#ProfilesofTenacity: Rachel Ziner

Rachel Ziner was taught the value of setting goals and achieving them from a young age. To her, tenacity comes after those goals are achieved. Ziner is a Double Dawg, who first earned her bachelor’s in advertising at Grady College before staying this year to earn a master’s degree in Emerging Media through the New Media Institute. Ziner is currently interning as a corporate public relations intern for Golin, which she says has been her biggest accomplishment in the past year. This summer, she interned at McDonald’s corporate in Chicago, Illinois this summer for their in-house agency, Agency123. She currently serves as the director of intern relations for Talking Dog, and is a communications intern for the AdPR department.

Why did you choose your major?

For my undergraduate degree, I wanted to study something that challenged me to continually be creative and have no two days that were exactly alike. This led me to choose advertising due to the fast-paced nature of the industry and the creativity it takes to be successful. After obtaining this degree, I wanted to learn more about the future of the industry and the role technology plays in modern media, leading me to pursue the Emerging Media Double Dawgs pathway. This program focuses on the intersection of design and technology, teaching me how to leverage new technologies to communicate with audiences differently than before. The knowledge from both of my degrees has made me well-ounded in understanding both traditional and digital media strategy while prioritizing the needs of the target market. 

Ziner (front right) pictured with interns she worked with throughout the year as director of intern relations at Talking Dog Agency. This photo was taken in April 2023 at the ‘Battle of the Brands’ event.
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

I can easily say my most memorable Grady experience comes from my senior year of undergraduate when I was an account executive on the Luckie Health team within Talking Dog Agency. My seven-member team worked all year to develop a research-driven campaign for the launch of the sub-brand of Luckie & Co., Luckie Health. Our team had the opportunity to present at the agency-wide competition, Battle of the Brands, and our case study on our work won 1st place in the competition! I remember feeling so proud of my team and everything we accomplished. It felt like all the long hours had paid off and we were recognized for our success. 

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

Though she was not my professor directly, Missy Hill is easily the first person to come to mind. This past school year when I served as the director of intern relations within Talking Dog Agency and as a communications intern for the Advertising and Public Relations Department, Missy has been my advisor for both roles. I admire Missy’s work ethic in everything she does for the department and how she always leads with kindness first. She has so much impressive knowledge and industry expertise. I never leave a conversation with her without learning something new. I know I can always go to Missy when I need advice or have questions about the wide world of advertising and public relations. Missy has always been a champion for helping me achieve my goals and I know she’ll be a mentor to me for years to come. I am so grateful to have her in my corner as I will soon be navigating post-grad life. 

Before pursuing her emerging media masters, Ziner graduated with a degree in advertising in May of 2022.
What does tenacity mean to you?

From a young age, I was taught how to set goals and the value that comes with achieving those goals. When I set out to accomplish my goals, my drive and determination and what brings me to achieve them. To me, tenacity comes in after that, once those goals are accomplished. How can I continue to strive for further achievement? What’s the next level of success look like for me and what can be done to reach that? Tenacity is fighting to continually do better and build the life I want for myself, even after I achieve my goals. Tenacity is continually asking for and gladly welcoming what’s next, even if I know it will be challenging. 

Ziner pictured with other students in the ’emerging media NMIXPo’ class in fall 2022, where students present their progress on their capstone project.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

The best piece of advice I have ever received is “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This means that everyone is on their own path and you cannot compare where you are at in life with anyone else. You will never find joy if you spend all day thinking about what other people are doing or the ways in which they are achieving. It’s better to focus on yourself, take things one day at a time and remember that you are your own person with a unique purpose in life that is not to be compared with anyone else. Instead of sitting around comparing yourself to others, think about what you can do to get yourself to where you want to be. Enjoy the journey that is uniquely yours (and rather than wishing you were in other’s shoes, choose to celebrate the success of others rather than sulk in what you feel you may lack). 

What are you passionate about?

