This summer, our PAC program students lived in Delta Hall and interned in Washington, D.C. (Graphic by Megan Mittelhammer).

PAC Student Spotlight: Summer 2021

This summer, 11 Public Affairs Communications students lived and worked in the nation’s capital. They participated in the GradyDC program, where University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication students live and take classes in Delta Hall for about 10 weeks.

Here are some profiles of our PAC program students who had the ultimate summer experience.

Molly Sikes
  • Fourth-year Journalism and Political Science double major
  • Communications and Research Intern at the Republican National Committee
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

Without PAC, I would not be prepared to write Op-Eds or LTEs. I was asked to do this almost immediately, and I am so thankful for my PAC experience for preparing me for this. Dr. Watson’s advice and tips as well about how to make connections in D.C. have been influential in my time here.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

My advice is to say yes to everything! Even if you are unsure if you are qualified, skilled enough or knowledgeable enough, give everything a chance because you are more than likely more than qualified enough and will excel.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part of D.C. has been living in the center of American politics. I love knowing what happens right as it happens and being around others who also love politics and have the same passions that I have.

 

Carolyn McLain
  • Fourth-year Political Science and Public Relations double major
  • Federal Relations Fellow at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (remote)
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

I think PAC helped me better understand the language and writing styles I am using in this fellowship. It taught me how to apply my writing skills to the political and legislative scene in a concise fashion.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

If you want to work in the political or government communications landscape, most definitely apply for the PAC certificate! It has provided me with so many opportunities I may not have otherwise had, and the small cohort gives you a chance to get to know other people and the speakers that come in to talk to you, which is so important. The PAC certificate classes are so fun and interesting, and it opens the door for you to also come to do the Grady DC program!

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

It has been so cool to live in another city for a summer and explore and learn while I am here. It has been an experience like no other. I love getting to feel like a local and experience every part of DC, because it is such a cool city. This summer program is especially cool because you have built-in friends at Delta Hall, and you get to have that piece of UGA in DC. DC also has so much history, so the American history nerd in me is thriving.

 

Caroline Kurzawa
  • Fourth-year Journalism major
  • Integrated Communications Intern for Enterprise Operations at Lockheed Martin (remote)
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

The writing and strategic thinking skills I have learned through the PAC program made it much easier to start my position and anticipate what my supervisors were expecting of me.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

Apply anyway. Not sure if you’ll get it? Apply anyway. Take the risk because the education you are receiving will support your goals. To students considering the PAC program: this program is one of a kind and will provide you with the kind of skills that employers in the public affairs realm need. Professor Watson brings his real-world experience and knowledge to the classroom to prepare you for your future.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

The energy! There is always something to do and places to see. This is a great place for young professionals who want to be at the heart of public affairs.

 

Chandler Rebel
  • Third-year Journalism and Political Science double major
  • Communications Intern at the Institute for Energy Research
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

I feel that the PAC certificate has more than prepared me. I have a long way to go before writing flawlessly, but I have learned to do so adequately through the program. It has also contributed to being able to adapt with an ever-changing political environment.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

By all means, do it! You have to have an attitude that desires personal growth and an invaluable opportunity. These internships, along with the PAC certificate, are the perfect way to continue this growth.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part about living and working in DC would have to be the friends I have had the chance of making along the way. And also an occasional Washington Nationals game.

 

Kayla Roberson
  • Fourth-year Journalism and Political Science double major
  • Press Intern at the United States House of Representatives
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

The PAC certificate has prepared me for this job by teaching me the practical skills I need to work in political communications. Skills like writing press releases, op-eds, social media posts, and creating graphics were all skills that I learned in my PAC classes that I have used as a part of my role on the Hill.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

If you’re thinking about getting a PAC certificate, don’t think about it anymore, just do it! Getting to learn about political communications under the guidance of Professor Watson has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had UGA.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

There are so many things I have loved about living in D.C. this summer, but every time I walk past the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court on my way to work in the mornings, I am overwhelmed by the fact that I have the opportunity to assist a member of Congress as they serve their Constituents in Washington.

 

Jake Strickland
  • Fourth-year Public Relations and Political Science double major
  • Digital Media and Marketing Intern at Human Rights Campaign (Remote)
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

The PAC certificate has prepared me for my internship by strengthening my writing skills, while also giving me insights into how to network with people.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

For other students looking to take on a similar role, I would say don’t be nervous to try something new within your internship. If they’re considering a PAC certificate, I would say go for it – it’s one of the best decisions I made in college!

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part about living and working in DC has been the access to networking. There are so many people here (particularly UGA people) that have helped shine a light on what I want to pursue, and I’m truly thankful for that.

Date: August 12, 2021