#ProfilesOfTenacity: Palmer Thombs

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?  

As an out of state student, Grady is what drew me to come to Georgia. I knew I wanted to study journalism in college, and I knew that Grady was the place I wanted to do it. So, for me, choosing Grady happened long before I applied to the college. It happened when I applied to the university because I saw the people that have come out of here and the opportunities students have while here as second to none. 

Who is your professional hero? 

I’ve always enjoyed the work of Adam Lucas, a writer for the University of North Carolina and its athletics program. I grew up reading Lucas’ work, specifically relating to UNC basketball, and admired the way he is able to relate to readers by using his voice. This is something that I have always tried to do too, not let the facts block out my voice, thus allowing the reader to get to know both me and the story I’m reporting. 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I think a lot of people would be surprised to know about my passion for writing. That doesn’t come as a surprise to anybody in Grady, or anybody that’s gotten to know me well enough, but it’s just not common that you see somebody with a desire to go into journalism these days. It’s something that makes me different from most of my best friends, and something that I think people would be surprised to know about me. I’m passionate about it, knew that and decided to pursue that professionally. 

What are you passionate about? 

I would say that I am passionate about sharing stories. Whether that is the story of an individual, a team, a community, a game or anything else, I thoroughly enjoy finding the right way to convey my experiences to others. 

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

The Grady Sports Media program has probably had the biggest impact on my life during my time at Georgia, specifically professor Carlo Finlay. I came into the program already having some experience in the field of sports media, however I’ve still been able to grow exponentially. I actually remember meeting with Professor Finlay and talking about the sports media certificate during a visit to Georgia when I was in high school, so his impact goes beyond just my days in Athens. 

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

While every day on the job uses the skills that I’ve learned through my studies, I think the biggest example of me using them came during the summer of 2020 when I worked as a communications intern for the Carolinas Golf Association. In fact, it was myself and two other Grady students and graduates tag-teaming communications, so we all used skills learned through our time here. However, skills like photography, social media and writing absolutely came in handy in this fast paced, real world work experience, and I can thank Grady for that knowledge.

What are you planning to do after graduation?  

I have accepted, and actually already started, a full-time job with On3 Sports as their team beat writer for their Georgia site. I will be living in Athens and covering the Dawgs. This is an exciting opportunity for me to get in on the ground floor of a promising new sports media outlet and stay connected with a school that I love so much.

Palmer participated in the Sports Media Certificate, where he got to interview players, coaches and other sports professionals.
What is your favorite app or social media channel and why? 

I would say that Twitter is probably my favorite app and social media because it’s the quickest and easiest way to stay up to date with the happenings of this fast-paced world. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why? 

My favorite place on campus would be Sanford Stadium because I feel at home there. Not only is it a place where I do my work, but over the years it is also a place where I’ve gotten to spend so much quality time with my friends in the stands. There’s really nothing like a Saturday in Sanford. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

My proudest moment in the last year would have to be getting and accepting my full-time job offer with On3 Sports to cover Georgia athletics. It’s something that I have been working toward for a long time, a full-time opportunity in this field, and a place that I feel certain I wouldn’t have ended up in had it not been for coming to Georgia.   

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Kendal Hill

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

I chose Grady because of my passion for creativity. I entered UGA as an Intended Marketing student, but felt like I was missing out on expressing my creativity. I spoke to my advisor at the time, and she mentioned looking into Advertising. Three days later, I changed my major. I like to describe advertising as “creative marketing,” and I feel I’ve been able to blend all my interests into this one course of study.  

What is your most memorable Grady experience? 

Being a part of Women in Media’s Underclassman Council my freshman year. This opportunity immersed me in the greatness of Grady, as I got to meet so many incredible Grady girls. Being a part of Grady has given me a chance to meet incredible individuals, including students, faculty and advisors. It makes me so honored to be a part of this community. 

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you? 

Tenacity means persistence. Being tenacious means being determined, even in the most challenging of times. College has a way of bringing the tenacity out of us all. 

