Journalism student Ciera Walker named 2022 Disney UNCF Corporate Scholar

Ciera Walker, a Journalism student from Columbus, Georgia, has been selected by the Walt Disney Company and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to be a 2022 Disney UNCF Corporate Scholar. Walker is one of just 21 students throughout the United States to be awarded this opportunity.

Through the highly competitive program, Walker will be interning with ESPN’s social media team, working alongside professionals in the department to create and produce content for ESPN’s social media platforms.

Ciera Walker stands outside wearing an ESPN shirt.
Walker, who is on track to graduate in 2024, is a Film minor. (Photo: Submitted.)

While the internship, which runs from June 6 to August 12, is primarily virtual, Walker will have the opportunity to travel to ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, during the summer to meet the ESPN social team and other ESPN interns in person.

“This accomplishment gives me the opportunity to learn, network and grow within the media industry,” said Walker. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to work alongside ESPN executives who can share their experience and offer feedback or advice on what I need to do to excel in this career. It’s not often that you’re able to learn and develop your personal skills while also being paid, so I’m grateful for this privilege.”

In addition to receiving a paid summer internship, each Disney UNCF Corporate Scholar is awarded a $5,000 annual scholarship, mentorship opportunities and assistance securing possible full-time roles with Disney after graduation.

“Being a Disney UNCF Corporate Scholar means a lot to me,” Walker added. “I’m able to learn from industry professionals already working in positions I aspire to be in one day, and I also have the opportunity to mature as a leader. What I enjoy most so far is being able to connect with the other scholars who are succeeding in their own ways and getting to share our knowledge with one another.”

As a Corporate Scholar, Walker will be joining a growing cohort of students supported by the program, which, according to Disney, is designed to nurture rising Black talent pursuing degrees in finance, human resources, legal, production/media and technology.

“Disney’s longstanding relationship with UNCF, including our collaboration on this scholarship program, is an important part of our efforts to reimagine tomorrow by amplifying underrepresented voices and untold stories,” said Latondra Newton, Disney’s senior vice president and chief diversity officer. “For more than 75 years, UNCF has helped generations of students claim a brighter future. Together, we’re carrying on this proud legacy, ensuring promising students are supported in their education and connected with Disney mentors and career opportunities.”

#ProfilesOfTenacity: William Newlin

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I began my college career as an International Affairs major in SPIA. History, English, political science and economics had always been my favorite subjects, and IA seemed to bring it all together. But as an avid news consumer with a penchant for writing, I realized there was more I wanted to do. Grady allowed me to join a field with colleagues who have goals beyond themselves. I knew it would give me the leeway to find my passion and the opportunity to write with purpose.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity is a willingness to leave your comfort zone to get what you need, whether in your personal life or professional pursuits. In journalism, it’s not backing down in the face of authority. It’s being dogged, nosy and courageous. In life, it’s sticking to your values and reaching for your goals no matter the obstacles. 

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about improving public debate through good journalism. I think the best reporting keeps important issues centered in our collective consciousness and directs attention to topics that might otherwise fall through the cracks. We need to have more fact-based debate in all aspects of American life, and I’m excited to contribute to that throughout my career.

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

The Red & Black. After joining in fall 2019, I immediately found a group of people who both supported me and created the environment of healthy competition that shaped me as a reporter. Over two years of reporting and editing from contributor all the way to managing editor, I honed my writing, fact-finding and storytelling skills. It was the real-world experience I needed to feel confident in my abilities as a professional journalist and leader.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

In March, I presented original research at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Midwinter Conference. The idea originated in a research theory class the previous fall, and I developed my topic and method alongside Dr. Karin Assmann. Focused on the rhetoric of Fox News’ Sean Hannity, I found the data needed for the project, learned to use a new analysis software and wrote a lengthy paper that was accepted by the AEJMC. Despite taking the non-thesis route in my graduate program, I’m excited to leave with a tangible piece of scholarship. My goal is to submit the finished article for publication in a political communication journal.  

