#GradyGrit: Meet Kelly Mayes

Editor’s Note: #GradyGrit is a new series of profiles of Grady College students who show determination, leadership and outreach to the community. Search “#GradyGrit” on the Grady College website for additional profiles. 

Hometown: Woodstock, Georgia

Year: Junior

Degree: Journalism and Ecology major

Activities and Involvement: lab technician and undergraduate researcher in the Structural and Household Entomology Laboratory, Grady Mobile News Lab, executive board member for SPJ/ONA, tutor at Oasis Catolico de Santa Rafaela, former science writer for The Red & Black, former volunteer in a marine ecology lab.

How has Grady influenced your time at UGA?

I have a double major in journalism and ecology, so I’ve spent my time at UGA walking a line between the humanities and the sciences. At times this has proven quite difficult, but Grady has made it a lot easier for me to pursue both dreams. The school has also provided a lot of opportunities for working independently and creatively on projects. I have never been fond of classroom learning, so this was a welcomed experience for me.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?  

My most memorable Grady experience was probably the admit day. I was really excited about the number of opportunities there were and programs to get involved with.

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

I should probably say something about journalism, but a journalist’s first obligation is to the truth, and the truth is my job working in the entomology lab has had the biggest impact on my life during my time at UGA. It has certainly made me a better journalist. It’s given me this amazing experience and pushed me to think in a million different ways. I get to work with insects, which I think are the most amazing creatures on earth, and travel to places either on fieldwork or for conferences. The people are what has really made it great though. The professor and graduate students I have worked under have taught me a million things not just about insects but college and life in general. The lab is my safe space where I can experiment in countless ways. I really learned how to think there.

What is your best advice for a student taking their first class at Grady College?

My advice for a student taking their first class at Grady College is to write about things that matter to you and get involved. If you care about your story then nothing is going to stop you from doing your best on it. You do have to stay on top of your work though. Just because you think you have everything for a story doesn’t mean you do. It’s a fast-paced business where everything changes in the blink of an eye. That’s also why it’s awesome. My last piece of advice is to not get too stressed out about anything. You can do this, and you’re going to be great.

Kelly Mayes, a journalism major, photographs a man in Athens, Georgia.

What motivates you?

Day to day it’s mostly caffeine that keeps me going. In the grand scheme of things, my motivation comes from my work. I try to pick projects and write articles about things I genuinely care about. Usually, that’s science, but I’ve done a few human rights articles that were really important to me as well.

Last show/favorite show you binge-watched?

My favorite show that I have binge-watched is “Atlanta.” I finished it in two days and then immediately watched it again.

Favorite quote?

My favorite quote is “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” It’s a quote from Emerson in his essay “Self-Reliance.” I like this quote in spite of Emerson’s tendency to throw shade at those in power because it talks about looking at things in different ways and from different perspectives.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’m really interested in entomology. I almost chose that as a full career instead of journalism. I currently work as a lab technician in an entomology lab specializing in termites and cockroaches, and I’ve conducted research of my own. One of my jobs is to take care of the cockroaches and rear them for experiments.

Favorite Athens restaurant?

I’m a vegan, so The Grit is the obvious choice. Mama’s Boy is also really good though … and Last Resort. I also like Taqueria del Sol and White Tiger Gourmet. You can’t go wrong with Tlaloc though. Tlaloc is amazing. That’s it. Tlaloc is my favorite Athens restaurant.

Create your own question: What other ways would you recommend students get involved in the Athens community?

Oasis Catolico de Santa Rafaela, commonly referred to just as Oasis, is an organization in the Pinewoods community in Athens that sponsors an afterschool program where university students tutor children ages kindergarten to fifth grade. This gives the Pinewoods students support and help that they might otherwise not be able to access. I have volunteered with them for a semester, and I highly recommend it.


Alumni Advice: Noelle Lashley and Kevin Schatell

Other alumni advice features:

Graduation is the end goal of attending college, but getting there can be stressful. Hear from recent Grady grads about their life after graduation and what they wish they had known before entering into the “real world.”

What do you wish you had known before graduating?

Noelle Lashley, Missoula morning reporter for Wake Up Montana: “I wish I’d known that nothing could truly prepare me for the experience of my first job. I actually made myself sick during my last semester of college because I was so focused on becoming perfectly ready to dive into my first reporting gig, but life doesn’t work that way.”

Kevin Schatell, associate producer at NBC News: “My advice to current journalism students? Seek out what scares you and learn all that you can. As a student, I think I was too wrapped up in the idea of wanting to be creative and produce content, and I wish I’d taken more time to be curious and learn about the areas of the media industry that intimidated me.”

