PRSSA’s annual D.C. Agency Tour returns

The following is a first-person reflection written by PRSSA Vice President and Public Affairs Communications Tieger Fellow, Sarah Dorr.

Last month, eight Grady College students traveled from Athens to the Nation’s Capital for the return of PRSSA’s annual D.C. Agency Tour. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, PRSSA members were given the unique opportunity to visit some of Washington, D.C.’s premier public relations agencies, including APCO Worldwide, PLUS Communications, Penta, Weber Shandwick and a U.S. Senate press office.

I was lucky enough to be among the eight students on the tour. As someone who previously participated in a Grady Study Away Trip in New York City, I knew I was in store for an equally enriching and enjoyable week, especially with Professor Joseph Watson, Jr. leading the trip.

“It was a pleasure to renew this trip and introduce a great group of public relations students to what our nation’s capital has to offer,” said Watson. “Hopefully, some of these students will return to D.C. one day and have productive and fulfilling careers there.”

We kicked off our tour with visits to APCO Worldwide and PLUS Communications. Both agencies gave a thorough overview of their services and hosted roundtable discussions, giving us a chance to ask our own questions on topics like daily routines, work-life balance and internship opportunities.

“The APCO and PLUS Communications teams were so welcoming,” said PRSSA internal communications director and program participant Ansley McLendon. “I really appreciated getting to ask specific questions and expanding my network.”

D.C. Agency Tour participants and Joseph Watson, Jr. (far left) meet with Amanda Maddox (ABJ ‘10, fifth from left), managing director at PLUS Communications.

Our trip happened to line up with the Grady D.C. Alumni Mixer, so we concluded the night hearing from Grady grads who have successfully made the transition from the Classic City to the Federal City. The group’s main takeaway: D.C. is smaller than it seems. We were often told that everyone in the city is connected by, at most, two degrees of separation, so take advantage of the professional connections you make, especially within Bulldog Nation.

Day two of the trip began with the highly anticipated tour of the Capitol led by Hannah Payne (AB ’21), a Grady alumna and current digital director for the Office of U.S. Senator Rick Scott. We hit some iconic spots within the building, including the Capitol Rotunda, National Statuary Hall and the not-so-secret underground tunnels. The tour was topped off with a brief visit to the Senate Gallery, where our own Senator Warnock happened to be presiding when we passed through.

“Getting the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the Capitol was such a unique experience and definitely a highlight of the trip,” said participant Lauren Kim. “It was almost surreal to walk through such famous buildings and casually brush shoulders with members of Congress.”

We finished off our trip with visits to Penta (formerly Hamilton Place Strategies) and Weber Shandwick, rounding out the diverse lineup of agencies that are leading the pack in the world of public affairs communications.

“Penta and Weber Shandwick provided such valuable insight as someone hoping to pursue a career in public affairs,” said participant and upcoming Grady D.C. Field Study student Gracie Englund. “Hearing from industry leaders created a full picture of what living and working in D.C. is like, and I could not be more excited to experience it this summer!”

As someone who is looking at working in D.C. post-graduation, I couldn’t be more grateful for this trip. It just goes to show that even over 500 miles from campus, PRSSA and Grady are there to provide helpful insights, connections and life experiences (I’m looking at you D.C. Metro!) needed to succeed in our respective career journeys.

Public Affairs Communications Certificate program welcomes 29 newly admitted students

The Public Affairs Communications program has announced its 2022 Public Affairs Professional Certificate cohort. With 29 students, this is the largest cohort in the program’s five-year history.

“I am encouraged that year after year, students remain interested in this program and getting involved in public affairs to better the state and our nation,” said Joseph Watson, Jr., PAC program director and Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications.

The PAC program and Tieger fellowship are the product of the vision and funding provided by Grady College alumna Carolyn Caudell Tieger. The program is celebrating its fifth anniversary this spring.

This year’s Tieger Fellows coordinated a social media campaign and information session geared toward growing applications and educating students about the certificate program. Student testimonials also contributed to the successful application season.

As the first undergraduate program of its kind in the nation, the PAC program offers students a unique opportunity to develop a focused skill set in strategic communications. Through coursework and experiential learning offered by the program, students in the 2022 cohort will be trained in educating, shaping or changing public opinion on public policy, legislation, political candidates or issues.

