#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.

 

National Mentor Month: NAHJ Atlanta

In celebration of National Mentoring Month, we would like to highlight one of the outstanding mentorship programs offered to our students. 

National Association of Hispanic Journalists Atlanta partners with faculty members and staff from the state’s top journalism schools to select several students and pair them with experienced journalists for a semester.

A mentor/mentee pairing before the NAHJ Atlanta Mentorship Program went virtual due to COVID-19. (Courtesy: Elwyn Lopez)

 

Senior journalism major Liset Cruz started with the program in October and was paired with Emily Sides, a reporter with Law360. 

Cruz says by connecting with someone like Sides who shares a similar cultural background it “allows for a more open connection and honesty about hardships.”

“I think meeting Latinas within the journalism industry is one of the most important things to me,” Cruz said. “As a first generation college student and first generation Mexican-American, I’ve had a lot of difficulty navigating both college and the workforce. We’ve discussed [Sides’s] career and what moves she’s made and why she made them. It gives me a picture of what my career could look like.”

These conversations involved everything from the journalism student to journalism professional pipeline to past experiences and salaries to resumes, cover letters and application essays.

ABC News Correspondent Elwyn Lopez started the mentorship program alongside CNN’s Lynn Marie Franco after the two realized the importance of having a mentor in the industry.

From Madrid, Spain, Elwyn Lopez is a correspondent for ABC News. (Courtesy: Elwyn Lopez)

You can learn skills in journalism school, tools on the job but having someone who has done it all to look up to is invaluable,” Lopez said. “Still – to this day – we largely see a lack of diversity in our country’s newsrooms. Inevitably, that disparity impacts our coverage. In order to cover our communities accurately and fairly with the added context and perspective needed, we have to reflect them.”

The best way to reflect that, Lopez says, is by “supporting and lifting each other up from the classrooms and into the assignment desks, control rooms, field and anchor chairs.”

When reflecting on their time together, Cruz says that making a “new friend” has been her favorite part of the experience. 

“Now I have someone I can text to chat about anything. I can ask advice without feeling awkward and I have someone who relates to my experiences,” Cruz said.

This is exactly what Lopez had hoped for. 

“Personally, it fills me with orgullo, [Spanish for] a deep sense of pride, to be in this position to make the program accessible to students with the help of journalism schools across Georgia,” she said. “To see the next generation of journalists connect with those already in the field and witness that connection grow into professional support beyond our mentorship program – and even job opportunities –  is better than I could’ve ever hoped for.”

 

Editor’s Note: This feature was written by Sam Perez, a 2021 Yarbrough Fellow in the Grady College Department of Communication and a current participant in the NAHJ-Atlanta Mentorship Program.

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Eduardo Morales

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

I have lived and worked in Athens for the past 15 years and met and made many good friends at Grady College during my time in the Classic City. While I have worked in journalism for 30 years, I never did study it at a collegiate level, but since I work in communications at UGA, I decided there was no better place to get training in that field than at Grady. 

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you? 

For a journalist, it means forging on despite disparate odds and chasing every lead that can lead to the truth. One of the best scenes in my favorite movie, “All the President’s Men,” is when Redford and Hoffman, playing Woodward and Bernstein, go through thousands of index cards to find the answer to a question that will only lead them to another question. It’s the essence of being a journalist.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

Being the husband to the greatest woman I ever met, and the father to a daughter and son I would do anything for.

What was the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and early career professional? 

I think it’s the uncertainty of it all – there’s no real sense of what’s to come, and the pandemic has affected everyone in different ways. It feels like we are all disconnected, and I’m not sure how we get a true sense of community back. 

What are you passionate about? 

Fairness and equity. There’s a certain amount of injustice that gets swept aside or disregarded, and it infuriates me. I try my best, in a small way, to make sure everyone has a chance to reach their potential and excel. 

Who is your professional hero? 

