Stepping Stones UGA app traces history-making paths of UGA desegregation

Following the steps that Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63) and Hamilton Holmes took leading to the UGA Admissions Building…the terrifying night of riots at Myers Hall…and the refuge of the Killian House, are just a few of the scenes brought to reality through a new augmented reality iPhone app developed by a team of New Media Institute (NMI) students.

Stepping Stones UGA provides a tour of a few of the most significant scenes on campus and in Athens when Hunter-Gault and Holmes desegregated the university by enrolling as students in 1961. The app provides AR recreations of the way campus buildings and other Athens-area scenes looked in the early 1960s, along with maps of key sites and news clips of Hunter-Gault and Holmes stepping onto campus for the first time. The app can be used with geo-location while users interact with the app as they walk those same areas on campus, or it can be used remotely to understand UGA history.

Click above to view the Stepping Stones UGA app in action at The Arch.

The app was the vision of the Black Faculty and Staff Organization (BFSO) of UGA, which helped direct and partially fund the project. When Charles Davis, dean of Grady College heard about the project, he contributed some funds and introduced the organization to John Weatherford, NMI faculty and director of the NMI’s undergraduate capstone program.

“Because campus has changed and buildings have been renamed, we wanted to have a walking tour for historical purposes for the community,” said Susan Williams, current BFSO secretary and interim assistant dean for Diversity Equity and Inclusion at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center. “That way when folks come to campus, that would be an option to learn more about UGA.”

Weatherford knew this vision would be a great capstone project, especially since a similar app had been developed in prior years, but the technology advances had advanced so quickly that an even richer experience would now be possible.

The group started working with Maurice Daniels, dean emeritus at the School of Social Work, and co-founder and director of The Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies. Daniels helped research key stops to be included in the app like the UGA Arch, where Holmes and Hunter-Gault arrived on campus; what is now the Holmes-Hunter Building where they registered for classes; the Killian House where Holmes lived during his studies; Myers Hall, where Hunter-Gault lived; and the Athens Courthouse, where the lawsuit was filed approving Holmes and Hunter-Gault as students.

“Projects like this are very much at the heart of what NMI is all about,” Weatherford said. “We focus on applied real-world experiences that allow students to engage with and be more informed about the world around them. We always aim for experiential opportunities, but when we are able to add the additional layer of learning more about our institution, that elevates the students’ learning opportunity to a different level.”

Although the Stepping Stones UGA app is not part of his capstone project, a graduate student in the NMI’s Emerging Media masters program, Ryan Fernandez, stepped forward to help. Fernandez is co-founder of Alpha Design Studio, an Athens-based firm specializing in architectural 3D renderings, animation and virtual reality. He was able to study old pictures that were available, take measurements and create the scale replicas of the landmarks as accurately as possible.

In the case of the Killian House, a private residence that was torn down years ago, Fernandez only had two partial pictures of the house and had to create approximate renderings based on nearby homes of a similar architectural style.

“Recreating buildings with minimal information are things I do all the time,” Fernandez said. “The photos don’t show the detail very well, and without plans, recreating what I thought was going on is about the only way to do it.”

Chelsey Perry (AB ‘21) was one of the students who worked on the project. Perry had been on the team that produced a documentary by Grady College commemorating the 60th anniversary of Desegregation.

“As a black student at UGA it felt nice to know that the University was devoting resources to creating an app like this,” said Perry. “I had previously interviewed Charlayne Hunter-Gault as well as other notable Black UGA graduates for UGA’s 60th anniversary of Desegregation documentary, so it was wonderful synchronicity to be working on this project at the same time.”

In addition to Perry, other NMI students involved with the project included Meghan Dougherty, Alex English, Bristol King and Frank Wu.

The Stepping Stones UGA app is available for iPhone users and can be downloaded from the App Store.

Williams concluded by saying she believes there are a lot of people who work on campus, let alone visitors to campus, who don’t know details about this pivotal time in the university’s history.

“Maybe the app will show them that where they walk every day on campus has historical significance,” Williams said.

