#ProfilesofTenacity: Coby Seriña

Third year public relations major Coby Seriña understands the importance of hard work and surrounding himself with good people. Throughout his time at UGA, Seriña has been able to build community on campus by getting involved in various clubs and organizations.

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

Had to google to make sure, and I’m glad my definition aligned with the internet’s. To me those with tenacity have a grit to them that you don’t see everywhere. I think it’s important to understand that you have to grind things out, and that things are going to suck, but Jarad Anthony Higgins said, “Hard work pays off.” I always say, “Flowers are planted in dirt.” Everyone wants flowers, but nobody wants dirt. Truth is: you can’t have one without the other.

Seriña poses for a photo with some of his friends in the Filipino Student Association at the Homecoming Parade. Seriña and some of the other students are wearing face paint and other traditional Filipino wear. (Photo/submitted)
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

My dad, Raymond Seriña, first and foremost. Secondly, my friends. My dad definitely helped me build a strong sense of integrity and helped me understand how a young man should operate in the crazy world that is college. Growing up, I never really understood why he would do or say certain things, but now it just makes sense. I mentioned my friends because I always say I am what I surround myself with. This world is too big to be doing anything alone. If I didn’t have my community backing me, I couldn’t imagine progressing forward. I owe everything to them, and I’m truly so blessed to have people that care for me the way they do.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?
Seriña smiles in Washington Square Park in NYC, where he participated in a Maymester study away program last summer. (Photo/submitted)

My Maymester in New York was definitely my most memorable Grady experience. The people I met and the things I saw were all so crazy to me. I’m from Albany, Georgia. Before the trip, I would always feel some type of way driving through Atlanta, looking at her skyline. But New York’s? It’s been said before, but that city truly is magical, and I’m so grateful Grady gave me the opportunity to experience it.

What are you passionate about?

I care about being the best human I can be. I just want to do things worth remembering while staying true to myself and my values.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

Do everything you can. Look around and listen when your classmates talk about the clubs they’re in. Network. Talk to older Grady students. Ask them for help. They’ll be glad to. Make friends everywhere you go. Never stop talking to people, and most importantly: BE KIND. Kindness goes a long way.

Seriña and Maria Taylor (ABJ ’09) smile for a picture on the field at SoFi Stadium after the national championship game. Seriña said that Taylor is an inspiration to him. (Photo/submitted)
Who is your professional hero?

I don’t know about them being a “hero,” but there are definitely a couple of people I look up to because of where they are and how they operate. Firstly, Josh Schultz at PhD and Sanay Lemus at Edelman are some pretty cool people; both Grady grads too. I had the opportunity to meet them during my New York Maymester and they were very kind and honest to me. Two other names, I’d like to mention are Kristine “KB” Brown and Kate Maldjian at Klick Health. I also met them during the Maymester, and they create some really cool stuff as a copywriter-creative duo. All of them have helped me to some extent and serve as great examples of people in the industry.

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

Two things. One, I do not want to pursue sports journalism or broadcasting post-grad. Two, I do not work for the football team. I always post football stuff, and people always assume I work with Georgia Football, so I get it’s confusing. I intern for Bulldawg Illustrated, a media outlet and magazine local to Athens. They give me a lot of close up access, so it can look like I work with the team.

Seriña poses with other Ignite staff members at the Catholic Center, where he serves as a small group leader. (Photo/submitted)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

My dad always says, “Go with the flow.” I don’t care to focus on five years from now. Focusing on right now is hard enough. I’m hoping and praying that I’m somewhere cool doing something cool.

What motivates you?

My dreams motivate me. I keep them to myself though. I’ve formed some vision of what I want my future to look like, and sometimes I think about that. I just want to do cool things with cool people in cool places.

University of Georgia introduces Strategic Health & Risk Communication certificate

Moving to address growing demand for professional health communicators, UGA is introducing an interdisciplinary certificate in Strategic Health & Risk Communication. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Public Health are partnering to educate undergraduate students in communication principles needed to address public health issues.

“Health communication presents a huge opportunity for us to team with the College of Public Health in an offering tailored made for these times,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “It leverages the deep expertise in health communication at Grady with our research facilities in message testing and refinement.”

The SHRC certificate program is an 18-hour credit program featuring specialized classes from the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in Grady College and the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior in the College of Public Health. The curriculum includes foundational courses in health communications as well as courses studying human behavior, marketing strategies, message design, conducting research and campaign management, among others.

The program has been in development for a few years, and while the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the introduction, it has also highlighted the relevance and importance of health communications at the same time.

“Timing couldn’t be better to introduce this program,” said Jeong-Yeob Han, associate professor of advertising and director of the new SHRC certificate program. “Risk communication is a global topic and the U.S. population, specifically, is getting older. Interest is skyrocketing in everything from healthy eating and exercise to vaccines and, of course, the pandemic. There will be a lot more jobs in this sector in coming years and our students will be knowledgeable and ready.”

Christina Proctor, clinical associate professor for HPB in the College of Public Health, emphasized the societal impact this program will have.

“We expect students to come out of the program ready to illustrate the process of developing empirically-informed health communication campaigns for public health purposes,” Proctor said. “In addition, students will have the opportunity to practice the application of strategic public health communication through project-based and experiential learning opportunities.”

The SHRC certificate provides a balanced education in communications and public health, and four core courses will be required including:

  • ADPR 5110 Advertising, Public Relations, and Health
  • ADPR 5742/7742 Health & Risk Communication Campaigns
  • HPRB 1710 Health and Wellness
  • HPRB 5310(E) Introduction to Public Health Communication

Students will then have elective options ranging from crisis communication and brand storytelling to the effects of drug use and issues in women’s health.

Also special to this program is the opportunity for students to participate in the Cannes Lions Festival study abroad program in France in the summer.

“There are a lot of health-related clients who attend Cannes Lions and many conversations taking place related to these topics, so this is a great avenue for our students to be exposed to fresh ideas and new trends,” Han said.

Students will complete their coursework with a capstone class where they will be asked to address a health-related need and create a campaign.

“The SHRC certificate is one more example of our college’s growth in health and risk expertise,” said Bryan Reber, the C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership. “As the home of the Center for Health & Risk Communications, we are well-positioned to educate students in messaging, while the College of Public Health is a foremost authority in social and behavioral aspects. This certificate is a natural fit.”

Registration for the inaugural cohort of the program will be accepted through March 12, 2021.

Application requirements for Grady College students can be found on the Grady SHRC registration page.

Application requirements for College of Public Health sutdents can be found on the CPH SHRC registration page.

More details about the program can be found on the SHRC webpage.