Profiles of Tenacity: Kathryn Penn

Student smiles at Nsadaq stock market desk
Fourth-year Kathryn Penn explored career opportunities during Grady College's AdPR NYC summer program. (Photos courtesy of Kathryn Penn).

Profiles of Tenacity: Kathryn Penn

April 18, 2024

Kathryn Penn is a fourth-year public relations student interested in crisis communications. She encourages students to seek mentorship and peer networking opportunities to form a supportive community at UGA.

Why did you choose your major?

I applied to every college as an Intended speech pathology and audiology major but quickly realized that I was not suited to that major because of how many physics courses were required. After committing to UGA, I did some digging on each college’s website trying to see what other career options were out there. I’ve always loved writing and storytelling, so public relations was a natural fit.

What does tenacity mean to you?

To me, tenacity is a commitment to yourself and your goals. Tenacity is not just about having a strong will, but also about staying focused, adaptable and resourceful in the face of adversity. It is the unwavering dedication to the things that are most important to you.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

Nurture your relationships! The connections you form with professors, peers and professionals are some of the most important you’ll ever make. Take the time to check in, follow up and stay in touch with the people you meet in Grady and beyond.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Participating in Grady’s New York City study away program is easily the most impactful experience I’ve had at UGA. Living and working in New York helped me grow in so many ways. I gained a new level of independence and confidence, got my very first taste of the agency lifestyle, and experienced the unique adventure of living in the biggest city in the U.S.

Kathryn (second from right) interned at Sloane & Company, a strategic communications firm in New York City.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

This question is nearly impossible because of the incredible faculty that Grady has to offer. But Dr. Yan Jin stands out to me because of the relationship we’ve built over the last two years. After taking Dr. Jin’s Crisis Communication course, I was selected to become a Yarbrough Crisis Communication Fellow, supporting the Crisis Communication Think Tank. I have learned so much in this role under Dr. Jin, and I am sincerely grateful for her mentorship.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Don’t stand in your own way! Rejection and judgment are scary, but they shouldn’t stop you from putting yourself out there and taking risks. It will all be okay in the end.

Kathryn (left) smiles alongside PRSSA executive board members at a student involvement fair.

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

Do your best to take it all in. Four years fly by, so say yes to everything and cherish every moment.

How have the classes at Grady prepared you for your future?

The ADPR curriculum is thoughtfully planned to give students the best possible foundation for any career in mass communications. From understanding the basics of PR in Tom Cullen’s class to creating a full-fledged campaign, Grady’s classes aim to teach the most important and valuable skills to have in the industry. Plus, there are plenty of fun classes that make great conversation starters (AKA podcasting with Kim Landrum).

Editor: Jin Lee |