Two senior Grady students named Yarbrough-Grady Fellows for Spring 2020

Two senior Grady students named Yarbrough-Grady Fellows for Spring 2020

February 21, 2020

Athens, Ga. — The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has named Allison Chenard, a 23-year-old student from Mooresville, North Carolina, and Mary Gardner “MG” Coffee, a 22-year-old student from Dallas, Texas the Yarbrough-Grady Fellows for Spring 2020.  

Chenard is a fourth-year student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a minor in music. Throughout her time at the University of Georgia, she has been heavily involved in the club sailing team and has served as the race team captain and media chair for all four years. She discovered her love for communications through her work with the sailing team and extended her passion by running media for and representing 38 colleges and universities in the southeastern district of college sailing. She now works as the communications coordinator for over 250 schools across the country. 

Chenard plans to move to Rhode Island after graduation in May of 2020 to pursue media in the sailing industry. 

Also a current fourth-year student, Coffee is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in sociology. Aligning more to her interests, Coffee is also enrolled in the Public Affairs Professional Certificate program on Grady College’s Public Affairs Communications side.  

She decided to attend the University of Georgia after hearing about Grady College’s competitive academic rigor, unique learning opportunities, and commitment to its student’s success. 

Coffee hopes to move to Washington, D.C. full time and work for a large public relations agency after graduating in May 2020. Ultimately, she aims to focus her career in public affairs communications. 

“Grady College has enhanced my education beyond what I thought was possible,” said Coffee. “The dedication displayed by Grady College’s professors, faculty members, and alumni to ensure the level of experience and mentorship students receive is unparalleled. It is an honor to work alongside those who made my education possible as the Yarbrough-Grady Public Relations Fellow.” 

The Yarbrough-Grady Fellowship is a semester long position that offers two student the opportunity to work with the Grady College external relations team to help strategize public relations initiatives and create content for the college’s website and social media channels.  

Focusing on graphics production in her fellowship, Chenard will exercise her design skills by creating materials for Grady College’s news releases, website, and social media platforms.  

Coffee, the PR fellow, will spend most of her time writing news releases, student profiles, and event write-ups. She will coordinate with a Chenard to produce visually cohesive and enticing stories that further Grady College’s purpose and mission.  

“The Yarbrough-Grady fellowship looks for top talent among our students and creates a win-win program,” said Sarah Freeman, Director of Communications at Grady College. “The students receive solid work experience and networking for an employer that they know a lot about, and the college benefits from a student perspective and from working with students who exemplify the strong education we offer.” 

Dick Yarbrough, an alumnus of Grady College, has funded Grady student success for many years. In addition to the fellowship, the C. Richard Yarbrough Student Support Fund has provided stipends to hundreds of Grady students for more than a decade.  

“I am honored to be able to fund fellowships at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia,” said Yarbrough. “I can never repay my alma mater for what it has meant to me.  I am so impressed with the quality of the students there today and hope that perhaps the fellowship will give the recipients a learning opportunity they might not have been able to receive otherwise.  The only thing I ask in return is that when they are able that they give back to the next generation that will succeed them.”     

Coffee is dedicated to continuing her education outside of the classroom and is motivated by her supportive friends and family.  

Chenard is inspired by her loving grandparents and is excited that her career is a happy marriage of her two late grandfathers’ passions: photography and sailing. 

“I had heard wonderful things about Mr. Yarbrough and all that he’s done for Grady College long before applying for this fellowship, and I’m ecstatic that I now have the opportunity to serve my school as a student and follow in his footsteps in a very small way,” said Chenard. “I really look forward to the day that I can give back to UGA in the same way Mr. Yarbrough has.”