#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.”

Summer Studio portfolio school launches Summer 2023

Budding creatives who are interested in graphic design, photography, content creation, visual storytelling, typography, and brand development will have a summer camp dedicated to their interests starting in 2023.

Grady College and Lamar Dodd Summer Studio: Creative Portfolio Program will offer four weeks of intensive creative instruction June 5-30, 2023. The name Grady and Lamar pays tribute to the strengths of two UGA colleges coordinating the program, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication which houses advertising and public relations majors, and Lamar Dodd School of Art.

“The creation of Summer Studio gives us the opportunity to build a creative community that will benefit students, while taking into account all of the things we need now: a quality experience that is diverse and in a condensed time frame,” said Kim Landrum, director of the program.

Summer Studio will include a variety of creative topics like graphics, photography, visual storytelling and brand development. This photo was taken during a Brand Storytelling class in September 2022. (Photo: Sarah Freeman)

Landrum, who teaches graphic design, social media and campaigns in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Grady College, is developing the program with Julie Spivey, area chair of graphic design at Lamar Dodd School of Art.

“There’s so much disciplinary overlap between graphic design and AD/PR so collaborating on a program makes perfect sense,” Spivey said. “The intense workshop format of this summer studio will foster a collaborative, creative learning environment in which students will benefit from the expertise of industry professionals while developing their skills in strategic communication.”

The four-week program features a rotation of eight classes including themes like ideation, typography, photo and mobile video, emerging digital media, dynamic imagery and the future of design. Classes will be taught by Grady faculty, Lamar Dodd faculty and some guest faculty from Athens and Atlanta. Students will complete the program with at least two to three finished pieces for their portfolios.

“We think it’s important to maintain sense of creative community — how can we create something special, but take into account busy summer schedules and leases,” Landrum said.

The program is being designed to be cost-effective, too, since it will be covered under summer tuition. Summer Studio will award six credit hours toward required courses, upper-level electives, Double Dawgs or graduate credit.

Landrum said program coordinators have consulted with industry professionals about the skills they would like graduates of the program to have, which led to the curriculum.

Planning is also taking place in creating ambiance that is meaningful, will fuel creativity and will encourage students to thrive.

“We want to create a space where students walk into the classroom and immediately feel more creative with color and inspiration and where every conversation is about creative topics that we love,” said Landrum who was inspired to start this program when the popular Summer at the Circus portfolio summer program hosted by Creative Circus closed. “We want to create opportunities for students to engage—to access the faculty and have creative, organic conversations with people who have experiences that are completely different from theirs.”

Applicants must be UGA students in good standing with a 2.5 GPA or higher.

Applications are now accepted for the program and more details can be viewed on the Summer Studio webpage.

Apply now to the inaugural Summer Studio Creative Portfolio Program.


AdPR Academy renamed, revamped after gift from Myra Blackmon

Quote card that reads " “For communications professionals to be truly effective, they have to reflect their varied audiences. A visceral understanding of our diverse audiences requires constant commitment. I am proud to be able to support such an effort through the college that has been such an important part of my life since 1969!”AdPR Academy of Grady College’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations has changed its name to the Myra Blackmon AdPR Academy for Diversity and Inclusion.

The six-year-old educational outreach program is designed to amplify the power of diversity, equity and inclusion while growing the pipeline of diverse advertising and public relations professionals. This year’s Academy will happen in Atlanta from Nov. 9-13. 

Myra Blackmon (ABJ ’72, M.Ed ’08) has enjoyed a long and varied career in industry and nonprofit organizations. For many years, she owned M. Blackmon Public Relations in Athens, serving a diverse clientele in finance, food products, health care, public affairs and fundraising. She and her husband, the late Dr. Thomas P. Holland, consulted internationally on management and governance of nonprofit organizations. Blackmon also taught public relations courses in Grady College’s AdPR Department for several years. 

“For communications professionals to be truly effective, they have to reflect their varied audiences,” said Blackmon. “A visceral understanding of our diverse audiences requires constant commitment. I am proud to be able to support such an effort through the college that has been such an important part of my life since 1969!”

