Public relations student wins second place in UGA Global Health Case Competition

Fourth-year public relations student Sarah McRae from Peachtree Corners, Georgia, recently participated in the University of Georgia’s Global Health Union’s first Global Health Case Competition. Her team of six won second place at the virtual event with their research in developing a sustainable solution to a current international health problem.

McRae’s team focused on reducing child malnutrition in northeast Kenya. After the first round, her team was one of three that moved on to the final round. When the judges proposed a twist, they had one hour to change their focus to a specific refugee camp instead of a region of the country. 

“I remember they were asking us to introduce our majors, and our mentor was like, ‘I want the team with one Grady person.'”

As a global health minor, McRae is passionate about health communication. Her interest in learning about different cultures around the world began in an intercultural communication class, McRae said. McRae, who also serves as a Yarbrough-Grady Fellow specializing in crisis communication, hopes to pursue a career in health communication after graduating in May. 

There were eight teams in the global health competition. Teams were made up of undergraduate and graduate students who had to have at least two different schools represented. 

McRae’s team met and worked virtually for four months with a faculty mentor before the competition at the end of 2020. During the first meeting, McRae was sought out for having a different skill set than the rest of the students.

“I remember they were asking us to introduce our majors, and our mentor was like, I want the team with one Grady person,” McRae said. “I thought it was really cool that someone in a totally different industry and totally different school looked at Grady like that, and revered it and wanted to work with my whole team based on a unique skill set that not many other teams have.”

McRae found her place among the STEM majors and Ph.D. students in her group when it came time to present their findings and plan to the judges. 

“I feel like it just kind of made me realize even more that PR and communications has a place in any industry, and especially on the medical side,” McRae said.

Four students selected as Yarbrough-Grady Fellows for Fall 2020

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has named the Yarbrough-Grady Fellows for fall 2020: Laura Burr, Sophia Haynes, Sarah McRae and Grant Mitchell.

The Yarbrough-Grady Fellowship is a position that offers four students distinct opportunities to work with Grady College throughout each academic year.

Burr and McRae work with the Crisis Communication Coalition (CCC), the home for research on crisis communication leadership and practice in Grady

Burr (R) and McRae (L), interns for the Crisis Communication Coalition, enjoy a socially distanced coffee together as they work during fall semester.

College. Burr serves as a social media coordinator and promotes content for the CCC, while McRae coordinates the annual Crisis Communication Think Tank in spring 2021, CCC webinars and writing for online blog posts.

Haynes and Mitchell support Grady College’s external relations team to help strategize public relations initiatives and create content for the college’s website and social media channels. Haynes focuses on graphics production and crafts visual content, while Mitchell focuses on public relations and writes articles and news releases.

The Yarbrough-Grady Fellowship is funded by Dick Yarbrough (ABJ ‘59), an alumnus of Grady College who has funded Grady student success for many years. In addition to the fellowship, the C. Richard Yarbrough Student Support Fund has provided stipends to hundreds of Grady students for more than a decade.

Burr, Haynes, McRae and Mitchell have all found success at UGA with diverse experiences in academics, leadership and professional roles.

Burr, from Bishop, Georgia, is a fourth-year student majoring in public relations with minors in Spanish and fashion merchandising. Last year, Burr served as the editor in chief of the UGA Pandora Yearbook. She spent the summer as an internal and executive communication intern with Barings. Burr plans to begin her career at a public relations agency following her graduation in May 2021.

Haynes, from Johns Creek, Georgia, is a third-year student studying journalism and is an intended graphic design major. She serves as a photojournalist and designer for The Red & Black and is a former vice president of the Aperture Club. Haynes also conducts freelance design and photography in her spare time. As her graduation in May 2022 nears, Haynes hopes to bring her love for design, photography and writing together into a career.

McRae, from Peachtree Corners, Georgia, is a fourth-year student majoring in public relations and global health. She works as a brand marketing intern for Kitty and Vibe, a swimwear company in New York City, and as a copywriter for Body Awareness Studio, a Pilates studio in Atlanta. McRae wants to work in a creative industry, such as food, art or fashion, after she graduates in May 2021.

Mitchell, from Milton, Georgia, is a fourth-year student studying public relations with a certificate in new media and minors in political science and leadership in student affairs. He is the executive director of the UGA Student Government Association’s First-Year Programs and a director for the campus nonprofit Shop with a Bulldawg. He worked this past summer as a public relations intern at See.Spark.Go and as the summer Yarbrough-Grady Fellow. Mitchell hopes to pursue a career where authentic and inclusive communication can uplift all people.

“I am honored to be able to fund fellowships at Grady College at the University of Georgia,” said Yarbrough. “I can never repay my alma mater for what it has meant to me.  I am so impressed with the quality of the students there today and hope that perhaps the fellowship will give the recipients a learning opportunity they might not have been able to receive otherwise.  The only thing I ask in return is that when they are able that they give back to the next generation that will succeed them.”

The Yarbrough-Grady Fellows are excited to grow their skills for future careers and help propel Grady College to new heights.