#ProfilesofTenacity: Jenna Monnin

Jenna Monnin is graduating with dual majors in journalism and political science major, and has also earned a Public Affairs Communications certificate. She has served as a Tieger Fellow for the PAC program, a student volunteer for Grady Newsource and a Panhellenic delegate and nomination committee chair for her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. During her time at Grady College, Monnin also participated in the Grady D.C. program, served as a hotline editorial intern with the National Journal and worked as a technology and Press Freedom Project and Policy intern.

To Monnin, tenacity means always giving yourself a chance. “It’s the act of doing the bold thing of starting, trying, applying, even when it seems impossible. Tenacity is a blend of stubbornness, authenticity and courage, and it’s something I live by,” she explained.

The interview below has been edited for length and clarity.

Why did you choose your major?

When I first came to UGA, I was an “intended” journalism major. From my experience with my high school’s newspaper, I knew I was drawn to investigative stories—especially when they involved politics. By the end of my freshman year, I had officially added my political science major. Double majoring has been difficult at times because journalism and political science are very different areas of study. However, I’m so glad I followed this path because I think it’s helped set me up for the career I hope to find in the journalism field.

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

Professor Joseph Watson and the Public Affairs Communications program have had such a great impact on my life during my time at UGA. Without Professor Watson’s guidance, I’m not sure if I would have been accepted to the Grady DC Field Study & Internship Program. If I didn’t have the opportunity to live and work in DC last summer, I don’t think I would feel as confident in my decision to pursue a career in journalism after I graduate. Additionally, Professor Watson chose me for the Tieger Fellowship in Media Relations for the PAC program, and this has allowed me to work on behalf of a program that has given me such awesome experiences.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?
Jenna Monnin with the friends she made while on the Grady DC program during summer 2022.

My most memorable Grady experience was getting the opportunity to live and work in Washington, D.C. on the Grady DC program during the summer of 2022. While I was there, I had two part-time internships: in the mornings, I was the Hotline Editorial Intern for National Journal, and, in the afternoons, I was the TPFP & Policy Intern for Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Getting to work in political journalism while also working to protect press freedom (an issue I’m particularly passionate about) was the most amazing experience. While living in UGA’s Delta Hall, I made dozens of new friends outside of Grady’s program. I’m so thankful that many of these friends will also be moving to DC in the future, so when I eventually head back up to the Capitol, it won’t be so lonely!

What are you passionate about?

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been the type of person to question everything. The pursuit of knowledge is something I am passionate about, but not necessarily in the way you might expect. I have loved my time in school (and I will admit, I am a bit afraid of life without academic structure), but the kind of knowledge that thrills me often cannot be found in a classroom. Going out into the world and asking questions is what excites me! The pursuit of information and sharing what you find with others is exactly why I want to be a journalist. Knowledge allows us to make our own opinions, engage with others, and hold our institutions accountable. I recognize that it is truly a privilege to “be in the know,” and my time at UGA has equipped me with the ability to think critically about what it means to be informed.

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

One piece of advice I would give Grady students (especially those majoring in journalism) is to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Interviewing influential subjects or sources that have a sensitive story can be very intimidating. I’ve found that it’s very difficult to function as a journalist when you allow self-doubt to creep into your work. This may sound cliche, but, for me, being confident can sometimes be about “faking it till you make it.” Whenever I am nervous, I imagine how an extremely confident person would act in that situation and just try my best to emulate that. Let yourself be OK with being scared, but don’t let it impact the confidence you have in your own abilities.

Jenna Monnin (right) reporting live for Grady Newsource from a Georgia Senate runoff watch party for the 2022 midterm elections at Little Kings Shuffle Club in Athens Georgia.
What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

One thing people might be surprised to know about me is that despite my love of politics, investigative, and breaking news, I would literally drop everything right now if I had the opportunity to be a wildlife photographer or documentary filmmaker. My passion for conservation and love for animals started when I read my first copy of National Geographic many years ago.

What are you planning to do after you graduate?