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

Find something interesting in every assignment. Even if you’re covering what seems like the driest beat in the world, there are always people, trends and storylines to keep you and your audience engaged. 

Who is your professional hero?

A few people come to mind. As exemplars of my first journalistic passion – sports writing (specifically baseball) – Tony Kornheiser and Jeff Passan are at the top. Their reporting chops and undeniable style continue to inform my approach to writing. I also greatly admire CNN’s Clarissa Ward and NBC’s Richard Engel. They’re in the most important places at the most important times, and I hope to emulate their unflinching courage to whatever extent I can. And if I had to throw in a historical hero, it would have to be Edward R. Murrow. Aside from the obvious reasons, who doesn’t want a catchphrase?

What are you planning to do after obtaining your degree?

I plan to hit the ground running as a reporter. With experience in sports, news and features, I’m excited to get started and adapt to new challenges.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

It might surprise people that I make music – sort of. I play the drums, can strum a guitar, and I’m oddly decent at composing piano music, which I’ve translated into a few songs. Some are on SoundCloud, and some are just for me. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

The Founders Memorial Garden on North Campus is and always will be my favorite spot. It was my between-classes refuge freshman year and continues to be a peaceful place when I need some quiet time in nature. 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Sherry Liang

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

The only class I enjoyed in high school was newspaper, so I came into college as an intended-journalism major. I joined The Red & Black within my first month and became an editor the following semester. But I already felt stagnant, which is not a feeling you want as a freshman, so I sought a creative outlet with EMST. I wish I could reassure freshman me that both journalism and EMST would welcome (and continue to welcome) me with open arms — that pursuing both paths would change my life — but I think she already knew.

What are you passionate about?

A lot, sometimes too much. I’m passionate about independent student journalism and innovating the newsroom’s status quo. I’m passionate about people and our emotions — the way we interact and react — and finding the universal in the personal. The entertainment and journalism I grew up with rarely told the stories of my community. I never saw myself in the media industry, so I hope I can play my part in changing that for future generations.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

I hope I’ll remember the everyday moments like mingling with friends between classes, group exercises in cinematography, staying up until 2 a.m. finishing a script, sheltering from a tornado in one of the many windowless first floor classrooms, busting a kneecap open after class (unrelated to the tornado), table reads in Writers’ Room or watching film premieres at Ciné and University 16 … the list goes on. 

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.

Liang served as the editor-in-chief of The Red & Black in spring 2021 (Photo: Taylor Gerlach).
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The students, by all means. From day one, I’ve been inspired by everyone’s dedication to each other’s work at The Red & Black, The Industry, in classrooms and on the screen. Members of Writers’ Room, for example, have exceeded every conceivable expectation of mine when I restructured the club. From first-time screenwriters to EMST veterans, everyone’s bonded over these characters and scripts that we’ve created. I’m also beyond impressed by students on the Selection Committee for the Backlight Student Film Festival, who have spent nearly 10 hours across three weeks watching and judging film submissions. This level of commitment and collaboration is a trademark of the students at this college.

As I round out my senior year, I feel like I’ve finally found my place with my people. Graduating and leaving UGA feels bittersweet and pre-nostalgic, but I am mostly relieved that given the volatility of the universe and its infinite possibilities, we all found ourselves here, together, if only for a moment. (Existential thoughts courtesy of Everything, Everywhere All at Once.)

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Directing my first short film this semester was one of the most surreal moments of my college career. I’ve written a few scripts, so that part of the process was familiar. But as I watched actors bring the characters I created to life, heard people laugh at these jokes I wrote from my bed at 3 a.m., and witnessed an entire crew devote their many precious hours to execute my story — I felt a type of unbridled joy and gratitude that I had never experienced in a collaborative environment. I’ll chase that feeling and those people for as long as I create. 