NMI students build brand to support local Georgia seafood

Eating your way through local seafood cuisine along the Georgia coast may sound like a dream come true, but for a group of Grady College students, it was another day working on a class project.

The five students are in this semester’s New Media capstone class, which challenges students to build new media solutions that address specific client problems, explore and implement emerging technologies, or both. Cierra Cordak, Hunter Lanius, Sam Perez, Tallie Pietragallo and Carson Reynolds are creating a brand to promote local seafood within the state.

The Georgia Seafood On My Mind Team traveled to the coast with professor John Weatherford. (Photo: Sam Perez)

Georgia Seafood On My Mind is for proprietors of unique coastal seafood restaurants to promote culinary adventures in Georgia. The idea developed from the What’s the Hook? seafood pitch competition led by UGA’s Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. The competition was designed to generate innovative ideas that support Georgia’s working waterfronts and seafood products. New Media Institute Professor John Weatherford and Terry College’s Director of Entrepreneurship Bob Pinckney‘s concept won.

Along with the Weatherford and the NMI’s Chris Gerlach, the team traveled to six coastal counties to curate content that will be distributed across the brand’s social media platforms. The pictures and videos will also be shared with the local restaurant owners featured for their own marketing and promotional use.

“There’s a sense that we’re not just highlighting Georgia businesses, but Georgia people and communities,” fourth year marketing major Hunter Lanius said. “It’s a lot more sentimental than what you might expect from a food and travel-promoting brand.”

The group took over 1,700 photos and 600 videos over the course of three days including pictures of the food, restaurant interiors and exteriors, drone shots and interview segments.

Leading up to the trip, the team spent time developing a brand. They created social media accounts, designed a logo, strategized about branding guidelines, conducted user research and began connecting with local seafood restaurants in the coastal region.

Applying classroom lessons beyond NMI

Tallie Pietragallo serves as her group’s Client Relations lead. (Photo: John Weatherford)

Fourth year advertising major Tallie Pietragallo utilized skills she has learned in other classes and throughout internships to develop relationships with clients before the group embarked on the trip. For her, the client-racing role was “a really rewarding and exciting experience.”

“I kept in touch with the owners of six local restaurants across the coast of Georgia and learned more about their stories and the connection they have to the local community,” Pietragallo said. “Being in Grady helped make the connection from the owners stories to their restaurant and brand and lead to brand storytelling though our social accounts.”

Third year advertising major Cierra Cordak is the Project Lead and is heading up the team’s website development.

“Getting to take what I’ve learned in a classroom and use it to create something that looks like websites I actually visit, and not just another project, that will be live online for people to discover and use has been so exciting,” she said. “It has definitely developed my skills in that area beyond what they were before working on Georgia Seafood On My Mind.”

The team started in Camden County at Captain Seagle’s Restaurant and Saloon. They toured the attached hotel Riverview Hotel, which was built in 1916. Seagle’s is the oldest continually operating restaurant and bar in St. Mary’s, and the team got a chance to sit down with server Neal Schroeder to learn about the restaurant’s recipe for success.

“It’s hard to beat when you get the food right off the boat,” he said. “You’re not getting some of that store-bought seafood from the freezer or that was prepared a long time ago.”

While they had developed a course of action ahead of time, the students got to learn on the spot and strategize how best to capture the content. Multiple members of the team took turns capturing pictures of the seafood while fourth year journalism major Carson Reynolds focused on videography.

The team captured both photos and videos to promote local Georgia seafood. (Photo: Sam Perez)

“It was super cool to work on this project from a video planning viewpoint, especially with the budget and the gear we were able to use. We had professional level gear like lights, reflectors, and microphones, which made shooting feel very easy while also being impressive and professional for the person being interviewed,” Reynolds said. “The multiple camera and sound setup was great to use and made editing really easy. Overall, from the video and editing side of things, this was one of the most planned-out and professionally shot projects I’ve ever worked on and taught me a lot about working with different equipment and editing from different sources.”

Next, the group headed to St. Simons Island where they visited Georgia Sea Grill.

On day two of their adventure, the students drove to The Fish Dock in Townsend, Georgia.

