Jen Galas teaches students the nuances of social media in sports. (Photos: Dayne Young)
Jen Galas uses her UGA Athletics social media skills to teach in New Media Institute
For more than a decade, Jen Galas’ (MA ‘12) work has been the bridge between college athletes and their fans. She specializes in capturing the current moment in a way on social media that lasts beyond the present. She is currently the director of social media strategy and digital identity for UGA Athletics and has amassed a vast network of talented communicators in college athletics.
Galas is now sharing that network and her experience with New Media Institute (NMI) students at UGA. She is a faculty consultant at Grady College and is currently teaching “Creative Content in College Athletics” to 17 NMI undergraduates.
“I hope that the students get a real-life snapshot of what working in creative in college athletics is like,” Galas said. “From planning, to content creation, to copywriting, I want the students to understand the wide-range of skills that are needed to manage and create for social media accounts.”
Whether sharing the tools she uses to create eye-popping Instagram posts or bringing in industry colleagues to share about the lifestyle of working in sports, Galas wants students to get a real-time glimpse about what it is like to work in sports digital media. While teaching students, she is also observing their interests and seeing how it can be used to elevate social media content with UGA Athletics. It further expands the pipeline of NMI and Grady College students who also learn on a job with UGA Athletics.
“As we begin to add more and more student assistant positions within the social/creative department at Georgia, we can already have an idea of who might be able to fill these roles,” Galas said. “We can then continue to develop the talent and send the students out with a wide skill set and real-world experience that could turn into jobs for them. It’s truly a win-win!”
The idea for the course was generated with talks including Dean Charles Davis, Darlene Camacho, senior associate athletic director for strategic communications, and Megan Ward, the director of NMI.
“So much of what New Media students learn through the certificate is how to innovate how users and audiences experience their areas of interest,” said Ward. “Jen Galas helps our students see the opportunities available to them in sports and in social media content creation.”
The inaugural class is comprised of all women, which was especially exciting for Galas.
“I hope that seeing someone who looks like them in the type of role that I have makes them realize that there is space for them in this industry,” said Galas.
When preparing for the course, Galas harkened back to her time as a masters student in Grady College, which included classes in NMI. She remembered the classes that most helped her in her career and how they focused on challenges and opportunities that professionals face in the present.
The same skills and personality that help Galas bridge athletes to fans is now serving as a bridge on campus and in the sports industry.
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