(Bonus full-circle moment: The film is about student journalism!)

What are you planning to do after graduation?

Lots of soul-searching, a bit of traveling, and hopefully some revelatory experiences — but first, the Cannes Film Festival.

A behind the scenes look at Liang’s short film directorial debut (Photo: Jaida Green).
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

Coming in as a beginner, I was intimidated by EMST before even setting foot in a classroom. But over the last two years, I’ve never had a professor who expected us to know everything. Professor Evans taught my first screenwriting class, and from day one, he emphasized improvement above all else. Your work doesn’t have to be perfect, it might never be, but you just have to do and improve. I’ve always had some level of performance anxiety, and reminding myself of that philosophy has been liberating. As a chronic procrastinating perfectionist, it’s what motivated me 24 hours before the deadline to write my first TV pilot that became a BEA Festival finalist. It wasn’t a perfect script — one judge’s comments made that very clear — but that’s one script (and an award) more than I had before I started. 

Who is your professional hero?

I have so many. UGA alumnae Kendall Trammell, Elaine Reyes, Samira Jafari, Alex Laughlin and Amanda Mull are just a handful of the journalists who inspire me. Editors at CNN and The Red & Black have shaped my confidence and voice as a journalist. The writer-director in me also looks up to the power-duo of Lulu Wang and Barry Jenkins (who share a dog-child with a hyphenated last name — talk about life goals). 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I talk to myself a lot, entire conversations. Sometimes I’ll mute my podcast in the car just to hear myself talk … to myself. Most of these answers came from me talking to myself. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My body is actually solar-powered. Give me some sun, a few trees, maybe a sprinkling of fall foliage or spring flowers, and I’m there. I frequent Herty Field or the MLC stone benches for napping, and outside the PAF for a solid four-legged table to do some work. You can also find me gazing off into the sunset at Lake Herrick to inspire an aforementioned revelatory experience … been doing a lot of that lately.



GSAB Profile: Chase Cain

Chase Cain is a storyteller, covering climate change for NBCLX on Peacock. His reporting has earned three Emmy Awards and a National Edward R. Murrow for an innovative story about the impact of a warming planet on Southern California’s endangered Joshua trees. Chase documented firsthand the summer of unrest in Washington, D.C., the 2020 presidential campaign, and traveled to Tokyo to cover the Olympics for NBC. Previously, he reported for NBC in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but his first television job began in Augusta, right after graduating from Grady College in 2005 with a major in Broadcast News. Chase also spent three years at Hulu, creating original content for acclaimed series likeThe Handmaid’s Tale and Castle Rock. Originally from Marietta, Chase is proud to now call Southern California home.


What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

The most important advice is to follow your passion. What interests you? What excites you? Follow that! There are plenty of jobs which pay well or seem to be glamorous, but if there’s not passion behind what you do, happiness is far more elusive.

Cain alongside a classmate at the anchor desk for Newsource15 during his time in the College. (Photo: submitted)

What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

My involvement with Newsource15 remains the most invaluable experience of my time at Georgia. The opportunity (and pressure) to produce a live daily newscast absolutely prepared me for the real expectations of a career in television news. I am eternally grateful for the intentionally challenging instruction of former professors like David Hazinski, Michael Castengera and Steve Smith.


What modern challenges would you like to see current students and recent College alumni solve?

Personally, I would love to see more students pursue environmental journalism and social justice. There’s an important crossroads between the two, and there are far too few journalists bringing attention to those issues. There is no more important story than the future of our planet, our ecosystems, and the survival of our species.


What is your favorite place on campus and why?
Cain stands outside the White House in Washington, D.C. during President Joe Biden’s inauguration. (Photo: submitted)

I always loved Herty Field, and how can you not? I would also use the law library as a favorite study spot. I would feel somewhat out of place as a journalism student in the law library. Would someone ask me to leave? Could they tell I wasn’t a pre-law major? Lol. But I really loved being inside and looking out the window to the beautiful fountain. It was just a wonderful, peaceful escape — and sometimes I would actually study!


