, Natalie Wynn defies simplicity, having developed a following of more than one million subscribers by producing long video essays that dissect trending topics and social phenomena, from “Canceling” to “Cringe,” “Incels” to “JK Rowling.” Using history, theory, pop culture references, and comedic acting, she helps us understand the deeper nuances of what’s trending.

Natalie Wynn (YouTube)

“Life is Strange: True Colors”

Life is Strange: True Colors centers on the story of a 21-year-old bisexual Asian American woman, Alex Chen, who has spent the last eight years in foster care—a radical departure from whose stories are typically told in AAA video games. Shortly after witnessing the tragic death of her brother, Alex uncovers conspiracies that lead her to question the town’s history and what she knows about her own family. The development team created a diverse and inclusive game, seeking out consultants, including mental health professionals, to ensure that the characters and themes were authentic and respectful, while using a combination of traditional motion capture and performance capture to produce more realistic and nuanced character animations.

Deck Nine Games & Square Enix External Studios (PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Stadia)

“Lucy and the Wolves in the Walls”

Through the endearing and earnest narrative of Lucy and the Wolves in the Walls, Fable Studio deftly invites us to shift our perspective—to see the world as experienced by its eight-year-old protagonist, Lucy, through an interactive VR journey that continues across multiple platforms. As the young girl’s imaginary friend, we are invisible to all other characters in her life, but for Lucy we are witness, confidant, and fellow explorer. Central to Lucy’s story is the delicate balance of truth, evidence, and belief; and at its heart, a celebration of wonder.

Fable Studio, Third Rail Projects, Sound+Design, Story Studio & Experiences (Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest)


China’s brutal and systemic detention of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang is well-documented, but there exists little photographic evidence from inside the camps, which has effectively limited Western journalistic coverage of what is likely the largest mass-internment drive of ethnic and religious minorities since the Second World War. A two-part project that comprises a VR documentary and an interactive feature, Reeducated uses testimony, hand-drawn illustration, and immersive video technology to record the atrocities and conditions inside the walls of the camp.

The New Yorker (Oculus, Mobile, Desktop)

“The Uncensored Library”

A meticulous, artistically-rendered Minecraft build, The Uncensored Library is a monument to press freedom and an innovative back door for access to censored content. Leveraging Minecraft’s availability in countries where other media is blocked, The Uncensored Library has allowed more than 20 million gamers in 165 countries to access censored articles, available in English and the original language, from acclaimed independent journalists under threat by the authoritative regimes of places such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Egypt, and Vietnam.

Media.Monks, Reporters without Borders, DDB Germany (Minecraft)


“Guns in America”

In 2022, as a shooting at a Texas school and a grocery store in upstate New York joined the ever-growing list of mass shootings, and with meaningful solutions nowhere in sight, PBS NewsHour dedicated an unprecedented amount of resources, airtime, and focus to the issue. Ranging from on-the-ground updates in Uvalde and survivor interviews in Buffalo, to long-range impact stories around the tenth anniversary of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, to a deep dive into the psychology behind gun marketing, NewsHour continually found groundbreaking angles to every gun story.

PBS NewsHour (PBS NewsHour)

“FRONTLINE: Michael Flynn’s Holy War”

This profile documentary from FRONTLINE in collaboration with The Associated Press, doggedly reported over several years, follows General Michael Flynn as he travels across America speaking to growing crowds on the far right. Refusing to see him as an outlier, let alone a fanatical fringe figure, the film conveys a sense of foreboding as Flynn and his followers make plans for 2024 and beyond, with veiled threats as to what might happen “next time,” placing his religious extremist operation at the heart of American politics.

FRONTLINE (PBS) with The Associated Press (PBS)

“FRONTLINE: Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack”

In February 2022, Russia launched a military assault on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, and the Ukrainians refused to surrender. Filmed during the first three months of the unprovoked invasion, Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack provides a powerful inside portrait of the civilians and first responders who chose not to evacuate but to remain and defend the city, refusing to hand their country over to Vladimir Putin and taking a stand for democracy in the process.

FRONTLINE (PBS) with Channel 4

“The Gap: Failure to Treat, Failure to Protect”

This six-part series from KARE11 in Minneapolis exemplifies the best of enterprising local journalism, diagnosing and documenting a major failing in the Minnesota legal system: suspects in crimes are routinely deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial but are never treated for their mental illness. The careful and compelling reporting, which centered a mass local shooting but took in the wider scope of the problem, prompted action from state legislators, resulting in a change to Minnesota laws regarding competency and treatment.


“No Justice for Women in the Taliban’s Afghanistan”

The impactful and revealing No Justice for Women in the Taliban’s Afghanistan is the result of a VICE News investigation across north and south Afghanistan, which explores the present-day plight—and troublesome future—of a new generation of girls growing up under Taliban rule. Examining the lack of education, healthcare, economic opportunity, and justice, reporter Isobel Yeung weaves together a harrowing and affecting picture of oppression in post-war Afghanistan, where the “new” Taliban swear they are different from their 20th Century predecessors but prove to be anything but.

VICE News (VICE News)

“One Day in Hebron”

For AJ+ Senior Presenter Dena Takruri, arriving in the Palestinian city of Hebron was a vexing homecoming, knowing she wouldn’t find there the lively city her father had known in his youth before leaving for the United States. Capturing her own team’s clash with armed officers in the Israeli settler-occupied urban center and with neighbors intent on making Palestinian residents and visitors alike feel unwelcome (if not outright unsafe), One Day in Hebron offers an unvarnished look at what it means to live cloistered within militarized streets that circumscribe the lives of those within its walled borders.

