#ProfilesofTenacity: Kate Hester

Kate Hester is a second-year graduate student, studying journalism with an emphasis in innovation and leadership. During her time at Grady, she’s been involved as a graduate assistant for the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership. Hester was a 2022 fellow for the Cox-SABEW  program, and she is a teaching assistant for JOUR 3030: Media, News and Consumers. She was awarded a Cox Institute Leadership Medal at the Levin Leaders dinner earlier this month. Hester’s most memorable Grady experience was studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark – where she was a teaching assistant for the travel writing course.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose journalism because of the possibilities. There is so much room to be creative, and the opportunities are endless. Not many majors have that same depth of opportunity.

Hester pictured in Copenhagen, Denmark – where she studied abroad as a teaching assistant last June. (Photo/submitted)
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Studying abroad in Copenhagen! This past summer I was lucky enough to be the teaching assistant (TA) for the travel writing course in Copenhagen,Denmark. We spent a month over there and had such a blast! It was the best experience, and no job will ever top it!

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

My favorite Grady professor is 100% Dr. Herndon. He opened my eyes to the magic of innovation and offered me the chance of a lifetime to go to graduate school and be his graduate assistant. I have had so much fun working with him these past two years of graduate school.

What does tenacity mean to you?

To me, tenacity means strength. It means that no matter what, no matter how many times you get knocked down for forced to change directions, you keep moving forward. You do not worry about the things you cannot control; you just keep doing the next right thing.

Hester was awarded a Cox Institute Leadership Medal at the Levin Leaders dinner on March 2. (Photo/submitted)
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I have no idea where I will be in 10 years, and that is so exciting! I cannot wait to see what the future has in store.

What motivates you?

Right now, my students. Being a TA is so much fun and I love getting to interact with my students each week. They have been the best part of this year.

Who is your professional hero?

I could never pick one professional hero over another, but I do have a slight obsession with female-owned businesses.

Hester and three other journalism students traveled to New York City in the fall of 2022 as part of the Cox-SABEW fellowship program. (Photo/submitted)
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

My mom sends me inspirational quotes via email about once a week. I keep my favorites as sticky notes on my desktop. The one I keep going back to is this: “Don’t worry about the next week or next month or next year. Just do the next right thing and keep doing the next right thing.”

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about supporting small businesses. If someone is brave enough and smart enough to strike out on their own, I want to do what I can to help them find success.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am a freelance artist! I do mostly pet portraits right now, but with my own little spin! I love to paint and hope that love never goes away.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Alander Rocha

Alander Rocha is a second year masters student with a concentration in health and medical journalism. Currently, he is the health editor for The Red and Black and he is a research assistant at Grady’s digital media and attention lab. This summer, Rocha interned in the Southeastern bureau for Kaiser Health News.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Over the summer, I received a travel scholarship to attend the NAHJxNABJ conference in Las Vegas, and that was probably the most memorable experience I’ve had not just through Grady, but perhaps out of my past professional experience. Not only was it a validating experience to be surrounded by Black and Latine journalists from all walks of life, but I also got to meet professionals I look up to, who influenced my decision to enter journalism. I took a picture with Yamiche Alcidor after we briefly spoke, and I sat through a discussion with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, where she spoke about the challenges she’s faced as a Black woman from a Haitian immigrant family in media. After the career fair, I was invited to an upstairs suite to meet the managing editor of a major legacy newspaper, and that’s one of the coolest things I’ve been able to say out loud. Overall, I’m thankful for the many opportunities professors at Grady entrusted me with in the past year.

alander takes a selfie in a conference room with a presentation about that NAHJxNABJ conference in the background
Alander received a scholarship to attend the NAHJxNABJ conference in Las Vegas this summer. (Photo/submitted)
What does tenacity mean to you?

To me, tenacity means getting up every day with a purpose despite the challenges I’ve faced in the past. It means that obstacles may still be ahead, but I have the confidence to meet them head-on.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

As a lifelong learner, I hope to still be growing as a journalist, whether that’s in reporting or in a leadership position.

What motivates you?

Knowing that I’m contributing to my community is a major source of motivation for myself. Public service has always been at the core of what I’ve done, and it’s how I found my way into journalism. I’ve been thanked a few times for the stories I covered in migrant communities, a considerably under covered population in news, and each time, I feel tremendously proud that people feel seen through my work.

