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: Caroline Parlantieri

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

Briefly describe your internship and your responsibilities.

As a public relations communications intern, my responsibilities include monitoring and reporting on team coverage in new and traditional local and national news outlets, as well as maintaining and updating all media archives for press. I assist with the development of departmental publications including but not limited to press releases, media advisories, game notes and media guides. I leverage existing media relationships and cultivate new contacts within the industry and local market media and pitch compelling and creative storylines to the media.

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

The most valuable lesson I have learned with Nashville SC is the impact I have as an individual working for a specific team. The impact goes far beyond the organization and its fan base. Because I am employed by a team instead of an outside publication, my work reaches countless people through different media outlets as opposed to a specific publication. This emphasizes the importance of credibility across all areas in communications.

How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?

Along with the UGA Sports Communications staff, Grady has prepared me tremendously for this internship. The hands-on experiences I’ve had in my public relations and sports media classes helped groom my writing skills, my awareness of newsworthiness and my ability to produce quality content under tight deadlines. I have learned far more from Grady that has prepared me for this experience, but those are among the most important.

The relationships I have created with my Grady professors and other staff members have guided me through this process immensely. Their experience, expertise, advice, guidance and encouragement have prepared me and allowed me to thrive.

What qualities or qualifications do you have that you believe made you stand out in the process of getting this internship?

The qualifications that made me standout were based on my experiences working in the UGA Sports Communications department. My delegated game day tasks and duties at Georgia are very similar to my assignments for Nashville SC. This provided me with the proper knowledge, familiarity and qualifications to operate media relations with another organization.

Caroline pictured at Geodis Park, the stadium in Nashville, TN home to the Nashville Soccer Club. (Photo:submitted)
What advice would you give to other current sports media students?

It is important to get involved in sports any way that you can if that is your desired industry. You might think you want to pursue a specific path, but you never know what else is out there until you give it a chance. For example, my knowledge of professional soccer prior to this summer was very little compared to that of other sports. However, I have already gained invaluable knowledge and increased my skillsets remarkably within a short period of time. Having knowledge of multiple areas is a great way to market yourself. There are countless opportunities to get involved in sports at UGA, within the Athens community and sports media program; therefore, you shouldn’t limit yourself.

#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. 

 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Nicole García Sánchez

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Before I got into Grady, I was planning an event called Orgullo Hispano for HSA. I had a very specific vision of what I wanted for it and I knew I wanted the location to be in Grady. When I asked Parker Middleton to help me with the event and allow me to do it in Grady, she went above and beyond. The event was a success and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the college. Even before I was a Grady student, they were extremely supportive and helping me make one of my goals possible. 

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

It has been interesting having an internship at the same time I have classes. I use most of the skills I have learned in class. This summer, my boss asked me to do a media list and I was like, “Perfect, I can do this. I literally learned how to do it a month ago.” 

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

I’m between Instagram and TikTok. I think Instagram is what you make out of it, so I follow a lot of accounts that either fulfill me or bring me joy, and TikTok is hilarious and keeps me entertained. When I first started at my internship I was doing content for TikTok, so it holds a special place in my heart. 

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

When I took Career Explorations with Dean Davis and Parker Middleton, I remember they encouraged us to get as much experience in the real world as we can while we are in college. So for a few months of my freshman year, I started looking for an internship, and I got one for that summer. As I am an international student, I have to get permission to have an internship, and Immigration Services told me I couldn’t do an internship because I was not a Grady student yet. I got mad and told them “students are supposed to get internships to be competitive” and they told me that didn’t apply for me. So instead of dwelling on that, I decided to get as involved on campus as I could, because that does count as real-world experience. Even though my situation might be different than other students, I am thankful for that advice because it pushed me to do the best I could with the circumstances I was in. 

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

I think tenacity is knowing what you want and having a plan on how to get there. 

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

My friends and the Hispanic Student Association. My friends became my home away from home, and I couldn’t have survived all these years without them. And the community in HSA has made my college experience the best it could be. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

Lake Herrick. It is super relaxing and I like to go watch the sunset there. 

