#ProfilesofTenacity: John Atkinson

Why did you choose your major?

I am double majoring in advertising and computer science because of the technical and creative capabilities they both bring to my education. By starting out with advertising as a major and venturing into the New Media Institute with classes like web development, I reignited my passion for computer science and now actively pursue it in my day-to-day through my organization, UGAHacks.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Megan Ward can truly teach a class, and her New Media Industries class holistically converged all of my education into one semester. While learning from industry professionals about various career paths, I was able to hone my personal skills by creating business cards, identifying key milestones for my credit, and solidifying my interviewing skills. This was my most memorable Grady experience.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

Favorite professors are always a hard topic for me because Grady has such a high quality of professional staff simply teaching the students, not to mention the wonderful advisors and facilities staff. While it changes each semester, I would say my current graphic communication professor, Sabrena Deal. Each day in her class is a learning experience where I can challenge my standards and produce new creative pieces for my assignments. From my interactions with her in class to my interactions with her while helping run AdPR Connection and the Grady career fair, I would say all of them were meaningful and positive. I can’t wait to see how I will continue to apply the knowledge I have learned from her.

What motivates you?
Atkinson points to a poster board with colorful post-it notes
Atkinson is a counselor for Dawg Camp Innovate. (Photo/submitted)

I would say I follow many conventional norms of a college student: I stay up late studying for my exams, I avoid 8 a.m. classes as much as I can, and I try as many things as I can. What I would say motivates me to go beyond other conventions would be general curiosity and interest in learning. Now, while it requires a little bit more planning, I still enjoy involving myself and trying as hard as I can because I am simply curious as to how much I can achieve.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

I would say my largest accomplishment in the last year would be helping plan, organize, promote, and run UGAHacks’ first sustainability themed ‘Makeathon.’ With four university partners, two corporate sponsors, and 250 ‘Makers’ in attendance, it was an overwhelming success! I am now looking towards planning our main event, UGAHacks 8, which will take place February 3-5.

a group of Grady ADPR students pose on stairs
Atkinson (pictured in front row, left) participated in the Grady New York study away program this past May. (Photo/submitted)
What do you plan to do after graduation?

As I now look for remote summer internships based in California or New York in software engineering, I continue to update my 1-3-5 year plan. After graduation, if I don’t move immediately after the ceremony to start working in a different city, I will celebrate. I can only speak for myself, but I believe most individuals who come through UGA couldn’t do so without tremendous support from friends or family. I want to celebrate this occasion as not only my own, but all the people who came with me along the journey.

What is an example of a time you used your skills in a real-world experience?

To tie it all together, I would say I actively used the skills I learned in Megan Ward’s New Media Industries class using my study away trip to New York this past summer. A larger reason why I appreciated that class is because I had immediate replications of the skills I learned, such as using business cards and interview prep, while interacting with C-Suite level individuals and UGA alumni who worked in advertising/marketing/PR in companies like Google, Wieden+Kennedy, and Klick Health. The casual atmosphere that I had with those people was made possible through my interactions and course work done in that class. If I had the chance again, I would take it all over again (By the way, I am! It’s an open seminar session, so I look forward to what next semester has to offer).

AdPR Department awards Jonina Bullock the inaugural AdPR Vision Award

The Department of Advertising and Public Relations is pleased to announce the inaugural winner of the AdPR Vision Award, advertising major Jonina Bullock. This award was made possible by generous alumni and friends of the department who contributed to AdPR Giving Day over the past three years. The Vision Award is open to advertising and public relations each year. It is awarded to students who exemplify the leadership qualities that will positively impact the advertising and public relations industries in the future.

Bullock is a third-year advertising major. Through experiences as a brand experience co-op student with Delta Airlines, participating in the G.R.O.W.T.H. initiative as a Project Management Fellow, and being involved on campus through Women in Media and as a resident assistant, Bullock is a perfect representation of a student who embodies the principles of the Vision Award.

“Winning the inaugural AdPR Vision Award means the world! I cannot wait to continue contributing to the advertising industry,” stated Bullock.

In her career, Bullock hopes to work in a creative direction through various mediums. She recently had the opportunity to attend Culture Con and was able to grow her industry knowledge and skills. Bullock also hopes to attend the Maymester in New York class as part of Grady College’s experiential learning program to allow her to enhance her industry knowledge and learn from industry professionals. Her vision is to tell stories that have not yet been told and show consumers that brands hear and understand them. 

“My vision for the ADPR industry is one that is innovative and really listens to consumers.” 