Sunbury Crab Company catches crabs fresh from the water outside the restaurant each day. (Photo: John Weatherford)

Next up on the itinerary was Sunbury Crab Company in Liberty County. The team tried their hand at cracking open blue steamed crabs and heard from co-owner Elaine Maley who touted the freshness of the restaurant’s all-natural ingredients.

“We get the shrimp, they’re local, and they’re never been dipped, so they don’t have chemicals on them,” she said. “A lot of people that say they usually couldn’t eat shrimp can eat ours. We gather our own oysters and we have have our own crab lines.”

For the final leg on their second day, the team drove to Fish Tales at Fort McAllister Marina in Bryan County.

Collin Russell started as general manager at the restaurant just a few months ago. In his time there, he’s seen how the local community rallies around Fish Tales. In fact, he says he sees most of the guests “anywhere from four to seven times a week.” What keeps them coming back? According to Russell, it’s all about the seafood caught just a few feet away.

“I mean, it’s just a fresh taste,” he said. “A lot of our customers and stuff will tell you the difference between our seafood and you know, seafood that’s north and south of here, is that the shrimp – you can taste how fresh it is. I mean that is always what people say about here:  how sweet our Georgia shrimp is and that’s what we love bringing it to people.”

Just one of the dishes the team got to try while on their trip. (Photo: Sam Perez)

To conclude their three-day trip, the students stopped in Savannah where they met up with Robyn Quattlebaum, the proprietor of Driftaway Cafe before heading back to Athens.

Preparing for SLAM

Now, the team is combing through the content, editing pictures and videos, communicating with the restaurant owners to deliver the material and fine-tuning the brand’s social media. All of this preparation comes ahead of SLAM, an end-of-semester showcase that celebrates student projects and certificate recipients. On May 7, industry guests and NMI alumni from near and far will attend the day of showcasing, networking, reminiscing and interviewing job-seeking certificate students.

Editor’s Note: This feature was written by Sam Perez, a 2022 Yarbrough Fellow in the Grady College Department of Communication and member of the Georgia Seafood On My Mind team.

Jen Galas uses her UGA Athletics social media skills to teach in New Media Institute

For more than a decade, Jen Galas’ (MA ‘12) work has been the bridge between college athletes and their fans. She specializes in capturing the current moment in a way on social media that lasts beyond the present. She is currently the director of social media strategy and digital identity for UGA Athletics and has amassed a vast network of talented communicators in college athletics. 

Students in Galas’ class gain access to her vast network of sports media professionals.

Galas is now sharing that network and her experience with New Media Institute (NMI) students at UGA. She is a faculty consultant at Grady College and is currently teaching “Creative Content in College Athletics” to 17 NMI undergraduates. 

“I hope that the students get a real-life snapshot of what working in creative in college athletics is like,” Galas said. “From planning, to content creation, to copywriting, I want the students to understand the wide-range of skills that are needed to manage and create for social media accounts.” 

Whether sharing the tools she uses to create eye-popping Instagram posts or bringing in industry colleagues to share about the lifestyle of working in sports, Galas wants students to get a real-time glimpse about what it is like to work in sports digital media. While teaching students, she is also observing their interests and seeing how it can be used to elevate social media content with UGA Athletics. It further expands the pipeline of NMI and Grady College students who also learn on a job with UGA Athletics. 

“As we begin to add more and more student assistant positions within the social/creative department at Georgia, we can already have an idea of who might be able to fill these roles,” Galas said. “We can then continue to develop the talent and send the students out with a wide skill set and real-world experience that could turn into jobs for them. It’s truly a win-win!”

The idea for the course was generated with talks including Dean Charles Davis, Darlene Camacho, senior associate athletic director for strategic communications, and Megan Ward, the director of NMI.

Galas’ class was the result of a partnership with the New Media Institute and UGA Athletics.

“So much of what New Media students learn through the certificate is how to innovate how users and audiences experience their areas of interest,” said Ward. “Jen Galas helps our students see the opportunities available to them in sports and in social media content creation.”

The inaugural class is comprised of all women, which was especially exciting for Galas. 