AJ+ (Direct From)

“Shimon Prokupecz: Unraveling Uvalde”

On May 24, 2022, an eighteen-year-old walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and killed 19 children and two teachers. Law enforcement inaction may well have further contributed to the tragedy at the school; the team at CNN, led by Shimon Prokupecz, covered this story with a commitment to getting accountability for the many families who had to contend with the fact that their kids, some of whom didn’t make it out of the school alive, had to wait close to an hour before officers actively responded to the 911 calls coming from inside those classrooms.



“Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s”

Journalist Connie Walker and her team resurface the obscured past of Canada’s “Indian residential school system,” which was developed to forcibly assimilate scores of Indigenous children into white Christian society, including Walker’s own father. An arresting blend of family history and investigative journalism, this podcast ventures far beyond the findings of Canada’s official Truth and Reconciliation Commission to pull together a new basis for the historical record.

Spotify & Gimlet Media (Spotify)

“The Divided Dial”

“The Divided Dial,” by journalist Katie Thornton and the team at WNYC’s On the Media, offers listeners a sobering window into the rise of Salem Media Group, a conservative Christian radio network that has steadily grown from fringe player to a formidable custodian of power and influence over the political right within the last few decades. Synthesizing dogged business reporting with a clear sense of how right-wing talk radio has fundamentally reshaped the Republican Party, Thornton and On the Media have produced a remarkable, vital, and unparalleled document that outlines the uneasy conflict over truth in American civic life

On the Media/New York Public Radio (New York Public Radio)

“This American Life: The Pink House at the Center of the World”

On the day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, This American Life had exclusive access inside the clinic at the center of the legal case, Mississippi’s last abortion clinic, witnessing what happened as staff received the news—and then hurried to see all the patients scheduled for the next month in just ten days, before the ban went into effect. “The Pink House at the Center of the World” offers a comprehensive and compelling snapshot of this turning point in America, always maintaining its focus on the human lives and stories at its core.

This American Life (This American Life)


“FRONTLINE: The Power of Big Oil”

Bold and illuminating, this three-part investigative documentary reveals how the fossil fuel industry over four decades manipulated climate change research, influenced environmental policy, and undermined efforts to confront the threat and impact of global warming. The Power of Big Oil draws on more than a year of reporting, reams of newly uncovered documents, and more than 100 interviews with key figures, including scientists employed inside and outside the industry, uncovering the missed opportunities to address an impending catastrophe.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Chiamaka Uwagerikpe

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe sitting in a chair in a podcast studio holding up her phone to take a selfie.
Chiamaka Uwagerikpe started her own podcast, called Acquainted.

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe is a third-year advertising major from Suwanee, Georgia, involved with Talking Dog Agency, the Student Industry Fellows Program and the UGA Visitor’s Center. She’s also a Strike Magazine content intern and has served as an ambassador for Gurls Talk, promoting the mental health and wellbeing of young women and girls.

To Uwagerikpe, tenacity means always giving yourself a chance. “It’s the act of doing the bold thing of starting, trying, applying, even when it seems impossible. Tenacity is a blend of stubbornness, authenticity and courage, and it’s something I live by,” she explained.

Why did you choose your major?

I didn’t know what I wanted to study when I got to college. I actually changed my major five times before ever taking a class here, which is ludicrous. I just really wanted to make the right decision. But when I got here, I thought about what skills I wanted to have by the time I left. I wanted to be able to pitch and persuade, to be an effective communicator. I wanted to feed my creativity. And that is how I chose advertising. There have been double majors and certificates that came and went, but I find advertising plus my co-curriculars have given me all the skills I desired.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The Gurls Talk community has had the biggest impact on my life during my time as a UGA student. Gurls Talk is a community-led non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of adolescent girls and young women. I had the pleasure of serving as an ambassador to the community, and it completely changed my life. Through the program I met so many amazing people, and learned about myself in a very real way. In order for me to serve well, I had to define my values and find my voice. It transformed the way I think about work and leadership. Being a Gurls Talk ambassador made me a better friend, leader and communicator. It is such a welcoming community, and I highly recommend everyone check out the cause.

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe sitting in a chair in front of a camera.
Chiamaka Uwagerikpe will spend summer 2023 as a corporate communications intern at IHG.
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience has to be responding to a Grady Listerv email. A team was looking for an intern with much more experience than I had, but I got a spot on the team anyway. I am so grateful for that turn of events because it has led to so much growth. I have gotten to meet other amazing Grady students and supportive alumni. I’ve gained so many technical skills and learned more about storytelling. I’ve gotten to ask so many questions, which is my favorite pastime. All because of an email.

What are you passionate about?

I am wildly passionate about culture and community building. These are things that transform and uplift people.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

A piece of advice that I would give to other Grady students is to stay curious. You don’t necessarily have to do everything under the sun, but engage with your surroundings. Ask questions. Get to know the people around you. Be intentional and be present.

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m a pretty nervous person. But I never let my nerves get in the way of me living.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I have no idea. I hope to live abroad, working for an innovative creative agency. I’ll have a cozy apartment, and I’ll call my family on a regular basis. I’ll be living well. I’m currently working on habits that will get me to reality close to that.

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe poses with a group of people in front of the Delta sign.
Through the Student Industry Fellows Program, Chiamaka Uwagerikpe has worked with Cox Enterprises, Delta and Worldstrides.
What motivates you?

My family motivates me, especially my siblings. They inspire me to be great in a way that is authentic.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

One of my biggest accomplishments this past year is becoming an Innovation Fellow here at the University of Georgia. The Student Industry Fellows Program has opened up so many learning opportunities for me. As a fellow, I use my creativity and communication skills to solve complex problems for clients. I have gotten to work with Cox Enterprises, Delta and Worldstrides and tackle issues of tech, sustainability, and culture. The fellowship has given my confidence in my professional abilities and has given me new friends from all across campus.