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.

Grady College professor publishes LinkedIn Learning videos

Sabrena Deal’s first social media jumpstart happened the same way as a lot of viral content — it was accidental.

Since then, Deal has turned her expertise into a way to educate others on the popular platform LinkedIn Learning through two courses: her initial course, Designing a Resume in InDesign, and a new course, Creating Inclusive Content. The latest course premiered August 30, 2022.

“It wasn’t intentional at all,” said Deal, a senior lecturer at Grady College, of the first viral video.

Headshot of Sabrena Deal with headphones
Sabrena Deal created audio recordings of her latest course over the summer. (Photo: courtesy of Sabrena Deal)

Deal explains that creating LinkedIn Learning courses started when the company reached out to her because they noticed YouTube videos that she had created for her students several years ago had generated a lot of views.  The videos focused on designing resumes and LinkedIn invited her to create a course using similar content. When the first course was successful, LinkedIn reached out to ask what other ideas she had for courses, which is when the idea for a course for inclusive communications came to mind.

“I have always had a true appreciation to connect barriers,” Deal explained, “and when they asked about what topics I care about, I told them I have a lot of training and education about how to make quality online education. A big piece of that is recognizing the personal perspectives of students and learners and really anyone reading or viewing any kind of content from a different perspective.”

Deal, who teaches lecture classes in graphic design though the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, knows the value of LinkedIn Learning courses. She often assigns certification courses to students to reinforce design skills in InDesign and Photoshop.

Although she teaches graphics courses, Deal notes that this new inclusive communication course is not just for graphic communications professionals, but for anyone who communicates with diverse audiences — which is a broad audience.

Her interest in this inclusive communication was sparked when she was a student in a session about accessible course design. One of the topics discussed was adapting coursework to learners from different perspectives, along with best practices for publishing electronic resources.

“I thought there are ways that we can design things with those audiences in mind that will improve the reach of our content and also include people who are often disregarded or just not even thought of,” Deal said of this light-bulb moment.

The LinkedIn Learning course, itself, is inclusive, covering a variety of scenarios: choosing fonts for multilingual content, using inclusive images, awareness of what colors mean in different cultures, writing inclusive copy, designing websites for adaptive technology and inclusive video publishing, just to name a few.

Deal designed the course to include changes that would make a significant impact but that don’t require highly technical skills.

Each of the seven chapters begins with an explanation about who benefits from the efforts explained in the chapter and provides case study personas about what their challenges consuming content might be. Exercises for each concept are also included.

“I wanted to bring a more human perspective to it,” she continues. “That is the hook for me personally because I am wanting to give dignity and respect and invitation to people and to include them. And, the amazing thing is that these changes are very small — they don’t cost thousands of dollars. It’s really nice to know that small, easy, attainable changes make a big difference.”

Deal is excited about where these LinkedIn Learning courses will go from here. While she does not have another course planned, she is open to exploring more topics and is considering some in-person workshops about inclusive content so others can learn. She even envisions a potential class on the subject in the future.

“I really see this as a tool for ways of opening up conversations with my students about their experiences and about barriers that they have had to accessing content and information that also for them to go into the field and to have an easy to apply list of guidelines,” she concludes. “After all, when you make things better — when you think about diverse audiences — everyone benefits.”

Deal’s Designing a Resume in InDesign course was released in December 2021 and includes basic resume guidelines, formatting instructions, discussions about color and information about printing the resume. As of late August 2002, it has received more than 4,000 views.

UGA students, faculty and staff have access to premium LinkedIn Learning through UGA’s membership.

Grady InternViews: Jonathan Wood

graphic that reads "Jonathan Wood, Hometown: Smyrna, Georgia, Major:advertising, Title: Development Projects intern, Company: jacksonville jaguars, Location: jacksonville, FloridaBriefly describe your internship and your responsibilities.

I work with the real estate and development team on downtown development around and within the stadium, (currently that is the Shipyards Project and the Miller Electric Center, a sports performance center). I work to help plan for stadium renovations to create the stadium of the future. These projects will provide economic growth, increase job opportunities, boost tourism revenue, and create a more vibrant and inviting downtown for the city of Jacksonville. The development of these projects will serve as a catalyst for future growth throughout downtown and the city. The past few months have provided me with first-hand experience in my hopeful future career path. I am beyond thankful for all the opportunities the development team within the Jacksonville Jaguars have provided me. Go Jags!

What is the most valuable lesson you learned?

The most valuable lesson I have learned is the power of a team. It is easy to see how important a team is in sports – if one person is not able to carry his or her weight, the rest of the team suffers. Although this is quite apparent on the field, this is true even more behind the scenes. Every team member in the real estate and development projects department that I have had the pleasure to work with is a fundamental and crucial part to the success that the Jaguars and City of Jacksonville are building.

a picture of student Jonathan in a construction hat and vest with other workers
Jonathan worked on real estate projects with the Jacksonville Jaguars, including renovations for the stadium. (Photo:submitted)
How has this role helped you discover what you are passionate about?

Before this internship, I knew that I was passionate about real estate. I already had doses of experience in both residential and commercial real estate. However, nothing compares to the level and scale of real estate and development I have been exposed to through my internship with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, I have an even greater passion for this field on a larger scale, which fuels my drive to gain more experience and knowledge. This will help me have a meaningful and impactful career.

