Who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?
My program director and friend Sabriya Rice has definitely had the biggest impact on my life during my time at UGA. Not only has she been an incredible professor and mentor, but she continuously advocates for me, both inside and outside of the UGA bubble. My knowledge of health reporting has increased tenfold thanks to Professor Rice’s skillful teaching and the way she combines typical coursework and experiential learning. She’s changed my life for the better and I consider myself lucky to know and look up to her.
What is your favorite app or social media channel?
I love Twitter. Journalism Twitter comes in handy when I’m catching up on the news, brainstorming story ideas, exploring potential sources or browsing relatable tweets from other journalists.
What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience?
Last summer, I was able to leverage my health and medical journalism skills as the senior editorial intern for WebMD. The internship was virtual, and I was able to confidently use my health writing skills every day. The health and medical courses I’ve completed facilitated my transition from editorial intern to senior editorial intern, and continue to inform my work as a freelancer today.
Where is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus is probably the main library. I’ve spent so many hours there during my undergrad career and especially during grad school — it’s almost like a second home.
What has been your proudest moment in the past year?
I think for me, my proudest moment would be producing my first-ever podcast, while juggling my assistantship, my contracted position at WebMD, freelance work and my full graduate course load during a pandemic. In my experience, all that hard work has been so rewarding.
What are you planning to do after graduating? What is your dream job?
After graduating, I plan to freelance fulltime and hope to eventually find a fulltime position in health content writing. My dream job would be working fulltime for WebMD, ideally writing LGBTQ health content.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I have an axolotl, which is an amphibian and specifically a neotenic salamander. He lives in an aquarium and loves snacking on worms and playing with the moss balls in his tank.
What are you passionate about?
I’m really passionate about LGBTQ health. It’s an area of health that doesn’t get as much attention but is incredibly important. The queer community faces significant health disparities due to discrimination and societal stigma, so LGBTQ folks often face higher rates of conditions. A lack of nationally representative data on queer folks in the U.S. is also a continuous issue that often comes up when I’m reporting on LGBTQ health, but motivates me all the more.
What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?
For me, the hardest part about adjusting to the pandemic is finding the work/life balance again. Because I work and take classes online, I’m sitting in the same place (my kitchen table at home), day in and day out, so it’s a little more difficult to remember to take breaks. When you’re working from home, that fine line between work and your personal life becomes even finer.
Who is your professional hero?
Right now, my professional hero is Apoorva Mandavilli. She’s a reporter for The New York Times who focuses on science and global health. Following her comprehensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been inspiring and I aspire to cover health beats as she does: relaying critical information in a straightforward but engaging way.
April 22, 2021 Editor:
Megan Mittelhammer, Megan.Mittelhammer@uga.edu