Grady InternViews: Austin Clark

Austin is participating in the Grady D.C. program led by Professor Joseph Watson.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

I support the entire communications team through compiling daily press clips, drafting press releases and creating press lists. Additional office wide responsibilities include logging voicemails and comments left for the Senator, and giving tours of the Capitol.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far?

I have been able to see how a Senate office is able to create and maintain relationships with journalists in Georgia. There is not an emphasis on national publications, but the communications team will target specific releases to markets to which the news is relevant. Seeing that deliberative process, as opposed to a mass email, has been interesting to learn.

Austin (far left) behind Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock addressing a crowd. (Photo:submitted)
How will this role guide your future career path?

I would love to make it back to D.C. soon. I am staying at Delta Hall, UGA’s dorm in D.C., and I have loved every second of it. The connections I have made so far in Senator Ossoff’s office, at networking events, and even in the elevator in the office building, will help me land a job up here when I graduate.

What advice would you give to other students looking to pursue a career in politics?
Austin is interning in Washington D.C. as part of the Grady D.C. program. (Photo:submitted)

Start looking for internships and opportunities now. The Virtual Student Federal Service is a great place to find remote, low commitment internships with the State Department and other federal agencies. I have participated in that program for two years, and I have no doubt it helped me land this internship.

What has been your favorite part about your internship so far?

The work of drafting press releases and collecting daily press clips is nothing new to me; however, being in the Senate, in D.C., and being able to go to the Capitol building whenever I want is very, very cool. I have also been able to interact with the Senator and speak to him about policy and communication strategy.

Austin (pictured left, back) is a communications intern for the office of Senator Jon Ossoff (pictured right). (Photo:submitted)
How has the public affairs communications (PAC) certificate prepared you for this role?

The PAC certificate has given me the ability to make suggestions to this professional communications team that shows that I know what I’m talking about. Being able to ask, “Can I help pitch this story?” or “Would you like for me to find new outlets for this release?,” shows that I too am a professional communicator, and that my team can trust me with other assignments.

Grady InternViews: Jake Strickland

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

My days usually start with a check-in with my supervisor Curtis, who is actually a UGA alum (B.A. ‘13). This is when I get my assignments for the day. Assignments have included social media drafting (my favorite), content tracking, rapid response, comment monitoring and website building. I also have meetings throughout the day, and Intern Brown Bags where I get to know about different departments in HRC. All in all, my days usually run 9-5.

My internship is remote. Although I wish I was working in HRC headquarters, I am able to do everything from my laptop – including networking! I’ve added several people on LinkedIn and met several others at intern networking events.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge has been capturing the voice of HRC when I draft social. I’m always elated when my drafts get approved, but it definitely has taken some adjusting. 

Strickland waving his HRC flag in front of the Supreme Court. (Photo: submitted)
What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship?

The most memorable part of my internship has been the day that the Supreme Court handed down the Foster v. City of Philadelphia decision. This case involved the protection of LGBTQ+ families, and so HRC had a stake in the outcome. I rushed down to the Supreme Court for a rally that HRC was having, which was an incredible experience. I heard several people speak and proudly waved my HRC flag in front of the Supreme Court.

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role? 

Match the company culture. Being an intern can be nerve racking, but don’t be a robot – be someone co-workers want to converse with, because this will only increase the chance of you networking and landing a job! 

What lessons will you take back with you to Athens in the fall?
Although his internship is remote, Strickland is working from Delta Hall in Washington, D.C. as part of GradyDC. (Photo: submitted)

The biggest skill that I will take to Athens is time management. HRC works at a very fast pace, and I’m appreciative for the opportunity to get my work out at a rapid pace. I am also increasingly confident in my LGBTQ+ identity, and feel more confident advocating for my community in the future.