“I hope that seeing someone who looks like them in the type of role that I have makes them realize that there is space for them in this industry,” said Galas.

When preparing for the course, Galas harkened back to her time as a masters student in Grady College, which included classes in NMI. She remembered the classes that most helped her in her career and how they focused on challenges and opportunities that professionals face in the present.

The same skills and personality that help Galas bridge athletes to fans is now serving as a bridge on campus and in the sports industry.

New podcast studio offers production space to students around campus

Podcasting is one of the fastest-growing ways of communicating and thanks to a partnership with the New Media Institute at Grady College and the Entrepreneurship Program at Terry College, there is a new studio on campus available to produce podcasts. 

Studio Not Found is a new podcast studio on the fourth floor of Grady College and equipped with the most current sound equipment and acoustic design expressly for use by students and faculty producing podcasts. 

“We are hoping to see that physical spaces will create opportunities for more collisions and conversation that leads to increased collaboration among students,” said John Weatherford, a senior lecturer in the NMI and coordinator of the new space.

John Weatherford outside the podcast studio
John Weatherford talks about the collaboration between NMI and Terry College during the dedication of the podcast lab.

The idea for Studio Not Found is the result of a podcast project that David Sutherland’s MBA students produced. Sutherland, a retired lecturer of entrepreneurship and business innovation who still teaches part-time, taught the students, but when they produced their podcast, they had to use a local production studio, Tweed Recording, because there was no studio available to them on campus. Sutherland’s goal was to find a space on campus to produce the podcast and others like it, so he connected with Weatherford who offered the space and expertise to develop the studio. Sutherland financed the project and Weatherford designed the studio with help and advice from John Snyder, president of Tweed Recording. 

“NMI has the technology side and Terry has business side and that allows us to come together,” Sutherland said. 

Bob Pinckney, the Milton Anthony Greene Director of Entrepreneurship at Terry College, agrees. 

“This facility is top notch in terms of technology and ease of use,” Pinckney said, “but more importantly, it’s fantastic to collaborate in a way that brings greater opportunities to students and faculty.”

The completed studio features podcasting equipment including two Electro-Voice RE20 microphones and a Rodecaster Pro. Podcasters can also connect to a 4K monitor and use an iMac for post-production, while the soundproof wall padding absorbs echoes and helps with acoustics. Portable podcasting equipment including four Shure Beta 87As and a second Rodecaster Pro also can be checked out for remote recordings. 

To further the educational mission of the new studio, a team from NMI worked with Studio Not Found as its client for its final capstone project. The project included designing a website, training modules teaching novices how to use the equipment, producing test podcast episodes and creating social media channels and content. 

“We are grateful to David for his willingness to go for it and make this studio happen,” Weatherford concluded. “I am excited for the hundreds of students who will use this space for years to come.”

Students and faculty interested in using the space can reserve the studio online

John Weatherford and David Sutherland
John Weatherford and David Sutherland check out the new equipment in Studio Not Found.

NMI students thrive in Innovation District

Nicholas Kreitz pours a cup of coffee, exchanges a few words with his boss as they pass one another by the kitchenette and slings his backpack over his shoulder as he heads to his office.

His office is in the new University of Georgia Delta Innovation Hub, a sleek renovated warehouse with high ceilings, exposed brick and glass walls that invite passers-by to view the collaboration and idea formulation taking place within the collaborative spaces.

Kreitz’s office is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling white boards, which don’t look very white because there is so much blue, red and green writing: numerals and jargon and dates that appear to be haphazardly recorded, but most likely make sense to those who need to read them.


Through the Innovation Hub and the larger Innovation District ecosystem, Kreitz lives in a dual universe. First and foremost, he is a student studying data science in Franklin College and earning a certificate through the New Media Institute at Grady College. Secondly, he is a machine learning intern with, a burgeoning software development company dedicated to matching medical professionals with health care providers looking to hire. Kreitz is one of three interns working on web and app development, coding and user interface among other technology tasks. In their time together, they have improved functionality and algorithms of the app, created an applicant tracking system, and are building an iOS app that will be launched soon.