Students in the Academy receive over 35 hours of training and mentoring by experts working in the advertising and public relations industries, participate in daily networking opportunities with corporate executives and agency professionals, and compete in teams representing real-life clients for cash prizes. 

“We truly appreciate Myra’s generosity,” said Dr. Juan Meng, Head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “Her commitment in advancing diversity and inclusion plays a huge role in supporting the success of this program.” 

This year, Grady College invited partner institutions Albany State University, Clemson University, Georgia State University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, Kennesaw State University, Tuskegee University and the University of South Carolina to hand-select cohorts of their own students to participate in the program. Interested students not attending one of the partner institutions were invited to apply directly.

Myra Blackmon teaching a class at Grady College.
Myra Blackmon teaching at Grady College. (Photo: Sarah Freeman)

“It’s really about creating and amplifying the importance of diversity and building a pipeline with a particular focus on students of color,” said DeShele Taylor, Director of the Myra Blackmon AdPR Academy for Diversity and Inclusion. “We’ve really seen a nice rippling effect of the benefits of this program. Everyone who has gone through this program has said that they feel they have a clear pathway forward.”

 Over its history, the program has graduated 99 students from 21 U.S. colleges and universities. Many of the program’s alumni have stayed in the fields of advertising and public relations, working for agencies, corporations or nonprofits. Several have gone on to pursue advanced degrees before launching their careers. 

In years past, the AdPR Academy happened in the spring. This year, however, the program will run in the fall, giving students the opportunity to put the experience on their resumes before submitting applications to competitive summer internships and jobs.

“The Department of Modern Languages, Communication, and Philosophy at Tuskegee University is excited to have our Communication majors as part of AdPR Academy,” said Dr. Adaku T. Ankumah, chair of the aforementioned department. “The goal of advancing diversity is in line with the University’s mission of being a center of diversity and its strategic goals for the next five years. In addition, we seek strategic partnerships that will provide our students with hands-on experiences, so they are ready for the job market. We look forward to the opportunities that will open for them from this collaboration.”

Mira Lowe, Dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communications at Florida A&M University, added: “We are excited to work with AdPR Academy at the University of Georgia in helping to close the diversity gap in the advertising and public relations industries. Our partnership will open new doors to our PR students seeking career opportunities and connections in various professional networks. This collaboration with UGA enables us to expand the professional development of our students in a consequential way.”

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Olga Diaz-Nasser

Olga Diaz-Nasser is a fourth year public relations major with a minor in French and a certificate in public affairs communications. She is also a double dawg and will be getting her masters in public administration. She is heavily involved in and outside of the Grady community, serving as the executive director of University Judiciary, the member relations manager for Women in Media, a Grady Ambassador and a Carolyn Caudell Tieger Fellow for the public affairs communications certificate.

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means going after your goals no matter the obstacles that are in your way. To me, it means determination, perseverance, and resilience. It’s something I hope to embody throughout my daily life.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

Professor Watson is definitely my favorite Grady Professor. His public affairs communications classes have helped me explore my career interests and develop my goals for the future. His experience, advice, and kindness have been invaluable as I’ve delved further into the intersection of politics and communications.

Diaz-Nasser gives a speech as the incoming executive director of University Judiciary at their Jenny Penny Oliver ceremony in April of 2022. (Photo:submitted)
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

I’m involved in an organization called UniversityJudiciary and it has truly defined my path here at UGA. University Judiciary has given me a supportive community to encourage me as I work towards my dreams and allowed me to gain the confidence in myself needed to achieve them. I’ve met my closest friends through the organization and the Office of Student Conduct staff have become some of my mentors. Judiciary has helped me grow as a person, leader, and friend.

What are you passionate about?

Helping others! My senses of justice and empathy have always driven me to serve others and that is what I’ve tried to do throughout my time here at UGA. I hope to keep working hard to help underprivileged and minority communities around the nation in my future career.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?
Diaz-Nasser poses for a picture with other members of the 2021-2022 University Judiciary executive council. (Photo:submitted)

Getting involved is absolutely essential. Freshman year is tough and your first year when you officially get accepted into Grady is tough too. Having people who support you and encourage you to go for it will be vital to your success and happiness. Grady has so many opportunities for students to get involved, learn new skills, and meet other passionate, driven Grady students. Don’t let any of these opportunities pass you by. Branch out and get involved!