Who is your professional hero?

My dad – he worked really hard to get to where he is today. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Getting my internship. I really wanted to work for this company because I really believe in what they do; I even wrote it in the things I wanted for my new year, and it happened! 

#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!

Hispanic Heritage Month Alumni Spotlight: Cristian Delgado (ABJ ’15)

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of spotlights highlighting the work of some of our alumni in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Please watch for more profiles in the weeks to come.

Cristian Delgado is an account supervisor for Xbox PR at Assembly Media, Edelman. Delgado graduated from Grady College in 2015 with a degree in public relations. On campus, Delgado was president of the International Association of Business Communicators, a Grady Ambassador, a member of the UGA Redcoats band, a PRSSA member and wrote for Ugazine.

What clubs and activities did you participate in at UGA and Grady that were instrumental to your success as a career professional?

The opportunities to lead beyond the classroom undeniably helped me get my start in PR. Listening to alumni speak at PRSSA helped me visualize a career path. Being part of the Bateman competition also pushed me to work as a team player and get a taste of real-world problem solving. I also had the chance to network as president of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) at UGA, where we invited marketers to speak to our growing chapter. And very close to my heart, I’ll always cherish being part of the Redcoat Marching Band. I made lifelong friends there and picked up valuable skills in confidence and coming together as a team.

Looking back, what these experiences had in common was teaching me to be accountable and resourceful. When you start your career, you realize there isn’t always a secret formula to success – we’re all equally capable and have more control over doing great work than we think. We just have to take our shot and put ourselves in the best position possible to succeed.

How does your Hispanic and/or Latin heritage influence your work? 

I grew up in a largely Hispanic community in Gainesville, Georgia, and with each change in my life (e.g. going to college, starting an internship), it was hard not to notice when others around me looked less and less like me. These changes helped me realize just how important it is to bring my unique viewpoint as a Hispanic of Mexican descent to my work and community. 

I always fantasized about working in video games and I know the positive impact gaming had on me and my childhood friends. Gaming brought us together and kept us out of trouble in a neighborhood that wasn’t always the safest. Now that I work in the gaming industry, allowing that kid from Gainesville to be heard is something I carry with me to work every day.

What advice would you give to young students of Hispanic origin who will soon enter the workforce?

Aside from getting as much experience as possible through clubs and internships, my three pieces of advice are to be confident, be pushy and be polished. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say being confident is just a little bit harder as a Hispanic. We’re often first-generation college graduates with no familiarity to office life, which can bring out imposter syndrome big time. The truth is we’re all capable of anything and our unique point of view as Hispanics bring even more value to any team. My advice if you’re starting out is to shake off those insecurities and know you’re going to be great. Your confidence will be obvious in interviews and as you set the tone for who you will be on your team.

Related, being pushy, or perhaps I should say relentless, is key to making your plans a reality. This is especially true as a Hispanic student since building your network might be entirely in your hands. For most of my career, I’ve been fortunate to work in my dream industry of gaming as a PR rep for Xbox. I didn’t accidentally stumble into this job or get approached out of the blue. I had to be very intentional about asking the right strangers for help. I remember being an intern at Edelman in Atlanta and consistently messaging members of the team in Seattle asking to learn more (and no, I did not know any of them). If there’s a passion area that interests you, don’t hesitate to get to know people in that field and ask for informational interviews (and help when you need it). More often than you’d think, people want to be helpful and will go out of their way for you if you’re genuine. 

Once you do land your new internship or first gig, always be polished in your work. Early in your career, your manager or team lead is likely going to review most of your work. Don’t lean on this crutch to skip checking your own work for typos or errors. Any work you submit to your manager should be final to the best of your ability. The more you take a step back to review and understand your own work, the more you’ll be trusted to take on larger projects. 

What classes at Grady College did the most to prepare you for your career?

