#ProfilesOfTenacity: Bryson Henriott

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I chose Grady because of the high caliber level of resources and professors. I enjoy the practical real-life education and experiences Grady provides to all their students. I have always found politics interesting, but especially the public affairs and communications side of politics, this is why I chose public relations paired with my political science degree.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means the culmination of determination and perseverance. For me, tenacity is the ability to take whatever situation is given and not only overcome it but use it to its fullest potential. Coming in as first-generation college student and a rural student, I was faced with unique challenges; however, through tenacity, determination, and perseverance, I have been able to overcome barriers and give back to other students like myself.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience was getting to work on a semester-long crisis management plan in Dr. Jin’s Crisis Communications course. We were able to present our plan that we did for a local Athens business to a panel of our peers, Grady professors, and UGA administration. It was an amazing experience getting real-world experience and having the opportunity to help a local business.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about people; it sounds cliché but is true. Coming into UGA from an area that was very homogeneous, I have enjoyed getting to meet so many people and listen to everyone’s unique story and path to UGA. I am also passionate about both rural education and first-generation college student success in higher education and how to lower the barriers for students who identify in those communities.

Henriott is the president-elect of UGA Student Government Association.
What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Winning SGA President has been the proudest moment for me in the past year. Not because of the pomp or circumstance, but because it was tangible proof for me that anything can be possible with enough work and motivation. It also allows for the perfect intersection of service and using the skills I have learned in Grady to best support and help students.

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

I am constantly using the skills I have learned through Grady, public relations, and the PAC Program in real-world experiences. I have used the communications and writing skills learned during my time as an Orientation Leader, internships, leading advocacy campaigns, in the organizations that I am part of, and most recently through SGA.

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

Oftentimes I like to see proof. If someone tells me something I want to see the data to support or if I set out to do something I want to see the tangible impact. Vice President Wilson always tells me, “get used to planting seeds for a tree under which you will never enjoy its shade.” This has since stuck with me and impacted the way I approach situations and leadership. It is not always about seeing the end result and it is certainly not about receiving the praise for it, but rather to look at life and service as constantly planting seeds that one day will benefit others.

Henriott served as an Orientation Leader in 2021.
What are you planning to do after graduation?

After graduation, I am planning to enter the field of government relations. One day, I would love to come back to UGA for government relations to work and give back to the place that has given me so much.

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

I enjoy Instagram, because although sometimes it paints an unrealistic picture of people’s lives, it allows for me to stay connected to so many friends that I otherwise would not be able to. I also enjoy how social media and particularly Instagram has the ability to raise awareness and support for a myriad of issues and promote engagement.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

It seems like the most obvious answer, but Tate is my favorite place on campus. It is the heart of UGA, and it allows me to see many people and stay connected with students. Whether that is grabbing a coffee from Starbucks, having meetings in the ELS, getting lunch with a friend in the Market, or seeing who all is tabling under the breezeway, it is always busy and exciting. 


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.”

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.

Three students selected as Tieger Fellows in Public Affairs Communications

Grady College announced the selection of three new Tieger Fellows for the fall of 2019: Carter Chapman, Raini Singleton and Grace Wilbanks.

The Tieger Fellowship supports the mission of the College’s first-in-the-nation Public Affairs Communications (PAC) program by providing students in the program the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to real-world public affairs work promoting the PAC program.

The Tieger Fellows, who are in the PAC program, are responsible for day-to-day public relations activities in furtherance of the program, including media relations, social and digital media and program promotion under guidance from Joseph Watson, Jr., program director and Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications.

The Tieger Fellowship is funded with support from Grady College alumna Carolyn Caudell Tieger, who graduated in 1969 and also funds the Tieger Professorship currently held by Watson.

“We are proud to welcome Carter, Raini and Grace as our newest Tieger Fellows,” Watson said. “The continuation of this fellowship would not be possible without the vision and funding of Carolyn Caudell Tieger. Through her support, we are able to sustain this program and recognize these amazing students.  The Tieger Fellowship provides outstanding Grady College students with a unique opportunity to support the first-in-the-nation PAC program and develop skills that will prepare them for their careers.”

The Tieger Fellows promote Grady College’s novel PAC program.  The PAC program provides students with practical training in the strategy and practice of public affairs communications focused on public policy and politics. Grady College’s PAC courses help students develop specialized communications skills aimed at educating, shaping or changing public opinion on public policy, legislation, political candidates or issues.

The three students named are also in the University’s Public Affairs Professional Certificate Program and have complemented their academic learning with significant external experiences.

Carter Chapman is a senior majoring in Public Relations and Political Science pursuing a Public Affairs Professional Certificate in Public Affairs Communications and Applied Politics. He is from Acworth, Georgia. On campus, Chapman serves as the vice chairman of the College Republicans at UGA, and is a member of the UGA Wesley Foundation and PRSSA. He will pursue a master’s degree from Grady and then a career in communications in the public affairs sphere. Chapman serves as the media relations fellow.

Raini Singleton is a senior studying Political Science and Journalism pursuing a Public Affairs Professional Certificate in Public Affairs Communications. She is from Valdosta, Georgia. Over the course of her undergraduate experience, Singleton has served in a variety of different positions, including a news writer for The Red & Black, an intern with Foster, Hanks & Ballard, LLC in Monroe, and a study away student for travel writing in Prague. Upon graduating, she would like to practice communication and media law. Singleton serves as the program promotion fellow.

Grace Wilbanks is a junior majoring in Public Relations, minoring in Spanish and pursuing a Public Affairs Professional Certificate in Public Affairs Communications. She is from Orange County, Virginia. On campus Wilbanks is involved in the UGA Chapter of Delta Gamma and works as a Spanish interpreter for surrounding elementary schools. Wilbanks is also an avid equestrian. After graduation, she plans to attend law school and pursue a career in moral and ethics law on Capitol Hill. Wilbanks serves as the social and digital media fellow.

The Tieger Fellows are excited to enhance their skills in preparation for their careers while also promoting the Public Affairs Communications program.