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

Ok, in all honesty I found this quote on Pinterest but it still echoes in my head every day, “The grass is greener where you water it.” I struggled a lot freshman year. I was shy and nervous about getting involved on campus and making new friends. I had spent so long wanting this ideal version of what my freshman year was supposed to look like, that I forgot that I was the one who was supposed to make it happen. This quote pushed me out of my comfort zone. I realized it was my responsibility to put myself out there, join clubs, meet new people, and water my own grass. I try to live by this quote every day. Everything I do is to water my own grass, because I know if I put in the effort then no matter what happens I’ll be proud of myself.

What motivates you?

My parents are my biggest motivators. My mom is a Colombian immigrant and her story is what has inspired me to want to work in immigration policy. Both her and my dad have always been my biggest supporters and I do everything I can to make them proud. I’m thankful for all of their encouragement; without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Diaz-Nasser smiles for a photo with Congresswoman Lucy McBath (D-GA 6) during her summer internship in Representative McBath’s D.C. office. (Photo:submitted)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

This past summer I had the opportunity to intern in the office of Congresswoman Lucy McBath and live in UGA’s Delta Hall in Washington D.C. through the Honors in Washington program. Getting into Honors in Washington is definitely my biggest accomplishment this year. I was so honored to have been a part of the group of talented, passionate students that were in Washington D.C. with me and blessed to have been able to work in the office of my own representative, Congresswoman McBath. This summer was one of the best of my life and I’m so grateful to have been able to experience it alongside the UGA students in Delta Hall.

What are you planning to do after you graduate?

I hope to work in Washington D.C. My studies in the field of public affairs communications has really ignited a passion for policy and politics in me. I’d like to work in immigration policy on a federal level, hopefully in a committee in Congress!

Where is your favorite study spot?

I love to study on the fourth floor of the Main Library. It’s the floor where you can talk or take zoom meetings if you need to, and nobody will get mad if you’re speaking at a normal level. I hate studying in absolute silence so I love being able to study without being afraid of typing too loud or rummaging through my backpack too much.

Department of Advertising and Public Relations hosts 2022 AdPR Week

Grady College’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations will celebrate its 8th annual week-long celebration of National AdPR Week Oct. 3 – 7.

This year’s AdPR week will feature a lineup of engaging activities and presentations by alumni and industry leaders to facilitate students’ networking and professional development opportunities.

To kick off the celebration, AdPR is featuring its third annual AdPR Giving Day Campaign, asking alumni and friends of the Department to contribute to the AdPR Excellence Fund on Oct. 3. This year’s goal is to engage and achieve 50 donors within 24 hours. Many AdPR students rely upon scholarship support to enhance their education and professional development. Gifts collected on this AdPR Giving Day tackle this issue by inviting alumni and friends to contribute to a permanent scholarship for AdPR students.

“We need the support from our alumni and friends to achieve the goal of the Giving Day Campaign,” Dr. Juan Meng, head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, explained. “To help our students embark on a successful education journey, it is important to provide consistent and sustainable support. This might be a step along the way, but it opens doors for a deep understanding of needs and different ways to engage.”

Events scheduled during the rest of the AdPR Week are dedicated to giving students various opportunities to network and learn from professionals and alumni.  On Oct. 4, a diverse leadership panel, “Closing the Equality Gaps,” sponsored by The Female Quotient, an equality services company that provides thought leadership platforms for women and develops solutions for organizations committed to closing the gender gap in the workplace, will kick off the networking opportunity. Featured panelists include:

  • Debbie Ebalobo (ABJ ’10), director of global external and financial communications at The Coca-Cola Company
  • Soon Mee Kim, chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer at the Omnicom Communications Consultancy Network
  • Roma Desai Patel, founder and CEO at Tejari
  • Candii Woodson, director of media strategy at Cricket Wireless

The panel will be moderated by Emily Moody (BA ’19) from The Female Quotient.