After I graduate, I’m hoping to move to D.C. and pursue a career in journalism. I have a summer internship with a D.C. publication called The Capitol Forum, an investigative news organization, and I am very excited to experience what it’s like to cover antitrust and corporate investigation stories. I have experience in print, digital, and broadcast journalism, so I am trying to keep myself open to any opportunity that may come my way over the next few months. I would like to enter a journalism role that allows me to be near the action, so breaking news opportunities—especially those that can put me close to political issues—are something I am very interested in as a young journalist. In the future, I could see myself going to graduate school or law school, but I want to work for a few years before I make that decision.

What motivates you?
Jenna Monnin stands in front of the placard for “The Hotline” at National Journal’s offices during her summer 2022 internship in Washington DC.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that my mother is my biggest motivator because she has been the best support system over these past few years. However, as a journalist, I am motivated by the First Amendment privileges this country affords to members of the press. During my time at UGA, I’ve studied what it means to enjoy a truly free press and how that impacts both journalists and the public they keep informed. My summer internship at Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press showed me that there is still so much work to be done in this area and that any government encroachment can lead press freedom down a slippery slope. The First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press motivates me to take full advantage of this protection by ensuring that my work both elevates silenced voices and provides a forum for discussion and debate.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment in the past year was definitely my contributions to Grady Newsource’s political show this fall. Two of my packages ran on the election night shows, and I was able to work as a field anchor reporting live during Georgia’s Senate runoff. I am so thankful for the feedback and instruction I received during this time, and I am very proud of myself for putting in many hours of work to create multimedia projects. Working with this show in a politically relevant state like Georgia is an experience that I will never forget.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Chiamaka Uwagerikpe

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe sitting in a chair in a podcast studio holding up her phone to take a selfie.
Chiamaka Uwagerikpe started her own podcast, called Acquainted.

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe is a third-year advertising major from Suwanee, Georgia, involved with Talking Dog Agency, the Student Industry Fellows Program and the UGA Visitor’s Center. She’s also a Strike Magazine content intern and has served as an ambassador for Gurls Talk, promoting the mental health and wellbeing of young women and girls.

To Uwagerikpe, tenacity means always giving yourself a chance. “It’s the act of doing the bold thing of starting, trying, applying, even when it seems impossible. Tenacity is a blend of stubbornness, authenticity and courage, and it’s something I live by,” she explained.

Why did you choose your major?

I didn’t know what I wanted to study when I got to college. I actually changed my major five times before ever taking a class here, which is ludicrous. I just really wanted to make the right decision. But when I got here, I thought about what skills I wanted to have by the time I left. I wanted to be able to pitch and persuade, to be an effective communicator. I wanted to feed my creativity. And that is how I chose advertising. There have been double majors and certificates that came and went, but I find advertising plus my co-curriculars have given me all the skills I desired.

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

The Gurls Talk community has had the biggest impact on my life during my time as a UGA student. Gurls Talk is a community-led non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of adolescent girls and young women. I had the pleasure of serving as an ambassador to the community, and it completely changed my life. Through the program I met so many amazing people, and learned about myself in a very real way. In order for me to serve well, I had to define my values and find my voice. It transformed the way I think about work and leadership. Being a Gurls Talk ambassador made me a better friend, leader and communicator. It is such a welcoming community, and I highly recommend everyone check out the cause.

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe sitting in a chair in front of a camera.
Chiamaka Uwagerikpe will spend summer 2023 as a corporate communications intern at IHG.
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience has to be responding to a Grady Listerv email. A team was looking for an intern with much more experience than I had, but I got a spot on the team anyway. I am so grateful for that turn of events because it has led to so much growth. I have gotten to meet other amazing Grady students and supportive alumni. I’ve gained so many technical skills and learned more about storytelling. I’ve gotten to ask so many questions, which is my favorite pastime. All because of an email.

What are you passionate about?

I am wildly passionate about culture and community building. These are things that transform and uplift people.

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

A piece of advice that I would give to other Grady students is to stay curious. You don’t necessarily have to do everything under the sun, but engage with your surroundings. Ask questions. Get to know the people around you. Be intentional and be present.

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

I’m a pretty nervous person. But I never let my nerves get in the way of me living.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I have no idea. I hope to live abroad, working for an innovative creative agency. I’ll have a cozy apartment, and I’ll call my family on a regular basis. I’ll be living well. I’m currently working on habits that will get me to reality close to that.

