Thirty-four high school students from around the country studied media and completed specialized portfolio projects during the virtual 2021 Summer Media Academy at the University of Georgia.
The program, a partnership between the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and UGA Summer Academy, was divided into three weeks by subject: Journalism, June 14-18; Advertising and Public Relations, June 21-25; and Entertainment and Media Studies, June 28-July 2.
Hands-on learning was a focus of the Academy. Journalism participants wrote articles, made photo essays or produced podcasts for The Post-Covid Post digital publication. Participants in the ADPR Academy collaborated as a group to craft a campaign for a nonprofit organization. EMST participants wrote scripts for short films or designed a movie poster. A showcase of their work is available at summermediaacademy.wordpress.com.
“This camp has allowed me to explore many different opportunities, and has also strengthened my initial skills,” said ADPR participant Jaidyn Mosby. “This organized camp helped me engage in public speaking and allowed me to show off my leadership qualities. I am extremely grateful for the educational opportunity that this camp provided me.”
Each course was designed and led by the following faculty and staff: Laurena Bernabo, assistant professor, EMST; Tom Cullen (MA ‘18, MFA ‘21), lecturer, ADPR; and Charlotte Norsworthy (AB ‘19, MA ‘20), instructor, journalism. Recent graduate Emily Minnick (AB ‘21) co-taught the EMST camp and Stephanie Moreno (ABJ ‘06, MA ‘20), scholastic outreach coordinator, assisted with all of the camps.
ADPR participants researched a client, the Georgia Innocence Project, and crafted a mini campaign during the 2021 virtual ADPR Summer Academy.
Alumni guest speakers and other professionals also shared advice and offered participants glimpses into the range of careers available in the industry.
Journalism guest speaker Tori McElhaney (AB ‘18), who covers the Atlanta Falcons for The Athletic, advised participants to gain skills in many areas and across platforms. “Being able to be multifaceted in your skill set is so important because you do so many different things and you are on so many different platforms,” she said. “There really is something for everyone.”
Other journalism speakers included Rebecca Burns, publisher of the Red and Black; Hillary Davis, New Voices advocacy and campaign organizer, Student Press Law Center; Carlo Finlay, assistant director of the Carmical Sports Media Institute; Clare Norins, director of the UGA First Amendment Law Clinic; Kelsey Russo (AB ‘19), Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer at The Athletic; and Becca Wright (AB ‘19), CNN photo editor and freelancer.
Speaking to the ADPR participants, Angela Alfano (ABJ ‘10), senior director of corporate communications at Major League Soccer, emphasized the importance of networking.
“As you’re building your career, getting into college and doing your first internships and classes, it’s never too early to create what I like to call your own executive team,” she said. “Building your executive team is so important and crucial to your personal success. What has really been so instrumental in part of my career is having a ton of mentors.”
Alfano continued: “The diversity of thought and the diverse backgrounds is something so important to have in mentors…to advise your career and your transition from high school as a free agent to college as a free agent to landing that first job.”
Additional ADPR speakers included Megan Bush and Anna Kate Newall (AB ‘20) of Marketwake; Anne Noland (ABJ ‘15), senior director of communications for the Miami Dolphins; Marquan Norris (AB ‘21), brand intern at Edelman; and Dayne Young (ABJ ‘11), public relations specialist at Grady College.
Deja White (ABJ ‘17), digital marketing specialist at WarnerMedia, advised EMST campers to get involved early on in their college years with industry-related activities.
“Try to get into at least one thing that you are passionate about each semester,” she said. “And get into one thing that stretches you a little bit—that’s outside of your comfort zone… take a deep breath and take it one year at a time.”
Other EMST guests were Dugan Bridges (ABJ ‘06), freelance director and producer; Neil Landau, associate professor and professional screenwriter; Booker T. Mattison, assistant professor and professional filmmaker; and Keith Wilson, lecturer and professional cinematographer.
Participants from all camps also had the opportunity to learn more about UGA and Grady College from advisers Helen Mahany and Brittney Minor.
Information about 2022 Summer Media Academy opportunities will be available in late fall at grady.uga.edu/apply/high-school-discovery and www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/youth/summer-academy.