On Tuesday evening, members of AdClub and PRSSA will have the opportunity to hear from Amanda Maddox (ABJ ‘10) on Public Affairs Communications. Maddox has been the communications director for a number of House Representatives and Senators of the Federal Government in her career. She currently serves as the managing director at PLUS Communications. She is the guest lecturer of ADPR 5991, Public Affairs Communications in a Federal Context, through the Grady in D.C. program.

On October 5, alumna Christine Shen (BBA ’12), lead for digital analytics at CHANEL, will be making her first return to campus since her graduation. Shen joined CHANEL with over eight years of agency experience leading paid media strategy for Fortune 500 companies such as Samsung, American Express and BMW. Her presentation will focus on brand storytelling and digital communications.

Grady College’s bi-annual Dawgs with the Dean has always been a tradition and highlight during the AdPR Week where Dean Davis dons his apron and provides lunch and entertainment to students, faculty and staff. It is even more special to have this signature event on the College’s new and beautiful Schnitzer Family Media Lawn on Oct. 6. In addition, a virtual industry insiders panel will be hosted in the evening highlighting careers in entertainment marketing.

Finally on Oct. 7, the inaugural AdPR Vision Awards will be accepting applications from AdPR students. The awards will provide one student majoring in advertising and one public relations major with $500 each to be used towards their academic endeavors.

“Increasing participation and engagement during our annually signature AdPR Week can have huge returns on overall reputation of our programs,” said Meng. “We are exploring endless opportunities to integrate our alumni’s presence directly into the campus community to build strong connections. We call for your action. Don’t just be in the community, become a part of it.”

The Department of Advertising and Public Relations remains one of the top programs in the country and has award-winning teaching and research faculty and highly successful alumni who are influencing the world of advertising and public relations by applying the knowledge they gained from a top-notch education at UGA.

AdPR Week will be shared on social media with the hashtag #AdPRide.

A calendar of events for AdPR Club

40 Under 40 honorees visit Grady College

five 40 U 40 honorees and Darby Taylor in PAF for 40 U 40 panel
Darby Taylor moderated “A Message to my Younger Self” panel. (Photo:Jackson Schroeder)

Five Grady College graduates named to the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 class attended the “A Message to my Younger Self” panel on Friday, Sept. 9, offering insight to current students about their paths to success.

Emily Curl (ABJ ’14), Lauren Culbertson Grieco (ABJ ’09), Chad Mumm (ABJ ’08), Kevin Schatell (ABJ ’16) and Michael Waldron (ABJ ’10) attended. Christie Johnson (ABJ ’07) was not able to attend the panel.

Dean Davis welcomed the alumni and students, saying the honorees exhibit “the leadership of this college and the careers that people launch from this college.”

Darby Taylor, a fourth year entertainment and media studies student and Grady Ambassador, moderated. The following are highlights of questions from Taylor and attending students, along with select responses from honorees.

What is one piece of advice you would tell your younger self about breaking into various areas of the industry?

Mumm: “Don’t be afraid to just go out and do it. Pick up a camera or write a screenplay. Use your early part of your career to make those mistakes. I think my biggest mistake probably was I felt like I had to do it all myself. When I moved to New York, I wanted to do it all on my own and I didn’t ask for help, but I wish I would have.”

Emily Curl smiles at Kevin Schatell
Emily Curl and Kevin Schatell have remained best friends after working together at the UGA Visitors Center as undergraduates. (Photo:Jackson Schroeder)

Grieco: “I completely agree with asking for help. If you want to work in the field of politics, the beginnings can be pretty brutal, but they’re totally fun and worth it. I worked on a campaign, but another option would be to get an internship or entry-level role on Capitol Hill.”

Curl: “I think what I would tell myself looking back is just take your time and don’t worry so much. I think it takes a long time to find your voice and to find out what you want to say and what you want to put out into the world.”

Schatell: “One of the best pieces of advice I got working in my first job was ‘You have nothing to prove, only to share.’ This has stuck with me, and it reminds me that your worth is not in what other people think of you, you just have skills and experiences to share. Something else I wish I would have developed early on is the art of asking good questions. As a producer, it’s all about asking the right questions and being genuinely curious.”