How will this role guide your future career path?

This role opened my eyes to larger real estate and development projects. These large-scale, community-based projects are exactly the type of work that I would love to be doing in my future career.

What lessons will you take back with you to the classroom in the fall?

It is important to always work hard. Whether it is a group or individual project, it can sometimes become difficult to see the end goal in the classroom when assignments, quizzes and tests are piling up. This internship has reinforced to me that both patience and dedication are important, and that putting in the work in the beginning leads to reaping the rewards at the end.

What advice would you give to students who are looking to pursue similar opportunities?

Perspective is everything. When initially applying for this position, I told myself not to get my hopes up. Never once did I think that not having a degree in real estate would give me the opportunity to learn and develop under some of the best and brightest real estate and development professionals in Florida. However, my hard work over the past few years outside of the classroom through putting myself through online courses to obtain my residential real estate license in Georgia,  working for a commercial real estate company based out of Atlanta, while still taking a full load of classes has prepared me for this next chapter. My advice is to never be afraid to apply for a position that you want or are interested in.

What has been your favorite part about your internship so far?

My favorite part of this internship has been being able to see the most current development project, the Miller Electric Center (a sports performance center), being built right outside of the stadium. Every day, I see not only the progress that is being made on this 125,000 square foot facility, but also the impact that everyone has had to get the project to be where it is, which will ultimately be completed on time and on budget.

If you could describe your internship in only three words, what would they be?

Professional, Collaborative, Fast-Paced

Student dominates on the track and on campus


While other students are getting ready to go out or studying for finals, Hayden Swank only has one thing on his mind as he watches his competitors circle the track at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. His best lap time is 0.3 seconds behind the leader. No matter what his team does, they can’t manage to close that last gap.

Between brainstorming sessions in the trailer and running out to make last-minute changes, Swank is intensely focused on his car.

Hayden Swank sits in his car, and his reflection is shown through the rearview mirror.
Hayden Swank prepares for his race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, South Carolina. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith AB ’18/UGA Marketing and Communications)

The skill to navigate a racetrack at top speed is one that Swank has been working on since he was a small child. Members of his race crew say that he has been a sound driver since the age of 7, when he first started racing in quarter-midget cars on local tracks.

As the tires wear down and the light fades, the team calls it quits for the day. After all, they spent all day Wednesday following the exact same motions to dial in every point of contact between the car, the track, and Swank.

Saturday, 7:16 p.m.

Swank dons his fireproof suit in the trailer as the previous race runs its last laps. His race should start at 7:30, but an old transformer blows on the back half of the track, killing the lights. This means a later start for Swank and more time for strategy.

Swank has spent his entire life preparing for the wave of the start flag. His opponents now are big names with big money backing them—racers like Josh Berry and Chad McCumbee.

“It’s like, man, I asked him for an autograph when I was 12 and came to watch these races,” Swank said. “And we haven’t looked out of place against them. But for me, this isn’t the end goal.”

Swank’s ultimate target is to race in the NASCAR Cup Series, a future goal that his team says Swank is always working toward.

While it is tough for Swank to compete against teams with seemingly endless financial backing, this isn’t the only hurdle that Swank has had to overcome in his racing career.

“Nine times out of 10, I’m going to be the only Black driver—not only in my division but in the whole competition,” Swank said. “It’s not uncommon for me to walk into a track and not only be the only mixed driver or the only Black driver, but the only person of color on the premises.”

Hayden Swank sits in the stands in preparation for a race.
Hayden Swank at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, South Carolina. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith AB ’18/UGA Marketing and Communications)

Swank says that this division puts extra pressure on him as a driver: “I feel like I have an extra responsibility and extra obligation to represent, you know what I mean? I want to put on a good show and prove that I have a place in the sport, and I want to prove to everybody else that anybody can make it.”

Despite the differences and setbacks, Swank remains unfazed as he pulls off a 13th place finish at his third race of the season, and on this tour. While not on the podium, this is no small feat considering his starting position amongst 26 other drivers, including several with more years behind the wheel than Swank has been alive.

Monday, 8:47 a.m.

Swank is back in Athens, and his focus shifts to college life.

Double majoring in advertising through the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and marketing through the Terry College of Business, Swank is in his third year at the University of Georgia.

Going to school while managing a racing career is a challenge, but it’s one he’s up to.

“I think being one of the very few drivers pursuing a degree that’s very relevant to what we do on a day-to-day basis does give me an edge,” Swank said. “I take a lot of what I learn in my advertising and marketing classes and apply that to the racing industry, like the pitches I make when I have to approach a company for the funds to keep the team alive and actually go racing.”

Hayden Swank gives an interview prior to the race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, South Carolina.
Hayden Swank gives an interview prior to the race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, South Carolina. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith AB ’18/UGA Marketing and Communications)

But he likes to keep those two worlds separate.

“I try not to talk about racing too much or let people know that I race because once I do, I guarantee you that’s all I will talk about with them,” Swank said. “I want to have a life outside of racing, and school’s the best way to do that.

“But I do get a certain sense of fulfillment when I can get somebody interested in racing that would have had no exposure to racing otherwise. I’ve gotten my roommates to the point where they can carry on a conversation about racing. And I’m like, ‘OK, I did my job here.’”

The above feature was originally written and posted by UGA Today, and can also be found on the UGA Today website.