The classes that stood out to me were News Writing and Reporting, which taught me to work under pressure, and PR Research, which taught me to back my work with real evidence. As a PR person, writing and proper research are fundamentals for every project. PR Campaigns was very helpful since it tied everything you learn at Grady together in a realistic setting. This is also where I learned to be scrappy and resourceful, which is valuable when working at a fast-paced PR agency. I’m thankful that Grady gave me these experiences to help make the transition to full-time work much easier.

#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. 

PhD student Xuerong Lu wins 2021 IPR-Ketchum Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research

Public relations PhD student Xuerong Lu was recently announced as the winner of the 2021 IPR-Ketchum Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research. The award honors the work of a public relations scholar and helps them connect their research to public relations practice in the professional setting.

“I was on cloud nine for several hours,” Lu said. “I called my parents who were in China and proudly told them I won it.”

Lu’s research focus is crisis communication. Specifically, she examines how organizations communicate crises to audiences on social media when conflicting information exists.

The award links Lu to a legacy of renounced public relations scholars, including two members of the Grady College faculty. María Len-Ríos, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, won the same award in 2000 and Bryan Reber, Advertising and Public Relations Department Head, won it in 1999.

“I’m glad that Ketchum continues to support this award,” Reber said. “I received it more than 20 years ago and it’s exciting to have one of our own earn the honor and experience of the Bartholomew Award. I’m glad to have Xuerong in the fraternity of winners of this award.”

“It’s a huge inspiration for me,” said Lu. “Dr. Reber and Dr. Len-Ríos are big names in the PR field. It was my dream to have my name listed with their name somewhere one day.”

In her research, Lu worked with Yan Jin, AdPR Assistant Department Head, on a study published by Public Relations Review that focused on how information is vetted when be used to manage crisis communication. Jin, who also serves as Lu’s faculty advisor and dissertation chair, also guided Lu through the IPR-Ketchum Award application process.

“Xuerong’s passion for advancing communication theory and practice via social and behavioral scientific research is remarkable,” Jin said. “As doctoral student, Xuerong has published in some of the top journals in our field and received external research funding, with extensive experience of leading projects and collaborating with scholars and practitioners in the U.S. and worldwide. She is bright, diligent, optimistic, creative and perseverant.”

Lu says the experience with a leading global public relations agency gives her greater perspective on the field of public relations.

“Such experience really opened my eyes to the PR industry, which is also really helpful to my own PR research,” Lu said. “It helps me to rethink “so what” questions in a deeper and wider manner when doing my own research.”

Lu plans to pursue a faculty position at a research university to continue her passion and contributions to scholarly work in public relations and crisis communication.

You can learn more about the Bartholomew Award and see the full list of previous winners at their website.

Grady InternViews: Sara Camuso

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.A graphic saying Camuso is a public relations major working as a Corporate Communications Intern at Georgia Ports Authority from Garden City, GA

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

I work in the Corporate Communications office for Georgia Ports Authority so every day can look a little different from the next! I have been able to sit in on meetings to discuss event planning, take and edit photos out on the terminals, and I am currently writing two stories that will be featured in their annual employee magazine, “Great People in Action.” What I am most proud of is that I created a tagline for merchandise that will be distributed to employees soon!

It is in-person every day. It is a little challenging waking up early, but it is nice to have interaction face-to-face with people every day!  

How is your internship affecting the ideas you have about your future?
Camuso in a hard hat and yellow construction vest standing on the ship
Camuso says she will look back and remember the cool experiences from her internship, such as when she went up in a ship-to-shore crane. (Photo: submitted)

Being in a real communications environment has helped me see a bigger picture of what I would like to do one day. It is nice to see what I have learned in classes play a role in this work setting.

What is the most valuable lesson or skill you have learned during your internship?

How to interact in a corporate setting, along with how the ports work in general. They are the powerhouses of moving commerce in Georgia and it is fascinating to see it happen in person here every day, and it also helps you appreciate how all your everyday basic goods move to the shelves you buy them on!  

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job? 

I have done a lot of writing here and if it wasn’t for JOUR3190 with Lori Johnston that I took last semester, I would have been very behind! I am more than thankful for that class and her now being in this internship.  