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

My favorite app is TikTok. I’ve spent hours upon hours curating an elite FYP (for you page). It’s my go-to when I want to wind down and relax. 

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

I’m a commuter student and don’t live on campus. I commute about 5 hours a week for classes. It has been an adjustment, but I love living the blended life. I enjoy being able to see my family, see my friends and save money along the way, although I do miss visiting Insomnia Cookies on late nights. 

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

“Continue being great because you are deserving of your flowers and so much more.” A bad habit of mine is that I tend to not give myself enough credit for the things I accomplish. I struggle with imposter syndrome, and often feel like I’m not enough. My best friend is always reminding me that I am successful and that she believes in me. She wrote this piece of advice in a card, and I read it every day. Some advice I have for others who struggle with this is to write down your wins, and look back at them when you feel out of place. You are important and worthy of recognition! 

What are you planning to do after graduation? 

I plan to enter the event management or project management industry. I really enjoy planning and organizing — two characteristics both industries rely on. I have begun applying to internships and entry-level roles in the Atlanta area. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why? 

My favorite place on campus is the terrace outside of the MLC. It’s always so pretty and serene there. I especially love to sit out there during the fall season.   

Who is your professional hero? 

My professional hero is Maria Taylor, Grady alumna and sports broadcaster for NBC. Her story, poise and charisma are admirable qualities. I had the amazing opportunity to meet and speak with her during my time volunteering for UGA’s Spring 2021 Commencement. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

My proudest moment was being awarded a Grady scholarship for the fall 2021 semester. This scholarship was a tremendous help, as I did not have to pay any money out of pocket for my last semester at UGA. This moment made me reflect on myself and my accomplishments, and I felt so proud of myself. 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Alaina Booth

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Believe it or not, people that don’t know me are really surprised when I tell them that I’m in school. I never talk about it because I’m always shooting or editing videos for my company, and I travel so often (shoutout only Tuesday and Thursday classes) that people don’t really ever see me posting about school.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

I have a little personal office space for my business in the Entrepreneurship building in Studio 225. It’s such a vibe.

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

When I thought about answering this question, I realized it was never really a choice for me. I knew I belonged in Grady, and I didn’t really think about applying to any other school. Throughout high school, I knew I wanted to do something creative, and I started making videos of my life throughout my senior year. When I got to UGA, I started out as an advertising major, but ultimately the world of entertainment excited me more. I’ve always been making things into stories, and I’m a huge dreamer, and being EMST just makes so much sense. I remember sitting in the intro class for EMST and one of the slides on the board saying, “Move to LA” and I just knew these were my people and this was my program.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about telling honest stories and I want that to be my line of work, but nothing makes me more excited than connecting with people on an emotional level through video. Outside of this, I am really passionate about encouraging people that they can do it – whatever it is they want to do. I want to be the person people feel safe talking about their dreams with, and throughout my career, I want encouragement and inspiration to be a common thread. 

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

My favorite piece of advice is “Do what you can with what you have and who you know” and I love it because I think people get really overwhelmed that they need to be making HUGE things with expensive gear and amazing taste as soon as they start, but really that’s just not how you learn. And it’s way too much pressure to put on yourself. You just have to start, and you have to let go of what other people will think about your work when you’re starting out. When people ask me how I’ve built such an extensive portfolio, I tell them I literally just started! I kept saying yes to things I thought I wasn’t ready for and showing up to them like I knew exactly what I was doing. People believed me, and then eventually, I believed me too! 

