#ProfilesOfTenacity: Armani Kardar

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?  

I chose Grady and journalism because I love to talk and tell stories. I love meeting people and learning random information. Journalism has allowed me to be put in spaces and opportunities that I wouldn’t normally be in because I have to tell the story.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means to never give up. Nobody can truly stop you from being successful other than yourself. It means to bet on yourself every time regardless of your confidence in your abilities.

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

Professor Carlo Finlay marked a pivotal moment in my development as a man and journalist. I was interested in the Sports Media program as a sophomore but opted not to apply out of the belief that I wasn’t good enough to be accepted. My Junior year a friend of mine, Tylar Norman (Grady and Sports Media Alum),  told me that Professor Finlay asked about me and wondered why I had not applied to the Sports Media program because he felt like I would be a good fit. It shocked me because while I didn’t believe in myself, someone else did. It made me realize I held myself back out of fear of failure and changed my outlook on life. I eventually went on to join the Sports Media program as a senior and decided to stay an extra year at UGA to complete it.

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

The best advice I’ve received is from my fraternity advisor Dr. Dennis Humphrey. He always uses old and obscure adages and the one that stuck with me the most is: “The race is not given to the swift, but to those who endure.” Which essentially means that it is better to finish at your own pace rather than placing a timetable on accomplishments based on others.

Kardar, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, hosted the Greek NPHC Step Show in 2021. (Photo: submitted)
Who is your professional hero?

My professional hero is Stephen A. Smith because of how he went from being a beat reporter in Philadelphia to the biggest name in sports show business. I also appreciate how he is able to be himself on television without being stereotyped or ridiculed.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

I plan to work in sports media as a career. 

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

I love to use Twitter because of its versatility. It provides news, jokes, updates and a platform to share your creativity with others.

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

I don’t learn very well in classroom settings and most of my skills are self taught. I really enjoy learning new things.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is North Campus because of how beautiful it looks and how close it is to downtown.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about mentoring young black men in hopes of instilling the confidence I once lacked in them at an early age. It is important to invest in our youth because they are the future and need to know that their potential is truly limitless.

 

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.