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

The best piece of advice I’ve received is to talk to as many established journalists as possible. Fostering these relationships can help early career journalists, from providing mentorship to possibly being pointed toward career opportunities.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
Alander interviews senator Jon Ossoff. (Photo/submitted)

People may find it surprising that I love the outdoors. While I served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, I discovered my love for hiking. I even summitted Ruco Pichincha, a peak that nearly reaches 15,500 feet. I’m not an athletic person, but hiking, although physically grueling, does not feel like I’m working out. I feel it’s meditative, often rewarding me with hours of reflection.

alander stands in front of a group of kids with the mountains in the background in Ecaudor
Alander worked for the Peace Corps in Ecuador as a trainer for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). (Photo/submitted)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment in the past year was interning at Kaiser Health News under Andy Miller, who’s been a healthcare journalist in Georgia for the last 30 years. Through his mentorship, my growth was exponential, and I became a much more capable journalist than I imagined.

Where is your go-to restaurant in Athens?

My go-to restaurant in Athens is probably New Red Bowl on Barnett Shoals. Aside from typical American Chinese dishes, they have traditional Szechuan cuisine, which is amazing if you can handle the spice.

Grady InternViews: Frankie Barnes

Briefly describe your internship and your responsibilities: 

My primary job as the events programming intern is to assist with coordinating all aspects of large scale entertainment events that take place at Barclays Center. Our department oversees everything from executing contracts with talent to working with the venue operations team to set up the arena.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far?

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned this summer is how valuable informational interviews are. I was able to block off time with some full-time employees to ask about their roles and to learn what they do. This helped me figure out if their specific role is something I see myself doing or if it is something that doesn’t really appeal to me in my area of interest.

How will this role guide your future career path?

This internship opportunity opened my eyes to a whole new area of entertainment I had never really considered before. I found that I really enjoy it and would consider pursuing another internship or full-time role in that direction specifically.

Frankie in front of the NBA Draft, an event BSE Global help put on this summer. (Photo:submitted)
What advice would you give to other students who are looking to pursue similar opportunities?

Be open to doing anything in your career interest field! While the job title may not be your dream role right off the bat, you inevitably will learn something from that position that will help you in the future when you do land your dream job!

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

My favorite part of my internship so far has been being able to see the large-scale events we are working on come to life and take place. Being able to see all of the behind the scenes work and what all needs to happen to put on an event like the NBA Draft, made me appreciate being at the event that much more!

How have your classes at Grady prepared you for this internship?

My classes at Grady have prepared me for my internship by giving me confidence in my professional skills. When I have a task at work, I know that Grady has given me the skills I need to succeed and to trust that I know what I am doing.

Grady InternViews: Erin Riney

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and your responsibilities.

As a project management intern, I am working on the Regions Bank and Blue Cross Blue Shield accounts this summer. I will be working under two senior project managers. In this role, I will be creating timelines, estimating budgets, and scoping the necessary resources for all our projects.

How will this role guide your future career path?

I knew that I wanted to pursue project management at the end of my undergraduate career. I have prior experience creating timelines and managing a team, but I have never done anything regarding budgets or resource management. I am excited to learn more about these so I have a complete skillset as a project manager. These next two months will also help me decide whether I want to work at a bigger agency (like Luckie) or a smaller one after I graduate with my master’s degree.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far?

Be flexible! Agency life is fun, but it is also extremely fast-paced and challenging at times. Sometimes proofing takes a little longer than expected, or a design is finished earlier than the date listed on the timeline. Regardless, be flexible and work together to submit the deliverable to your client when promised.

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

My favorite part of the internship has been the people. Everyone that I have met at Luckie so far is incredibly talented, but they are also extremely welcoming and willing to help in whatever way that they can, even if they do not work in your specific department. I have also enjoyed working with some of the bigger clients that Luckie has.

Erin works in an office in Duluth, GA. (Photo:submitted)
If you could describe your internship in only three words, what would they be?

Challenging, hands-on, rewarding.

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

For those who want to pursue a career in advertising, I would suggest working in an agency at least once. Even if you decide that you want to work on the client side, agency life challenges you and causes you to grow extremely quickly. It is also beneficial to know both sides of the industry.

Grady InternViews: Alex Anteau

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and your responsibilities.

I’m basically a full-time reporter. Because I’m an intern I don’t do a lot of breaking news or anything, but I write and report stories for the Athens Banner-Herald website.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far?graphic which describes Alex Anteau. hometown is izhevsk, Russia. major is health and medical journalism (master's of arts), Alex's title is a reporting intern at the Athens Banner-Herald. The location of the internship is in Athens, GA although it is a hybrid role.