Waldron: “When working on projects, it’s easy to have a creative idea. But, to actually start something and to see it all the way through is where the brilliance in any creative work comes from. I think the earlier in your careers, if you can learn the value of just finishing things, that’s hugely important. The other thing is to know what you want to do and tell people that. Even when I was changing toilet seats, I made sure that everybody at ‘Rick and Morty’ knew I wanted to be a writer. Don’t be afraid to call your shots.”

All of you made a big geographic move after graduation. What tips do you have for students who want to move to big cities such as New York or L.A. after graduating?

Waldron: “Spending time here in Athens is amazing, but by moving away, you will grow as a person in ways you simply can’t imagine. Just getting out to another part of the country and other parts of the world is the best thing you can do.”

Grieco: “You will grow so much by getting different experiences. Travel has been one of those things I’ve done in my personal life that has made such an impact on my professional life. It really not only changes your perspective, but it also helps you reflect on who you are as a person and what you value. It gives you a completely a new new lens on life and the work that you do.”

What is the best way to reach out to alumni and build a connection with them?

Mumm: “With Dean Davis and all that the college has done, they’ve created so many opportunities here such as the mentorship program and Grady LA. When it comes to making connections, just ask for that intro. I get a lot of emails and introductions, and sometimes I miss it the first time around. Don’t hesitate to follow up. If someone is nice enough to connect you to someone else and they don’t respond right away, don’t be afraid to send a follow up note checking back in.”

Grieco: “Ask your professors. I’ve met so many people through Karen Russell and the dean.”

Waldron: “Never feel bad about following up again…I think anyone who went to Georgia, and especially those who are working in similar industries as us would be more than happy to talk to students.”

When you first started, what was your first major setback and how did you overcome it?

Schatell: “Moving to New York, although was the fulfillment of a dream of mine, was also pretty difficult. There was a season, especially toward the beginning, when I was slammed with anxiety. I’m not talking about the butterflies in your stomach because you’re excited kind of anxiety, but actual anxiety. I had to navigate learning to understand what was happening to my body when I had a panic attack, what was triggering it, and getting the help to fix that.”

Curl: “To quote my queen Kacey Musgraves, ‘You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but why would you want to be?’ I like that quote because when you’re in a public facing job, there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t get it – but there’s going to be someone who does, and there’s an audience for everyone. Keep perfecting your craft. People are going to tell you no, but you have to believe in yourself.”

Chad Mumm speaks at a Grady College panel
Mumm explains how he overcame the setbacks he experienced when moving to New York after graduation (Photo:Ashley Balsavias)

Waldron: “I wrote a spec episode for the show ‘Workaholics’, which I thought was super funny. It turns out that someone I knew happened to know the editor for the show, and I asked them to pass along my script to them. I then anxiously awaited the life-changing call saying ‘This the best script we’ve ever read, we’d like to bring you on, etc.’ But, I got an email back about two weeks later that was so scathing. I think the first sentence was ‘I don’t even know what to say,’ and it just got more punishing from there. The truth is, in any creative work, you fail 99 times a day, but you just got to get it right once. One good idea makes for a successful day. That was my first brush with serious rejection, and then I realized that it doesn’t kill you, it doesn’t really have any reflection on who you are as a person. Then you get up and you write a better script that isn’t a spec of ‘Workaholics’ and keep going.”

Mumm: “When I first moved to New York, it was at the height of the financial crisis. I was frustrated that I couldn’t get a job immediately. I was thinking that I would just walk into the city and immediately be on the 51st floor at NBCU. I remember walking around with resumes that I printed out bought very expensive paper for (because I thought that was going to matter), and I was going to HBO offices and NBCU, handing the security guards my resume. That didn’t work out of course, so I ended up taking a job for a commercial director who needed someone to change the toilets and clean the place…I get asked a lot by students what my goals are, and I honestly don’t have goals, I just have a direction. I just think, ‘Am I going north still?’ To me, that means pick your direction and stay at it. I think that kind of perseverance will take you super far. You just have to keep grinding and sticking with the things you believe in, and great things will happen.”