How has your field changed from your graduation to now?

The biggest shifts have been in the immediacy of news and the abundance of mis/disinformation. The “fake news” moniker has been incredibly harmful to journalism, and I would encourage everyone to stop using it, stop joking about it. While journalists work to share the truth, we’re also under increasing demands of immediacy. It’s no longer enough to spend weeks producing engaging work. It often needs to be shared while in-progress, and that is fundamentally changing how we work.

 


This series profiles members of the Grady College Alumni Board who make a positive difference in our College. We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members.


 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Kacie Geter

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I chose Grady because since I was young, I always wanted to be a broadcast reporter or television personality. Grady has one of the best journalism programs in the country and to be in the same program that alums like Ryan Seacrest and Bonnie Arnold were in assures me that there is no limit for success I want to reach in the industry.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means betting on yourself. I am a believer in the privilege of luck, connections, and access, but it also comes down to how determined you are to get to where you want to be. Tenacity means to me that no matter the odds, you give it your all. 

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

My college friends. I had no high school peers that were coming to UGA and I had to make entirely new relationships. I am grateful to have connected with the friends I have now because we have similar aspirations and mindsets, and they’re just really good people to surround myself with. 

Geter is an intern for NBCUniversal.
What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

My proudest moment in the past year was being accepted to intern at NBCUniversal’s E! News for this current spring semester. I am blessed and extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work for such an amazing company while only being a sophomore and recently Grady accepted. Having this opportunity has equipped me with knowledge to believe any door will open for you as long as you work hard and ask for it. 

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

People are going to judge and have opinions about you anyway, so do as you please. I am the creator of my future and therefore I control my outcome and anyone that disagrees does not matter. I stick by this advice that my mentor gave me habitually.

Who is your professional hero?

I don’t really have a professional hero, but I love seeing Black women paving the way for us, such as Issa Rae, Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes and Rihanna.

Geter also works at The Red & Black as a social media coordinator.
What are you planning to do after graduation?

Honestly, I am not sure, and that’s okay. I know I want to work in the film/television industry and possibly be a TV personality or work on the business side of the media industry. Whatever opportunities come my way that nurture me and bring me closer to what I love, I’m taking.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

My favorite app is Pinterest. I like how you can just see random photos catered to your interests without the opinions or judgment of others. Pinterest is a very inspiring platform; who doesn’t love to be inspired?

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I love reading people and knowing their opinions. I habitually go on Reddit and just read people’s opinions about random topics. I want to know others’ mindset and their thinking processes behind everyday ideas.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus would have to be Lake Herrick. Especially in the fall when the leaves are turning different colors, the wind is crisp and the sun is shining bright. It brings me to a Zen state of mind and makes me feel as though I am one with nature when I sit and mindlessly stare at the lake. It brings me peace, and as a college student that’s sometimes hard to come by.



Ph.D. Profile: Leslie Klein

Leslie Klein is a current Grady College Ph.D. student concentrating in Journalism. Formerly a high school English, yearbook and journalism teacher, Klein is researching the intersection of media law and scholastic journalism. She plans to use her research to advocate for student speech and press rights.

Following is a brief interview with Klein.

GC: What made you decide to pursue your Ph.D.?

LK: I started my career as a high school English, journalism and yearbook teacher. While in that position, I became passionate about advocating for student press rights. There was a lot I learned about journalism on the job, but I wanted a formal education in the subject, and I wanted to dive deeper into this niche area that consumed so much of my time and interest.

Graphic with Klein's answers to three Q&A questions.

GC: What do you hope to do once you get your degree?

LK: I think of myself as a teacher first and researcher second, so I hope to find a position as a professor at a teaching institution after I graduate. I would also love to go back to advising because there’s something so special about the work that happens in a student newsroom. So fingers crossed there will be a college newspaper out there somewhere that’s looking for a new adviser when I’m on the job market!