Gaining professional experience on campus in a tech field is an opportunity Kreitz does not take for granted.

“It’s been a great experience being here,” Kreitz said. “Being on campus and being one of the first companies and first students to be involved with that is an honor.”

The chance to earn a paycheck for a job that will set the stage for his future career, isn’t bad either.

Built in the 1940s for the Cofer Seed Co., the Spring Street building is the Innovation Hub today.

“Earning money through the actual field I want to have a career in versus working at a restaurant is one of the greatest things,” he continued. “I have worked different retail and service jobs, but this one feels like I am just doing something that I love, and I don’t even realize I am at work.”

Tapping into student talent

The accessibility to tap into student talent was a huge draw for Scott Edwards, an alumnus of Family & Consumer Sciences, when he considered returning to Athens as one of UGA’s inaugural entrepreneurial companies in the Innovation Hub. Edwards, CEO and co-founder of and its parent company, Adaptive Medical Partners, relocated product development for Metropolis from Irving, Texas.

“It was really interesting to me that you could give projects to the students that were real life problems, real world issues, and they could get class credit [for solving them],” Edwards said.

The Innovation District is an initiative by the University of Georgia to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and learning. Among the goals of the program are a focus on increasing university and industry collaboration, while providing experiential learning opportunities for students.

The New Media Institute at Grady College is a partner organization with the Innovation District and Chris Gerlach, an academic professional with NMI, serves on the Innovation District Advisory Council.

Scott Edwards talks about the compass, or direction, of the Metropolis projects.

Edwards met Gerlach when Metropolis was considering the move to Athens and was impressed with the possibilities the NMI students could provide his young start-up.

“NMI has found me probably the best software engineers I have ever worked with,” Edwards said. “They have exceeded my expectations in every way. They help me chase that vision and they do it with unbelievable coding, user interface, user experience and machine learning components.” calls itself a marketplace for healthcare jobs. It matches doctors and other healthcare professionals with providers who are hiring. The service meets a demand that is frequently constrained due to lack of time by physicians to look for jobs. Because of the sensitive nature of healthcare providers moving, all parties remain anonymous until the match has been made.

NMI identified Kreitz and fellow NMI student Aries Aviles, a computer science major, as students who had the skills, initiative and education Edwards was seeking. They had both taken a combination of iOS app development and rich media production classes through the NMI and had a strong foundation in new media production. Edwards interviewed and hired them for internships before moving to Athens.

Aviles recommended classmate Calvin Butson, a data and computer science major, when the need for someone with increased knowledge of artificial intelligence and machine learning became apparent.

“As a team we’ve looked at what we’ve accomplished and we are just amazed,” Aviles said. “We are learning new computer languages together that we haven’t learned before, but we are also branching out and pushing the boundaries about what can we do and what can we create.”

Since their internships started in the summer, Edwards has been so impressed with their work that he invited the trio back this fall. And, while they packed in 40+-hour work weeks during the summer, the work load has gone down to 20-hours a week while school is in session.

“That’s the biggest challenge working with the students,” Edwards reluctantly admits. “School gets in the way…but, school comes first and I would have it no other way,” Edwards adds.

Scaling Up and Looking Ahead

The team of interns that Edwards has gathered has proven that the model works that UGA envisioned when starting the Innovation District, and he has full confidence in their abilities.

“If I dream it, they can build it,” Edwards says. “It’s that simple, which is crazy. If someone had told me that beforehand, I would have said they are full of it. But now that I’m here and I have actually worked with these students, [I know] they are as capable as anybody out there who is working for a major, huge company as a software engineer.”

Interns Calvin Butson, Nick Kreitz, Aries Aviles and Metropolis CEO Scott Edwards.

The interns, too, know a good experience when they see it.

Kreitz, for example, received an attractive offer to intern at a global technology company last summer at the same time he received his offer at Metropolis. He chose the Metropolis offer because he liked the fact it was a small company where he could be more involved with product development. It also aligned with his future desires of starting his own company someday.

One of the projects Kreitz branched off and developed on his own is an internal analytics dashboard for the product that can be used instead of manually gathering data.