What did you learn outside the classroom that could have been helpful inside the classroom?

Come prepared with pitches

“Don’t be afraid to talk about your ideas. Sometimes when I was in college, I’d shut down because I was afraid of looking or sounding silly. I’d miss out on an opportunity to do a great story because I was afraid of what someone would think of me and my pitch. Nope. Throw that way of thinking out the window. Come to class or a pitch meeting with tons of ideas in your back pocket. The majority of them might not work, and that’s OK. Talk them out. Come at them from a few different angles. Try something completely outside the norm. You’re only going to find the great ones if you’re willing to dig and kiss a few frogs in the process.” Noelle Lashley

Communication across all platforms

“A crucial skill in my job — and the industry as a whole — is communication in all directions. On a daily basis, I manage interns and NBC Pages, pitch to executive producers and provide customer service for the audience that visits the Today Show. Equally as important as communication in all directions is communication on all platforms. Each day consists of public speaking in front of large crowds, one-on-one conversations, emails, phone calls and social media posts. Each of those has to be delivered in a unique way but with a consistent voice. The people I’ve seen who are thriving in the media industry are self-aware and able to tailor their communication style depending on their audience. The more you can intentionally craft your written and verbal communication skills, the better.” –Kevin Schatell

What advice do you have for current students now that you have seen the other side of graduating?

Get out of your comfort zone

Don’t let your life be governed by fear of the unknown.

I have a necklace that says, “life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” It’s true. I originally thought I was going to stay in Georgia for my first job. I had it all planned out…then I realized that I needed to step outside of my own comfort zone. There was a little nudge inside me that kept telling me to look at Montana. I made an excel spreadsheet of every local news station in the state, and I would cycle through the stations every few days to look for openings. No one in my family had ever lived in Montana. I had one friend who lived there, and he was hours away from any of the stations I was considering. My entire existing support system was on the east coast. People’s reaction to my goal ranged from disbelief to disgust to full conversations about how my choice was going to wreck my career. I was scared, but I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t try. I tried. Now I’m the sole morning reporter for my station in Missoula, Montana. It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’ve only been on air for six weeks, and I’ve already had incredible opportunities that I never would have been given in a larger market. I’ve made wonderful friends, and I don’t feel alone or isolated anymore. I get to look outside and see snow-capped mountains when I’m driving around for work, and I’m trying things I never would have done in Georgia. I’m sure I’ll look back on my life and have regrets at the end, but I’m not going to wish that I had taken a chance on myself in my 20s. I did.

Your greatest victories and your greatest challenges are waiting for you. Don’t miss out on them because you let fear decide your destiny. Noelle Lashley

Act like an owner

One of our core values at NBCUniversal is ownership. That’s not something I spent a lot of time thinking about in college, but I wish I had. The idea is to act like an owner, not a renter. For example: if you’re renting an apartment and you discover a hole in the wall, what do you do? If you’re like me, your instinct is likely to cover it with a picture frame and think “Eh, not my problem — someone else will fix that.” The difference is, as an owner, you have a bigger investment. You’d fix the hole rather than cover it up. That’s how we’re encouraged to treat our work. There’s no room for a “that’s not my problem” mentality in the news and entertainment industries. Focus on having an owner’s mentality in all the work you do, whether it’s classes, organizations on campus, internships or a full-time job. Kevin Schatell

#GradyGrit: Meet Tyler Head

Editor’s Note: #GradyGrit is a new series of profiles of Grady College students who show determination, leadership and outreach to the community. Search “#GradyGrit” on the Grady College website for additional profiles. 

Hometown: Covington, Georgia

Year: Senior

Degree: Journalism major and Sports Media Certificate

Involvement and activities: Grady Sports Media, UGA Wesley Foundation, WUOG member

How has Grady influenced your time at UGA?

Grady is fantastic. I came in as a transfer student almost two years ago, and the size and prestige of UGA was very intimidating. My first semester I struggled to meet people and kind of felt out of place. I was accepted into Grady and began there the following semester, and it made a world of difference. The professors and other students in Grady are all amazing and I’ve felt so comfortable ever since. I know “Grady Family” may sound like a cliche, but it’s a very real thing, and I love it.

I know “Grady Family” may sound like a cliche, but it’s a very real thing, and I love it.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?  

Being a part of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Radio Talent Institute that Grady hosted over the summer. I have a passion for radio broadcasting and learning the ins and outs of the industry, making connections with industry professionals and forming friendships and relationships with the other students that attended are truly unforgettable.