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

This past summer I spent two months in Los Angeles. Throughout the summer I got an internship, worked on a couple freelance projects, continued to run my business remotely and finally, had the opportunity to be a production assistant on a huge documentary shoot. Throughout the summer, I drew knowledge from every single course I’ve taken in the EMST program, and I was so grateful for my education that I sent Dr. Hamilton an email thanking him. I knew how to give proper script coverage because of my writing for digital media class. I could properly set up a C-stand because of production basics, and I could create really awesome pitch decks thanks to the producing for the screen class. It was a very rewarding summer to see how much my education is really showing up in my future career path, and I’m really grateful for the foundation Grady has laid for me.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

Well, I love Los Angeles, so the plan is to move there and start working. I really like pretty much everything, so I’m open to following the path that excites me most. I’m particularly interested in producing, because I’m definitely a sales-minded person and will pitch in front of people all day long. I like unscripted, because I like watching the story unfold itself rather than trying to control all the aspects of it. Lately, I’m also considering marketing, because I’ve realized I approach the majority of my work with thinking “how can we make people feel an emotional connection to this piece of work?” Before I move to Los Angeles, though, I might take a year or so to travel and live in different parts of the country. I think as a media creator, the more life experience you have, the better creator you will be. So, I could call it “taking a gap year” but in reality, it’s an investment in myself as a creative person. Who knows where I’ll be in a year — I just know it won’t be boring. 

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

Easily Instagram. I think it’s mind-blowing that one day in like 30 years, my kids will be able to scroll down and see pictures that I posted when I was 20 years old. I mean how cool is it that we all have an internet record of our lives? If I think about it too much, I will get emotional.   

Who is your professional hero?

It might seem kind of random, but Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal and GIRLBOSS. It’s not really what she does as a profession that I look up to, but rather how she does it and how she conducts herself as a professional. She just shows up 100% unapologetically. She uses humor and realness to connect with people, and she’s not shy about her failures. She’s bold, genuine and she just makes people feel like they can do anything they want. I love that. Even though my career looks different from hers, I want to show up similarly in professional spaces. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Rather than one specific moment, I’m really proud of myself for moving to L.A. alone. It wasn’t easy at first and it took a minute to adjust, but I’m really proud that I believed in myself and trusted myself to take the leap. It was the most life-giving summer I have ever experienced. So, I think rather than one singular moment, it’s all the little moments I had driving on I-10 (or I guess, sitting in traffic on I-10) that I was like “oh wait, I’m really living my dream!” 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Emily Goncalves

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I actually came to UGA as an intended international business major. I switched to Grady because I wanted a smaller college with more intimate class settings, professors that actually got to know their students and of course just a higher emphasis on creativity. Grady and public relations ended up being a perfect fit.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I have been to over 16 countries! Most of my family lives abroad, so I got to travel quite a bit growing up. I also had the chance to study abroad in Paris after my freshman year. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity is the force inside you, that innate drive to do great things. Tenacity has helped me persevere through hard times, and has been a driving force for me to continue to better myself.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

In January of 2020, I had the chance to travel to Washington D.C. for the Grady Agency Tour with Professor Watson. It was such an incredible experience and really inspired me to pursue a job in public affairs after graduation. I was the only sophomore on the tour and literally only knew Samantha Meyer, but I made friends with several seniors who gave me countless pieces of fantastic advice. Coincidentally, I roomed with Emma Crosby, an old PRSSA president, who encouraged me to run for PRSSA executive board. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

Definitely North Campus. It’s so peaceful! Every time I walk through, I am reminded how lucky I am to go to this beautiful school.  

What are you passionate about?

I love to travel and meet others from different cultures. Everyone has unique experiences and viewpoints that define who they are. Learning other’s stories helps give one insight into their own.

PRSSA holds its first meeting of the 2021 academic year. This year, Emily Goncalves takes charge as president of the club. (Photo/Sarah Freeman).
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Destiny Loyd! She’s the mastermind behind the UGA Mentor Program, and the head of the UGA Mentor Program student team. She is such an amazing leader who cares deeply about helping others. Destiny has truly made me a better person, student and leader.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

I hope to have a job in public affairs or public relations in a large city such as Washington D.C. or New York City. After working for a couple years, I want to return to school and get my Masters of Business Administration. 

What was the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and early career professional?

Not seeing classmates in person. I, like many other Grady students, consider myself a people-person, and thrive on human connection and communication. Collaborating via Zoom or text message for the entirety of the semester was doable, but I missed having authentic conversations with people face to face. I am so thankful to be safely back in in-person classes!