“With the knowledge that I have learned from UGA classes and the NMI, I was able to put together a web application that they could use to look at internal stats and sales. Being able to do that as an intern and have an actual impact on other employees is a big thing for me,” Kreitz continued.

Edwards is excited by that innovation and wants to continue scaling up his operation using students to help him. Since the introduction to NMI and programs at Grady College, Edwards has started working with students in the Emerging Media program, Grady’s graduate degree that focuses on emerging digital technologies and design solutions. The Emerging Media team works on SEO, UX design and website marketing for Metropolis. Additionally, a new partnership has recently started with Grady’s Talking Dog, a student-run advertising and public relations agency, which is helping Metropolis with brand messaging, ad placements and product trials.

Edwards knows that start-up tech projects like this will keep more graduates in the area once they have their diplomas in hand.

“There’s not anything they can’t do,” he concludes. “And some things that they can’t do, they are teaching themselves and they are doing very quickly. That does not put a ceiling on their potential. You are never done innovating.”

While Edwards continues thinking of the future of Metropolis, Aviles and Kreitz are thinking about their futures after graduation. Whether they continue at Metropolis for a while or branch off to other professional adventures, the experience they have earned through the Innovation District allows them to bypass the entry-level market with real world experience and working apps they can show future employers.

With the future uncertain, Kreitz knows one thing for certain: “It’s very cool to place down the building blocks that Metropolis will live off of in the future.”

New Media Institute students Aries Aviles (l.) and Nick Kreitz credit the NMI with offering classes that helped them build a solid skill set while in school. “Getting involved with the NMI is when my college experience really started,” Kreitz said.

#GradyGrit: Meet Alexandra Rios

How did you choose to study Journalism?

I wanted to be a journalist since day one, never wanted to do anything else. People, places and ideas fascinate me. I am curious about the world: how people think, why they think the way they do and meeting people where they are. Journalism has always been important and is even more important today.

What are you passionate about?

I am always excited to see what other people are excited about. I want to tell stories: document people’s lives and tell stories that will illustrate what it is like living in this time.

What skills will you take away from Grady?

Before Grady, I did not know how to shoot on manual. I never had a story published or studied aboard. I learned all the fundamentals in class, but outside of class is when I put all my tools in my toolbox in practice. I shoot, edit and write all on my own, and it’s all because of Grady College.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from a mentor or instructor?

The difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary person is the extra. Be intentional in everything you do and are.

What is your favorite quote and why?

I would not be the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication if it was not for my parents. My mom always told us, my four siblings and I, “Siempre hagas lo mejor que puedas y dios se encarga de todo lo de mas,” which means, “Always do your best and God will take care of the rest.” She says, it is sad to know that you can do something, but you don’t. Similarly, my dad says, “Hazlo que queries ahacer, pero hazlo,” which means, “Do what you want to do, but do it.” He has told us to never wait until tomorrow to do what you can do today. I always think about the sacrifices my parents have made for my siblings and I to be brought up in the United States. To be able to speak English, attend the best college in the country and live a life I do not deserve, I can never thank them enough.

Who is your professional hero?

Hasan Minhaj—not a journalist, but super close to being one—is my hero. The amount of research he does for the jokes he presents is impressive. Minhaj is a comedian and has won two of our very own Peabody Awards. He is super authentic and funny. The ability he has to get people to listen is the kind of skill student journalist and professionals, I think, strive to receive. The voice he gives for Muslims and minorities is the same voice I want to give to Latinos and minorities. Check out Hasan Minhaj’s remarks at the 2017 White House Correspondent’s Dinnerif you want to see what I am talking about.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

India, without even giving it a second thought. I am in love with the people, culture and, yes, the food! In fact, I have thought about going vegetarian multiple times now. On top of that, most of my diet is now vegetarian or, at least, it’s more plant-based than it has been in the past. I have also participated in religious celebrations, like Holi (Festival of Colors) and Diwali (Festival of Lights). I have even created a video for Holi as a Grady class assignment for Professor Shumway’s advanced video journalism class. I love everything Bollywood: the music and movies. Cricket is not that bad either. I have been learning the language for the past year now, and I am most excited about being able to speak Hindi to native speakers one day.