Professionally, I am passionate about viewing the audiences my work serves as humans. In the modern age of information, we are constantly consuming media, whether we know it or not. I’m passionate about making this media consumption more enjoyable for consumers – not just another headline or advertisement in their feeds that does not connect with their wants and needs. The exciting thing about this passion is that every consumer is different and consumer desires will change over time. There will always be opportunities for me to consider first the individuals that my work is serving and use that as a guiding factor. I’m passionate about using this human-first approach in building campaigns that bring consumers closer to brands. 

Personally, I am passionate about creativity and trying new things whenever possible! I love to try cooking new recipes, exploring new places and most of all crafting new projects to gift to friends and family. I’ve always been very resourceful and had a passion for

Ziner pictured from her first internship at Krystal Restaurants LLC, when she was the marketing intern. She continued to work at Krystal for a year as the marketing coordinator  from June 2021 to May 2022.

flexing my creative muscles whenever possible. 

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment in the past year has been landing a job with Golin as a public relations intern, working on the Discover Financial Services and West Monroe Partners accounts. I knew in my final semester of graduate school I was interested in pursuing an internship opportunity to apply my skills and add to my resume before graduating. I applied for the opportunity at Golin, did some networking on LinkedIn and landed the job! I’ve really enjoyed working full-time, remotely, and gaining real-world agency experience while still in school. Having this role has taught me so much about client service and earned media strategy to couple with the emerging media strategy that I am learning my graduate program. 

Ziner’s final presentation for her internship with McDonald’s, where she was the intern for the in-house agency, Agency123 in Chicago this past summer.
What is an example of a time you used your skills in a real-world experience?

Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern at McDonald’s corporate office in Chicago, Illinois within their in-house agency, Agency123. I mostly worked on account management and project management for a number of internal clients. Throughout my final year at UGA, I acted as an account executive within Talking Dog and for my campaigns class team. In both of these experiences, I learned how to write project briefs and develop KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the success of a campaign. As the Agency123 intern, I was asked to write project briefs, including KPIs, for a few projects throughout the summer. My manager was impressed with my ability to write such comprehensive and detailed project briefs, thanks to my experiences in Talking Dog and in the classroom. It was a great feeling to be so early in my career and be given an assignment that I already knew how to complete. 

Where’s your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus would have to be Studio 100 in Grady! I spent so many Wednesday evenings there in the past two years as a member of Talking Dog Agency. I love the atmosphere of the room and always know I will be surrounded by talented, creative and overall awesome people when I’m there. 

Emerging Media students create Historic Athens app

Using 21st Century technology to provide users with a sense of history from the 1800s and 1900s is the goal of a new Historic Athens app, created by a team of Emerging Media students.

The app was developed as the Emerging Media capstone project by Olivia Sprott (MA ’22), Meghan Telling (AB ’20, MA ’22) and Dakota Werner (AB ’20, MA ’22). They worked on the app with Tommy Valentine, executive director of Historic Athens, who was excited to work on a town and gown project.

“This is the type program you hope to have from your local university — one that provides public benefit while sharpening the skills of students,” Valentine said.  “We are very grateful for this partnership,” Valentine said.

A screenshot of the Historic Athens app.
Historic Athens app showing a listing detail and map of historical locations around Athens.

The app provides users a map of downtown Athens with historic homes, buildings and neighborhoods identified. Each location includes a picture, a brief description and a timeline of when that area was significant. A calendar, description of the mission of Historic Athens and an invitation to join the organization are also included.

The Historic Athens app was developed as a capstone project for the Emerging Media master’s degree offered through the New Media Institute. Capstone projects provide in-depth technology solutions including apps, websites, podcasts and other applications.  The projects typically span multiple semesters and cover key learnings from class from research, design concepts and prototypes, to usability studies, focus groups and development of the project. While some projects are conceived by the students, other projects like the Historic Athens app, are projects that solve needs for clients.

“Collaboration was a big part of this project,” said Telling, who now works in employee communications at CommCast. “Working for a full year as a team teaches you a lot about strengths and weaknesses and working style. Creating the road map for the year was key.”

The students benefitted in several ways and in addition to gaining valuable skills, they were able to contribute to a lasting legacy project for the community.