When I was a kid I read the Miami Herald sports pages every day, and the sports editor at the time was a seasoned newspaper veteran named Edwin Pope. He wrote clever columns that always made me laugh, and it was his writing that made me want to go into sports writing, which I did for 12 years. It wasn’t until I moved to Athens that I discovered Edwin Pope was born in Athens, received his journalism degree at Grady College and began his career at the Athens Banner-Herald, where I once served as editor in chief. 

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

Being the first to report is only meaningful if you get it right.  

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

I don’t know if it’s my favorite app, but the Fitbit app is the one I go to most often. I’m a bit addicted to reaching my goal of 10,000 steps a day and do a constant check to see where I am as the day progresses. 

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

That I have a paralyzed vocal cord, which has made me incapable of yelling. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why? 

On the fifth floor at the Main Library – you can sit and study in quiet while getting a fabulous view of campus. 

Alumni Feature: Cameron Whitlock

When Cameron Whitlock graduated from Grady in 2011 with a degree in journalism, he had no idea where the next few years would lead him. Using the skills he learned during his time at UGA and the life experiences he gathered post-grad, he now freelances and works as a wedding videographer.

Cameron Whitlock graduated from Grady College with a degree in journalism. (Photo: Cameron Whitlock)

In college, Whitlock said he was pulled toward a career that allowed him to be creative. With a heart for public relations and a love for storytelling, he ultimately decided to study journalism.

Whitlock started working for a newspaper in Jackson County after graduation, where he implemented the skills he gathered in college. Through his classes, Whitlock says he learned core photography and graphic design principles that he used and further refined at the paper.

“They let me have a lot of liberty with the front of my sports section. I did graphics and different charts and really put a lot of visual aids in a small newspaper that probably didn’t have that sort of thing really going for it before, but they let me be creative,” he remembered.

After about four years at the paper, Whitlock decided to try something new. He packed up a bag and left Georgia to travel internationally for a year. 

“It had always been a dream of mine to travel the world. I really love traveling and learning different cultures and languages and different things, so I kind of did the ‘digital nomad’ thing for about a year or so,” he said.

Whitlock freelanced in both writing and graphic design while he backpacked. Everywhere he went, he took his camera to document his adventures. 

“I had a small backpack for over two months in Spain and France, and I actually can’t believe I carried around a giant camera with me now,” he said. “But I just filmed everything and got much better.”

Whitlock now works as a wedding videographer for Whitlock Wedding Films. (Photo: Cameron Whitlock)

When he finally returned to Georgia in 2017, his newly developed camera skills came in handy. A friend saw his work and asked if he had considered wedding videography. Whitlock took a leap of faith and gave it a shot. After people saw his first video, the business “took off,” he said.

Whitlock said his time in the College taught technical skills like software editing as well as helped him grow personally. While before college he was more introverted, he credits UGA with helping get him outside of his comfort zone to meet a variety of different people.

“It really is the skills that I learned from some of the graphic design stuff in school, some of the photography stuff on the job, talking to people in Grady and in my reporter job really helped me a lot,” he said. 

When it comes to advice for students looking to pursue a more non-traditional career, Whitlock’s answer is simple: just give it a shot.

“Don’t shy away from exploring different things because you never know when you’re going to find something that is exciting and new and interesting to you,” he encourages. “I would have never thought that I actually enjoyed filming weddings and going to random weddings every Saturday. It’s not something I would have thought would have been up my alley.”

But now Whitlock said exploring this avenue has given him a career that he is not only successful at but also is job he finds genuinely fulfilling.

Journalism students to play integral role in saving community newspaper

Grady College journalists are teaming with one of their alums to rescue a 148-year-old weekly newspaper in nearby Oglethorpe County with the help of an innovative experiential learning project.

Within hours of hearing that the county newspaper, the Oglethorpe Echo, was announcing its final publication, Dink NeSmith (ABJ ’70) created a plan to save the newspaper. The centerpiece of the plan includes senior journalism students at Grady College, who will learn in a working community newsroom.