What was a moment in your career where you felt that you had “made it’?
Lauren Culbertson Greico speaks at the panel
One of Lauren Culbertson Greico’s defining moments in her career was arranging an interview between former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and former president Trump. (Photo:Ashley Balsavias)

Schatell: “For me, it was Dec. 8 of  2017. It was the day I arrived at work and Ed Sheeran was there, but so was Zac Efron. That was truly a milestone for me. I emcee the experience on our plaza every day, and every single one of the hundreds of people in that crowd knew how excited I was to meet that guy. It was one of those major ‘pinch me’ moments in my career. Whatever the ultimate dream is, it will happen, and your Dec. 8 of 2017 will come too.”

Grieco: “My ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore’ moment was when I staffed a meeting at the White House between our former CEO Jack Dorsey and former president Trump. I just sat there and I was like, ‘This is the most surreal moment of my life. How did Lauren from Marietta, Georgia, get here?'”

Mumm: “I don’t honestly have a moment that I could pinpoint as ‘the thing’. I like to use a stair analogy a lot. Sometimes you’re on the stairs, sometimes you’re on a landing, and you’ve just got to find more stairs. I like to think about it as one foot after the other.”

Curl: My ultimate dream was to work for E! News. I ended up auditioning for them and made it to the final rounds until I got a call from them saying they were going to go in a different direction. That was crushing, but looking back, I’m so glad I am where I am now and it all worked out. When I got the call from iHeartRadio, I got full body chills and started screaming. Something about that moment solidified it for me, where it was like, ‘Okay, I’m officially a host. I don’t have to pretend that this is a dream anymore. I’m actually doing it.’ All that is to say keep your options open – obviously have those goals and those dreams – but it’s okay to allow yourself the space that if those goals and dreams change, that’s going to be for the best for you too.

Thank you to our alumni for taking the time to offer students advice.

Editor’s Note: Please visit the Grady College YouTube page to view a video of the entire 40 under 40 panel discussion. Please visit the UGAGrady Flickr page to view pictures of the 40 under 40 panel.


  • Kevin Schatell and Emily Curl take a photo with Dean Davis. (Photo:Jackson Schroeder)


#ProfilesOfTenacity: Heaven Robinson

Fourth year advertising major Heaven Robinson uses her design skills both in and out of the classroom, serving as the art director for Pandora Yearbook and Talking Dog Agency. Robinson was a 2022 MAIP fellow, interning for Saatchi & Saatchi this summer. After graduating in December, she will pursue a masters degree in emerging media.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose to major in advertising because I have always loved creative thinking, and advertising really champions both strategy and creative working. Visual storytelling has been a constant in my life and I wanted to explore all that it entails in a professional setting, working with brands and clients. I’m most interested in design and graphic communication, so I knew that Grady College and the advertising major would expose me to that, plus the range of disciplines in the industry from account to UI/UX. I also wanted to explore the different career options in advertising and see where I best fit among them. Plus, everyone at Grady genuinely wishes to help us learn and succeed, and I knew the major and the community would provide a great foundation for my career in advertising.

What does tenacity mean to you?

Tenacity means pushing through obstacles and not losing your will to reach your goal. It’s having the determination to succeed and taking the steps necessary to achieve whatever you set your mind to.

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

The best piece of advice I’ve received was to apply for any and everything you might be interested in. You never know what will happen and the experiences you’ll get from it. It’s similar to the “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” quote in that you’ll miss out on greatness if you don’t make the effort or take a chance.

photo of seven female students wearing purple with a fall background
Robinson with other executive board members of Women in Media. She formerly served as a content creator for the club. (Photo:submitted)
What would people be surprised to know about you?