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

Instagram! I love how interactive it’s gotten with stories and reels. It’s always getting better and better. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

I was overjoyed when I was elected president of UGA’s PRSSA chapter. PRSSA has given me so many opportunities, taught me so many things, and given me so many great friends. I am so proud that I took the leap of faith in pushing myself to take on such a big leadership role. I know it’s going to be a great year!

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Mennah Abdelwahab

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I came into UGA as an international affairs major, and while I loved my IA courses, I felt I needed experiences that would push me out of my comfort zone. I was always fascinated by the media, particularly how it operates and the power it wields over our lives. I also felt that being a strong communicator would serve me well in any job I would pursue later. My first Grady class was pretty small and very discussion based, which I really loved. I was motivated to continue pursuing my Grady degree because my Grady professors have been incredibly supportive; it has meant a lot to see everyone want you to succeed. 

Who is your professional hero?

I don’t know that I have just one professional hero. I have personally gotten to work with so many amazing people and they have all inspired me in their own unique way. I think one thing they have all shown me is the importance of truly caring about the people you work with and wanting to see them succeed. When people see you are willing to invest in them, they will also be willing to develop a stronger relationship with you. 

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to reach your goals. Whether in Grady or any other college, you will get out of your classes as much as you put in. I remember the first time I had to interview a source for my journalism class; I was terrified. Yet, the more I have interviewed sources, the more comfortable and natural it has become. So, no matter how scary or nerve-racking accomplishing an assignment or personal goal may be, go for it! 

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

WhatsApp is definitely an underappreciated tool. It’s pretty popular in other parts of the world but it’s not really that well known in America. Personally, I have found it to be a really great way to stay in touch with my family in Egypt and elsewhere around the world. 

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

During my sophomore year, I was studying for an Arabic test in the PAF, and Dean Davis walked up to me and started asking me questions about what I was writing, what it meant, etc. I think this was the first time I had ever talked to the dean, but I just remember how approachable and genuinely interested he was. As a Grady ambassador, I have gotten to interact with the dean a lot more, and I think this it is always great to see how much he wants to connect with students and learn from their experiences. 

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

I think the best piece of advice I have received in college is that you don’t have to have it all figured out during college or immediately after graduation. A lot of my professors have taken varying, winding paths to get where they are now. It is great if you know from now what you are interested in and the career you want. It is also equally valuable to know that you are not 100% set on one job or career and to be open to trying new things. 

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

My journalism major has been crucial to many of my professional and extracurricular experiences. Currently, I serve as the Public Relations Director for State Representative Spencer Frye, where a central part of my job is clearly communicating policy issues to a wide audience. In my work with the Human Rights Measurement Initiative, I have helped prepare online content in both English and Arabic. Additionally, my work with the Office of Congressman John Lewis involved preparing internal and external documents to assist legislative staffers and our constituents. These experiences built off of the skills I have attained in my journalism classes. In other roles, such as SGA Senator and Director of DEI, ICNA Relief Clinic Outreach Coordinator, and Honors Teaching Assistant, I have seen myself become a lot more comfortable interacting with new people and thinking of how to communicate my thoughts and opinions.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

I spent the entire summer in D.C. which was really cool. I definitely pushed myself to be a lot more adventurous than I normally am but actually had a lot of fun. I went kayaking on the Potomac, which was a pretty neat place to go kayaking for the first time. I also got to know a lot of people in Delta Hall, which was also wonderful. Additionally, I really used the skills I gained in my photojournalism class; I think I took 1000+ photos over the summer. 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I have a twin sister, Ayah, who is also an international affairs major (she’s pursuing international affairs and economics). We have taken several international affairs classes together and have also been involved in some of the same organizations, so we have definitely confused a lot of people. Whenever people meet both of us at the same time, they either think we look nothing alike or we look too similar to tell who is who. Since I think we look pretty different, I have never tried assuming her identity for a day, but maybe it could be a senior year goal?  