The AdPR Department is excited to watch Bullock’s vision come to life and looks forward to contributing to other students’ visions in the future. Congratulations! 


#ProfilesofTenacity: Dolores Trobradovic

Dolores Trobradovic is a fourth year public relations and international affairs student who understands the importance of getting involved on campus. Trobradovic serves as the president for the UGA Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), an organization that has had a large impact on her college experience.

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

To be tenacious is, above all else, to be persistent. Over my four years at Grady, I have learned that the key to success in academics and career is to just keep going. Natural talents can only take you so far, but in order to truly achieve your goals, you have to be willing to put in the work consistently. Tenacity means having a strong will and not giving up even when your dreams seem unattainable. It means pushing through difficult times and knowing that hard work will lead you to where you are supposed to be.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

As all public relations students do, I took Public Relations Communications my junior year with Tom Cullen. Professor Cullen’s class is by far the most difficult and rewarding Grady class I will ever take. PR communications taught me truly what PR is in terms of practical skills. Beyond that though, Professor Cullen pushed me to do my best work in that class. I grew a lot in that class not just as a PR student but also as a human being. And all of that was thanks to Tom Cullen.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?
Trobradovic leads PRSSA members through team bonding exercises at this year’s kickoff meeting. (Photo/submitted)

The UGA chapter of PRSSA has had a huge impact on my time as a student at UGA. Throughout my time serving on the executive board, what I have learned about commitment and leadership through that has been so important to me as a person. PRSSA has given me invaluable industry insight, networking skills and above all a sense of community at Grady and UGA. I have made amazing friends through PRSSA and the best memories that I will take with me after my time at UGA.

What motivates you?

When I was a little girl, I loved watching my mother dress in her high heels and professional outfits. I had this admiration for her as a working woman and internalized that to create a sort of vision of myself in her position. I am motivated by that image of myself in the future all dressed up, successful and happy with the contribution I am making to the world.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?
Trobradovic poses with a friend at the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. (Photo/submitted)

My most memorable Grady experience is undoubtedly my study abroad experience in France this summer. I was lucky enough to participate in the Cannes Lions study abroad where I went to the Cannes Creativity Festival. I was able to hear speakers of diverse backgrounds from the creative industry and the world, such as Malala Yousufzai, Ted Sarandos and so many more. This summer helped create a real excitement for my career and what I can do after my time at Grady that I will always be grateful for.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I have ever received is to know your worth. It can be easy to think that as young college students with no industry experience, you should take every and any opportunity that comes your way. While you should take opportunities to get experience and grow, it is important to understand to know what opportunities will truly be beneficial for you as a person. Knowing your worth is integral to forging a successful path in your career and in your personal life. If you believe in yourself, then so too will others.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?
Trobradovic smiles for a photo with her fellow PRSSA executive board members at their kickoff meeting. (Photo/submitted)

Get as involved in clubs as you can. The earlier you get involved in organizations, the better. Grady offers so many amazing opportunities to learn and experience new things within the communications world and it is so important to take advantage of it. Don’t be afraid to run for positions of leadership and commit yourself to clubs, because they will not only teach you invaluable career skills, but they will also bring you some of your fondest memories of this time in your life.

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I lived in Frankfurt, Germany for four years. From the age of 11 to 15, I experienced new cultures and traveled across Europe. Living abroad at such a young age definitely gave me a unique way of thinking and perceiving the world. It wasn’t always easy living in a foreign country, but the difficulties gave me a confidence in myself that has shaped the young woman I am today.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?
Trobradovic leads a PRSSA meeting in studio 100 with guest speaker and alumna Amanda Maddox. (Photo/submitted)

This past year I have had the honor of serving as the president for PRSSA. My proudest moments are when our members tell me how much they have learned from our speakers or enjoy coming to our meetings. PRSSA has given me so much, and as president I want to ensure that everyone else has that very same experience. Knowing that I am able, even if it is in the tiniest manner, to help someone else in their journey at Grady is so rewarding.

Where is your favorite study spot?

This may not be a very popular destination for getting serious work done, but I often find that I am most productive at the Tate Student Center. While some prefer the silence of the MLC or Grady’s fourth floor, I thrive in the hustle and bustle of Tate. The energy and spirit of UGA brings me a lot of joy and I feel undeniably comfortable in the midst of all my fellow peers going about their days throughout the building.

