UGA Mentor Profile: Sydney Palmer and Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08)

Sydney Palmer (l.) shadowed Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ '08) at the 11 Alive Studios as part of the UGA Mentor Program. "While at the studio, I witnessed the fast paced nature of news and was able to see how the studio runs," Palmer said. "It was an invaluable experience." (Photos: courtesy of Jennifer Bellamy)

UGA Mentor Profile: Sydney Palmer and Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08)

January 09, 2024

Participating in the UGA Mentor Program has been a win-win partnership for Sydney Palmer, a journalism student, and her mentor, Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08), an anchor and reporter for 11Alive News in Atlanta.

“Seeing how successful Jennifer is inspires me,” said Palmer, who is aspires for a career in broadcast journalism after graduation. “She has paved the way for students like me and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to learn from her.”

For Palmer, the relationship builds confidence in her career path, offers networking opportunities and provides guidance about working in the industry.

For Bellamy, her time with Palmer provides an opportunity to give back to the University, as well as a connection to current programs that Grady College offers.

“I enjoy hearing a new perspective on life and journalism from my mentees,” said Bellamy, who was a UGA 40 under 40 honoree in 2021. “It also keeps me up-to-date with all of the amazing changes and opportunities being offered at Grady College. I love staying connected to UGA and my college, and it feels good knowing I can play a positive role in someone else’s journey to success.”

Palmer and Bellamy usually talk via Facetime or text one or two times a month, or whatever works for their schedules. In December, Palmer had the opportunity to shadow Bellamy on the 11Alive set, that included touring the studio, sitting in the afternoon story meeting, observing Bellamy prepare her scripts for the evening news and watching the show live.

Mentors and mentees are traditionally paired through the UGA Mentor program for 16 weeks, but the relationship can continue well beyond that timeframe.

In celebration UGA Mentor Month, Palmer and Bellamy offered some insight into their mentor relationship.

Grady College: What motivated you to register for the UGA Mentor program?

Palmer: I am a part of the Student Alumni Council (SAC) here at the University of Georgia. Professionalism and networking with alumni is a huge part of what we do in the council. After having a Mentor Quick Chat with Kelsey Coffee (AB ’20), I decided to register for the UGA Mentor program so I could start building my own network.

Bellamy: I wanted to be part of the UGA Mentor program to give back to young students in the same way that others poured into me on my career journey.
I’ve always enjoyed helping others and the program helps me to connect with students I might not meet otherwise. UGA gave so much and has meant so much to me, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to help my fellow Dawgs!

GC: What are the general themes of conversations you have?

Journalism student Sydney Palmer (center) joins 11Alive anchors Faith Jessie (l) and Jennifer Bellamy for a picture during her day shadowing Bellamy as part of the UGA Mentor Program.

Bellamy: The conversations I have with my mentees include discussions about their futures and how to accomplish their goals. We also talk about their courses, what they’re learning and their activities outside the classroom and how they apply to their future careers. I often use my own experience and those I’ve observed to help offer new information and context to their lives, decisions and aspirations. Recently, Sydney came to shadow me at work. She got a chance to see how things work behind the scenes, meet several other Dawgs at work and make other connections of her own.

Palmer: We talk a lot about internships as I will be going to Washington, D.C., this summer through the Honors in Washington program. We also talk a lot about career goals and what working in television looks like as a Black woman. I recently had the opportunity to shadow Jennifer for most of the day. It was an invaluable experience and I cannot wait to go back and shadow again very soon.

GC: What advice do you have for students or professionals wanting to be involved with the UGA Mentor program?

Bellamy: For any potential mentors, I’d say jump right in. Your experiences and advice can help steer the future of your industry in the right direction and help students avoid the missteps many of us encounter in life. For future mentees, the program is what you make it. I’ve made so many major moves in my career based on connections. You never know what doors might open, what relationships you can enjoy or how much your life and career could be enhanced with a few simple calls, texts or facetimes as you prepare to take on the world.

Palmer: Do not be afraid to advocate for yourself and form connections! Networking is so important while you are in college and the people that you know have the ability to take you very far in your career. Utilize all the resources that UGA has to offer and do not be afraid to ask for help.

Visit the UGA Mentor website to register to become a student mentee or an alumni mentor. There are several dozen Grady College alumni waiting to be paired with Grady College students.

Editor: Sarah Freeman,