As a health reporter, I spend a lot of time talking to the people who are most involved and affected by the subject I’m writing about. This involves a combination of trauma-informed reporting and taking the time to establish trust with the person you’re interviewing. The most important lesson I’ve learned as I’ve stepped into my first full-time reporting role is that I need to schedule more time for these meetings. It is a huge privilege to have a stranger share a vulnerable and often difficult experience with you. It means a lot to me when I click with someone and have a conversation that goes longer than expected. However, it’s also super important to be mindful of time and respect the schedule of whoever you’re meeting with next.

What about this position has surprised you?

How much freedom I have in my reporting. It’s honestly been really amazing – I’ve had the opportunity to take a lot of initiative in this role. Most of the stories I cover are ones I’ve personally pitched and I’m really grateful for the trust my editors have given me in pursuing the leads I think are important.

What is a challenge or a benefit of working remotely?

The flexibility! My schedule heavily depends on my sources’ availability. Often folks are talking to me after work or on their days off, which means that my hours fall outside the traditional 9-5 office work day. I do love coming into the office for meetings and to talk to my coworkers, but it’s nice to not need to worry about carving out time on-site and to instead focus on getting to know the community and writing. I think the challenge is to not over-do it. In my experience office culture has a lot of built-in down time which you don’t necessarily have at home and I’m still learning to pace myself and not overbook my schedule.

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

Be a self-starter. Get familiar with the beat you’re working in and practice writing and reporting in your downtime (if you haven’t been able to land a paid internship opportunity yet, I highly recommend becoming a Red & Black contributor and applying to staff roles). The more you do journalism, the more experience and clips you’ll have when it comes to apply, and, more importantly, the more you’ll get to know the subjects you are writing about and have insight and story ideas that others might not.

What has been your favorite part about the internship so far?
selfie of student Alex Anteau, working from home.
Alex works from a home office, as the internship is primarily remote. (Photo:submitted)

My coworkers and the projects I’ve been working on. In my first two weeks I’ve had the opportunity to start working on a wide variety of stories, from enterprise to breaking news, covering everything from local elections to neighborhood cats. My editors have given me incredible feedback that’s had a huge impact on how I report, and the other journalists at the Athens Banner-Herald have been gracious and kind and really open to collaborating on stories with me.

Alumni Award Profile: Carolina Acosta-Alzuru

Carolina Acosta-Alzuru (MA’ 96, PhD’ 99) is this year’s recipient of the John Holliman, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring a graduate for sustained contributions to the profession throughout a career.

Acosta-Alzuru is professor of public relations at Grady College. She teaches courses in public relations campaigns and cultural studies, specifically focusing on links between the media, culture and society. She has also published multiple articles and books on telenovelas – a subject she has been studying for over 20 years. 

She has won several awards for her teaching and research, including the 2015 AEJMC-Scripps Howard Foundation Journalism and Mass Communication Teacher of the Year for the United States and University of Georgia’s Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professorship. Her career has also taken her abroad to the United Kingdom, Chile and most recently Turkey, where she has conducted research on the tensions between the domestic and global markets for Turkish dramas.

Following is a brief interview with Acosta-Alzuru:

Grady College: What lessons learned from your time as a Grady College student have most helped you succeed in your professional life?

Carolina Acosta-Alzuru: Everything I needed to learn to become a professor and scholar I learned in our College, where I received both my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. I learned how to turn my intellectual curiosity into rigorous research because I was taught by great researchers. I learned how to be a better teacher because I had fulfilling classroom experiences that challenged and nurtured me. I learned that mentoring is part and parcel of being an educator because I was superbly mentored. Most importantly, I learned in our College that having faith in the person you are teaching and mentoring is essential for their professional and personal development. I learned this because so many of my professors and fellow graduate students surprised me by believing, when I had no clue of this possibility, that I could become a good scholar and a good teacher. I am particularly appreciative of the lessons learned from my major professor and advisor, Dr. Elli Lester Roushanzamir, and from Dr. Pat Curtin, who was then a doctoral student. Their wisdom has guided me throughout my career, and I am extremely happy that Pat is also honored this year with the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award.

Acosta-Alzuru with Dr. Elli Lester Roushanzamir hooding her as a new Ph.D in 1999. (Photo: courtesy of Carolina Acosta-Alzuru)
GC: What is it about your field that appeals the most to you? Why did you decide to enter that field?

