Luis Contreras, a senior public relations major, handles the internal communications for ALPFA, the Association of Latino Professionals for America. (Courtesy: Luis Contreras)
#GradyGrit: Meet Luis Contreras
How did you choose your Grady major?
Even before I transferred to UGA, I knew how powerful the concept of communication is. I started off as a journalism major and absolutely loved print writing, but after taking Dr. Cacciatore’s Intro to Public Relations course, I fell in love all over again. The concept of brand management and the power that campaigns have to change the life of an organization officially made me a public relations major at Grady.
What skills/knowledge will you take away from Grady?
One incredibly important skill that Grady taught me is how teamwork truly makes the dream work. By creating a collaborative environment, individuals within a group can exchange a diverse range of ideas, allowing for a quicker, more creative way to finding the best solution. Grady does a wonderful job of preparing those in the school for the real world ahead of them.
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?
I can say without a doubt in my mind that Professor Kristen Smith has had the biggest impact in my life during my time at UGA. Professor Kristen showed me what it was like to have a genuine passion for something, which motivated me immensely to continue pursuing what I love and to never give up.
What is an example of a time you used your Grady skills in a real-world experience such as an internship or leadership role?
Over the summer, I worked for a property management real estate group where I was tasked with leading a small group in organizing an event for over 200 people. Aside from teamwork, organization is also an incredible skill that I learned through my PR Communication and Campaigns class. Thanks to what I learned in those classes, I was able to plan ahead of time, market the event and implement it along with my team. Overall, the event was a huge success, and I give Grady all of the credit for giving me the knowledge to properly organize and work as a team.
Proudest moment in the past year?
This summer, aside from my internship, I was awarded a scholarship by an organization called IREM that flew me out to San Francisco for a real estate conference. Thanks to the writing styles that I picked up in Grady, I was awarded the scholarship through my essay and became recognized at the conference as a Student Scholar. I had never been flown out and recognized in front of hundreds of people before, so this was my proudest moment in the past year. It was absolutely great and made me more ambitious overall.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would most definitely visit Italy. Being from a Hispanic household, there are a great amount of cultural similarities that I would love to experience for myself, as well as plenty of differences. Their food, architecture and history are some things that have always excited me.
Thoughts on the Chick-fil-A vs. Popeyes debate?
I thought the Twitter debates and conversations online were genius ways of marketing Popeyes’ product. For the longest time I ignored what people said about the Popeyes sandwich until I finally gave in and tried it. While it’s sandwich, in my opinion, was better, Chick-fil-A definitely won in the fries category.
Favorite comfort foods?
I am a huge fan of wings and fries. Traditional, not boneless. If a wing doesn’t have a bone in it, it’s practically a chicken nugget. Let’s debate about it.
Editor’s Note: Some of the above answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.
For other installments in the #GradyGrit series, visit the #GradyGrit page.