GC: What made you decide to come to Grady College?

LK: When I was applying for my Ph.D., Dean Earnest Perry at the University of Missouri (where I got my master’s) recommended I add UGA to my list of potential schools because of the strong connections between the two programs. I ultimately chose Grady because I wanted the chance to work with my now-adviser Dr. Jon Peters, who is an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to communications law (and a great guy)!

GC: Please provide a brief explanation of your thesis topic and why it’s important to you.

LK: Student journalists are journalists. In many communities, college newspapers often function as the local paper of record. Yet, student journalism seems to be constantly under attack. (Look no further than Texas A&M, where university administrators just unceremoniously eliminated the print edition of their student newspaper.) I want to use my research to support student journalists and their advisers and advocate for the value that these organizations can bring to both their surrounding communities and the field of journalism as a whole.

Leslie Klein, Ph.D. student, stands on the walkway outside of Grady College.
Klein received her master’s degree in journalism law and conflict resolution from the University of Missouri and her bachelor’s degree in English education from Florida State University. (Photo: Sarah Freeman).
GC: What other projects (research, teaching or otherwise) have you been involved with as a doctoral student?

Since coming to Grady, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with several faculty members on research projects that are in various stages of development. The faculty here really want you to engage in research and take the lead on projects, and the program facilitates those connections for you so you are able to start researching right away. This summer, I will also be joining the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent.

GC: What has been the highlight of your doctoral education to date?

Last month, I learned that the first paper I wrote as a first author was accepted to a journal, and that was such a rewarding feeling. Knowing that people find your contribution to the field valuable after you have spent months thinking about it and writing makes all the time spent on the project worth it!

Former and current Grady faculty contribute to new crisis planning tool

If the past two years have proven anything, it is that crises can strike at any moment. 

That’s why Ann Hollifield, professor emeritus and former Thomas C. Dowden Professor of Media Research at Grady College, was inspired to assist in the creation of The Media Resilience Scanner, a comprehensive online crisis preparation, management and recovery tool for news organizations and journalists around the world. 

The tool, now available for free online, was recently released by the German media development organization DW Akademie, which is part of Deutsche Welle, a public service broadcaster and strategic partner of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. 

“The Media Resilience Scanner is designed to help news organizations prepare for a variety of crises that may disrupt their operations when journalists are needed most,” Hollifield explained. “The scanner also helps news managers prepare to financially survive the aftereffects of crises. Finally, it can be used as a staff training tool, particularly for journalists who will be working in the field under crisis conditions.”

The tool guides media professionals step by step through the process of evaluating and planning for risks, managing crises as they occur and addressing residual risks to news media viability that may occur in the aftermath of a disruption. 

Screenshot of crisis categories from the Resilience Scanner website.
Users can pick from a set of crises categories to design their plans.

By answering a series of questions, users can build their own crisis plans for a wide range of categories, including “basic planning,” “natural and human-made disaster” and “digital threats,” among others. At the end, the tool creates a customized crisis preparation and management plan as a downloadable PDF.

“The scanner was developed based on interviews with more than 30 news executives and journalists around the world, who have steered their news organizations through a variety of crises, including Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa,” said Hollifield. “Academic research on crisis management was consulted, as were multiple other sources of expertise. The scanner reflects best practices and suggestions from news professionals who have lived the experiences.”

Hollifield went on to explain that Dodie Cantrell-Bickley, senior lecturer in journalism, as well as Professors Emeritus Michael Castengera and David Hazinski, all contributed directly and indirectly to the research she did for this project, as did the many years of international collaborative research projects she worked on for the Cox Center. 

Alumni Award Profile: Julia Carpenter

Julia Carpenter (ABJ ’13) is this year’s recipient of the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award, honoring a graduate of the last decade who has experienced a successful early career.