“We’re honored and excited to work with a great team to save the Oglethorpe Echo,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “This is an incredible hands-on learning opportunity for our students, and it means a great deal to us to keep a 148-year tradition moving forward.”

The plan was created when Echo publisher Ralph Maxwell announced that he was ceasing publication due to health issues. NeSmith quickly put a plan in place to save the paper and transition The Echo into a non-profit organization, The Oglethorpe Echo Legacy Inc. The Maxwell family is donating the paper to the non-profit. Integral to that plan is the opportunity for Grady College journalism students to design, report, write and take photographs for the newspaper.

“The Oglethorpe Echo has been the conscience and soul of the county for 148 years and we cannot let that legacy go away,” said NeSmith, an Oglethorpe County resident and co-owner of Community Newspapers, Inc. which publishes 25 community newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. “I threw my heart in and my wallet followed.”

NeSmith emphasized that this is a personal project and not a CNI project. NeSmith will serve as the initial chairman of the organization and members of the Oglethorpe community and others will serve on the board. A youth board of directors will also be established.

The Oglethorpe Echo has been in the Maxwell family since 1956 when Ralph’s father bought the paper after retiring from the Navy. Maxwell grew up hand-setting type and writing stories. He is grateful the newspaper will continue and thinks this plan is the best outcome.

“I am very pleased that Dink and the journalism school and Dr. Davis are trying to pull this together,” Maxwell said. “They have the knowledge and experience and connections to get it done. I think Oglethorpe County needs a good newspaper. Every  community needs a good newspaper and this is in the best interest of everyone involved.”

Working with the students at Grady College was a natural choice, NeSmith said.

“When you look for writing talent, you just look fifteen miles up the road to Grady College,” NeSmith, a 1970 graduate of the UGA journalism program, said. “Students will get real-life experience and a chance to hone wordsmithing skills to better prepare them for wherever they land after graduation.”

Davis agrees: “It’s been about a month since Dink first mentioned this to me, and from the first call, we were enthusiastic about the possibilities of having our students doing community journalism. Lexington is close enough that they can get out in the community and get their hands dirty–it’s so important that they learn journalism by doing journalism.”

Beginning this month, Andy Johnston (ABJ ’88, MA ’21) will assume the role of managing editor, mentoring the students in planning, writing and editing.  Johnston served more than 30 years as a writer and editor of local newspapers, including the Athens Banner-Herald where he was sports editor from 2003 to 2007. He also served as editorial adviser for The Red & Black in 2018 and as a sports adviser from 2019 to 2020. He is currently a part-time journalism instructor at Grady College.

For the first few months, a team of seven paid student interns will work with Johnston and NeSmith to fulfill a number of roles from city and county government reporters to sportswriters, copy editors and photojournalists.

Starting next semester, the paper will be staffed by up to 20 senior journalism students taking a capstone journalism class, similar to Grady Newsource for broadcast journalism.

Janice Hume, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism and head of the Department of Journalism, appreciates the unique collaboration this plan offers.

“We are so excited to get going on this project,” Hume said. “I want to thank in advance the folks in Oglethorpe County who will help our journalism students learn. When you agree to an interview, or provide information to a student reporter, you become an educator as well as a source. When you offer feedback, you push these UGA journalists to get better and better.”

Johnston continues explaining this win-win scenario for students and the community.

“This is a great opportunity for the students where they will get practical, hands-on experience, but it is also helps the community,” Johnston said. “We don’t want this paper to die and become a news desert where people don’t have a way to know what’s going on in their own  community.”

Johnston looks forward to helping students build on their journalism skills while also continuing to build on the tradition of community journalism in Oglethorpe County.

“We aren’t here to do a makeover of the paper,” Johnston said. “We are here to provide journalism to this county in the same way that the paper has provided for generations and that readers are used to seeing about people and events in their community.”

NeSmith agrees.

“This is more about community spirit and we will be 100% local to residents of Oglethorpe County,” NeSmith continued.