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

The people for sure. I’ve met and gotten to know so many people from so many walks of life and professions, and I really value that. I feel like the more diverse groups of people you interact with can really help you adapt to the world after graduating.

What is your best advice for a student taking their first class at Grady College?

It’s going to seem very overwhelming at first, and you might even think you aren’t cut out for this major, but those fears will subside. As I mentioned before, Grady feels like home and once you become comfortable you’re going to love it. You’ll meet people and do things that will have a lasting impact on your life for years to come.

Tyler Head reports on sports journalism outside the classroom.

What motivates you?

Achieving goals. I always like having something to shoot for, both long and short term. That way I can always push myself to accomplish whatever’s next. I feel that knowing you’re heading in the right direction and building toward something makes life easier.  

Last show/favorite show you binge-watched?

The Office.” It is such a perfect show I just can’t get enough of it. I’ve already watched it three times and now I’m on my fourth because my girlfriend had never seen it and I introduced it to her.

Favorite quote?

“Having dreams is what makes life tolerable.” It’s from the movie “Rudy, which I’ve loved since I was a kid. This really ties in what motivates me. We all know life can be challenging at times, but I’ve found that always having something to shoot for can get you through low points.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

That’s a tough one. I’d say probably that I’m very creative. I may not seem that way at times because I can tend to be a quieter person, but I’m all the time thinking of doing creative things. I also like to consider myself a good problem solver and that goes hand in hand with the creativity thing. I always find a way to get things done.

Favorite Athens restaurant?

I’m a very simple person, and I love barbeque, so I’d definitely go with Butt Hutt BBQ. It’s your classic hole-in-the-wall joint and for any barbecue lover that means the food is amazing, and the sweet tea is absolute perfection.

Create your own question to answer: Has Grady provided any challenges for you?

Like with any college courses there’s always the challenge of performing at a high level academically. With Grady there’s also the pressure of representing the college well professionally, too. Grady has a footprint literally everywhere in the media/journalism world, and that can feel a bit daunting to try and live up, to but that’s what makes Grady so great and well respected. I hope I too can one day make an impact in my professional career that represents Grady as the amazing place that it is.

#GradyGrit: Meet Myan Patel

Editor’s Note: #GradyGrit is a new series of profiles of Grady College students who show determination, leadership and outreach to the community. Search “#GradyGrit” on the Grady College website for additional profiles. 

Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee 

Year: Junior 

Degree: Journalism major and Sports Media Certificate 

Activities and Involvement: The Red & Black, WUOG, Grady Ambassadors, Grady Sports, formerly SGA and the Indian Cultural Exchange  

How has Grady influenced your time at UGA?  

MP: Grady has been one the best parts of being here at UGA. It has taught me invaluable lessons both in and out of the classroom. Grady has also provided a large amount of opportunities to learn, listen and network with some of the most successful individuals in the fields of journalism and mass communication. At Grady, your professors have been out in the field, maybe they still are, doing the exact things they’re teaching you about. You know what they’re instilling in you is real and valuable information, but I think best of all, Grady has become my family. When I entered the college, I knew just a handful of people. Now, it’s impossible to walk through the confusing hallways of the journalism building without seeing at least five people I know. It would be tough to envision my time thus far at UGA without Grady. 

What is your most memorable Grady experience?   

MP: So far, my most memorable Grady experience has been through Grady Sports. It was a trip to Tiger, Georgia, to broadcast the 2A football state semifinals last fall. It had a mix of everything — weird, crazy, unique, fun — and is an experience I, and everyone else that went, will never forget.   

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

MP: I’m from Knoxville, Tennessee, and when I came to UGA, I knew about seven others that either came from my high school with me or previously graduated from my high school and were already at UGA. So I’d say there have been two things that made a big impact on me. One is living in a high rise my freshman year and meeting some great people who I probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with/befriended if it weren’t for the old, original Russell Hall. I was lucky to find a great group of friends that year and I still live with/next to them today.  Then, I applied to Grady Sports. Luckily, I got into the program, and it is most definitely the best thing that’s happened to me while I’ve been here at UGA. Sports media and sports broadcasting is a passion of mine, so to go to classes for it? I couldn’t ask for more. But as great as the classes are, the friends I have made through Grady Sports are some of the best people I have ever met. From a group of strangers to a nearly inseparable group, we have become so close. Grady Sports, like Grady College, has such a familial feel, and it makes this huge place of 30,000+ feel small and like home.  