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe poses with a group of people in front of the Delta sign.
Through the Student Industry Fellows Program, Chiamaka Uwagerikpe has worked with Cox Enterprises, Delta and Worldstrides.
What motivates you?

My family motivates me, especially my siblings. They inspire me to be great in a way that is authentic.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

One of my biggest accomplishments this past year is becoming an Innovation Fellow here at the University of Georgia. The Student Industry Fellows Program has opened up so many learning opportunities for me. As a fellow, I use my creativity and communication skills to solve complex problems for clients. I have gotten to work with Cox Enterprises, Delta and Worldstrides and tackle issues of tech, sustainability, and culture. The fellowship has given my confidence in my professional abilities and has given me new friends from all across campus.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Rachel Ziner

Rachel Ziner was taught the value of setting goals and achieving them from a young age. To her, tenacity comes after those goals are achieved. Ziner is a Double Dawg, who first earned her bachelor’s in advertising at Grady College before staying this year to earn a master’s degree in Emerging Media through the New Media Institute. Ziner is currently interning as a corporate public relations intern for Golin, which she says has been her biggest accomplishment in the past year. This summer, she interned at McDonald’s corporate in Chicago, Illinois this summer for their in-house agency, Agency123. She currently serves as the director of intern relations for Talking Dog, and is a communications intern for the AdPR department.

Why did you choose your major?

For my undergraduate degree, I wanted to study something that challenged me to continually be creative and have no two days that were exactly alike. This led me to choose advertising due to the fast-paced nature of the industry and the creativity it takes to be successful. After obtaining this degree, I wanted to learn more about the future of the industry and the role technology plays in modern media, leading me to pursue the Emerging Media Double Dawgs pathway. This program focuses on the intersection of design and technology, teaching me how to leverage new technologies to communicate with audiences differently than before. The knowledge from both of my degrees has made me well-ounded in understanding both traditional and digital media strategy while prioritizing the needs of the target market. 

Ziner (front right) pictured with interns she worked with throughout the year as director of intern relations at Talking Dog Agency. This photo was taken in April 2023 at the ‘Battle of the Brands’ event.
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

I can easily say my most memorable Grady experience comes from my senior year of undergraduate when I was an account executive on the Luckie Health team within Talking Dog Agency. My seven-member team worked all year to develop a research-driven campaign for the launch of the sub-brand of Luckie & Co., Luckie Health. Our team had the opportunity to present at the agency-wide competition, Battle of the Brands, and our case study on our work won 1st place in the competition! I remember feeling so proud of my team and everything we accomplished. It felt like all the long hours had paid off and we were recognized for our success. 

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

Though she was not my professor directly, Missy Hill is easily the first person to come to mind. This past school year when I served as the director of intern relations within Talking Dog Agency and as a communications intern for the Advertising and Public Relations Department, Missy has been my advisor for both roles. I admire Missy’s work ethic in everything she does for the department and how she always leads with kindness first. She has so much impressive knowledge and industry expertise. I never leave a conversation with her without learning something new. I know I can always go to Missy when I need advice or have questions about the wide world of advertising and public relations. Missy has always been a champion for helping me achieve my goals and I know she’ll be a mentor to me for years to come. I am so grateful to have her in my corner as I will soon be navigating post-grad life. 

Before pursuing her emerging media masters, Ziner graduated with a degree in advertising in May of 2022.
What does tenacity mean to you?

From a young age, I was taught how to set goals and the value that comes with achieving those goals. When I set out to accomplish my goals, my drive and determination and what brings me to achieve them. To me, tenacity comes in after that, once those goals are accomplished. How can I continue to strive for further achievement? What’s the next level of success look like for me and what can be done to reach that? Tenacity is fighting to continually do better and build the life I want for myself, even after I achieve my goals. Tenacity is continually asking for and gladly welcoming what’s next, even if I know it will be challenging. 

Ziner pictured with other students in the ’emerging media NMIXPo’ class in fall 2022, where students present their progress on their capstone project.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

The best piece of advice I have ever received is “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This means that everyone is on their own path and you cannot compare where you are at in life with anyone else. You will never find joy if you spend all day thinking about what other people are doing or the ways in which they are achieving. It’s better to focus on yourself, take things one day at a time and remember that you are your own person with a unique purpose in life that is not to be compared with anyone else. Instead of sitting around comparing yourself to others, think about what you can do to get yourself to where you want to be. Enjoy the journey that is uniquely yours (and rather than wishing you were in other’s shoes, choose to celebrate the success of others rather than sulk in what you feel you may lack). 