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

It’s a little farther away than most things, but I think the botanical garden is absolutely gorgeous. I have also had the chance to go to UGA’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography down in Savannah and it is also amazing. One of my favorite experiences I have had at UGA is going there during the Public Service and Outreach weekend where we got to go on a boat tour in Savannah and see dolphins!  

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Nick Milavec

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

I knew Grady was an amazing school and I wanted to study mass communications. I came in as a Journalism major but switched to Advertising because I was fascinated how my love of art and creating art could intertwine with mass communication into one major. 

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

My mom has 100% had the biggest impact on my life during my time at UGA. She is constantly encouraging me in every endeavor, whether it be a challenge I’m going through or a great thing that happens to me. Her support is unwavering, and I am so grateful for her. She is the true definition of tenacity, and I am proud that I got to learn that from her. 

Who is your professional hero? 

I wouldn’t say I have a specific professional hero. However, the reason I fell in love with the field of advertising and typography was the work of Neville Brody. His posters were what inspired me to fuse my love of art and design with Mass Communication. 

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

I never actually toured UGA. I grew up a Georgia Tech fan, and it was my dream to go there. However, once I came to UGA’s campus for a drum major camp my junior year of high school, it just felt like home to me, and I knew it was where I wanted to be. It felt like I didn’t even need to tour because I was so certain. 

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you? 

The word “tenacity” to me means being adaptable. With the immense changes that have seemingly persisted over the last few years, everyone has had to adapt to something new or a new way of doing things. However, tenacity means embracing the need to adapt and trying to do it to the best of your ability in a determined and hardworking fashion. Rather than lamenting on the way of life you had before the need to adapt, tenacity to me means running headfirst into that new way of life and making it as best as possible. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why? 

I absolutely love Bolton Dining Commons. I know it might be an odd place to love, but it is just such a good place for community to thrive and an environment that welcomed me as a freshman. Plus, they make some pretty good food. I keep buying a meal plan year after year because it is somewhere where I can experience a lot of different activities, such as grabbing a quick bite on my way to my car, or finding a table to study at or eating a meal with my friends. At Bolton, you can do it all. 

What are you passionate about? 

I am passionate about loving others and making them feel welcome. If I can make just one person feel at home or accepted on this campus, then that is a successful college career in my book. I believe that God calls us to love others with an unconditional love, and that is what I try to model at all times. 

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

The best piece of advice I have ever received is from my mom. It is a spin on the traditional golden rule, which states “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” However, my mother used to say, “If you don’t have something nice to say, say something nice anyways.” That is how I try and live my life. Everyone has things about them that deserve to be loved and appreciated, and I believe that in those moments where we could just turn away and say nothing, we should look for those things and respond with kindness and love, because you never know just how much a kind word can do a person’s life. 

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

I would have to say my favorite social media channel/app is Instagram. I love the broad range of content you can encounter on the app. I am someone who is passionate about design and photography, so it is so cool to be able to follow accounts that post content and work relating to those while also being able to keep up with my friends and peers and what they are up to, whether they are in Athens or around the world. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

My proudest moment in the last year was uploading my last pictures to our website after my 8-week-long job as the camp photographer at YMCA Camp High Harbour. I came into the job never having been to camp before and not knowing that the job I was going to do would be so non-stop and taxing. However, when I uploaded the 9,856th and last photo of the summer, I was proud of how I adapted to an environment that was new for me and successfully completed a job that challenged me like no other I’ve ever done. 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Cate de Castro

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

From the start  of my time at UGA, I was surprised at how many students would go out of their way to help me. In every organization I joined there was always someone who was willing and excited to see me succeed. These individuals inspired me every day through their servant leadership. They reminded me just how important it is to take the time to reflect on those who made an impact in my life. I think at times it’s easy to take for granted the small things people do that make such an impact in other people’s lives. Little things like taking the time to read over a script or giving professional advice really helped to give me confidence and encouragement. I hope to always pay forward the kindness and support shown to me by my peers.