CA: Understanding and unraveling the links between media, culture and society is what I do and what appeals the most to me.  I do this by studying some of the most consumed and, at the same time, most deprecated television genres: Latin American telenovelas and Turkish dramas. My preoccupation with the connections between media, culture and society is consonant with the way I see public relations, a field that has been traditionally viewed from an organizational perspective, but whose relationship with society is mutually transformative. I’m a believer in the many possibilities that public relations has of effecting positive societal change and I bring that belief into my classroom every day. 

GC: What does this recognition mean to you?

CA: The fact that weeks after the announcement of this award I’m still processing the news says how big and unexpected this recognition is for me. I remember watching with admiration John Holliman’s reporting from Bagdad in 1991, I was still in Venezuela then. I was a Ph.D. student in 1998 when the College was saddened and stunned with the news of his death. A year later he received, posthumously, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Soon after that I graduated and began my faculty life here.  These moments have been playing on my mind as I process the deep feelings of gratitude and surprise that this recognition elicits in me. 

Acosta-Alzuru (right) with fellow Grady Ph.D Usha Raman (left) in Hyderabad, India at the IAMCR conference in 2014.
GC: What motivates you?

CA: I love learning, and both teaching and research go hand in hand with learning. The fact that I love my work so much is one of my biggest treasures and the best motivator, of course. I enter the classroom every day in a good mood, ready for the experience of being both teacher and learner with my students. As for my research, I approach it every day with the same fascination it produced on me on day one, more than two decades ago. 

GC: Is there anything else you would like to share?

CA: I’m always looking at what’s ahead: my next class, my next research study, the next conference, and the next time I enter the Journalism building, a place where I’ve always been happy. This recognition, however, has made me stop and look back at the many wonderful people that have walked with me throughout the years: my professors, my students, my colleagues and the staff. All of them have embraced me, all of them have been my teachers, all of them have made this Lifetime Achievement Award possible. 

This is one in a series of profiles about our 2022 Alumni Award honorees and Fellowship inductees. 
All our honorees and inductees will be honored at Grady Salutes: Celebrating Achievement, Leadership and Commitment on April 29, 2022 at Athens Cotton Press. Please visit our Grady Salutes registration webpage for more details. 


Grady InternViews: Amari Tillman

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities. A graphic explaining Tillman is pursuing an M.A. in Integrated Advertising and Public Relations and working as a Strategy Intern for Weber Shandwick NYC remotely

I am working remotely at Weber Shandwick NYC as a Strategy Intern. I use analytics tools and syndicated data for social listening and market overview respectively based on the research plan developed by the project lead. The strategy team touches base a few times in the research process to establish areas of interest or improvement in the data. Once the research is conducted, the strategy works together to come up with a cohesive strategy to present to the creative team.

I am interning through MAIP, which connected me with Weber Shandwick. The internship is remote – it took some adjusting at first but I have grown to like it. I get to research in the quiet of my home without any distractions. Much of the correspondence is done through Microsoft Teams so meetings and organization have been a breeze. 

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?

I’ve done many projects that dealt with campaigns and from start to finish. This helped to better understand the relationship between research and creative as well as always keeping KPI’s and budgeting in mind.

What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship?

Both MAIP and Weber Shandwick NYC have the interns work on (hypothetical) campaigns that is shown to the agency. It’s very reminiscent of days in Grady when we had campaign projects we worked on throughout the semester and is super fun to do. As a strategist, your role in creative execution is limited but doing a campaign from scratch is fun as you get to bring many of your ideas to life. Since it’s hypothetical, the sky is the limit!

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role?

The analytics or software certifications and research you do for classes helps a lot with the role. It helps to have fundamental knowledge in how to conduct research and ask meaningful questions because it will help you think like a strategist.

Grady InternViews: Morgan Gonzales

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities. 

I work for the Dallas Morning News, my title is Medicine and Science Reporting Fellow and I am working from my apartment in Athens, GA.

I am on the Business desk and report on medical and science news. I am responsible for reporting and writing my stories. A typical day includes our morning team meeting over video call, reaching out to sources, planning stories, writing and editing.

How is it structured? 

I’m working remotely. Many of my co-workers are still working remotely, so the team has been fantastic about accommodating my lack of physical presence. It’s difficult to not be able to go check out things that I’m covering in person, so I’ve made a ton of phone calls, looked at places on Google Maps and attended some live streams of events. Last week I covered a nurses strike and “attended” via Facebook live. I got help from a veteran reporter on a story about a new, more affordable insulin option, and Google Docs made it easy for us to both be in the document and talk through it together. That experience was so informative. I’m really grateful for the team on the business desk.

