Fourth year public relations major Sarah Dorr can trace her love for public relations back to her time in pageants, which allowed her to create her first advocacy campaign. Now, she is the vice president of UGA’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter and she has gained experience through various internships and fellowships in the public relations industry.
What does “tenacity” mean to you?
To me, it’s having the strength to continue on. Sometimes that means pushing yourself to go for that dream internship or ace that presentation, other times it’s just putting one foot in front of the other and deciding to show up each day, even if it’s the last thing you want to do. In creative fields like communication, criticism and rejection is inevitable. Tenacity is all about being able to accept it, embrace it and use it as fuel for growth.
Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?
I’ve been lucky to have so many fantastic professors here at Grady, but I have to shout out Professors Joseph Watson and Kim Landrum specifically. They are both such great people, as well as amazing mentors that have pushed me to become the young professional and leader I am today. I’ve learned so much from Professor Watson via the PAC certificate about thinking and writing strategically, and I always look forward to discussing all things politics, culture and movies with him. Professor Landrum is not only the Mama Bear of PRSSA exec and the whole chapter, but she’s so good at challenging her students to be their best and push beyond what they believe they’re capable of.
What is your most memorable Grady experience?
Hands down participating in Grady’s AdPR: NYC Field Study Program. Living and interning in New York City was a huge step outside my comfort zone, but it was also the best decision I’ve made these past four years. I checked so much off my bucket list, from seeing ten Broadway shows to appearing on the “Today” show, and I did it with the most amazing group of fellow Grady students. I’m sure they would all back me up when I say there’s no other place in the world with the same energy as the Big Apple, whether it’s the food, the people, the architecture, the art or the entertainment. I’m so thankful I got to call it home for eight weeks.
What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
I competed in a couple of pageants back in high school! I’m very much not your stereotypical pageant girl, but it was a great way to combine my love of performing with my passion for advocacy (while also winning some scholarship money). I really believe my interest in public relations can be traced back to my time in pageants. I remember one competition in particular required all contestants to create a platform centered around a social issue. That whole experience taught me how to brand myself and shape an advocacy campaign before I even knew what PR was.
What motivates you?
My desire to learn and try new things has been a substantial motivating force for me. My goal during my time at Grady has been to soak up as much as possible. Whether it’s gaining skills in social media, internal communications, public affairs, web development, podcast production or even TED Talk curation, I’ve come a long way in my journey to become a true Renaissance woman in the communications field. Of course, I still have a long way to go, but I’m excited to continue my curious mindset as I begin my career.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?
Get over your fear of networking! I know that for some it’s not fun. I lean more toward the introverted side (shoutout to my fellow INFJs) and have often struggled with putting myself out there. However, it is so essential in the world of PR and communications. The great news is that UGA (especially Grady) has such a wide network of alumni that is more than happy and willing to talk, give advice and sometimes even get you that position. I was struggling to find an internship last spring, decided to cold-email a UGA alum working in fashion PR in NYC, and two days later, I had secured my internship. Dawg Nation is here to help!
What are you planning to do after you graduate?
Through my various internship experiences, I’ve grown to love the fast-paced PR agency life, so I’m leaning that way in the age-old agency vs. in-house debate. I’m hoping to move northeast, either to NYC or DC, and work at an agency that is trend and culture-forward but also focuses on mission-based clients and campaigns.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?
I’m really proud of the work I’ve done this year as vice president of UGA’s PRSSA chapter. Not only do I get to work with an amazing group of women as a member of the executive board, but I also had the unique opportunity of overseeing the selection process for PRSSA’s committee network. It was definitely a daunting task interviewing over 50 candidates in one week, but it was so worth it now that I get to see our committee members learning and growing at each meeting. PRSSA has been the driving force in developing my leadership abilities while at UGA, so I think it is important to pay it forward and do everything I can to help build the next group of leaders for the chapter.
What are you passionate about?
My passion for film and television has grown significantly during college, especially since the pandemic forced us all in front of our TVs for six months. From the newest Oscar-bait movie, to last Monday’s episode of “The Bachelor,” I love getting to break down what I’ve been watching, as well as analyze the media’s potential impact on pop culture and the communications field. (Shameless plug to follow me on Letterboxd @sarahdorr).
Where is your favorite study spot?
I always find myself studying or working on projects on the fourth floor of Grady. It’s such a collaborative space, and I never cease to run into friends or professors to catch up with!