What is your best advice for a student taking their first class at Grady College? 

MP: Good luck! If you think it’ll be an ordinary layout where you just go to class, have homework, tests and that’s it … you’re in for a wakeup call. While that may sound scary or intimidating, the assignments you work on in your Grady classes are hands-on. You’re out in the field getting a glimpse at how the professional world works. You learn core concepts in the classroom and then immediately go out and put them to work. Meet your classmates and make friends with them. Trust me, you’ll end up having a lot of your classes together with the same group. Meet your professors and pick their brain! They can give invaluable advice and just want to help you succeed.  

Myan Patel reports outside the classroom for his Sports Media Certificate.

What motivates you? 

MP: There is constantly room to improve. I want to work hard and be the best I can be. It doesn’t matter what time it is, but there are always things I can be doing to get better. I set goals for myself and want to achieve them, and there’s no choice but to work toward them.  

Last show/favorite show you binge watched? 

MP: That’s tough. I love Suits. Hands down it’s one of my favorite shows ever. The quickest show I ever completely binge watched was Entourage. I probably finished the entire show in 3 weeks a few summers ago. I was hooked. The show I finished most recently was New Girl. It’s so good and always makes me laugh.  

Favorite quote? 

MP: I am a huge New York Yankees fan, and Derek Jeter is one of my all-time favorite baseball players. I love this quote by him: “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”  

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

MP: Hmm, I’m not really sure to be honest. Maybe I seem shy at first? I like to think I’m pretty outgoing, but sometimes I can be quiet if I don’t know you.  

Favorite Athens restaurant? 

MP: Another tough one. It depends on if I’m craving anything specific. I really like La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant on College Station Road. Taqueria Tsunami downtown is another favorite of mine. Clocked downtown is high up on the list and so was Transmet before they left. 

Create your own question to answer. What’s your go-to study spot? 

MP: If I really need to hunker down and focus, I grab a cubicle on the east wing of the third floor at the MLC and go to work. I also like the Starbucks on Alps Road to study or get homework done.  

Grady College to host NPPA drone workshop

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication partners with The National Press Photographers Association and the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska to continue their innovative program to train journalist in using drones, or unmanned aerial systems, for their news coverage.

The program featuring hands-on workshops and flight training is being presented with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and First Look Media. Additional funding is being provided by Grady College, the University of Oregon, School of Journalism and Communication, the Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership and the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Participants at the 2017 drone workshops

Grady, home to NPPA, will host the workshops on Oct. 12-14 and will offer training on safe drone operations and information journalists need to study for the Federal Aviation Administrations part 107 Drone Pilot’s Certificate.  The program will also help those needing to go through the recertification process. In addition, the three-day workshops will focus on the ethical issues of drone journalism, community best practices and coordinated operations in a breaking news environment and explore ways drone photography can be used in innovative storytelling. Additional workshops will be held at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska, Sept. 21-23.

NPPA’s legal counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher, who has worked for years speaking on behalf of journalists in support of commonsense federal, state and municipal regulations regarding where and when drone journalists could fly, will lead sessions on the legal issues of drone journalism.

“NPPA has been at the forefront in advocating for the use of drones for newsgathering. With that opportunity comes an inherent role of operating them in a legal, safe and responsible manner,” Osterreicher said. “The legal landscape is especially complex because state and local governments increasingly are imposing their own restrictions on drone flights.”

“It’s one thing to be able to put a drone up in the air, it’s something else entirely to do it in a journalistically-sound way,” said Grady Professor Mark E. Johnson. “It’s critical that journalists understand all the legal and ethical issues before they consider taking the Part 107 exam.”

“As a certified drone pilot, I know how difficult the exam can be for people who have no other pilot training,” said Nebraska’s Matt Waite, who will be instructing at both workshops. “Our goal is to give you the tools and fundamental knowledge you will need to study for and pass the FAA’s test.”

“Drones are purpose-built context machines. They can, in less time and at vastly reduced costs, give a viewer an understanding of the scale and scope of a story unlike anything else journalists have in the toolbox,” said Waite, who has become a leading voice for drone journalism through his work at the University of Nebraska. “Just getting a drone straight up 100 feet in the air has the power to change our understanding of how big, how far, how wide, how massive something is. And it can be done safely and for very little cost.”

The program also will feature hands-on introductory flight training on a variety of platforms. Participation at each hands-on workshop will be limited to the first 60 people to register. To register for the Athens workshop Oct. 12-14, visit the NPPA website.