I love singing. I’m not one to get up in front of a crowd or anything, but I enjoy singing along to a musical or playlist.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment this year was obtaining and completing an art direction and design internship at a top advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi. I was offered the internship through the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) and was beyond shocked when I got the offer. I had heard about the agency and their work before and just couldn’t believe that I got the chance to intern there. I am proud of how much I’ve grown as a creative and grateful for the peers, professors, mentors and supervisors who supported me throughout that experience.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

After I graduate with my undergraduate degree in December 2022, I will be pursuing a masters degree in Emerging Media as a Double Dawg at UGA. I’m really excited to learn more about how technology and design can make some cool, innovative projects for brands. As a designer and advertiser, I find web and app design and development to be very intriguing as well as how users connect with such products. I am looking to have a robust skillset in digital media and UI/UX design as I plan to become a professional graphic designer following my graduation.

What is an example of a time you used your skills in a real-world experience?
five students, exec board members of Pandora Yearbook, stand outside the UGA chapel
Robinson is currently the art director for Pandora Yearbook. (Photo:submitted)

I do freelance work in art and design–mainly acrylic paintings. I market myself as a designer, but still use my skills in fine art for drawing and painting commissions. I have been making art since I was in kindergarten so it’s nice to keep building on that talent and use those skills to make good work for people. One thing I love about doing freelance artwork is the lasting impact. People enjoy having the art as they usually order paintings that remind them or celebrate a special time in their lives like a new baby, a sorority anniversary, a new school year, etc. Clients always bring the work up when I see them again, and it’s rewarding to know that I had a role in memorializing those events in their lives.

Where’s your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is the second floor of the Lamar Dodd School of Art. I love walking through and seeing the art on the walls. I get a lot of inspiration from the photography and graphics, and I like to admire the projects students are working on. There is also an open computer lab where I like to do work. It’s usually pretty quiet and the big monitors are great for when I’m designing and multitasking.

Department of Advertising and Public Relations and Public Relations Organisation International create research venture

The University of Georgia Department of Advertising and Public Relations (ADPR) recently embarked on an innovative joint research venture with Public Relations Organisation International (PROI) Worldwide designed to gather insights into crises across the world.

The ADPR department and PROI created this longitudinal research project to harness the power of international perspectives and strengthen understanding of crises that befall countries worldwide. The research project, led by UGA Crisis Communication Coalition faculty and student scholars uses the latest technology from UGA’s SEE Suite Lab to identify the most significant global crises of the preceding three months. The UGA research team drafts quarterly reports that outline the crises and provides the reports to PROI for their international readership. Concurrently, the UGA research team develops a quarterly survey—sent to PROI’s members—to capture unique global insights about the preceding quarter’s crises. The project analyzes global perspectives to bridge the gap between academic scholarship and professional best practices in crisis communication.

Because the research will continue on a quarterly basis, longitudinal opportunities arise to cross-analyze significant crises and the survey insights on each crisis report. This analysis will identify which crises are covered the most by news outlets, help researchers and practitioners identify key crisis trends across the world, and keep UGA’s ADPR department on the cutting edge of international crisis research and teaching. The team offers insights into preliminary findings on “sticky crisis” issues confronting global business community and communication industry.

“We offer mix-method driven and analytics-enhanced insights for communication executives around the world to dive deeper into and learn from these challenging and complex crisis issues, such as the Missouri Amtrak collision and the US Federal Trade Commission actions on Cryptocurrency fraud,” says Dr. Yan Jin, ADPR assistant department head and Crisis Communication Think Tank (CCTT) director and co-founder. “We hope this type of knowledge generation and intelligence sharing will help practitioners to understand and lead through crisis effectively and ethically.”

PROI is an organization made up of communication firms around the world that collectively push the market standard by setting trends and continuously identifying the communication’s next best practices. The organization is made up of more than 7,000 employees in more than 165 cities and 50 countries.

The ADPR department research team is led by CCTT co-founders Dr. Yan Jin and Dr. Bryan Reber, with doctoral students Jeong Hyun (Janice) Lee and Taylor Voges as inaugural student scholars.  The research team continuously reaches for new and innovative ways to develop joint projects that offer both graduate and undergraduate students unique opportunities to interact with crisis communication professionals on mutually beneficial research. This progressive research project exemplifies the department’s commitment to offering students prestigious opportunities at a Top-5 nationally-ranked advertising and public relations program.