What has been the most memorable experience you have had during your internship so far?
Camuso in black pants and a black blouse standing with a ship in the background
Camuso says she was able to tour a ship at work and narrate a Facebook Live from inside. (Photo: submitted)

The largest vessel to come to the Port of Savannah, the CMA CGM Marco Polo, docked in Savannah my second week here. We held a huge event with press and many other state and local-elected officials to commemorate it. I was able to tour the ship as well as narrate a Facebook Live from inside!

Grady InternViews: Ciara Pysczynski

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

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities. Graphic explains Pysczynski is a public relations and theatre major working as a Film PR Intern and Communications Intern at both PR Collaborative and NP Agency both remotely and in-person in Washington, D.C.

With both of my internships, my primary duty is basically filling in the gaps — helping out with big tasks and taking on smaller ones. There isn’t too much consistency to my day beyond showing up! At NP Agency, I get to write a lot of social copy, and I’ve also compiled clips, transcribed press calls and pitched journalists. At PR Collaborative, I’ve tracked media hits for a major film festival, identified images to share with the press and conducted research on journalists and other organizations.

I have one position that’s fully remote with only one regular staff meeting each week, and then one fully in-person, where I see my co-workers/bosses every day. With NP, I’m on the clock from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, but unless a press call or other time-sensitive task comes up, I get to decide how I structure my day. My internship with PRC has a bit more structure to it. On Thursday and Friday, my day starts with our meetings at 10, and then I’m given my assignment(s) for the day. My first-ever internship was in the middle of the pandemic last semester, so I’ve been so grateful to experience in-person work. 

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

Pysczynski posing outside Delta Hall
Pysczynski poses outside Delta Hall in Washington, D.C. where she is working in-person for PR Collaborative. (Photo: submitted)

In all honesty, the biggest challenge I’ve faced has been myself. Through my work this summer, I’ve discovered I like work that is a) creative or b) made up of very clear, discrete steps. So, things like writing tweets or filling in a spreadsheet. Tasks that are neither of those things – that are really open-ended and don’t allow me to be creative, like a research assignment – are much more difficult. Especially while working from home, where something much more engaging is only a tap away and I don’t have my boss in the next room, I’ve found it at times incredibly challenging to stay on task. That said, I’m learning strategies to deal with that and keep myself focused, because I know this won’t be the last time in my career that I have to complete less engaging duties.

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?

My coursework at Grady has given me a lot of confidence in my writing and approach to PR. I have to give a special shoutout to Tom Cullen and his PR Communications class, because I learned so much in that course that I refer back to, from press release guidelines to AP Style rules. If I don’t think my social copy would get me an ‘A’ in that class, I know it needs more work!

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

Don’t underestimate yourself. When I first started writing social copy for NP, I thought it was so terrible. Like I thought they were going to send it back to me absolutely torn to shreds. But everyone seemed to be pretty happy with it! Make no mistake, my work still gets a lot of edits, but that’s the nature of the business. You might have used the wrong dash or not known a client-specific style rule, but you probably have the right idea with the concept, which, in my opinion, is the most important thing. And even if you do write some absolutely abysmal copy, it is NOT the end of the world, and your boss will NOT think you are stupid. Everyone does that sometimes.

What lessons will you take back with you to Athens in the fall?

Pyscznski sitting in front of a laptop at her desk
Pysczynski works remotely for her role with NP Agency. (Photo: submitted)

I have a lot more confidence in my ability to do this work now, and a much better idea of how I fit into the world of PR. As I finish out my Grady coursework, I’ll be able to think about how the work I’m doing would fit in the context of what I did at NP and PRC and be able to understand and apply the lessons more fully. I’ve also learned a lot about myself and what I’m interested in, which I think is the most important part of any internship experience. I know I want to focus more on my copywriting beyond social, and on longer-form writing in general. I’ve learned I like working for a smaller agency/team, and that I am (as I suspected), most engaged and inspired when I’m applying that second major and working in the entertainment industry.