What has been the biggest growth you’ve experienced so far?
Morgan Gonzales sits at her desk as she works remotely from Athens, GA. (Photo: submitted)

My writing and interview styles have been the most noticeable improvements to me. I think both of those require experience and time to improve, so I’m so grateful for this opportunity to hone my skills.  

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?

My professors in the journalism department have done such an amazing job preparing me for this! Professor Sabriya Rice told our class about this opportunity, and because of the reporting skills I gained from her class I decided I should apply. She has been truly inspirational. I came into grad school with no experience actually reporting, so her class taught me critical skills that I’ve relied on heavily during my fellowship. My advisor, Dr. Karin Assmann, has been so supportive while I’ve been in school and during the fellowship. She always checks in on me and makes sure I am doing alright, and has been instrumental in my progress as a reporter. I am so lucky to be in this department and to have the mentors I do!

What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship? Tell us a story if you have one!

I got to interview a gold medal winning Olympian, Laura Wilkinson, for one of my first stories! That was a highlight for sure. She was great to talk to and that story was fun to write. I’m going to Dallas to do some in-person reporting the first week of August, so meeting my coworkers and working on projects together will be the most memorable experience, I’m sure.

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

I’ll definitely be utilizing the lessons I’ve learned with my writing in the future. But also flexibility, I’ve learned stories don’t always go the direction I think they will, and my day often goes in a different direction than I anticipate. The stories that surprise me are usually the best.

The purpose of the Dallas Morning News-Grady Health, Medicine & Science Reporting Fellowship will be to train the next generation of health care journalists over the next several years. More specifically, the fellowship program will provide journalists-in-training at the University of Georgia with hands-on reporting experience in a big-city newsroom. Each summer, a Grady journalist will work with a Dallas Morning News editor and cover the business of healthcare.

Glen Nowak named associate dean for research and graduate studies

Grady College proudly announces the appointment of Glen Nowak as the college’s new associate dean for research and graduate studies.

Nowak, a professor of advertising and director of the Center for Health & Risk Communication, assumes the new role as current associate dean, Jeff Springston, takes on a new role of Director of MFA Programs.

“I’m delighted to add Dr. Nowak to the leadership team,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “As a world-class researcher with rich experience at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he’s well positioned to build on existing collaborations not only in the critical area of health communication but across the college and the broader university community.”

Nowak is a prolific researcher specializing in areas of health, vaccine, and risk-related communication including interventions, campaigns, messaging and messages, news media and provider-patient communication. He has been widely consulted and quoted in the media in recent months about COVID-19 vaccine education, messaging and acceptance. He has contributed to several panel discussions and advisory committees about the COVID-19 vaccine, including the UGA Dean Rusk International Center conference in January and the federal National Vaccine Advisory Committee, an entity that advises the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services. Nowak co-authored a paper about vaccination acceptance that was published by the New England Journal of Medicine in September 2020.

His most recent research, published in February, indicated that more U.S. adults appear to have received an influenza vaccination this flu season than ever before.

Nowak also participates in the College’s Crisis Communication Think Tank and recently co-edited a book on the subject, “Advancing Crisis Communication Effectiveness.”

“I look forward to working with the College’s faculty, staff, and graduate students on further strengthening our programs, scholarship and research efforts,” Nowak said. “I plan to continue the efforts to expand awareness of the faculty’s research and communication expertise across and beyond the campus.”

Prior to rejoining the Grady faculty in January 2013, Nowak worked 14 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He spent six years as director of media relations at CDC and six years as communications director for CDC’s National Immunization Program. He has experience in managing and implementing health and risk communications programs, media relations, health information campaigns and social marketing. Prior to joining CDC in January 1999, Nowak taught at Grady College for ten years.

Government and non-government public health agencies frequently seek out Nowak’s vast experience and in 2014, he assisted the Task Force for Global Health in its efforts to develop and implement a communication strategy for a worldwide effort related to polio eradication.  More recently, Nowak was a visiting communications scientist with the Department Health and Human Services’ National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO), working on research projects involving vaccination hesitancy, confidence and acceptance.

Nowak earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

In his new role, Nowak will direct the college’s research efforts, as well as its graduate program, which includes eight Master of Arts programs and its ranked Ph.D. program.

Springston, who ably directed graduate studies at the college for 15 years, will oversee the college’s recent MFA offerings including the low-residency MFA in Narrative Media Writing and the new MFA in Film, Television and Digital Media.