Alumna Victoria Inman hopes to spark conversations with new book

Grady alumna Victoria Inman (ABJ ‘08) recently published her first book, “Spark Acceptance.” It tells stories of exceptional people through photography, aiming to create greater awareness and inclusion about people with disabilities.

The book features photos of over 50 individuals, complemented with words from parents, caregivers and the photo subjects themselves.

“I was touched by every single story in here. I’m so incredibly proud of what we’ve produced,” Inman said.

She wrote the book in collaboration with David Carr, a four time Grammy award-winning musician.

Inman works as a client success director for Jabian Consulting. Outside of her day job, she is a photographer and writes a blog. She lives with her two daughters and husband in Marietta, Georgia.

Turning pain into purpose

Inman hopes her book will spark conversations about inclusivity, but her inspiration for writing it comes from her encounters with exclusivity. 

photo of Torie Inman holding up her book
Inman’s book is self-published, and took less than a year to complete from start to finish. (Photo/submitted)

Her daughter is on the autism spectrum, and Inman says she has experienced many unintentional negative and insensitive comments throughout the years.

Inman says comments such as “She doesn’t look like she has autism” and “Are you sure? Because I don’t really see it” degrades her daughter’s diagnosis.

“I knew they had noble intentions with what they were saying, but I just felt in my heart that I’ve got to tell these people what weight the words that they share carry on a person,” Inman said.

These experiences led Inman to write “Spark Acceptance”, a photo book which celebrates people’s differences. 

Inman says the spirit of her book is to turn her pain into purpose, giving others with shared experiences a platform on how to connect with people who are different.

inman is pictured with her husband and two daughters, one of which holds up her book
Inman pictured with her husband and two daughters at her book’s launch party on Oct 14. (Photo/submitted)

“Instead of going up to someone in a wheelchair and saying ‘What’s wrong with you?’, you can present in a way such as ‘Hey, I see that you might need help. How can I help you?’, or ‘Would you mind sharing with me your experience?’”, Inman says. 

When asked what the one takeaway she hopes people will have after reading her book, Inman says she hopes people will pivot their behaviors and become more aware of how certain words can hurt, rather than spark acceptance.

“I would just want people to really take in the words of what these people have shared and think twice about what they say.”

Inman notes that her book in no way is meant to shame people for their past comments, but rather, it’s meant to show what it’s like to be a caregiver for someone who’s different. 

“Hopefully, this book provides awareness of the different disabilities and the impact that words have,” Inman said.

Mic woman memories

During her time at Grady College, Inman majored in public relations. She was the secretary of PRSSA and she served as a Grady College ambassador.

In 2007, Inman made history as the first female mic person for the University of Georgia. (Photo/submitted)

Outside of her involvement at Grady, Inman started the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) at UGA, where she served as president.

In 2007, The Red and Black published a story about Inman (maiden name Trent). She was the first woman to take on the role of mic man at UGA. Click here to read the article. (Photo/Georgia Historic Archives)

She made history as the first female mic person for the university. 

“Traditionally, this role had always been filled by a guy,” Inman said. “I really didn’t even think they would consider me for it.”

After her roommates, who were cheerleaders, encouraged Inman to try out, she went through a week-long audition process.

“When they posted the team roster and I was on it, I was really shocked and excited.”

Inman says coach Shelly O’Brien made the program more inclusive that season, renaming the title of mic man to mic person.

She stays connected with the university by serving as a council member for the women of UGA Alumni Association.

From the idea to the launch party, “Spark Acceptance” took less than a year to complete. This is Inman’s first book, which is self-published.

“Advice that I have is if you are passionate about something, go and make it happen,” Inman said. “If there’s something that you are passionate about, find a way to step into that.”

More information on Inman’s book, along with a link to purchase, is available on this website.

For more alumni authors, visit this page.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Suley Rostro

Fourth year public relations major Suley Rostro is passionate about contributing to inclusive work environments. She hopes to help increase Latino representation in the communications industry. Currently, Rostro is a public relations specialist at Talking Dog Agency. This summer, Rostro worked as a product PR intern at Apple in Cupertino, California.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose public relations because it incorporates writing, creativity and collaboration. I knew I wanted to work for brands that I am passionate about and make a change. PR exposes you to many industries and large organizations that have the influence to spark change in important global issues. I also knew I wanted to work in a reactive and cross-functional environment. PR is at the forefront of many crisis and celebrations; it is a very fast-paced environment and that’s where I believe I thrive!

What does tenacity mean to you?