Editor’s Note: Some of the above answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.

For other installments in the #GradyGrit series, visit the #GradyGrit page.

New Media Institute publishes native apps from capstone class

A new bar has been set by the New Media Institute capstone teams with the acceptance and publication of four new native apps in the Apple App Store.

The mobile apps created by the spring 2019 cohort of the NMI are now available for complimentary download in the App Store. The four new apps include:

    • Athens Georgia Weather — a partnership with University of Georgia Geography Department that highlights local Athens weather forecasts and videos. Available in Android, too.

    • Hunter-Holmes AR Experience — an augmented reality app that transports the viewer back to 1961 through original video, audio and photographs as Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault integrated the University of Georgia.

      • Peabody Awards — a listing of award winners since 2015 and videos of interviews with winners, special Peabody spotlight features and awards ceremonies.

    • UGArden Herbs — a resource to track and view data about herbs grown through the student-operated UGArden to assist in the organic certification process. Available only on the iPad.

These join other apps produced by NMI students in previous semesters including NMI’s first app, UGA Stickers, introduced in 2016, and subsequent apps WUOG, Ebb and Film Norcross.

“It’s really cool to see in five years the progress our students have made from producing proto-type apps, to a point today where we are regularly releasing apps on behalf of our clients,” said John Weatherford, a lecturer in the New Media Institute.

Students who work toward their certificate in New Media are required to finish with the capstone course, where they work in teams with a client to solve a technology challenge. While all the teams work on websites, apps or social media campaigns, only a handful are developed to the point that they are published.

Not all the teams have the time above and beyond classroom requirements to publish an app. The teams have to be willing to put the effort into apps to be eligible for publication in the App Store, including having everything up to code quality, preparing marketing write-ups, screen shots and documentation.

Each team, including the Hunter-Holmes AR Experience, is required to design booth space to show off their project at SLAM.

“There is a level of polish required to submit to one of the largest software markets in the world,” Weatherford said.

Having a tangible project that students can show future employers is only one benefit.

“Having marketable skills and being able to leverage their degree is a huge advantage,” Weatherford continued.

For the apps that are published, students need to also focus on documenting the site and preparing it to hand over to clients. Several students continue working with their clients after the projects to develop future content, as well.

NMI instructors Chris Gerlach and Emuel Aldridge help with mentoring and guiding the students in submitting their apps for publication and understanding marketplace.

Over the past several years, Weatherford said that the introduction of Apple’s programming language called Swift made the programming syntax used in developing apps easier to use. It was about that time that NMI started offering a course specializing in native apps.

“That course was very marketable and attracted a variety of different majors including computer science students,” Weatherford said. “This gave us a deeper bench to have a diversity of students with different majors.”

Weatherford also cites the interest in augmented reality for an increase in the native apps.

One of the most popular apps was the first one that NMI published called UGA Stickers. This app features digital stickers with UGA athletics icons and messages that people attach to their text messages. Regular updates are published, and more than 20,000 installs of the app have occurred to date.

Several other apps, including one for Grady Newsource, are expected to be published in the next few months.

Interest in the NMI certificate continues to grow and the Spring 2019 capstone course featured 84 graduating seniors working with 15 clients.

Wegman, Diaz headline Grady Convocation

Grady College is proud to announce that Jonathan Wegman (ABJ ’04) will deliver the Charge to Candidates and Lauren Diaz will be the distinguished senior speaker at the Grady College Convocation for spring and summer graduates on May 8, 2019.

The ceremony starts at 3 p.m. at the Classic Center.

In addition, a Grady College alumna, Deborah Roberts (ABJ ’82), was selected to deliver the keynote address at the University of Georgia undergraduate commencement on May 10. Roberts is a correspondent with ABC News and regularly appears on “20/20” and “Good Morning America.”

Wegman is the head of customer experience and strategy at Twitter. In his five years at Twitter, he has held numerous positions including senior director of Twitter’s consumer marketing strategy and effectiveness and director of sales strategy leadership for planning and innovation. Prior to Twitter, Wegman worked in positions at Performics, Moxie Interactive and J. Walter Thompson. Wegman majored in advertising while at Grady College and also earned his New Media certificate.