Below is the Public Affairs Professional Certificate’s 2022 PAC Cohort:

  • Diana Avina
  • Sierra Baker
  • Jenna Bertschi
  • Callie Bolemon
  • Sydney Branton
  • Madeline Brechtel
  • Emma Brumsey
  • Parker Denton
  • Erin Diehl
  • John Dillon
  • Emily Eith
  • Lauren Ellison
  • Gracie Englund
  • Edward Feininger
  • Zoe Flores
  • Jacquelyn Fox
  • Lauren Kim
  • Katherine Gates
  • Cale Ledford
  • Rosalia Little
  • Margaret Martin
  • Mack Morris
  • Abby Peacock
  • Virginia Quinn Phillips
  • Jordan Ross
  • Sydney Senical
  • Elisabeth Strong
  • Anna Womack
  • Hannah Yahne

PAC Alumni in Action: Sloane & Company

Alumni: Vaibhav Kumar (BA ’20), Madison Gable (AB ‘19), Caroline Friedman (AB ’19),

For Public Affairs Communications (PAC) students, connections are one of the most important parts of the program. Whether staying after class to meet guest speakers or keeping in touch with classmates after graduation, these connections can set you apart in an interview and help you get the job.

At Sloane & Company, a strategic corporate and financial communications firm, three University of Georgia Public Affairs Professional Certificate graduates with concentrations in Public Affairs Communications or Applied Politics have found their place in the Big Apple.

Madison Gable (AB ’19), a former Carolyn Caudell Tieger Fellow, joined Sloane after another PAC graduate recommended her for the role. Gable recently graduated from Central European University with an MA in Political Science, but she kept in touch with her PAC classmate after becoming close during the GradyDC summer program.

“The great thing about PAC is that a lot of your fellow students and friends from the program could likely wind up being a part of your professional network as you go on in your careers,” Gable said.

In class, Gable learned how to write in different voices and styles. One of her most essential takeaways was how to consume all types of media.

“The PAC program also helped me develop a strong understanding of how to continually analyze the media environments I work in and to continually cultivate that understanding as these environments are constantly evolving,” she said. “The PAC program taught me how to compose my writing in different voices and styles depending on the deliverable, as well as how to write material that can catch media attention.”

Two more UGA graduates and alumna of the PAC and Public Affairs Professional Certificate programs also work at Sloane. Vaibhav Kumar (BA ’20), who received his bachelor’s degree in political science and Caroline Friedman (AB ’19), who received her bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Kumar stayed behind after class to talk with guest speaker Whit Clay. He didn’t realize that conversation would lead to a full-time job one year later.

Professor Watson invited Whit Clay, co-CEO at Sloane & Company, to talk with students in September 2018.

Kumar works as an associate for Sloane. His chat with Clay, who is co-chief executive officer at Sloane, led to exchanging contact information and keeping in touch. It ultimately set him apart when the time came to apply and interview for an internship at Sloane in the summer of 2019.

Now, Kumar helps companies across multiple industries tell their corporate story to key audiences. While he graduated from UGA with degrees in political science and international affairs, it was his PAC classes that developed his writing and editing skills.

“Inviting spokespeople of all backgrounds helped me find cool internship opportunities like this,” Kumar said. “Additionally, the PAC classes helped me on my writing skills, especially when it came to memos and press releases. That practice with writing helps me daily at Sloane & Company.”

Clay said he is always impressed by the preparedness and eagerness of UGA graduates who join Sloane.

“UGA does an outstanding job of preparing young people to work,” Clay said. “The UGA graduates are all smart, but they distinguish themselves by being humble and willing to learn. They are not entitled and recognize that their education is a strong foundation, but that their careers in public relations will be built over time and success is earned through hard work, commitment and experience.”

PAC Alumni Spotlight: Meredith Stinson (AB ’18)

Meredith Stinson (AB ‘18) first stepped onto the University of Georgia’s campus with plans to go to law school. However, her political science courses quickly taught her that it was the intricacies of government policy and not the law that interested her most. Open to a new career track, Stinson was intrigued when friend of the Public Affairs Communications (PAC) program and seasoned public affairs practitioner Brian Robinson came to speak in one of her classes. Stinson instantly knew that she wanted to pursue a career in public affairs communications. With new dreams of becoming a director of communications on Capitol Hill or the next Olivia Pope, Stinson applied for the GradyDC program. That application prompted her to get involved with the PAC program — a perfect certificate for her dual major in public relations and political science.