Who is your professional hero?

As an aspiring producer, I really admire Kevin Feige and his ability to establish a longstanding franchise. What stands out the most for me is his ability to work creatively across numerous projects and manage them in a way that enhances each other. I also respect his clear long-term ambitions for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how they further a larger story without diminishing individual films.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity means pursuing your dreams with determination and perseverance. It means knowing what you want in life and having the courage and drive to reach for it.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

One of my favorite memories from Grady has been coordinating the speed networking event for the Entertainment and Media Studies club, The Industry. It reminded me so much of my freshman year when I was first trying to find my place on campus. The Industry really helped to connect me on campus and get my foot in the door professionally. It surrounded me with other passionate storytellers who went out of their way to encourage and help me develop my passions. Coming back this year, reflecting on how much I’ve grown, and seeing all of the new freshmen who are now in my shoes was extremely rewarding and heartwarming. The Industry has been extremely instrumental during my time at UGA, and as president this year, it means a great deal to me to have so many new and familiar EMST students looking to get involved and find their home on campus.

What are you passionate about?

Filmmaking and storytelling have always played an influential role in my life and have shaped me into the person I am today. There is such power in film to experience the world through someone else, and I am constantly moved by stories’ abilities to shape our identities and perceptions. For me, one of the most beautiful aspects of film is its ability to capture the human experience and express it in a form that can be shared around the world, making us feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

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

YouTube is my favorite social media channel. It’s a really great way for creatives to share their work and engage with viewers. It also provides opportunities to learn new skills — it helped me so much when starting photography and filmmaking. I am constantly inspired by everyone’s work and learning new things every day.

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

This summer, I had the opportunity to work for Manalive Media Group, a startup production company, and found myself frequently pulling from the skills and knowledge I gained from Grady. As an entrepreneurism intern, I managed the Guest Speaker Program, which provided a space for relationship building and constructive conversations with leaders from the worlds of business, finance, media entertainment, government, academia and nonprofit. On the creative side, I collaborated with the film development team to conduct script coverage, develop lookbooks for projects and engage in creative discussions. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

This year I was accepted into UGA’s Blue Key Honor Society, which recognizes students for their scholarship, leadership and service. It was extremely heartwarming to know that I had made a positive impact on my professors, peers and community. My professors and peers have played such a crucial role in developing my passions and professional goals. I am extremely grateful for all that they have invested in me and hope to always continue learning and growing to be the best version of myself.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I love horseback riding and have been riding since I was four years old! I haven’t been able to keep up with it as much in college, but in high school I worked three jobs so I could keep riding because I loved it so much.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

For the past two years I have spent at Grady, Studio 100 has been a hub for creativity, collaboration and innovation. It has served as a meeting place for me to engage with industry professionals and my peers, fostering a culture of encouragement and servant leadership. To me, Studio 100 represents all the best UGA has to offer and has been the heart of my time at UGA. It demonstrates the passion, commitment and dedication the students and faculty have for their community.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Sydney Phillips

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

Getting to be a part of the Honors in Washington 2021 cohort and be a communications intern on Capitol Hill, and then being selected to stay in DC through the Washington Semester Program have definitely been my proudest moments of this year. 

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

In today’s world, information is everything, and I chose my major because I love getting to shape media narratives in positive, beneficial ways that inform our public. So many people outside of Grady think journalism is the only major where students get to tell stories. They’re completely wrong. Every major here is about telling a story, we just do it in very different ways.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about people. Sounds simple, but I love getting to know people, I love telling their stories and I love advocating for them. Being in Grady has given me a space and a voice to do that. 

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

Working on the Hill this summer felt like the perfect culmination of all my Grady studies and experiences. Every time I was assigned a task by my communications director, I was able to get to work right away because I knew exactly what to do and how to do it. That’s all because of Grady and the professors here who helped me build the practical skills I needed to compile press clips, build a media list or write a press release. 

