Summer academies introduce high school students to media careers, college life

Summer academies introduce high school students to media careers, college life

July 13, 2023
Students tour Athena Studios, with a house set in the background.
EMST Summer Academy students the new Athena Studios, where current EMST and MFA Film students take production classes.

Living in the dorm, eating in the dining hall and collaborating with other students to complete class projects are some of the activities that attendees of Grady College Summer Media Academy experienced this summer.  

Four different one-week camps were offered: broadcast journalism, entertainment and media studies, multimedia journalism, and public relations and advertising. More than 60 students from 12 states across the country including California, Colorado and Texas attended. 

“The Summer Media Academy is one of our most important outreach programs for middle and high school students,” said Stephanie Moreno (ABJ ’06, BA ’06, MA ’20), director of the program. “For more than three decades, Grady College has hosted these enrichment opportunities to help foster curiosity in careers across the media industry.”  

Discovering new skills and exploring potential career paths are the biggest advantages of the experience, according to EMST participant Alex Shaw. 

“Understanding media and how it affects the world and telling different perspectives is something I would be interested in doing in the future,” Shaw said. 

Summer Academy students present a SWOT analysis in front of a presentation screen.
AdPR students created a campaign for a local not-for-profit called Books for Keeps.

Each section was taught by Grady College alumni, faculty and staff. Instructors were  Tom Cullen  (MA ’18, MFA ’21),  a lecturer in the AdPR Department; Joe Dennis (MA ’07, PhD ’16), co-chair of the mass communications department and associate professor of mass communications at Piedmont University; Keshondra Shipp (MA ’23); Kimberlee Smith (MA ’23); Darby Taylor (AB ’23); and Tom White, Grady College broadcast engineer. Journalism major Cassidy Hettesheimer and public relations major Isabella Martinez also assisted. 

After a few days of learning the basic lessons, participants worked in groups to put the skills to use. Broadcast Journalism  students produced a show and Multimedia Journalism  participants wrote articles for a website. Students in  AdPR crafted a campaign for Books for Keeps, a nonprofit organization.  EMST participants made short films. 

Special guest speakers represented the Georgia Humanities, the National Press Photographers Association and the Student Press Law Center, among other organizations. Featured field trips included visits to Jackson Spalding, an Atlanta and Athens-based public relations agency; The Red & Black, UGA’s independent student newspaper; and Athena Studios, a film production facility where UGA MFA Film and EMST students take classes.   

Boy holds a UGA football helmet while football staff and another student pose nearby.
Summer Media Academy journalism students had a guided tour of Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall where UGA Athletics is housed, including the photo studio where promotional pictures of football players are taken.

Caroline James, AdPR participant, said she appreciated the college experiences like living in a dorm and sharing a room with someone she didn’t know before attending.  

James said she will remember what it was like to “be yourself and be independent. It’s about learning to do your own thing and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.” 

To view more pictures, please visit the 2023 Summer Media Academy album on the UGA Grady Flickr account.  

The Summer Media Academy is a partnership between the Grady College and the UGA Georgia Center for Continuing Education’s Summer Academy. Information about 2024 opportunities, including need-based scholarships, will be available in late fall at 




(Video produced by Jackson Schroeder)