“I enjoyed being able to be part of something else in the community,” Sprott said. “Getting to know the Historic Athens team team and playing a small role in the larger community was an honor.”

Valentine was impressed with the creativity the team developed to introduce people to Historic Athens, as well as the longevity of the app using connectivity like syncing the calendar through a Google API to ensure event listings are up-to-date.

“This was a very impressive batch of students and what they didn’t know already, they taught themselves,” Valentine said. “Communicating a sense of history around Historic Athens was our top priority. As they worked through alpha and beta versions, they created succinct and intuitive ways to introduce people to us.”

The app, available for iOS in the app store.


A video introduction to the Historic Athens app.

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.

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Rohit Rammohan

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot recently. In my mind, it means striving despite the circumstances to be the best version of yourself, whether that means being the best classmate, student, friend or family member. Especially given the times we live in now, to me, tenacity is one of the most important characteristics you can have as a person.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA? 

I don’t think it’s possible for me to choose just one person. If left to me, I’d say that it has been every member of the New Media Institute and the amazing members of WUOG.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

I’d have to say the day I presented my capstone app’s beta version for the first time along with my team last semester. I walked into this program with almost no knowledge of coding whatsoever, so I thought, probably incorrectly in retrospect given the amazing help I’ve had from my team (shoutout to Andy Johnston and Crysta Jones), that this would be the most uphill task I’d ever have to undertake.

What is your most memorable Grady experience? 

I think that it would be the day I first walked into the New Media Institute at Grady last summer. It was at the start of one of the most uncertain times the world as we know now is seeing. I had just finished online classes for the summer, and I wasn’t sure how classes would be held in the fall. When they announced some in-person classes for the fall and when I walked into Grady for the first time and into the NMI, the warm welcome I received instantly made me feel like I belonged there.

Who is your professional hero?

I actually have two of them. One of them is Steve Jobs. I mean, the company he’s built and his ideas have literally taken over the world. Another one is Elon Musk. His ideas may be crazy and out-of-the-box, but they’re also revolutionary.

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I’ve always been passionate about the field of Media & Entertainment. A few years ago, I was a web journalist for a short bit writing headline stories and that showed me just how much I enjoyed being able to share stories that mean something to the world. I’ve also been interested and passionate about technology, particularly newer and emerging forms of technology for as long as I can remember. The course at Grady to me appeared to be a one-of-a-kind particularly suited to my tastes and interests.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

I’m torn on this one. A part of me wants to say the North Campus quad since it’s so quiet and serene when you consider what’s on the other side of the quad. The other part of me wants to say that it’s the WUOG lobby at Tate.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

When I was a kid, my parents always used to tell me that by listening more than I speak, I can learn a lot more about a person and that it was also the easiest way to make friends. Till today, I still carry that lesson with me and it’s proven more invaluable than not.

What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?

I’d have to say the idea of adapting to working and learning remotely. I’ve always felt that I work so much better when I’m actually sitting in a classroom learning or in an office with my teammates hashing out details. I’d also say it’s the fact that I’ve really had to reduce in-person interaction with my friends. 

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

I don’t really use social media much but I’ve found that Twitter is pretty useful to catch up with everything going on in the world.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

In a past life, before everything that’s going on in the world now, I used to absolutely love traveling. I’ve travelled to I think nine different countries and over 20 cities, and I have a list of several more I want to visit at the first available opportunity.

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Cesar Moncada

What are you passionate about?

I am very passionate about helping others and using my skills as a form of service. The reason I chose to go into advertising and branding is to help businesses communicate in more creative and effective ways. I am interested in a lot of different things such as music, sports and art. I hope to make an impact in those fields and be able to help companies struggling with design and media.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

People may be surprised to know that I am a twin! My twin brother also completed his undergraduate degree at UGA in biological engineering.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

I would definitely have to say that the faculty of the New Media Institute have had the biggest impact on my life here at UGA. I went from not knowing a thing about new media to being fully immersed in the program and loving every minute spent in classes. I think the NMI has had a significant impact on my course of study. I remember being in my first semester of NMI classes and I still communicate with those professors to this day. The NMI professors have been brilliant mentors and I cannot thank them enough for guiding me and giving me such great opportunities.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

My favorite spot on campus would have to be North Campus. When the weather is nice the view is unrivaled, and I love spending time outdoors. Definitely a go-to study spot! 