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

A secret passion of mine is filmmaking! It isn’t something that I’ve ever mentioned to my friends or mentors but I’d love to produce a film one day. 

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

The honors community at UGA has had the biggest impact on me during my time at UGA. Aside from being in Grady, the Morehead Honors College is another academic space where I thrived. It was a springboard for me to leap into so many other opportunities and connected me to friends and mentors who have inspired me, challenged me and educated me on so many issues here at UGA and around Athens. 

Who is your professional hero?

Yvette Noel-Schure! She’s Beyoncé’s publicist and an all-around icon. I deeply admire and am inspired by Black women in media and PR spaces, and she’s just one example of a woman on top of her game. Honorable mention to Olivia Pope, main character on Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal.   

Where is your favorite place on campus and why? 

I think we can all agree Snelling Dining Hall is the place to be. There’s not another place on campus where you can find students studying, sleeping, sharing a meal, having a meeting or singing karaoke all at one time. 

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

At UGA’s annual leadership conference my freshman year, there was a keynote speaker who gave the best advice I’ve heard in a while, and I heed it almost every single day. He said, “If you eat your frogs in the morning, the rest will go down easy. But if you don’t devour your frog it will turn into a fire breathing dragon.” Those words just remind me to tackle my toughest tasks first and not be afraid to dive in and really attack the day. 

#ProfilesofTenacity: Kathryn Skeean

What are you passionate about?

I am extremely passionate about supporting women in media, specifically women that go into sports media. As a woman in sports, I have first hand experience dealing with how difficult it can be. I love connecting with other women who are as passionate about sports as I am and helping others get into the field! 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am an extremely shy person by nature. I mention this only because I have spoken with a lot of people who are nervous about going into journalism because they are introverted by nature due to the amount we have to talk to strangers and be in overwhelming situations. I am living proof that you can do it!

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity to me means rolling with the punches and remaining undeterred when the going gets tough. 

Who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Two professors in particular have had a major impact during my time at UGA: Rebecca Burns and Mark Johnson. Both have advocated for me endlessly, and both took a chance on me when I got to UGA. I remember going to Professor Johnson’s office when I was a freshman, nowhere near entering his program, shaking in my boots, and he was incredibly open to helping me get better. Rebecca was like a second mother to me at The Red & Black, always making sure I was home safe from protest coverage. She took a chance on me at The Red & Black when she was newsroom advisor and I was an overly enthusiastic contributor, and I will always be grateful to her for that. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

My proudest moment would probably have to be when I set foot on the field at Truist Park for the first time, and said to myself, “I did this. I got myself here.” It was a dream come true, and to be honest, I don’t think I stopped grinning at any point during my time there. That really solidified to me that I am supposed to be doing this.

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

Instagram is my favorite just because it is a great platform for photo-oriented people. I get to share all of my work in a clean-looking, fun fashion. 

Kate photographed an Atlanta United game this summer while working as an intern for the Gwinnett Daily Post.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

Both of my parents always emphasized working hard and not expecting anything to be handed to me. That was how I was raised, and that is how I tackle things to this day. It wasn’t really a single piece of advice, more like a mindset. Both of my parents inspire me every day.

Who is your professional hero?

I have so, so many. My uncle Chris Christo is a photojournalist at the Boston Herald, and he is the reason I really got into journalistic photography. Another would be Kevin Liles, the Braves’ team photographer, who I had the pleasure of meeting over the summer. The work he produces is absolutely stunning.  

What are you planning to do after graduation?

My plan post-graduation is to work in the sports media world in some capacity as a photographer, whether that be as a photojournalist or working with an organization in the MLB, NFL or a school athletic association. My internship as a sports photographer with the Gwinnett Daily Post really solidified my plans. I realized that not only did it not feel like “work” to me, I was the happiest I had ever been while out there at the ballpark or  the field.   

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

This answer is a pretty predictable one: the “Photo Cave” in the journalism building. It is such a safe, happy place to be where I get to learn about what I love to do.