Support from the community in terms of subscriptions and advertising will be important to its success. The paper will continue relying on written and photo submissions from local residents as well. NeSmith envisions expanding services in the future like e-editions of the paper and video.

“We will leapfrog as we can to provide needs and services that today’s readers expect,” NeSmith said.

NeSmith admits the process will probably “scrape our knees” as the new model gets up to speed, but he is energized about the possibilities and hopes this will serve as a model for other community papers.

Despite the unchartered territory, NeSmith makes this one promise: “We are all going to learn something.”

More details about this innovative plan:

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Mennah Abdelwahab

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I came into UGA as an international affairs major, and while I loved my IA courses, I felt I needed experiences that would push me out of my comfort zone. I was always fascinated by the media, particularly how it operates and the power it wields over our lives. I also felt that being a strong communicator would serve me well in any job I would pursue later. My first Grady class was pretty small and very discussion based, which I really loved. I was motivated to continue pursuing my Grady degree because my Grady professors have been incredibly supportive; it has meant a lot to see everyone want you to succeed. 

Who is your professional hero?

I don’t know that I have just one professional hero. I have personally gotten to work with so many amazing people and they have all inspired me in their own unique way. I think one thing they have all shown me is the importance of truly caring about the people you work with and wanting to see them succeed. When people see you are willing to invest in them, they will also be willing to develop a stronger relationship with you. 

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to reach your goals. Whether in Grady or any other college, you will get out of your classes as much as you put in. I remember the first time I had to interview a source for my journalism class; I was terrified. Yet, the more I have interviewed sources, the more comfortable and natural it has become. So, no matter how scary or nerve-racking accomplishing an assignment or personal goal may be, go for it! 

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

WhatsApp is definitely an underappreciated tool. It’s pretty popular in other parts of the world but it’s not really that well known in America. Personally, I have found it to be a really great way to stay in touch with my family in Egypt and elsewhere around the world. 

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

During my sophomore year, I was studying for an Arabic test in the PAF, and Dean Davis walked up to me and started asking me questions about what I was writing, what it meant, etc. I think this was the first time I had ever talked to the dean, but I just remember how approachable and genuinely interested he was. As a Grady ambassador, I have gotten to interact with the dean a lot more, and I think this it is always great to see how much he wants to connect with students and learn from their experiences. 

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

I think the best piece of advice I have received in college is that you don’t have to have it all figured out during college or immediately after graduation. A lot of my professors have taken varying, winding paths to get where they are now. It is great if you know from now what you are interested in and the career you want. It is also equally valuable to know that you are not 100% set on one job or career and to be open to trying new things. 

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

My journalism major has been crucial to many of my professional and extracurricular experiences. Currently, I serve as the Public Relations Director for State Representative Spencer Frye, where a central part of my job is clearly communicating policy issues to a wide audience. In my work with the Human Rights Measurement Initiative, I have helped prepare online content in both English and Arabic. Additionally, my work with the Office of Congressman John Lewis involved preparing internal and external documents to assist legislative staffers and our constituents. These experiences built off of the skills I have attained in my journalism classes. In other roles, such as SGA Senator and Director of DEI, ICNA Relief Clinic Outreach Coordinator, and Honors Teaching Assistant, I have seen myself become a lot more comfortable interacting with new people and thinking of how to communicate my thoughts and opinions.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

I spent the entire summer in D.C. which was really cool. I definitely pushed myself to be a lot more adventurous than I normally am but actually had a lot of fun. I went kayaking on the Potomac, which was a pretty neat place to go kayaking for the first time. I also got to know a lot of people in Delta Hall, which was also wonderful. Additionally, I really used the skills I gained in my photojournalism class; I think I took 1000+ photos over the summer. 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I have a twin sister, Ayah, who is also an international affairs major (she’s pursuing international affairs and economics). We have taken several international affairs classes together and have also been involved in some of the same organizations, so we have definitely confused a lot of people. Whenever people meet both of us at the same time, they either think we look nothing alike or we look too similar to tell who is who. Since I think we look pretty different, I have never tried assuming her identity for a day, but maybe it could be a senior year goal?  