Carpenter is a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. She previously worked at both CNN and The Washington Post, and has also written for publications including Glamour, Vogue and New York Magazine.

Covering stories on gender, culture, finance, technology and everything in between, Carpenter has received several awards for her reporting. In 2019, she was honored with the Excellence in Business Coverage Award from The Association of LGBTQ Journalists for her story “When Work Puts You Back in the Closet,” published in CNN Business. In 2020, she received a Front Page Award in the Personal Service category from the Newswomen’s Club of New York for her reporting in WSJ’s “The New Rules of Money” series.

In addition to reporting, Carpenter also publishes a daily newsletter, “A Woman to Know,” and mentors aspiring writers through Girls Write Now.

Following is a brief interview with Carpenter:

GC: What is it about your field that appeals the most to you? Why did you decide to enter that field?

JC: I’m a big talker and an obsessive journaler. As soon as teachers saw those two things, they started recommending I think about studying journalism. In my career now, those two things — my chattiness and my note-taking — are huge strengths of mine. As a student, I loved the idea that journalists could ask anyone about anything and spend all day learning about everything. Even today, I’m still marveled that I will think “I wonder how that’s going to work?” and then I’ll call someone and say, “You’re the expert, and I’m a journalist — can you tell me how that’s going to work?”

Carpenter is currently based in New York City, where she reports for The Wall Street Journal (Photo: submitted).
GC: Looking back at your time at Grady, is there anything you wish you had done (classes you had taken, skills you would have liked to have learned, clubs to be involved with) that would help you with what you are doing today?

JC: As a college student, I was so intent on double-majoring (in English and in journalism) and excelling at the student newspaper. I wish I had taken more classes just for fun! Looking back on my time at UGA, I can truly think of only a handful of classes I took that weren’t fulfilling a requirement or adding to some other part of resume. If I could go back, I like to think I would do that differently. I know I would be a better writer for it, that’s for sure. 

GC: What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

JC: There’s no “right way” to build a career and a creative life. Stop trying to find it! Go to Marti’s and eat some pita chips.

Carpenter graduated In 2013 with a degree in journalism (Photo: submitted).
GC: What motivates you?

JC: The day after I publish a piece, I set aside time to read all the tweets, emails and comments responding to it. Sure, some of them are negative, and many require an eye roll or, in bad cases, a block and report. But I save all the emails that say, “you put words to what I was experiencing” or “thank God someone finally said this!” or — this one most of all — “I thought I was the only one.” Those motivate me. 

GC: Is there anything else you would like to share?

JC: I have spent countless hours, therapy sessions and fat baby tears stressing over finding a mentor. Everyone kept telling me “Do you have a mentor? You need a mentor!” and at all these different points in my career, I resolved to find a mentor who (I presumed) could shepherd me to career enlightenment. But here’s the thing: my strongest advocates and best advice-givers and most generous sounding boards have always been people at the same level as me. Some of them I met at The Red & Black, some of them I met at internships and some of them I met during my early days at my first job. But we’ve all come up together, and grown together, and I want future students to know that building those connections is enough. Now, these peers are worth more to me than any idea I had of some “Fairy GodMentor.”


This is one in a series of profiles about our 2022 Alumni Award honorees and Fellowship inductees. 
All our honorees and inductees will be honored at Grady Salutes: Celebrating Achievement, Leadership and Commitment on April 29, 2022 at Athens Cotton Press. Please visit our Grady Salutes registration webpage for more details. 

 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Jacqueline GaNun

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I had been contemplating the idea of pursuing journalism since junior year of high school because I loved writing and talking to people, and especially loved the idea of informing people of what is going on in the world. I visited UGA when I was in high school and picked up a copy of The Red & Black, and from then on, I was hooked. I joined The Red & Black as soon as I arrived in Athens and realized how fulfilling and interesting journalism was. I want to tell stories that matter, and Grady has the classes and extracurricular opportunities to help me do that.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity means pursuing your goals relentlessly and not giving up when you run into obstacles or self-doubt. 