As a PAC student, Stinson jumped on every opportunity she received to network with visiting practitioners. At one point, Stinson had gone to so many guest speaker luncheons, she was sidelined in order to give other students a turn. Stinson affirms that the relationships made with her peers and visiting practitioners have been invaluable tools in her career. Not only does she still see some members of her PAC cohort at the Georgia State Capitol today, but her network also helped Stinson land her current job at The Ray Highway.

“It is so valuable to have professors with real-world experience. The PAC program has that. Professor Watson knows what firms and organizations need. He structures assignments that teach applicable skills and invites practitioners that help students build their networks,” said Stinson. “Those skills and relationships have been integral to my professional success.”

Now serving as the Director of Communications at The Ray Highway, Stinson combines her interest in policy with public relations by promoting The Ray’s mission and advocating for their state policy interests. From writing press releases to placing op-eds to creating infographics, Stinson uses the hard skills learned in PAC to further the organization’s vision to build zero carbon, zero waste and zero death highways across the country.

Stinson looks forward to continuing her work supporting the safety and sustainability goals at The Ray. She recommends that current students take advantage of any networking opportunity that presents itself.

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Jake Strickland

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I came to UGA as a political science major. And I love politics, but I just felt like there was something missing in my coursework. Did I want to add journalism or international affairs? And then – lo and behold – Twitter of all places had a major impact on my decision. One of my friends got into the public relations program here at Grady and tweeted about it. I got to researching what exactly PR was and quickly came to realization that this is what I had been wanting to learn. I now understand that my true passion is for political communications, and Grady has helped me explore this passion, especially with its Public Affairs Communications certificate headed by Professor Watson.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

That I’m not from Texas – when I say I’m from Dallas, I have to immediately follow it up with Georgia!

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

My proudest moment of the year was balancing an internship and part-time job over the summer. I was pretty much working seven days a week, and while it was exhausting, I was grateful to learn more about the public relations industry while making money to support myself at college.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience has been taking Professor Watson’s Civil Rights class. Analyzing the civil rights movement from a public relations perspective has made me more aware of just how much patience and determination is required to stir change. 

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

Twitter! I get a lot of my news from Twitter, and a lot of my laughs as well.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about LGBTQ+ equality, particularly in education. Growing up, my favorite subject was almost always history. This can be explained by my love of storytelling, but I eventually realized there was one story that was always altogether ignored: the important contributions that LGBTQ+ people have made in shaping this world. And it’s a shame because we have pretty remarkable stories to tell: Stonewall, Harvey Milk and Marsha P. Johnson, just to name a few. I hope that future generations will be taught this remarkable history, because it’ll make queer youth feel more involved in their curriculum. It’ll make them feel that yes, they can contribute in meaningful ways too.

Who is your professional hero?

I love The Devil Wears Prada, and so I’d say my professional hero is Miranda Priestly. This was difficult for me because I relate more to Andy, but Miranda is so aspirational — she has it all together while managing an international conglomerate. She doesn’t let her emotions get in the way, and she’s not afraid to ask for what she wants. A true icon.

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

I used a lot of my skills at The Partnership of Atlanta, Inc. where I served as a public relations intern during summer 2020. I wrote several press releases, blogs and social posts, and even pitched stories to journalists from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Partnership is Atlanta’s fastest growing digital communications agency, and so I was thankful for so many people there taking me under their wings and showing me the ropes of PR.

 What are you planning on doing after graduating? What is your dream job?

I plan on getting my bachelor’s in May 2022, and then I’ll stick around Athens one more year to get my master’s in public relations. I’m in the Double Dawgs program, and so I’m excited to see where this dual degree will be able to take me. 

In the short term, I would like to work in Washington, D.C. as a congressional staffer or in some other communications capacity. In the long term though, I want my career to be that of a change maker. As an openly gay man living in the South, my existence would not be possible without the change makers that came before me, and I want to be a change maker for the generations to come.

What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?

Networking, for sure. There’s just not as many opportunities to network, and it’s especially difficult over Zoom. I also miss networking with fellow Grady students who share similar passions and career interests as me. One thing I will say though is that the pandemic has made me much more confident in reaching out to people. How else are you supposed to connect if you don’t reach out?

Where is your favorite place on campus?

The Founder’s Garden. There’s something so regal about it, and it’s great for photoshoots.

