McGill Fellows named for 2023

A graphic featuring headshots of all 12 2023 McGill Fellows.
The 2023 McGill Fellows include (top row, from left): Victoria Adkins, Skyli Alvarez, Martina Essert, Taft Gantt, Jacqueline GaNun (AB ‘23), Cassidy Hettesheimer, Erin Kenney (AB ‘22), Sophie Ralph, Elizabeth Rymarev, Audrie Uphues, Melanie Velasquez and Ciera Walker.

McGill Fellows named for 2023

August 31, 2023

Twelve students have been named 2023 McGill Fellows by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. The class, selected by a faculty committee for their strengths in academics, practical experience and leadership, includes 10 undergraduate journalism majors and two graduate students. 

The 2023 McGill Fellows are: 

  • Victoria Adkins, journalism, Kennesaw, Georgia
  • Skyli Alvarez, journalism, Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Martina Essert, journalism, Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Taft Gantt, journalism, Athens, Georgia
  • Jacqueline GaNun (AB ‘23), graduate student, Savannah, Georgia
  • Cassidy Hettesheimer, journalism, Dacula, Georgia
  • Erin Kenney (AB ‘22), graduate student, Powder Springs, Georgia
  • Sophie Ralph, journalism, Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Elizabeth Rymarev, journalism, Cumming, Georgia
  • Audrie Uphues, journalism, Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Melanie Velasquez, journalism, Jefferson, Georgia
  • Ciera Walker, journalism, Columbus, Georgia

The McGill Fellows were responsible for researching nominees and selecting the recipient of the 2023 McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage, Lynsey Addario, who was announced in June. Addario is an American photojournalist who has been covering conflict, humanitarian crises and women’s issues around the Middle East and Africa on assignment for The New York Times and National Geographic for more than two decades.

The McGill Fellows will participate in the McGill Symposium on Sept. 20, 2023, which brings together students, faculty and leading journalists to consider what journalistic courage means and how it is exemplified by reporters and editors.

Visiting professionals who will speak at the McGill Symposium include Daniel Funke (ABJ ’16) of AFP, Frank LoMonte of CNN and Kamille Whittaker (MFA ’21) of Canopy Atlanta. Via video call, Addario will deliver the McGill Lecture and will accept the McGill Medal following the McGill Symposium. The lecture is part of UGA’s Signature Lectures series and will take place at 4 p.m. in Special Collections Libraries room 271.

This is the sixteenth class of McGill Fellows. The first class was selected in 2007.

The Grady College faculty selection committee consisted of Dodie Cantrell-Bickley, Keith Herndon, Janice Hume, Mark Johnson, Vicki Michaelis, Jonathan Peters and Diane Murray, who directs the McGill Program for Journalistic Courage.

The McGill Program for Journalistic Courage grew out of the McGill Lecture which for more than 40 years has brought significant figures in journalism to the University of Georgia to help honor Ralph McGill’s courage as an editor.

McGill, while editor and publisher of The Atlanta Constitution, was regarded as the “conscience of the south,” using the newspaper’s editorial pages to challenge segregation in the 1950s and 1960s. McGill was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1958 for “long, courageous and effective leadership.”

The McGill Program is funded in part by the McGill Lecture Endowment.