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

It’s a little farther away than most things, but I think the botanical garden is absolutely gorgeous. I have also had the chance to go to UGA’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography down in Savannah and it is also amazing. One of my favorite experiences I have had at UGA is going there during the Public Service and Outreach weekend where we got to go on a boat tour in Savannah and see dolphins!  

Hispanic Heritage Month Alumni Spotlight: Augusto Michael Trujillo (ABJ ’05, BA ’05)

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of spotlights highlighting the work of some of our alumni in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Please watch for more profiles in the weeks to come.

Augusto Michael Trujillo is the national advisor for leadership development and training at Catholic Relief Services. Trujillo graduated cum laude from Grady College in 2005 with degrees in journalism and political science. On campus, Trujillo was a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society and publicity chairman and leadership committee for the Catholic Student Association. Trujillo has served on the Grady Society Alumni Board since April 2020.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? 

Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the richness of the Hispanic and Latino community. During this month it is important to learn about and remember the pioneers and pillars who fought for equality and justice in many different facets of society.  I volunteer with the Latin American Association and as a Guild Member, I execute and plan the Latin Fever Ball each October. This event raises critical funds to help the Latin American Association with its mission of helping Latinos in Georgia become self-sufficient. In 2019, 600 people attended the Latin Fever Ball and more than $700k was raised.  

How does your Hispanic and/or Latin heritage influence your work?  
Augusto Michael Trujillo in Sydney, Australia. (Photo/Michael Trujillo).

As a Cuban American, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to pause and recognize how my family fled the Communist regime in Cuba. They emigrated to America with few material possessions and very little funds. They were dedicated and driven to thrive in the U.S. Their story is very common as many Latinos fled difficult situations and are doing all they can to thrive here in the U.S. 

Being Latino has a large influence on my work ethic because I have that same drive. I currently work for Catholic Relief Services, one of the largest international relief aid and development organizations. In my role, I am determined to complete the best work I can because I want to help those suffering throughout the world.  

What advice would you give to young students of Hispanic origin who will soon enter the workforce? 

While potential employers are interviewing students for a new position, I would encourage young students of Hispanic origin and all students to also interview the employer. It is important for you to select a company that respects your authentic self. You also want to select an employer who values diversity, equity and inclusion in their words and actions.  

Grady InternViews: Drew Hubbard

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.A graphic saying Hubbard is a journalism major working as a Digital and Social Media Intern for Nashville Soccer Club out of Nashville, TN

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

I am a digital and social media intern at Nashville Soccer Club this summer. In the internship, I help assist the digital marketing team to help brainstorm social media ideas and execute them on different platforms. I mainly focus on the club’s Facebook account and working on TikTok ideas but also engage with fans on Instagram when they tag the team in Instagram posts or stories. 

The internship is in-person based out of the club’s office in Nashville, but I work remotely as well. Some of the club’s interns will report to the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays while myself and other interns report Mondays and Wednesdays while the entire office is remote on Fridays. For all home games, the interns are at the club’s current stadium, Nissan Stadium, while we work from home when the team plays away. 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge has been trying to find a unique voice for the team on social media. Because there are so many sports teams in the country, it is important that our club is different and creative to bring fans into our social channels and get engagement across all different platforms. The challenge is finding inspiration from other teams in different leagues, but also having our own voice and content that sets us apart.

Hubbard typing on his laptop from a box overlooking the soccer stadium
Drew focuses on the soccer team’s digital and social media. (Photo: submitted)
What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship?

The most memorable experience I have had was working at the Mexico-Panama international friendly at Nissan Stadium. Both teams played in Nashville to prepare for their competitive tournaments later in the summer. I was lucky enough to experience an international match and how different it is than a regular Major League Soccer match. There were a lot of Mexican and Panamanian media members I got to work with and learn from while also experiencing an incredible atmosphere for the match. 