Tenacity to me means exhausting your resources to meet your goal. I believe that a tenacious person looks for and creates opportunities that will help better themselves.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I hope to be a senior PR manager or a product manager at a company that I am passionate about. I hope to manage a team and assist in creating useful products. 

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about creating and contributing to an inclusive work environment. I believe that the best PR is done when working in a team that is diverse and accepting of others’ opinions. Also, I am passionate about increasing the amount of Latino representation in the communications industry. I hope to inspire other Latinas to pursue a career in public relations and contribute to making a change in organizations. 

Suley poses in front of a white wall with the Apple logo
Suley was a product public relations intern for Apple this summer, and worked out of their headquarters in Cupertino, California. (Photo/submitted)
What would people be surprised to know about you?

I went to South Korea alone for a month! I really enjoy solo traveling; it’s a great way to self-reflect. 

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment was landing my dream internship this summer. I interned at Apple and worked out of their headquarters in Cupertino, California.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

I hope to do in-house public relations for a mid-large sized organization. I am aiming to stay within the tech, gaming and animation industry.

What is an example of a time you used your skills in a real-world experience?

An example of when I used my skills in the real-world was when I wrote a post for Apple’s newsroom. Initially, I was not on the task, but I raised my hand, offered a helping hand, and was given the opportunity to lead the post! That experience put my PR writing skills to the test and taught me to not be shy when it comes to raising my hand. 

Where is your go-to restaurant in Athens?

My go-to restaurant is The Place in downtown Athens. They have a great selection of Southern food. I recommend going for brunch and trying their chicken and waffles!

Where’s your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus has to be the main library. I enjoy reading novels written by East Asian novelists. I find that their writing style is very raw and emotional, and the main library has a huge selection of East Asian novels. Whenever a book that I’m interested in comes up, I immediately look it up, and the main library always has it on their shelves.

Grady professors explore niche topics through first-year odyssey seminars

Eleven Grady College professors are teaching first-year odyssey seminars this semester. The goal of these seminars are to provide first-year students with the opportunity to engage with faculty members and other first-year students in a small classroom setting.

Professors chose a topic of their interest and craft a course tailored to first-year students. Courses span across all departments, and topics this fall range from telenovelas to film festivals to fake news.

Dean Krugman, Booker T. Mattison and Ivanka Pjesivac share their experience teaching first-year seminars this fall.

Developing a Perspective on the Changing Media Landscape

Dean Krugman is a professor emeritus in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. Prior to his official retirement in 2011, he taught courses in advertising management and advertising and society to undergraduates, as well as a graduate course in advertising management and communication theory.

Professor Dean Krugman meets with students in his first-year odyssey seminar on the first day of class. Krugman has previously taught courses on changing media, but this is the first time he is teaching the course to first-year students. (Photo/Jackson Schroeder)

Krugman held positions including department head and senior associate dean, “but nothing was as rewarding as teaching and doing research,” he said.

This year, he has returned to Grady College to teach a first-year odyssey seminar in changing media.

“This presented a great opportunity to come back and get in touch with students. It’s been really, really enjoyable,” he said.

His course on changing media is designed for students to understand how they consume media.

“The idea is for the students to build an intelligent and critical perspective of the media they’re using,” Krugman said.

Krugman says the classroom has always energized him, but that it’s been great to see how enthusiastic his students have been about sharing their views and receiving feedback. During the second week of class, students were assigned with writing a critique. Krugman said when he walked into class that day and asked if anyone wanted to share their critique, all 17 hands went up.

Krugman says the most rewarding part of teaching the course so far has been watching students grasp concepts, build on those concepts, and use those concepts in their work.

He says the first-year odyssey program is an enriching experience for students, and he credits UGA’s central administration for holding onto and championing this program.

The Short Film – A Lens of the Human Experience

Professor Booker T. Mattison’s course on short films uses films as both a genre and as an opportunity to examine humanity.

As a working writer and director, Mattison says “it’s nice to share with students not just what they learn in the textbook, but what’s happening in real time in the industry.”

Each week, Mattison screens a different short film – four of which he directed.

Booker T. Mattison sits and teaches in front of students
Mattison says his favorite part about teaching the first-year odyssey seminar is meeting first-year students. (Photo/Jackson Schroeder)

Students then write a response in class.

Mattison says it’s important for students to respond in real time so that other students do not influence their opinions. He says he hopes by doing it this way, discussions in his course are unvarnished.

For the final assignment, Mattison’s students will choose one of the films they’ve reviewed this semester and write an analysis.

