Class Assignment Sparks Passion & Interest in Issue Advocacy for PAC Graduate

Class Assignment Sparks Passion & Interest in Issue Advocacy for PAC Graduate

March 05, 2021
Austin Gibbons (AB '20)

For Gabi Grey (ABJ ’18), the 2016 presidential election lined up with her introduction to the Public Affairs Communications (PAC) certificate. Grey had always been interested in the relationship between strategic communications and politics, so discussing the election in real time through an academic lens gave her an avenue to explore that. In her senior year, Grey continued having these discussions by challenging herself in Professor Joseph Watson’s class called “Building a Movement: Conservatism from 1955 to Present.”

As a progressive, Grey was challenged while learning about politics and ideologies that lie toward the other end of the political spectrum. For the final project, Professor Watson challenged Grey and her fellow classmates to develop a media kit for an advocacy campaign that would run in a rural area. Grey chose to center her project around an issue advocacy campaign for women’s health issues and drafted a plan that would make feminine hygiene products accessible and affordable to women and girls in rural, lower-income areas.

“Developing the communications efforts around this advocacy campaign taught me so much about rural, lower-income audiences,” said Grey. “I started to see just how under-resourced many of these communities are and how the weight of flawed and failed systems falls harder on lower-income people, especially women. My awareness of the intersectionality between class and gender fueled my interest in developing the communications for this kind of advocacy campaign. I believe health and hygiene are human rights, so I was more than happy to work on this project, specifically related to getting women of lower incomes the resources they needed to stay healthy.”

Grey has been with Porter Novelli in Atlanta for three years, where she serves as an Assistant Account Executive. Going from undergrad to a PR agency, she’s found ways to carry this same spirit of advocacy in her day-to-day work with her current clients.

Professor Watson’s class created an opportunity for Grey to champion important issues related to lower-income women. She continues to encourage public affairs students to embrace their personal politics as they work toward becoming communications professionals. Whether campaigning for a candidate, working on a new initiative, or putting your skills to work at an agency, public affairs communicators are always holding space for their beliefs and advocating for what they think is right.