Diaz was selected to be the distinguished senior speaker from an audition process. Diaz is a journalism major and a minor in sociology. She also received her New Media certificate. During her time as a student, Diaz participated in study abroad programs, traveling to Dublin, Ireland, and Oxford, England, and served as a Grady College Ambassador. She was also involved with UGA HEROs and UGA Rescue Paws. After graduation, Diaz plans to pursue a career in writing or editing.

In addition to convocation and commencement, Grady graduates and their families are invited to Grady’s Senior Send-off on Friday, May 10 from 4 to 6 p.m. The event provides an opportunity for graduates and their families to stop by the Grady lawn on the way to commencement to celebrate their hard work and say good-bye to their professors. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information about graduation events, please visit the Grady website.

New Media Institute students present capstone projects

New Media Institute students unveiled their capstone projects on Dec. 8 at SLAM, an end-of-the semester showcase of student projects and certificate recipients.

Groups celebrate and demonstrate their efforts to use technology as a tool to enhance daily life.

One group consisting of Christina Conner, Meghan Murphy, Dalena Nguyen, Jaco Van Rensburg and Shan Won developed an app for UGArden, a student-run farm, to enhance digital record keeping. The technological advances can help UGArden become a self-sustainable business.

“The possibilities in agriculture for new media technology are endless,” said Christina Connor. “In our case, new media is helping the garden keep track of important data that will impact the success of the business and the e-commerce component will broaden the herb garden’s reach.”

Connor says consistent record keeping will help UGArden attain organic certification.

To learn more, visit the UGArden NMI project website, or view the video below.

Another NMI group presented their work of using Universal Scene Description Zip Files (USDZ) as a way to sharing augmented reality files on the internet using only a link. The team featuring Caitlin Cooper, Mark Crafton, Brooke LeBlanc and Chanjo Moon pitched the idea of using USDZ files in mobile marketing to Chick-Fil-A as a new function to their mobile app.

“Chick-Fil-A has responded really well to our ideas,” said Brook LeBlanc. “We were able to receive constructive criticism from a Regional Marketing Manager to ensure that our digital products were on-brand, and this could be an activation that could be used in-store.”

LeBlanc says Chick-Fil-A’s international presence prevents widespread implementation of the USDZ technology, but her team is hopeful that brands will use it in the future to captivate current and future customers.

Learn more about the USDZ NMI project by visiting their website or viewing the video below.

To learn more, visit the New Media Institute website.

Costa selected for Lockheed Martin’s Communication Leadership Development Program

Ananda Costa, a December 2016 graduate with a degree in public relations and a New Media certificate, is one of the top students selected for Lockheed Martin’s two-year rotational Communication Leadership Development Program. Throughout her time in Grady College, Ananda gained valuable experience in her leadership roles, including the co-director of AdPR Connection and director of outreach for TEDxUGA.

“We are proud to see Ananda, and many Grady PR graduates before her, selected for this exclusive program,” said Tom Reichert, head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “Only the best students in the nation have this opportunity.”

Lockheed Martin’s Communication Leadership Development Program is an intensive two-year rotational program that introduces participants to corporate communications. The CLDP gives young professionals experience in four facets of communication: media relations, marketing, employee communications and community relations. Participants spend one year focused on employee communications and community relations, followed by a move to a different business area in another part of the country to focus on marketing and media relations.

“I am so honored to have been selected for Lockheed Martin’s Communications Leadership Development Program,” said Costa. “Grady has a proud history of having several students participate in this prestigious initiative. In fact, I couldn’t have gone through the rigorous interview process without the encouragement of exceptional Grady professors, alumni and PRSSA. Having a strong support system of people who helped proof my application materials and provide me with program insights gave me an edge throughout the application process. I am so grateful to Grady and can’t wait to begin my Lockheed journey working with the Space team in Denver soon.”

Costa is one of more than 10 UGA students selected to participate in the highly-competitive program in the past 17 years.