Grady offers growth

In the weeks leading up to the Grady College Centennial Weekend, April 16-19, we'll feature a guest blog post authored by a preselected alumnus/alumna. For ways in which students, faculty, alumni, donors and friends can share Grady College memories and photos in honor of the centennial year, please visit

Since graduation in May of 2014, Grady has followed me everywhere. Just the other day at work I laughed to myself when I was asked to code social media posts. A coworker immediately knew why I was laughing and asked if I had PR research with Sweetser. A few days later a group of young Grady hopefuls toured the office, bright eyed and ready to take on the world. Their ambition made me realize how unique the Grady College is. I may be biased, but I cannot think of another college that pushes its students to follow their ambitions and take on the world with such a strong sense of self-motivation. If Grady offers its students amazing growth opportunities now, I can only imagine what’s to come in the future!

Endless Opportunities for Growth

As a student-athlete in college, I often feared that I would not have enough time to prepare for my future. Most of my classmates had at least two to four internships under their belts by senior year and there I was worried about making it to the barn or workouts on time. Professors understood that I had outside commitments, but I wanted to leave college knowing that I had played a role in the powerhouse that is Grady.

It took me until my last semester of college to take advantage of the endless opportunities available for AdPR students, outside of PRSSA and AdPR Connection. With only 9 hours left of non-Grady electives, I applied for the position of a Yarbrough-Grady intern. This position allowed me to represent the Grady brand through writing, design and collaboration with faculty and staff members. Additionally, Sarah Freeman, director of Grady communications, and Dr. Betty Jones really pushed me to grow as a young professional. I toured Atlanta agencies and spent a week in D.C. with Grady students. Did I mention that we had an exclusive tour of the White House press room? These are just a few of the endless opportunities for growth offered by The Grady College.


After graduation, I decided to continue my advocacy of the Grady brand as an Omnicom-Grady Future Leaders Fellow. My friends and family thought that I was crazy for turning down full-time offers, but how could you say no to valuable learning experiences at both BBDO and Porter Novelli in Atlanta? I can confidently say that I have dipped my feet into almost every area of advertising and public relations and worked with the best of the best, all thanks to Grady.

My advice to current students is as follows:
•         Build and foster positive Grady connections!
•         Take advantage of professor’s office hours. I promise they won’t bite. In fact, they will most likely become your biggest advocate during your career search (think recommendation letters!).
•         Turn your dislike for group projects into a passion for teamwork.
•         Explore opportunities offered by Grady NOW! Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until your last semester of college.
•         As a coworker recently stated “we may have left Grady, but Grady didn’t leave us.”

I’ll conclude this blog post by thanking all of the wonderful Grady faculty, staff and students who supported my hectic lifestyle and pushed me to excel in a competitive environment. Grady constantly challenged me both academically and professionally throughout undergrad and for that I am forever thankful.

Author Bio
Julia is a brand and reputation management account coordinator at Porter Novelli’s Atlanta office. She started there as an Omnicom-Grady fellow. Prior to her fellowship at PN, Julia gained valuable insight into the world of advertising and mobile technology at BBDO Atlanta. She has also interned at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and Cookerly Public Relations in Atlanta. Julia graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in 2014 where she majored in public relations and earned an interdisciplinary certificate in leadership and services. She was a student-athlete and four-time NCAA letterman’s award recipient on the UGA varsity equestrian team. In her last season at UGA the team won the 2014 National Championship title and she was named to the SEC Community Service team. During her time at UGA she played an integral leadership role within the athletic association as the president and chair of community service of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

More Alumni Reflections:

There’s always a friend to be found at Grady by Lauren Patrick (ABJ '07)

It’s simple: The Grady family is forever by Michael Gray (ABJ '11)

How to celebrate a centennial: recommit, reconvene, re-engage by Brittney Haynes (ABJ ‘09)

It’s easy to feel a sense of community at Grady by Shannon Sullivan Collado (ABJ ‘10)

Date: February 17, 2015
Author:  Julia Hemingway,