He hopes the main takeaway for students in this course is that they will be able to look at visual media more critically, see themselves in visual media, and use that knowledge to better interact with others.

“The unique thing about film is that 100% of students on this campus watch movies,” he says. “The opportunity to then talk to a filmmaker and ask questions is pretty unique.” 

Fake News, Misinformation and Propaganda: How to Deal with Information Disorder

Dr. Ivanka Pjesivac’s course covers topics of misinformation, disinformation and propaganda in the digital world. Pjesivac’s course begins with an explanation of misinformation, and then delves into a historical perspective of misinformation.

Pjesivac says it’s important to teach this to first-year students, who are more vulnerable to misinformation.

“I think it’s important for young people to get digital media literacy skills as soon as they can,” she says. “It’s especially important for first-year students to be familiarized with some of the characteristics of misinformation, and how to distinguish true information from false information.” 

She says it’s important to expose first-year students to the research potential at UGA. In addition to lectures, she takes her students to the special collections library to view first-hand propaganda material, and takes the class to visit some of the research labs in Grady.

Pjesivac says it’s exciting to see an interest in news and misinformation among her students, many of whom are not pre-journalism or pre-Grady students.

“I see that there is a general interest among a variety of young people to learn about our current digital media ecosystem and how to navigate it,” she says.

By the end of the course, she hopes her students will have the tools to identify suspicious information and justify their skepticism.

Pjesivac says the most rewarding part of teaching this seminar is being able to apply her research to a class setting, and to expand the knowledge at Grady College to other majors.


Editor’s Note: Comments trimmed for length and clarity.


Four students named Yarbrough-Grady Fellows for Fall 2022

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has named four students Yarbrough-Grady Fellows for the Fall of 2022: Emily Alexander, Ashley Balsavias, Elise Kim and Emma Stefanik.

Alexander and Stefanik are Yarbrough-Grady Crisis Fellows, and some of their responsibilities include planning for the 2023 Crisis Communication Think Tank Conference, developing social media content, Crisis Communication Coalition member outreach and active discussion of current crisis trends.

Balsavias and Kim are Yarbrough-Grady Communications Fellows, and some of their responsibilities include content and graphic creation, helping to develop communications strategies, writing articles and helping to manage Grady College’s social media accounts.

Alexander is a fourth-year public relations student with a minor in English from Louisville, Kentucky. Throughout her time at UGA, she has been involved in many student organizations, such as Alpha Delta Pi sorority and UGA Miracle. She has also served as the public relations assistant for Strike Magazine.

Additionally, Alexander has had multiple internships at both Verde Brand Communications and Heaven Hill Brand.

Upon graduating in May of 2023, Alexander hopes to move to Chicago to pursue a career at a consumer or entertainment-focused public relations agency.

Balsavias is a fourth-year journalism student with a minor in law, jurisprudence and the state and a certificate in news literacy. She is from St. Louis, Missouri, and during her time at UGA, Balsavias has served as a reporter for the Grady Newsource Election Show, a production manager for Grady Newsource and the digital director for Online News Association and Society of Professional Journalists at UGA. She is also a member of DiGamma Kappa and Delta Zeta sorority.

In the summer of 2022, Balsavias was a news and sports intern for Atmosphere TV in Austin, Texas. She was also a Yarbrough-Grady fellow over the summer and is excited to be continuing that role into this semester.

“My favorite part about being a Yarbrough fellow—besides working with the amazing communications team—is that I’m given the freedom to work on projects that I’m interested in,” Balsavias said. “I recently expressed interest in writing more, and now I am working on two feature stories for the college website. I love that I am given the trust and responsibility to work on projects that spark my interest.”

After graduating in May of 2023, she plans to pursue a career as an on-air reporter.

Kim is also a fourth-year student studying journalism and international affairs with a minor in Spanish and a certificate in public affairs communications. She is from Greenville, South Carolina.

Throughout her time at UGA, Kim has been heavily involved in UGA HEROs, serving as a team leader, the recruitment chair and presently the co-executive director. She is also a student tour guide at the UGA Visitors Center and she is a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Over the summer of 2022, Kim was selected to participate in the Grady in D.C. study away program and she lived in Delta Hall while interning with PLUS Communications and the Student Press Law Center.

Upon graduating in May of 2023, Kim hopes to move to New York City or to move back to D.C. to work in the communications industry.

Stefanik is a fourth-year public relations major with a fashion merchandising minor from Richmond, Virginia.