What are you passionate about?

Traveling and education are two of my biggest passions. I feel that traveling is itself a form of education. There are things that you just can’t learn in a classroom. Lifelong learning is incredibly important to me and is also crucial for people to make well-informed decisions that will positively impact their lives. These passions are both intertwined with my career goal of being a reporter who gets to travel — I hope to both educate myself about people’s stories and to educate others so that they can make positive decisions. 

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

This answer is easy — The Red & Black has impacted the entire trajectory of my life. Joining the first semester of my freshman year made it possible for me to realize the passion I have for storytelling and journalism. The numerous mentors that have taught me and helped me at R&B have also hugely impacted me both personally and professionally. 

GaNun is currently studying abroad at the University of Oxford.
What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Some of my work was published in The New York Times in March 2021, an experience that still feels surreal. One of the national desk editors emailed about needing a stringer to cover a shooting that happened in Atlanta, and I drove there to help cover the aftermath. I am proud of myself for saying “yes” to the offer despite anxiety that I felt and of the hours I spent traveling and interviewing people. It was truly an incredible experience that I was very lucky to have had.

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

My mom is one of my biggest role models for many reasons, but one of the most impactful is how she approaches life through a lens of constant learning. She taught me that nobody knows everything and that I should always strive to learn new things about people and the world.

Who is your professional hero?

I look up to many figures in the media, but foreign correspondents who put their life on the line to tell stories from the front line are my personal heroes. I just read an autobiography by Clarissa Ward about her journey to become a conflict journalist and found it incredibly inspiring and enlightening. She tells stories about tenacity, both from her and from the people she has met around the world.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

Twitter is my favorite app (as many journalists would say). I love being exposed to different viewpoints from people and following reporters that I admire to learn more about them and their reporting process.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I lived in Okinawa, off the coast of Japan, on a military base when I was younger.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

North Campus is amazing because it’s so peaceful and beautiful. I love walking on the paths or sitting in the sun with a drink from Starbucks or Bubble Café.

 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Riley Armant

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

Being that I am a COVID-19 graduate, I knew that the job market was not ideal for me. I decided that a master’s degree was the best option for me. The idea of going to school again was not the most appealing, but it has been the best decision I have made so far. I want to be a great storyteller and journalist. I knew that Grady is the best of the best, therefore I felt as though it was only right to join the UGA community.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you? 

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.

What is your most memorable Grady experience? 

Being able to get into the Newsource class, hands down. This was definitely the hardest class I have ever taken but I am a better journalist because of it.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about connecting with my community and creating a platform for their voices to be heard. Like I have said before, I want to be a great storyteller and journalist, so a personal passion of mine is to create this platform. I also want to join the efforts to restore trust in news media, especially in the Black community. I have personal passions for things like fine arts (especially dance), food, and music.

Armant was previously an intern with WJBF News Channel 6.
What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

Creating a newsreel from my summer internship and Grady Newsource that I feel confident in!

Who is your professional hero? 

A few of my favorites are Angela Rye, Maria Taylor (even though I don’t have a huge interest in sports) and Jeannette Reyes.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am classically trained in ballet and danced for a solid 15 years.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why? 

My favorite social media app is Tik Tok because it’s almost like a search engine. I go there for news, makeup reviews and clothing reviews. Instagram has always been a favorite of mine as well, but I would say that I frequent Tik Tok more often.

What are you planning to do after obtaining your degree? 

I have plans to become a multi-skilled Journalist. Later in my career, my goal is to be an anchor and a great storyteller overall.

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

“As a journalist you will always get better interactions if you lead with honey” Ralitsa Vassileva, the Grady Newsource professor, gave us this advice before we started doing live shows. To me, this meant that you should always go into an interview with a positive attitude and grace. By doing this you begin to build a bond with your source and which enables you to tell an amazing story.