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role?

I would say network as much as possible and always be looking to learn new skills or improve the skills you already have. Social media is an evolving field with new things happening all the time. So, being able to learn new platforms and learning how to handle the digital side of things like a website is really important and will set you apart from a lot of other candidates. 

What lessons will you take back with you to Athens in the fall?
Hubbard holding a soccer ball and wearing a Soccer Club scarf in the stadium
Drew has the opportunity to work in person this summer in Nashville. (Photo: submitted)

Going back to Athens, I’ll know better how to work with other people on projects and combine my ideas with their ideas to do our best possible work together. Grady classes are a lot of collaborative work, and I’ll be able to work and communicate with others better because of this experience.

PAC Student Spotlight: Summer 2021

This summer, 11 Public Affairs Communications students lived and worked in the nation’s capital. They participated in the GradyDC program, where University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication students live and take classes in Delta Hall for about 10 weeks.

Here are some profiles of our PAC program students who had the ultimate summer experience.

Molly Sikes
  • Fourth-year Journalism and Political Science double major
  • Communications and Research Intern at the Republican National Committee
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

Without PAC, I would not be prepared to write Op-Eds or LTEs. I was asked to do this almost immediately, and I am so thankful for my PAC experience for preparing me for this. Dr. Watson’s advice and tips as well about how to make connections in D.C. have been influential in my time here.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

My advice is to say yes to everything! Even if you are unsure if you are qualified, skilled enough or knowledgeable enough, give everything a chance because you are more than likely more than qualified enough and will excel.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part of D.C. has been living in the center of American politics. I love knowing what happens right as it happens and being around others who also love politics and have the same passions that I have.

 

Carolyn McLain
  • Fourth-year Political Science and Public Relations double major
  • Federal Relations Fellow at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (remote)
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

I think PAC helped me better understand the language and writing styles I am using in this fellowship. It taught me how to apply my writing skills to the political and legislative scene in a concise fashion.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

If you want to work in the political or government communications landscape, most definitely apply for the PAC certificate! It has provided me with so many opportunities I may not have otherwise had, and the small cohort gives you a chance to get to know other people and the speakers that come in to talk to you, which is so important. The PAC certificate classes are so fun and interesting, and it opens the door for you to also come to do the Grady DC program!

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

It has been so cool to live in another city for a summer and explore and learn while I am here. It has been an experience like no other. I love getting to feel like a local and experience every part of DC, because it is such a cool city. This summer program is especially cool because you have built-in friends at Delta Hall, and you get to have that piece of UGA in DC. DC also has so much history, so the American history nerd in me is thriving.

 

Caroline Kurzawa
  • Fourth-year Journalism major
  • Integrated Communications Intern for Enterprise Operations at Lockheed Martin (remote)
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

The writing and strategic thinking skills I have learned through the PAC program made it much easier to start my position and anticipate what my supervisors were expecting of me.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

Apply anyway. Not sure if you’ll get it? Apply anyway. Take the risk because the education you are receiving will support your goals. To students considering the PAC program: this program is one of a kind and will provide you with the kind of skills that employers in the public affairs realm need. Professor Watson brings his real-world experience and knowledge to the classroom to prepare you for your future.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

The energy! There is always something to do and places to see. This is a great place for young professionals who want to be at the heart of public affairs.

 

Chandler Rebel
  • Third-year Journalism and Political Science double major
  • Communications Intern at the Institute for Energy Research
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

I feel that the PAC certificate has more than prepared me. I have a long way to go before writing flawlessly, but I have learned to do so adequately through the program. It has also contributed to being able to adapt with an ever-changing political environment.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

By all means, do it! You have to have an attitude that desires personal growth and an invaluable opportunity. These internships, along with the PAC certificate, are the perfect way to continue this growth.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part about living and working in DC would have to be the friends I have had the chance of making along the way. And also an occasional Washington Nationals game.