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

The best piece of advice I received was from my father. He has always reminded me to never become complacent and to never stop searching for opportunities, whether it be in professional or personal life. I think it had the biggest impact on why I decided to pursue a master’s degree at UGA. I keep that advice with me every day and am always looking for different ways to better myself in all areas of my life. 

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

My favorite app would have to be Instagram. I am a very visual person and I love how the app has quickly grown into a knowledge sharing application rather than just being used for social purposes. 

What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience?

I have had the opportunity to serve as a communications assistant with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. The work I do as a member of the communications department directly correlates to what I have learned throughout my time at Grady.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

My proudest moment in the past year would have to be graduating with my bachelor’s and diving into my master’s programs despite a pandemic!

What are you planning to do after graduating? Do you have a dream job?

I am hoping to find a job doing creative work in fields that I am passionate about. I have always loved sports and music, so I hope to use the things I have learned to make a positive impact. My dream job is to be a creative director in an industry that I love.

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

The #ProfilesOfTenacity series is a set of student features highlighting the strength, determination and leadership of students in Grady College. Visit our Profiles in Tenacity webpage to view other profiles.

Grady’s Emerging Media graduate program expanding to online offering

One of Grady College’s fastest growing graduate programs, the Master of Arts in Emerging Media, is offering a new program that features curriculum completely online. The Emerging Media Masters Online program will not only double the capacity of the program, but will also enable the curriculum to be accessed from literally anywhere in the world.

The EM online program has been under development for a few years, and with the recent increased focus on online learning due to the coronavirus, this program is expected to be even more sought after.

“We have seen incredible interest and growth in the Emerging Media program since introducing it in 2016, and offering this online component with curriculum that is completely accessible via the internet is a natural evolution,” said Jeff Springston, associate dean for research and graduate studies for Grady College.

Springston said the online program will be especially popular for people in early- or mid-career stage who want to advance their digital skillset, as well as international students who want to improve their digital education.

The EM online program follows the same curriculum as the residential program and educates students on technology and design for digital media. Both programs focus on interactive digital media through a project-based curriculum that encompasses design, development, digital storytelling, social strategy, data analytics, brand identity, user research, product ideation, project management and emerging technologies. Eleven classes or 33 hours are required to complete the degree.

The EM program has been developing its online curriculum since 2017 thanks to an Online Course Innovation Grant from the Office of Online Learning. The summer 2020 class represents the first EM class that will be completely online.

“The online cohort will still be very collaborative like the residential cohort,” explained Megan Ward, administrative director for the New Media Institute. The NMI advises the EM students.

Online EM students will have a choice of taking classes in an accelerated one-year program, or as a two-year program designed for part-time students and working professionals. The residential program will be closely aligned with client projects through UGA’s new Innovation District. Students will apply for and be accepted for one program or the other, but there will not be any overlap.

Qualified participants in the inaugural class of the Emerging Media Online Masters will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full or until May 1, 2020.

Applications for the 2021 residential and online Emerging Media programs will be accepted until March 1, 2021.

Applicants must submit the following to be eligible for consideration: GRE scores, Graduate School application, Grady College supplemental application, three letters of recommendation and a statement of Interest.

More details can be found on the UGA Online Learning webpage.

Emerging Media Double Dawgs informational session

Interested in being a Double Dawg and learning about emerging media?

What is the Emerging Media Master’s Concentration?
Emerging Media Master’s students learn to identify emerging media needs, create solutions to industry problems, develop content and applications, and strategically manage emerging media platforms to further their personal career goals and those of their employers. The degree is designed to accommodate students from a variety of different undergraduate backgrounds and professionals from a variety of industries.

