UGA Mentor Program profile: Sarah Oney and Carol Gable

The UGA Mentor Program is an “opportunity no one should pass up,” explained Sarah Oney, a senior public relations major at Grady College. After graduation in May, Oney hopes to move to New York City to work in the entertainment industry, a goal that is bolstered by the support of her mentor, Carol Gable (ABJ ‘76), a producer for Dateline NBC. 

The UGA Mentor Program is a student-centered online platform that allows students to form long-lasting mentoring relationships, regardless of geographic location. Students can also utilize the Quick Chat function to briefly meet with UGA mentors, including alumni, faculty and staff, for informational interviews that can help make their futures a bit clearer. 

Below are two Q&As, first with Oney, followed by another with Gable, about their mentoring relationship through the UGA Mentor Program. The text has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

A conversation with Sarah Oney: 

Oney shows a photo on her camera to a young girl in Ensenada, Mexico.
Oney in Ensenada, Mexico, during her internship with YUGO Ministries, doing videography for the organization’s content team. (Photo: submitted)

GC: Please tell us about yourself. 

SO: I am a current senior majoring in public relations with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Since this is my last semester at UGA, my current favorite thing to do is spend as much time with my friends as possible!  After graduation, I hope to move to New York to work in the entertainment industry. The dream is to work with NBC!

GC: What inspired you to participate in the UGA Mentor Program?

SO: Through my role as an orientation leader, I learned about this program and the benefits it provides to students. Truthfully, this program is an opportunity no one should pass up. You are able to have someone in your corner, explaining what the industry is like and helping you along your college journey.

GC: What drew you to select Carol Gable as your mentor? 

SO: What drew me to Carol was her work experience. She is a producer at Dateline NBC and has many years of experience under her belt. She seemed like the best person to mentor me and guide me along my job search process!

GC: What does this mentorship consist of? How often do you speak and what do those conversations sound like? 

SO: We normally meet biweekly and whenever I have something I need help with. Carol and I review my resume and portfolio and search for potential jobs together. We go over what to do during an informational interview and the right way to approach interview questions. 

GC: What has been the most rewarding part of this experience, having Carol as a mentor?

Carol is one of the most helpful parts of being a student at UGA. She has been in my corner since the day she became my mentor and celebrates every victory, no matter the size, with me. She is one of the most reassuring people I know and has turned into a role model for me.

A conversation with Carol Gable: 

GC: Please tell us about yourself, a synopsis of your career from Grady College to where you are now. 

CG: After graduating from Grady, I held several reporting and anchoring positions in Florida and North Carolina. When NBC opened the NBC News Channel in Charlotte, N.C., I became the Senior Producer for Special Projects.  Since 1996, I have been a producer for Dateline NBC, covering stories nationally and internationally.

GC: What inspired you to become a mentor through the UGA Mentor Program? 

CG: The mentor program was not available to me when I was at UGA. There were so many decisions I needed to make in preparation for a career and had no one to consult who was in the business.  I would have benefited greatly from the chance to learn many insights that aren’t part of coursework. 

GC: What does your mentorship consist of? How do you help your mentees, both Sarah specifically and, more broadly, any/all of your previous mentees through the UGA Mentor Program? 

CG: I begin by meeting with the mentee and telling them all of the topics I am able to help with based on what their goals are. Based on this conversation, we plan phone calls and Zoom meetings. We work on resumes, do practice interviews, evaluate internships and map out a plan for the rest of the students’ time at UGA.

GC: What has been the most rewarding experience of mentoring, both Sarah specifically and, more broadly, any/all of your previous mentees through the UGA Mentor Program?

CG: I have enjoyed working with Sarah and helping her evaluate opportunities as she moves toward graduation. 

I also have an opportunity to share with my mentees insights I wish I had when I was a student. I am also able to provide mentee recommendations for internships and employment with my colleagues and contacts in our industry. It’s very satisfying to help the next generation entering journalism. Graduates face a stiff and difficult market and I am glad there is a way I can help.

Learn more about the UGA Mentor Program, including how to sign up, on the UGA Mentor Program page.

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.