 

Kayla Roberson
  • Fourth-year Journalism and Political Science double major
  • Press Intern at the United States House of Representatives
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

The PAC certificate has prepared me for this job by teaching me the practical skills I need to work in political communications. Skills like writing press releases, op-eds, social media posts, and creating graphics were all skills that I learned in my PAC classes that I have used as a part of my role on the Hill.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

If you’re thinking about getting a PAC certificate, don’t think about it anymore, just do it! Getting to learn about political communications under the guidance of Professor Watson has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had UGA.

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

There are so many things I have loved about living in D.C. this summer, but every time I walk past the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court on my way to work in the mornings, I am overwhelmed by the fact that I have the opportunity to assist a member of Congress as they serve their Constituents in Washington.

 

Jake Strickland
  • Fourth-year Public Relations and Political Science double major
  • Digital Media and Marketing Intern at Human Rights Campaign (Remote)
How do you feel that the PAC certificate has prepared you for tackling the job?

The PAC certificate has prepared me for my internship by strengthening my writing skills, while also giving me insights into how to network with people.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role, and what advice would you give them if they’re considering a PAC certificate?

For other students looking to take on a similar role, I would say don’t be nervous to try something new within your internship. If they’re considering a PAC certificate, I would say go for it – it’s one of the best decisions I made in college!

What has been your favorite part about living and working in DC?

My favorite part about living and working in DC has been the access to networking. There are so many people here (particularly UGA people) that have helped shine a light on what I want to pursue, and I’m truly thankful for that.

Grady InternViews: Hallie Turner

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities. Graphic saying Turner is a journalism major working as a Congressional Intern and Radio Intern at both Congressman Austin Scott and Joy FM Radio out of Washington, D.C.

This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to obtain two internships. For the first seven weeks of the summer, I was a Congressional Intern with Congressman Austin Scott in Washington D.C.  I lived right across the street from the Senate, and I enjoyed an easy commute. My day would start with the typical intern duties of making sure the office was set and ready for the day. Then I would turn on the phone lines for the countless calls that I would answer to converse with constituents of the eighth district of Georgia. While the phone rang throughout the day, I also had many press projects. Depending on what event and or holiday we would have coming up, I would design a graphic for it. After the congressman finished speaking with the press, I would clip the interviews and send them over to our Press Secretary to post to our social media platforms. Once that was complete, I would go through and do our Press Memos. This included research of all the articles that were posted in the last 24-48 hours that mentioned Congressman Scott, the Georgia Delegation, health, agriculture and economic development that was occurring in the district. If there was something pressing that week that needed to be sent out for immediate release, I would sit with the Press Secretary and craft a press release. For the second part of the summer, I am an intern with The Joy FM radio station. I am looking forward to this opportunity and building on my reporting skills. A typical day is sitting on the radio segments that go live throughout the day. 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge I faced was giving myself grace during a learning experience. I tried many new things for the first time, and it was a challenge at times to feel like I wasn’t meeting my own expectations. Luckily, I was blessed with the opportunity to be surrounded by leaders who were invested in my professional growth. 

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?

Grady emphasizes the importance of industry experiences. It’s known worldwide that Grady graduates are recognized for excelling in their field. For me, I view this internship as a first step in my own professional journey towards success. My Grady course work has prepared me to be a versatile communicator. These various skills allowed me to be an asset in my congressional office this summer. 

What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship? 

My most memorable experience would have to be the day that the Legislative Assistant asked me to design a new graphic that would go on our one-pager letters. It was because of the skills I have learned in Grady and through Dr. Kyser Lough that I knew exactly how to design something that was eye catching, professional and efficient for our office. I was excited that my design would be on display and meaningful for the eighth district of Georgia

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role?

Step out of your comfort zone and don’t let the location of an internship avert you from tackling the opportunity of a lifetime. You never know where it may lead you. 

What lessons will you take back with you to Athens in the fall?

I have learned about the significant relationship between the politics and the press. I now have a reinforced perspective of the importance of public service and my desire to give back to my community through meaningful communication.