What is the Double Dawgs Program?
The Double Dawgs program gives ambitious and motivated students a competitive advantage in today’s knowledge economy. By earning both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years or less, students can save time and money while positioning themselves for success after graduation. This program creates structured pathways for qualified students, and the Emerging Media Master’s Concentration is included in this program.

Questions? Email the Emerging Media Department 

UGA Amazing Student: Caroline Windham

Excerpts reposted from uga.edu.

 As a master’s degree student in emerging media, Caroline Windham is committed to connecting people through the media in a positive way and make them feel accepted.


Peachtree City, Georgia

High school:

Landmark Christian School

Current employment:

I am a graduate assistant for Dr. Keith Herndon and a master’s student in the Emerging Media Program, currently in its second year of operation and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!

Family ties to UGA:

My grandfather played basketball here in between his military service. My dad and uncle both graduated from Terry College, so I was somewhat of a traitor choosing Grady College but I’ve been forgiven. My sister is about to start her sophomore year and two cousins both transferred in this past fall. To say it lightly, UGA is definitely a family affair!

Expected graduation:

Spring 2020

Degree objective:

Emerging Media

Other degrees:

Certificate in Media Analytics

My favorite professor is …

… Dr. Keith Herndon by a landslide. He was the one who really helped and encouraged me to pursue entrepreneurship, and is also one of the kindest people I know. He truly wants his students to succeed, and has definitely found his purpose in life. *Disclaimer* I’m going to be his graduate assistant in the fall, and I promise I’m not saying this to get on his good side, just meet him and you’ll see.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?

For me, passion and purpose go hand-in-hand. Without passion your purpose becomes dull, and without purpose your passion fizzles out. I’m committed to pursuing my purpose of loving people and making them feel accepted. That’s what drives me, and I am passionate about doing that through media and connecting people. Media isn’t all bad, and I want to help people see the positivity and love available because that’s essential for a happy life.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be …

Getting to go to the National Championship game. Even though we lost, the energy was insane and truly made me proud to be a Georgia Bulldawg.

Please visit Amazing Student: Caroline Windham to view the entire Q&A about Carolines time at UGA.

Grady’s Emerging Media master’s program to receive UGA online development grant

Grady College is pleased to announce that its Emerging Media program is one of two initial university programs to receive an Online Course Innovation Grant offered by the Office of Online Learning and the UGA Graduate School.

Stephen Balfour, director of the Office of Online Learning; Associate Dean Shari Miller, School of Social Work; and Associate Dean Jeff Springston, Grady College, celebrate the first Online Course Innovation Grants. Photo: Office of Online Learning.
Stephen Balfour, director of the Office of Online Learning; Shari Miller, associate dean, School of Social Work; and Jeff Springston, associate dean, Grady College, celebrate the first Online Course Innovation Grants. Photo: Office of Online Learning.

The School of Social Work also received one of the initial grants.

The Online Course Innovation Grant will help Grady College develop an online version of its new Master of Arts in emerging media. This program is designed for students who want to learn how to identify emerging media needs and solutions using innovative and interactive digital technology, develop content and applications and strategically manage emerging media platforms.

“This grant will enable us to better serve citizens in Georgia and beyond,” said Jeff Springston, associate dean of graduate studies and research. “The program will allow individuals to gain new or enhanced expertise in emerging media without having to move or quit their current job.”

Over the next year, Grady plans on developing nine required online courses to accompany an existing online required course and an online elective. The online program is expected to be offered in Fall 2018. No other schools in the state offer online master’s degrees in emerging media.

“We are using a team-based model for both projects to leverage the nationally recognized expertise of our faculty with the strengths of our online learning staff,” said Stephen Balfour, director of the Office of Online Learning. “It is our intent to raise the bar on quality and innovative online degree programs and increase the spotlight on graduate education at UGA.”

These two programs were selected from 12 proposals based on their intended use of innovative technologies, student engagement, strength of proposed assessments to gauge learning outcomes, feedback and clarity, and anticipated project timelines.

Faculty will be supported through an intensive collaborative partnership with experts in the Office of Online Learning for quality instructional design, media creation, marketing and online student services.