She is also a public relations specialist with Talking Dog Agency, a student-led advertising and public relations agency at UGA that gives members the opportunity to create and implement real campaigns for different brands and, in turn, get hands-on experience in the advertising and public relations sphere.

Stefanik has also interned with Strait Insights in Charlotte, North Carolina. After graduation in May of 2023, Stefanik hopes to work at a public relations agency.

The Yarbrough-Grady Fellowship is funded by Dick Yarbrough (ABJ ‘59), an alumnus of Grady College who has helped promote the success of Grady students for many years. Yarbrough also gives back to students via the C. Richard Yarbrough Student Support Fund, which 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, they give back to the next generation that will succeed them.”

#ProfilesofTenacity: Marillyn Heigl

Marillyn Heigl is a fourth year student majoring in advertising, international affairs, romance languages and Latin American and Caribbean studies. Heigl is a strong believer in lifelong learning and a lover of stories, and her college experience has been heavily impacted by the organizations that she is involved in on campus.

Why did you choose your major?

For a very long time, I had no idea what I wanted to study in college.Admittedly, it’s stressful to be surrounded by people who seemed like they’d known they wanted to be doctors or lawyers since middle school when you’re struggling to figure your future out. But, that all changed in December of 2016 when I watched Google’s 2016 Year in Search. I watched that video practically on a loop obsessively. That video did such a beautiful job of capturing the rawness of that year and making it into something beautiful. Even now, I cry like a baby every time I watch it and look forward to the new Year in Search every single December. I remember realizing how powerful it was that a video produced as a way of promoting a company could be so moving. Because of that video, I realized I was interested in studying the ways that communication can influence emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

Right now I’m taking Telenovelas, Culture, and Society with Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru as my final Grady class and she is absolutely fantastic. Dr. Acosta-Alzuru is the epitome of someone who has identified a personal passion and pursued it with determination. She is incredibly knowledgeable and her expertise never fails to blow me away. For anyone who speaks any Spanish, I would absolutely recommend taking this class with Dr. Acosta-Alzuru, I promise you won’t regret it.

Heigl holds up a sign she made for the homecoming parade at the UGA Visitors Center. (Photo: submitted)
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The most impactful part of my college experience has been having the privilege of working at the UGA Visitors Center as a tour leader. I applied my freshman year expecting to be turned away and was ecstatic when I got the phone call telling me I would get to do my dream job. I can’t begin to try to express all the ways working at the VC has changed my life. The job itself has made me more curious, a better listener, and comfortable with vulnerability. Getting to play a small part in such an important life decision for prospective students isn’t something I take for granted. Additionally, many of the people who work there, between my coworkers and bosses, are not just friends and mentors but also like family. When I walk into the VC I feel like Michael Scott from The Office — it’s my favorite place to be.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady moment was when I found myself listening to the first minute of Birthday Song by 2Chainz on a loop for 20 minutes so I could remix it to be about Krystal, the fast food chain. For context, my advertising capstone had us present a campaign to promote Krystal’s new big chicken sandwiches and 2Chainz had been named their new head of creative marketing. That remix is honestly the weirdest thing I have ever created for a class but it was fun too.

Heigl was a Peer Leader for Connect, one of SGA’s First-Year Programs. Here, she and her group smile for a picture at one of their weekly meetings in the MLC. (Photo: submitted)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

Back in April, I received the Student Organization Achievement and Recognition (SOAR) Award for Commitment to Peer Mentorship. I had the honor of being a Peer Leader for Connect, one of Student Government Association’s First-Year Programs, during the 2021-2022 school year and it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in college. I was able to walk alongside some very special freshmen as they navigated their first year at UGA and now get to watch them step forward as inspiring campus leaders. It was meaningful to be recognized for my investment in other students because it affirmed that I had paid forward the effort that my mentors have invested in me.

Heigl and other Student Alumni Council members help welcome the newest freshman class to UGA. (Photo: submitted)
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I live by the following advice from my parents: don’t let the classroom get in the way of your education. Yes, I came to UGA to get my degrees and graduate but education can’t be restricted to PowerPoint presentations and exams. Anyone hoping to be a lifelong learner needs to shift their mindset to where they seek to learn from experiences that aren’t traditionally academic. From watching interesting Netflix documentaries to traveling in new environments to the people I’m surrounded by, I find myself learning all the time. You don’t need to sit in a classroom to keep learning, that’s something I hope to never lose sight of.

Who is your professional hero?