Class Assignment Sparks Passion & Interest in Issue Advocacy for PAC Graduate

For Gabi Grey (ABJ ’18), the 2016 presidential election lined up with her introduction to the Public Affairs Communications (PAC) certificate. Grey had always been interested in the relationship between strategic communications and politics, so discussing the election in real time through an academic lens gave her an avenue to explore that. In her senior year, Grey continued having these discussions by challenging herself in Professor Joseph Watson’s class called “Building a Movement: Conservatism from 1955 to Present.”

As a progressive, Grey was challenged while learning about politics and ideologies that lie toward the other end of the political spectrum. For the final project, Professor Watson challenged Grey and her fellow classmates to develop a media kit for an advocacy campaign that would run in a rural area. Grey chose to center her project around an issue advocacy campaign for women’s health issues and drafted a plan that would make feminine hygiene products accessible and affordable to women and girls in rural, lower-income areas.

“Developing the communications efforts around this advocacy campaign taught me so much about rural, lower-income audiences,” said Grey. “I started to see just how under-resourced many of these communities are and how the weight of flawed and failed systems falls harder on lower-income people, especially women. My awareness of the intersectionality between class and gender fueled my interest in developing the communications for this kind of advocacy campaign. I believe health and hygiene are human rights, so I was more than happy to work on this project, specifically related to getting women of lower incomes the resources they needed to stay healthy.”

Grey has been with Porter Novelli in Atlanta for three years, where she serves as an Assistant Account Executive. Going from undergrad to a PR agency, she’s found ways to carry this same spirit of advocacy in her day-to-day work with her current clients.

Professor Watson’s class created an opportunity for Grey to champion important issues related to lower-income women. She continues to encourage public affairs students to embrace their personal politics as they work toward becoming communications professionals. Whether campaigning for a candidate, working on a new initiative, or putting your skills to work at an agency, public affairs communicators are always holding space for their beliefs and advocating for what they think is right.

PAC Alumni Spotlight: Jenni Sweat (AB ‘17)

In January of 2017, Public Affairs Communications certificate alumna Jenni Sweat left her home in Georgia and packed her bags to spend a semester in D.C. interning on Capitol Hill. However, that semester-long press internship turned into a four-year stay on the Hill where she now serves as the press secretary for Senator David Perdue.

Ironically, Sweat never aspired to work in politics or public affairs communications. Originally focused on business, she bounced around a few other majors before finding her place studying public relations at Grady College. Once there, Sweat involved herself in various Grady organizations like PRSSA and ADPR Connection. Throughout her time at UGA, she was always looking for another way to make herself more marketable.

It was then, intrigued by the 2016 presidential election and in accordance with her desire to acquire a unique skillset, that Sweat joined the inaugural cohort of the Public Affairs Communications program. The certificate program introduced her to the role that communications plays in connecting elected officials to their constituents.

The program coupled with her work at the Athens-Clarke County library showed her the difference that effective public policy can make in the lives of citizens.  So, when Sweat heard about UGA’s Washington Semester Program through PAC, she jumped on the opportunity. From there, Sweat worked up to her current position, balancing her full-time job while finishing her degree from UGA online.

Today, Sweat serves as the on-the-record spokesperson for Senator Perdue, drafting official statements and implementing the office’s national media strategy.

“My job as press secretary is to maintain the Senator’s brand and help him communicate with the people of Georgia in the most effective way possible,” said Sweat. “Through Grady and PAC, I learned tactical communications skills and met dozens of experienced practitioners – some of whom I still work with today. This gave me a solid foundation that I was able to build upon with real-world experience. Simply put, I would not be in my position today without the skills I learned through Grady and PAC.”

Looking forward, Sweat hopes to continue serving the people of Georgia, cutting through red tape and delivering positive outcomes for all Georgians. Sweat encourages current students to find skills that make them stand out as valuable professionals.

Three students selected as Tieger Fellows will promote the Public Affairs Communications program at UGA

The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication announced the selection of three Tieger Fellows for the fall of 2020: Sarah Geary, Melissa Hevener and Hannah Payne.

The Tieger Fellowship supports the college’s first-in-the-nation Public Affairs Communications (PAC) program by enabling students to apply campaign skills learned in the classroom towards promoting the program.

Tieger Fellows manage the PAC program’s media relations, social and digital media and event promotion. Fellows work under the guidance of Joseph Watson, Jr., program director and Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications.

The Tieger Fellowship is funded by Carolyn Caudell Tieger (ABJ ’69) who has over 40 years of experience working in political and public affairs communications. The alumna also funds the Tieger Professorship currently held by Watson, who also has extensive experience in the field.

