Jaylen Spidell profiled as UGA Amazing Student

Jaylen Spidell profiled as UGA Amazing Student

March 23, 2020

This story originally appeared in its entirety here: news.uga.edu/amazing-student-jaylen-spidell/

It took a year for Jaylen Spidell to find his groove, but when he stepped out and found opportunities to learn, grow and build a community, he took full advantage of them and says UGA “has been everything and then some.” Next stop: L.A. or New York.

Marietta, Georgia

Family ties to UGA:
I’m the first to attend UGA! The rest of family went to other colleges, but hopefully we’ll have a few more Bulldogs down the line.

Expected graduation:
Spring 2020

Degree objective:
Entertainment and Media Studies

Other degrees:
Design and Media Minor, New Media Certificate

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
The one way to do college wrong is to not get involved and I experienced that firsthand. My freshman year was a very interesting time where I was so lost at this university because I didn’t take the time to venture out and get involved.

Sophomore year, I got involved in an organization called UGA Miracle, and that was the changing point in my college career. It started when one of my friends reached out to me to apply to the Media Committee. The following year I jumped from a committee member to the Executive Board, serving as the co-chair for the Media Committee. This year, I had the honor of serving as communications director on the Executive Council.

In the spring semester, I started my current internship at Seacrest Studios as a broadcast intern. This also allowed me to combine my passion for the hospital and digital media in a very exciting way. As interns, we get to learn how to broadcast using all kinds of technology, but also meet the community of the hospital.

Then after it all, I finally got into major, Entertainment and Media Studies. During my time as an EMST major, I have learned so much about the entertainment industry. Last summer I was fortunate enough to be accepted to the Grady LA Domestic Field Study and have the opportunity to work in my industry. This program allowed me to connect with so many entertainment professionals. I interned at Valhalla Entertainment, the production company behind “The Walking Dead,” and 1091 Media, a film distribution company. I got the chance to work on the “Them That Follow” movie premiere with 1091 Media and learn all about the world of a production company at Valhalla.

The best decision I made was applying to be a tour leader at the UGA Visitors Center. I remember how I felt after my tour of UGA and I wanted the opportunity to help other high schoolers on the same journey.

The University of Georgia has been everything and then some. This place has provided me so many amazing experiences that have shaped who I am today! As I continue my journey, I’ll always have UGA as my home away from home.

I chose to attend UGA because …
Unlike many of my friends, I didn’t know anything about UGA before my senior year. I’ll never forget my high school counselor telling me about UGA, and I said: “What’s that?” I toured this campus my senior year, and at that moment, I knew this was the place for me. The feeling of home and the community here couldn’t be compared to any of the other schools I visited. I’ll never forget when I saw those fireworks at 4:40 p.m. on March 13 … the best day of my life.

The craziest thing I’ve done is …
… say yes to road-tripping from Los Angeles back to Athens. I’m not a very spontaneous person, but my friend needed to drive back to Athens and asked me to join him on the ride. I always dreamed of going to Los Angeles, so that same day I booked my flight! I spent a week getting to explore Los Angeles and I fell in love. Most go along the southern border of the U.S. on the way back to Georgia, but our journey started from Los Angeles and up to Washington. We stopped in San Francisco, Napa Valley, Portland and Seattle. We then cut down diagonally, stopping to camp in Yellowstone, and then finally getting back to Athens.

My favorite professor is …
How do I choose one! All my professors in the Grady College Entertainment and Media Studies department have taught me so much about what it means to work in the entertainment industry. They are my toughest critics but the biggest cheerleaders! If I had to choose, it would be Anne Gilbert. Dr. Gilbert taught my introduction class to EMST and allowed me to see it from a whole new lens. Her knowledge of how the industry operates fascinates me that I could talk to her for hours. Dr. Gilbert was the program director over Grady LA and she made sure that we not only enjoyed our internships but experienced the meaning of being an Angeleno, trying every food possible. We also talked about our love for the “Golden Girls,” which is always a plus!

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with …
… Betty White! I have loved Betty White for as long as I can remember. “The Golden Girls” is my absolute favorite show and I took a special trip to see the real house from the show. I posted on my Instagram for her birthday, did a TED Talk about her, and the list goes on and on. I LOVE Betty White. She reminds me of a lot of my late great-grandmother who was my best friend my entire childhood and Betty White gives me a way to still feel her.

After graduation, I plan to …
… move to either Los Angeles or New York to pursue a career in entertainment news. My entire life I dreamed of working for entertainment news in some capacity. I have no idea where the road will take me, but I believe everything will work out the way it is supposed to. It’s funny because the old me would be freaking out about not knowing, but I’ve watched so many before me go on to do amazing things not having a single idea.