Grady InternViews: Megan Mittelhammer

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

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

A graphic explaining Mittelhammer is a journalism major working as a communications intern at the Georgia Governor's Office in Atlanta, GAA typical day will always start with coffee! I drive to the Capitol, where I compile news clips to send out to the office. We have a morning meeting and discuss what everyone is working on and what’s on tap for that week. I mostly work on proclamations and commendations (when the governor wants to proclaim a certain day or month, or recognize an individual for their contributions to the state). I also update the website, draft social media posts and work on press releases. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to draft remarks and video scripts for the governor, which is exciting. I’m lucky that I have another intern in the communications office who’s a UGA student. We have a ton of mutual connections, so we’ve become great friends.

How is it structured? Is it remote or in-person and what has that been like?

I’m fortunate to have found an in-person internship, and despite having to wake up early this summer, I’ve loved getting to be in the office and meet new people or just hang out at someone’s desk and chat. You can’t really do that over Zoom.

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

I think writing remarks is the biggest challenge so far because I’m still learning the governor’s voice and how to write from his point of view. 

What has been the biggest growth you’ve experienced so far?
Mittelhammer in an orange shirt outside the capitol
Megan works in-person every day at the Gold Dome in downtown Atlanta. (Photo: submitted)

I feel like my confidence in my abilities has grown, especially over the past year. When I was offered the internship, that boosted my confidence tremendously. Most of my experience has come from writing for The Red & Black, but getting to put skills from my Public Affairs Communications classes into action has been rewarding.  

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

My classes and professors at Grady have done a great job preparing me for this internship. In my PAC class, we practice writing a variety of releases, briefs, etc. — a lot of things that I’m working on right now! And when I have to fact check information or craft social posts, I know I’m using skills from my journalism classes.

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?

It’s all about connections! I knew some friends who did this same internship and encouraged me to apply, and my mentor was a huge help in so many aspects of the internship search process and acted as a knowledgeable resource. For new Grady students, start out networking among your cohort and professors, and definitely get involved with the UGA Mentor Program. Your list of connections will only grow from there.

If you’re thinking about any combination of writing and politics, definitely connect with a PAC student and apply to the PAC program!

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

The lessons I’ll take with me are to trust in my abilities as a writer and communicator, and to not be afraid to try new things. I take the initiative to ask for certain projects that I’ve never really done before, and it has paid off. I like serving and informing Georgians through this internship, and I’ll keep that in mind when I begin Newsource in the fall. I’ve been given a lot of responsibility and opportunities that I know are preparing me for my classes in the fall as well as life after college.

Two students selected as Summer Tieger Fellows in Public Affairs Communications

The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication announced the selection of two new Tieger Fellows for the summer of 2021: Megan Mittelhammer and Jake Strickland. The Tieger Fellowship gives current students pursuing a Public Affairs Professional Certificate in Public Affairs Communications (PAC) the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to real-world public affairs work promoting the PAC program.

The summer Tieger Fellows are responsible for day-to-day efforts to promote the program through use of media relations and social and digital media. Fellows work under the guidance of Professor Joseph Watson, Jr., program director and Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications.

The PAC program provides students with practical training in the strategy and practice of public affairs communications focused on public policy and politics.

This summer, Mittelhammer and Strickland are putting their PAC education to good use for the program and in their workplaces. Mittelhammer is charged with spotlighting students and alumni, especially those participating in the GradyDC summer program. Strickland will manage the program’s social and digital media.

The Tieger Fellowship is funded by Carolyn Caudell Tieger (ABJ ’69) who spent 40 years in Washington, D.C. working in public affairs and politics.

“I am delighted to welcome Megan and Jake as our 2021 Tieger Summer Fellows,” said Watson. “This fellowship, made possible by the vision and funding provided by Carolyn Caudell Tieger, allows us to provide exceptional students like Megan and Jake with the opportunity to promote the PAC program and develop skills that will prepare them for their careers. It is increasingly important to provide students with a practical education in public affairs communications and these students recognize this. I am confident that Megan and Jake will do an excellent job of managing the day-to-day activities of the program this summer and I look forward to working with them.”

The new Tieger Fellows are excited to get started and use their training to serve the program that has helped prepare them for their future careers.

Megan Mittelhammer, from Atlanta, Georgia, is a rising senior majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. She is interning this summer in communications for the Office of Governor Brian Kemp. On campus, Mittelhammer has experience working as editor-in-chief, news editor and social media editor for The Red & Black. This past semester, Mittelhammer served as a Yarbrough public relations fellow, which she will continue in the fall.

Jake Strickland, from Dallas, Georgia, is a rising senior majoring in public relations and political science with an Arch-Ready professional certificate. Strickland’s summer will be spent in Washington, D.C. at the University’s Delta Hall where he is participating in the GradyDC program as a digital media and marketing intern for the Human Rights Campaign. Strickland has previously interned for The Partnership, a PR agency, and as a field intern for Let America Vote. On campus, he has worked as engagement editor and social media editor at The Red & Black and for the Professional Clothing Closet as communications director.