“We are delighted to announce the selection of Sarah, Melissa and Hannah as our newest Tieger Fellows,” Watson said. “This fellowship, made possible by the vision and funding of Carolyn Caudell Tieger, is even more critical today than it was at its inception. These students will bring a fresh approach to the promotion of our program at a time when it is greatly needed. I look forward to working with these remarkable students to serve the PAC program.”

“While the PAC program was just a vision a little more than two years ago, it has become a highly competitive offering by Grady, thanks to the exceptional leadership of Professor Watson… and I could not be prouder of how far we have come.” Tieger noted.  “The Tieger Fellows have an opportunity to help the College spread the word even further about this unique and exciting program for students who are interested in a career in politics and public affairs.”

Geary, Hevener and Payne are all working towards the PAC professional certificate and have supplemented their education with numerous internships and leadership positions.

Sarah Geary, from Smyrna, Georgia, is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in political science. Along with her role of Tieger Fellow, Geary worked as the communications intern for the Institute for Energy Research this past summer. She intends on pursuing a career in public affairs communications after graduation. Geary serves as the media relations fellow. 

Melissa Hevener, from Biñan City, Philippines, is a senior studying public relations and political science. Last year, Hevener served as the student body vice president for UGA’s Student Government Association. She spent this past summer working as a creative marketing intern at Mitchell McClure, LLC, in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduation, Hevener hopes to pursue a career in public relations or political communications. Hevener serves as the program promotion fellow.

Hannah Payne, from Rome, Georgia, is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in political science. This past summer, Payne worked as a marketing coordinator for Abbson, a New York-based digital marketing firm, and as a press intern for U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler. After graduation, Hannah plans on pursuing a master’s degree while continuing her work in political communications. Payne serves as the social and digital media fellow.

All three look forward to using their skills to promote the PAC program.

Public Affairs Communications Program: Student Spotlights Summer 2020

The Public Affairs Communications (PAC) Program is proud to spotlight the following students for their hard work and determination this summer: Patrick Femia, Sarah Geary, Zach Green, Karlie Hanson, Hannah Payne, Simran Sethi and Grace Wilbanks.

Patrick Femia is a rising senior from Cumming, Georgia. He is majoring in public relations and political science with a minor in public policy and management. This summer, Patrick is interning remotely for Deloitte’s Policy and Government Relations team. He monitors issues of legislative and regulatory importance, mapping stakeholders and condensing information to present to the firm and its clients. This internship has allowed Patrick to build on his past academic and leadership experiences on Capitol Hill and on campus.

“My PAC experience has helped prepare me for this role, which sits at the intersection of public and private sectors and has helped me better understand how firms prepare to advocate for a position or cause with the foundations of PAC.”

Sarah Geary is a rising senior from Smyrna, Georgia, majoring in public relations with a minor in political science. She is currently serving as the Tieger Fellow for the PAC program, in addition to working as the communications intern at the Institute for Energy Research (IER). There, she researches energy policy; writes scripts, press releases, blogs and op-eds; and develops content for IER’s social media. Sarah believes the certificate program and her internship experience has well prepared her for a career in public affairs.

“Coming into the PAC program, I knew that I wanted a career in public affairs communications, however, I neither had the needed skillset or depth of knowledge. I can honestly say that if it were not for Professor Watson’s dedication and the support of my cohort, I would not have the professional experience, confidence or expertise that I have today.”

Zach Green is a rising senior from Duluth, Georgia. He is majoring in public relations and has a minor in English. Zach is working as a research analyst for the Federalist Society this summer. In this role, he is involved in reading, writing and editing documents that support the organization’s goal to promote the principles of limited government embodied by the Constitution. Zach hopes to translate these experiences in law school after graduation.

“The PAC program has helped me with my work ethic. PAC requires people to dive into the world of political communication and politics in general. In doing so, PAC members not only find niches of politics that they are interested in, but they also learn how politics change on a daily basis. Finding out what you are interested in politically and learning more about it forces you to work hard. At the end of the day, that work is very rewarding, and I have the PAC program, Professor Watson and my cohort to thank for making each day in PAC better than the last.”

