PAC Profile: Katy Gates
During the 2022 midterm election cycle, Public Affairs Communications students and alumni worked on campaigns and within the administrations of Georgia public officials on both sides of the political aisle. The PAC program equipped this group of students and alumni with practical knowledge and communications skills that prepared them for these fast-paced and important roles. This post is part of a series of pieces profiling a few of these hard-working members of the PAC program.
- Second-year honors student majoring in public relations with a minor in political science
- Press Intern for Raphael Warnock’s campaign for US Senate (spring 2022), and continued her involvement with the campaign through the UGA student organization Dawgs for Warnock (fall 2022)
- Digital Director for Students for Stacey, an outreach arm of Stacey Abrams’ Gubernatorial campaign (fall 2022)
When Gates first came to UGA, she was originally a political science major. However, her previous experience on the communications team for two campaigns, including Carolyn Bourdeaux’s campaign for US Congress (fmr. GA-7), had ignited her interest in public affairs communications.
Gates joked that she is a “FYOS success story” because after she took Professor Watson’s first year odyssey course called ‘Inside the Senate,’ she switched her major to public relations and entered the PAC program.
“Tuesdays and Thursdays are my favorite because I get to go to my PAC classes,” said Gates. In the PAC program, “the opportunity to build your skills on writing a press release, writing an op-ed, and making a pitch in a more controlled environment is very helpful,” said Gates. Gates interned for a public affairs communications firm in New York City for the ADPR NYC program this past summer, and said she felt “lucky” to be in the PAC program when some of her colleagues expressed that they wished they had a similar program at their universities.
As the Digital Director for Students for Stacey, Gates focused on mobilizing high school and college students to vote for Abrams. Some of her tasks included maintaining regular contact with her campaign team, promoting events by generating original content, and fostering partnerships with other organizations to help amplify the Abrams campaign.
Gates enjoyed her experience as a Press Intern with Warnock’s campaign, but she said serving as the Digital Director for Students for Stacey was a quite different role. “It’s a lot of content creation which I really like because it allows me to be really creative, as opposed to when I was doing press,” said Gates.
According to Gates, her time in the public affairs communications sphere is far from over, and her experiences in campaign work and the PAC program have given her valuable insight as she looks for internships for summer 2023 in Washington DC.
Gates’ advice for prospective PAC students is “Do it. It’s been the most valuable part of my college experience so far, and the mentorship you receive from Dr. Haynes and Professor Watson is unparalleled.”
Writer: Jenna Monnin, Tieger Fellow, Jenna.Monnin@uga.edu