Profiles of Tenacity highlight our exceptional students who have determination, grit and qualities of leadership. They are involved with their community and volunteer for many worthwhile campus and community organizations. Following are profiles of just a few of our students with tenacity.
“I am passionate about telling stories. I absolutely revel in the process of asking one thousand questions, hearing others’ stories and getting to use creativity to put those stories into 1,000 words or less to share with others.”
Journalism major Julianna Washburn has spent her time on campus getting involved in organizations like The Red & Black and DiGamma Kappa.
Advertising and computer science major John Atkinson says the New Media Certificate has allowed them to discover their passion for computer science and apply it to their role for UGAHacks. (Photo/submitted)
“I would say my largest accomplishment in the last year would be helping plan, organize, promote, and run UGAHacks’ first sustainability themed ‘Makeathon.’ With four university partners, two corporate sponsors, and 250 ‘Makers’ in attendance, it was an overwhelming success!”
“Get as involved in clubs as you can. The earlier you get involved in organizations, the better. Grady offers so many amazing opportunities to learn and experience new things within the communications world and it is so important to take advantage of it.”
“From watching interesting Netflix documentaries to traveling in new environments to the people I’m surrounded by, I find myself learning all the time. You don’t need to sit in a classroom to keep learning, that’s something I hope to never lose sight of.”
Fourth year advertising student Marillyn Heigl said her biggest accomplishment this year was winning a Student Organization Achievement and Recognition (SOAR) Award for Commitment to Peer Mentorship.
Third year entertainment and media studies student Xander Chiaramonte says his biggest accomplishment this past year was organizing the Classic City Jam event. (Photo:submitted)
“The best advice I have received regularly is that “everything changes.” My mother always reminds me of this and grounds me in the reality that in life, just like in nature, everything is in a constant state of change. This advice has always helped me to not get hung up on the little things and keep on moving.”
“My proudest accomplishment this year was co-founding the Backlight Student Film Festival. It started out simply as an idea to unite and showcase filmmakers’ work, but it quickly grew into so much more. It truly took a village to make this all happen, and it was so rewarding to see so many Grady and UGA students working together to celebrate one another.”
Fourth year entertainment and media studies student Aleesa de Castro says her biggest accomplishment this year was organizing the first ever Backlight Student Film Festival. (Photo:submitted)
Fourth year public relations major Olga Diaz-Nasser has been inspired by her public affairs communications classes to work in immigration policy on a federal level in the future. (Photo:submitted)
Olga Diaz Nasser
“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.”
“I am motivated by my constant fear of being just average. I do not want to go through life feeling like I had all this potential and never touched or used it. I always strive to be intentional in everything I do. I am also motivated by the word “can’t.” I am often told I can’t handle everything I am involved in from school to work and everything in between. When someone tells me I can’t do something, I make it my mission to not only do it, but do it better. “
Journalism major Sydney Hood works as a multimedia journalist on the weekends for WRDW/WAGT News 12 NBC 26 in Augusta. (Photo:submitted)
Fourth year advertising major Heaven Robinson uses her creativity and art skills both in and out of the classroom. (Photo:submitted)
“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.”
Double Dawg William Newlin is working to build a well-informed public through purposeful, courageous journalism.
A lover of entertainment and news writing, fourth year EMST major Sherry Liang has centered her first short film around student journalism.
“I also think back to when we planted seeds for ideas that would shape my college experience — like brainstorming web series concepts in Writers’ Room, pitching an AAJA chapter at UGA to Dr. Lough, the first conversations about the Backlight Student Film Festival, or the beginnings of what would become The Red & Black’s DEI Committee.”
Second year journalism student Kacie Geter believes in paving your own success, a mindset that has secured her an internship with NBCUniversal.
As a newly appointed MAIP fellow, third year advertising major Smera Dhal is continuing her passion for connecting with fellow creatives.
“My proudest moment has been being appointed a 2022 MAIP Fellow. This internship program focuses on promoting diversity within the advertising world, and I am so excited to have been placed with the Digitas agency for an Art direction internship this summer!”
“Coming in as first-generation college student and a rural student, I was faced with unique challenges; however, through tenacity, determination, and perseverance, I have been able to overcome barriers and give back to other students like myself.”
Following her time as editor-in-chief of the Red & Black, third year journalism student Jacqueline GaNun is now sharpening her skills across the pond through the UGA at Oxford Program.
Fourth year Entertainment and Media Studies major Jillian Smalls is headed to the Cox LEAD Program post-graduation with an open and curious mindset.
“Tenacity means believing in yourself every step of the way towards achieving a goal. I believe that by having self-confidence, you can transcend the impossible. You can achieve anything you want in life if you believe you can achieve it.”
“I am passionate about mentoring young black men in hopes of instilling the confidence I once lacked in them at an early age. It is important to invest in our youth because they are the future and need to know that their potential is truly limitless.“
The Grady Sports Media program has helped 5th year journalism student Armani Kardar build the confidence in himself that he hopes to pass on to the next generation.
Graduate student Riley Armant is using her time in the Journalism Masters program to refine her skills as a storyteller.
“Tenacity, in my opinion, means possessing the determination to reach a personal goal or level of success. Having this quality also means that you won’t settle for anything less than what you envision.”
Originally from Tianjin, China, third-year advertising major Jane Congfei Lian has built cross-cultural connections in organizations like Women in Media, Talking Dog and International Student Orientation.
Third-year journalism major DonA Traylor-Askew is already making her mark in the world of sports media.
“Tenacity means pushing through whatever comes your way and never giving up. It means setting your mind on a goal and doing whatever it takes to reach it no matter what situations arise in life that could stand in your way.”
“I would not be in Grady had it not been for an early pandemic existential crisis in Spring 2020. I realized one night that I wanted to explore my passions for multiculturalism & storytelling while gaining some of the hard skills only a Grady degree could provide.”
Although only a second year, Midori Jenkins has taken advantage of video and radio opportunities at Grady College and beyond.
Shruti Muruganandan spent her summer at an advertising agency as part of the MAIP Fellowship program.
“It’s important to understand that people that hire you and want to work with you will seek you out because you have talents and gifts that they want. It’s important to recognize the power you hold and be your biggest supporter in advocating for yourself.
“PRSSA has given me so many opportunities, taught me so many things, and given me so many great friends. I am so proud that I took the leap of faith in pushing myself to take on such a big leadership role”
Senior Emily Goncalves is soaking in her last months on campus as president of PRSSA. Her career goal is to work in public affairs or public relations in Washington, D.C. or New York.
Mennah Abdelwahab has pursued a variety of internships and club leadership positions during her time at UGA and Grady College. Her majors, minors and certificates have set her apart as a dedicated and involved student.
“I was motivated to continue pursuing my Grady degree because my Grady professors have been incredibly supportive; it has meant a lot to see everyone want you to succeed.”
After growing up a Georgia Tech fan, Nick Milavec decided to call UGA and Grady College home. He's working toward a degree in advertising, which focuses on his passions for design and communication.
Third-year Cate de Castro values building peer connections across the business and media programs at UGA — she even developed a production company with her twin sister.
Cate de Castro
“The Industry has been extremely instrumental during my time at UGA, and as president this year, it means a great deal to me to have so many new and familiar EMST students looking to get involved and find their home on campus.”
Sydney Phillips is currently studying and interning in Washington, D.C. through UGA's Washington Semester Program.
Fourth-year Kathryn Skeean has experience shooting a variety of photos, but she hopes to be a sports photographer after graduation.
“I am extremely passionate about supporting women in media, specifically women that go into sports media. I love connecting with other women who are as passionate about sports as I am and helping others get into the field!”