Karlie Hanson is a rising senior from Atlanta, Georgia. She is majoring in public relations with a minor in French. This summer, Karlie is interning for Governor Brian Kemp’s Office in the communications department where she develops digital content and aids in preparing press releases, video scripts, letters and other ceremonial documents. She was encouraged to apply for this position after meeting the governor’s Healthcare Policy Advisor, Ryan Loke, who spoke in the Introduction to Applied Politics course, a required class for the Public Affairs Professional Certificate. Karlie plans on pursuing a career in public affairs communications.

“PAC has really prepared me for being in this field. It has provided a sturdy foundation to grow from when it comes to political communication. It has finely tuned my attention to the use of certain language and strategy. I can easily say it has groomed me to be a more effective communicator.”

Hannah Payne is a rising senior from Rome, Georgia, majoring in public relations with a minor in political science. She is spending her summer in Washington, D.C., as a press intern for U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler. There, Hannah is working to enhance the office’s digital media, write press releases and aid in constituent communication. She is adding this experience to her resume after interning for Sen. David Perdue last summer. Hannah intends on pursuing a master’s degree while working in the world of political communications after graduation.

“The PAC program has prepared me more than I ever realized for this role along with my public relations communications class in Grady. When asked to write a press release or other form of communication, I feel more prepared and able to do it with ease because I have done it for class so many times in the past.”

Simran Sethi is a rising senior from Boone, North Carolina. She is majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. This summer, Simran is working as the corporate communications intern for Textron’s Specialized Vehicles branch assisting with internal communications projects and events. While in the process of applying for the internship, she was introduced to her current boss Brandon Haddock, the Director of Communications for Textron’s Specialized Vehicles, at a PAC Lunch and Learn. Simran hopes to continue work in corporate communications and go to graduate school in the future.

“The PAC program is valuable for the education our directors give us, but it is just as equally valuable for the networking opportunities we gain. There will be 92 interns at my Textron office this summer, and I will be the one and only communications intern. There are so many qualified students with impressive resumes but forming a relationship with Mr. Haddock at the Lunch and Learn gave me that leg up to stand out in the crowd and be given this opportunity!”

Grace Wilbanks is a rising senior from Orange, Virginia. She is majoring in public relations with a minor in Spanish. Grace spent time working this summer as a campaign intern for Georgia House Rep. Houston Gaines. There, she designed communications materials, engaged in constituent outreach and worked on the representative’s reelection campaign. Grace plans to work in mental health and immigrant advocacy after graduation.

“The PAC program 120% prepared me for this internship. It was exciting to see that for every task I was given, I had already done a similar version in a classroom setting for my applied politics and public affairs communications courses.”

Apollo 11 anniversary meant more for PAC graduate

Stephanie Dixon (AB ’18), an inaugural cohort member of the Public Affairs Communications program, experienced the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing last year in a very special manner through her job with Lockheed Martin. In the weeks before the anniversary, Dixon worked behind the scenes on Lockheed’s unveiling of the Orion capsule at the Kennedy Space Center. Decades after the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, the Orion capsule will carry astronauts to the moon for the upcoming Artemis mission.

Dixon is now permanently based in Denver, Colorado, where she is a content specialist and editor at Lockheed Martin Space.

Before this, Dixon was part of Lockheed Martin’s Communications Leadership Development Program. This two-year, rotational program allowed Dixon to gain experience in external communications with Lockheed’s Rotary and Mission Systems sector before spending her second-year at Lockheed Martin Space. After graduating from CLDP, Dixon was promoted to her current position.

During her time at Lockheed Martin Space, Dixon has worked on internal communications for the company’s contributions to the movie Ad Astra, the Apollo 11 anniversary, multiple satellite launches and the retirement of NASA’s Spitzer Space telescope, which was built by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is one of the only companies to have had a role in every mission to space since NASA was founded.

“Whether it is working on program milestone announcements, developing our employee intranet or rolling out new strategic tools to engage our workforce, writing is a core tenet of what I do every day,” said Dixon. “CLDP and Grady played a huge role in allowing me to develop these communications skills, and I look forward to further honing my business acumen with an MBA starting this fall – because communicators should always have a seat at the decision-making table in any business.”

Dixon plans to pursue her master’s in business administration starting this fall at the University of Colorado in Denver. Leading up to her graduation from UGA with a public relations degree in 2018, she held leadership positions in the Public Relations Student Society of America, worked on statewide and congressional political campaigns and interned with a PR agency. Networking and hard work got Dixon to where she is today, and she recommends that all current and future PAC students say ‘yes’ to every volunteer opportunity, guest speaker engagement and informational interview possible to build valuable connections.