My professional hero is UGA graduate Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York. Stanton moved to New York and survived off of unemployment checks while photographing portraits of New Yorkers to tell their stories. Since starting HONY in 2010, the whole thing has blown up. The Instagram is wildly successful with over 12 million followers, he has traveled all over the world and has sold many books full of the stories of the people he’s met. In fact, one of Stanton’s books is prominently featured on the coffee table in my apartment as I write this. Stanton is a master storyteller and has highlighted so many of the complexities and truths of the human experience. His work has touched the hearts of many, including mine. What I wouldn’t give to sit down and get a coffee with him, he must have the best stories to tell.

Heigl poses with a friend in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris during her summer 2022 study abroad program. (Photo: submitted)
What are you planning to do after you graduate?

I am still figuring out the answer to this question and that’s okay. I have some extra time to figure it out, though. My application to do the capstone for UGA’s Portuguese Flagship Program is being reviewed and if selected I will be in Brazil in 2023 from February to December. I will go to a university there for four months and then get an internship and work for six. This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so while it’s a little terrifying, it’s also exciting. I’m hoping that the internship component of this 10-month program will provide me with more insight that will inform what direction I’d like to go in after graduating in the Spring of 2024.

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

A lot of people would be surprised to know that I went to an immersive language school in the middle of Indiana for 9 years.

Where is your favorite study spot?

Any dining hall where I can sip on a Dr. Pepper while I do my work with either my earbuds in or while chatting with friends!

Yan Jin named C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership

Yan Jin, a professor of public relations, director of the Crisis Communication Think Tank and assistant head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, has been named the C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership.

“I congratulate and welcome Dr. Yan Jin as the new C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership at Grady College,” Yarbrough said. “She is imminently qualified to carry on the work begun by her predecessor, Dr. Bryan Reber, with whom she worked closely in establishing the Grady College as a leader in the study of crisis communications.”

Yarbrough, a 1959 alumnus of Grady College, established the professorship in 2013 as one of several gifts to the college over the years.

Jin’s work serves as a framework for crisis and risk communication in a rapidly evolving media landscape and amidst emotionally charged conflict situations, ranging from organizational crises to disasters and public health emergencies. Jin’s prolific research in crisis communication, conflict management, and health risk communication contributes to the advancement of strategic communication theory and provide insights for public relations practice.

Dick Yarbrough and Yan Jin
Dick Yarbrough and Yan Jin at the Grady Salutes in April 2019. (Photo: courtesy of Yan Jin)

“Being named the Yarbrough Crisis Communication Professor is a huge honor,” said Jin. “The professorship presents an exciting opportunity to advance working with scholars and practitioners in concert with Dick’s vision.”

Jin continued by saying what an influence Yarbrough has been on her research endeavors. She recalled when she was studying with Glen T. Cameron as a graduate student at the University of Missouri, the first crisis communication article she read was co-written by Yarbrough and Cameron.

“To have the professorship bearing Dick’s name is so special to me personally,” Jin continued.  “I have been inspired by his work throughout my career and this is a full circle moment.”

Jin has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 30 book chapters. Most recently, she served as the lead-editor of the Routledge books Advancing Crisis Communication Effectiveness: Integrating Public Relations Scholarship with Practice (2021) and Social Media and Crisis Communication (2nd edition) (2022). She was also named a Top 27 “Most Cited Public Relations Author” according to a 2019 refereed article in ”Journal of Public Relations Research,” as well as a Top 6 “Most Published Author” and Top 16 “Most Cited Author” in ”Public Relations Review” articles according to a 2021 refereed article in “Public Relations Review.”

Jin teaches courses in Crisis Communication, ADPR Theory and Mass Communication Theory, PR Research, PR Management, PR Campaigns, and ADPR Health.

Jin, Reber and Glen Nowak co-founded the Crisis Communication Think Tank in 2018. The Think Tank aims to advance crisis communication effectiveness through dialogue and collaboration among leading public relations scholars and practitioners on emerging and complex crisis issues in the U.S. and internationally.

Among her honors, Jin is the 2019 recipient of the Kitty O. Locker Outstanding Researcher Award, a top honor by the Association for Business Communication.

Yarbrough retired from BellSouth Corporation as vice president in 1993 and served with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games as managing director. PR Week named him one of “The 100 Most Influential Public Relations Practitioners of the 20th Century,” and today, he writes the most widely weekly syndicated column in the state of Georgia, reaching more than a million readers every week. He also served as president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association from 1994 to 1996, and was inducted into the Grady Fellowship in 2008.


Three students selected as Fall Tieger Fellows in Public Affairs Communications

The Public Affairs Professional Certificate in Public Affairs Communications announces the selection of three new Tieger Fellows for the Fall 2022 semester: Jenna Monnin, Olga Diaz-Nasser and Sarah Dorr. The Tieger Fellowship gives students pursuing the PAC certificate at Grady College the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to real-world public affairs work promoting the program.

These three students started their fellowships this summer and will continue their work serving the PAC program this fall. The Fellows work closely with the Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications and PAC Program Director, Joseph Watson, Jr.

“We are excited to announce the selection of Olga, Sarah, and Jenna as our newest Tieger Fellows,” Watson said. “The vision and funding of Carolyn Caudell Tieger makes the PAC program and special opportunities like the Tieger Fellowship possible. These students will bring their unique talents and sensibilities to their roles that will help promote their program and keep our current and prospective students engaged. I look forward to working with these talented students to serve the PAC program.”

The first-in-the-nation PAC program was established in 2016 to give undergraduate students practical training in public affairs strategy and practice, and its classroom instruction focuses on advocacy work, public policy, and politics.

The Tieger Fellowship is funded by Carolyn Caudell Tieger (ABJ ’69), who has decades of public affairs experience with a career that spans Capitol Hill, the White House, global PR firms, and her own company.

Fall 2022 Tieger Fellows with Professor Joe Watson
Tieger Fellows Jenna Monnin, Sarah Dorr and Olga Diaz-Nasser pose for a picture with Joseph Watson, Jr.

“The program has exceeded all expectations not only in terms of equipping PAC students with the skills to succeed but in instilling in them a respect for each other and our country’s political process,” said Tieger. “These students have now become highly sought after by the U.S. Congress, state governments, corporations, public affairs agencies, pollsters and the media. Grady College and Joseph Watson have built a one-of-a-kind program in the nation that just keeps getting better. Congratulations to these three dynamic students who will be our PAC ambassadors for promoting the program and serving as leaders for the College.”

The Tieger Fellows will promote the program through media relations, social and digital media, and through events on campus. Monnin, the Media Relations Fellow, will write about PAC students, alumni, and events for the blog. Diaz-Nasser, the Social and Digital Media Fellow, will create posts and help manage the social media platforms for the program. Dorr, the Program Promotion Fellow, will promote PAC events and help the program connect with alumni and other groups on campus.

The PAC program and its courses have prepared these three students for their future careers, and this new cohort of Fellows is excited to continue using their skills this fall to serve the program.

Jenna Monnin is a senior from Atlanta, Georgia double majoring in journalism and political science. This summer, Monnin went to Washington D.C. on the GradyDC program and had two part time internships. She interned for National Journal on their editorial team and for Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press as a policy intern. On campus, Monnin works as a volunteer for Grady Newsource, a student-led broadcasting club. She was also elected by her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, to serve as the Panhellenic Delegate last year and the Nomination Committee Chairman this fall.

“I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to give back to the PAC program, a program that has truly prepared me to enter the real-world! My goal for this semester is to find unique angles for the stories I will be writing about our amazing network of PAC students and alumni.”

Olga Diaz-Nasser is a senior from Alpharetta, Georgia, majoring in public relations with a minor in French. She is also pursuing a master’s in public administration through the Double Dawgs pathway. Diaz-Nasser spent her summer in Washington D.C. through the Honors in Washington program as an intern in the office of Representative Lucy McBath. She has previously interned for See.Spark.Go, a PR agency. On campus, she serves as the Executive Director for University Judiciary, the Member Relations Manager of Women in Media, and a Grady College Ambassador.

“I’m excited to come back to Athens this fall and further involve myself in the campus community. My goal for the semester is to make sure I create fresh and well-timed content for all social media platforms for the PAC program. I’m looking forward to connecting with the PAC community through my posts and digital content.”

Sarah Dorr is a senior from Peachtree City, Georgia, majoring in public relations with a minor in general business and a certificate in New Media. Sarah spent this summer in New York City through the AdPR NYC program working as an intern for PR Consulting, a fashion, beauty and lifestyle-focused public relations agency. On campus, Sarah served as a Yarbrough-Grady Public Relations Fellow and currently serves as Vice President of UGA’s Drewry Chapter of PRSSA. She previously interned on the digital communications team at UGA Alumni Association.

“I’m super excited to serve as the Program Promotion Fellow for PAC this fall. Since the pandemic, it’s been hard to get all of us together in person. My goal is to bring back that aspect of peer networking that makes the program so unique.”