What are you passionate about?

Professionally, I am passionate about viewing the audiences my work serves as humans. In the modern age of information, we are constantly consuming media, whether we know it or not. I’m passionate about making this media consumption more enjoyable for consumers – not just another headline or advertisement in their feeds that does not connect with their wants and needs. The exciting thing about this passion is that every consumer is different and consumer desires will change over time. There will always be opportunities for me to consider first the individuals that my work is serving and use that as a guiding factor. I’m passionate about using this human-first approach in building campaigns that bring consumers closer to brands. 

Personally, I am passionate about creativity and trying new things whenever possible! I love to try cooking new recipes, exploring new places and most of all crafting new projects to gift to friends and family. I’ve always been very resourceful and had a passion for

Ziner pictured from her first internship at Krystal Restaurants LLC, when she was the marketing intern. She continued to work at Krystal for a year as the marketing coordinator  from June 2021 to May 2022.

flexing my creative muscles whenever possible. 

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment in the past year has been landing a job with Golin as a public relations intern, working on the Discover Financial Services and West Monroe Partners accounts. I knew in my final semester of graduate school I was interested in pursuing an internship opportunity to apply my skills and add to my resume before graduating. I applied for the opportunity at Golin, did some networking on LinkedIn and landed the job! I’ve really enjoyed working full-time, remotely, and gaining real-world agency experience while still in school. Having this role has taught me so much about client service and earned media strategy to couple with the emerging media strategy that I am learning my graduate program. 

Ziner’s final presentation for her internship with McDonald’s, where she was the intern for the in-house agency, Agency123 in Chicago this past summer.
What is an example of a time you used your skills in a real-world experience?

Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern at McDonald’s corporate office in Chicago, Illinois within their in-house agency, Agency123. I mostly worked on account management and project management for a number of internal clients. Throughout my final year at UGA, I acted as an account executive within Talking Dog and for my campaigns class team. In both of these experiences, I learned how to write project briefs and develop KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the success of a campaign. As the Agency123 intern, I was asked to write project briefs, including KPIs, for a few projects throughout the summer. My manager was impressed with my ability to write such comprehensive and detailed project briefs, thanks to my experiences in Talking Dog and in the classroom. It was a great feeling to be so early in my career and be given an assignment that I already knew how to complete. 

Where’s your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus would have to be Studio 100 in Grady! I spent so many Wednesday evenings there in the past two years as a member of Talking Dog Agency. I love the atmosphere of the room and always know I will be surrounded by talented, creative and overall awesome people when I’m there. 

#ProfilesofTenacity: Sam Chin

Third-year journalism major and theatre minor Sam Chin finds motivation and fulfillment in storytelling and its ability to help others. Chin loves when their work has a positive impact on the public or brightens someone else’s day. Chin also emphasizes the importance of embracing curiosity, asking questions and trying new things.

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

Graphic showing Sam Chin's involvementTo me, tenacity is about being able to roll with the punches and bounce back from the challenges barring us from success. In all careers, but especially journalism, you’re sometimes faced with adversity that can seemingly appear out of nowhere. To be tenacious is to overcome these challenges while remaining mindful of one’s self-worth. Since tenacity is about overcoming adversity, I think it’s important that individuals take the time to recognize their own efforts when facing a barrier. I think that in life we often move past the adversity barring us from success like it was just a bump in the road. If you take the time to recognize that constant challenges aren’t normal, you might feel proud or happy about overcoming adversity. Let that pride and happiness fuel your mindset when tackling the next challenge. Recognize that being tenacious in itself is an accomplishment, and let that reinforce your spirit.

Why did you choose your major?

I think it was my curiosity that led me to pursue journalism. Looking back, I had never thought about a career in journalism until my senior year of high school. I knew that I wanted to do something related to storytelling whether that was film, theater, or fictional writing, but it wasn’t until COVID shut down the entertainment industry that I comprehended that I could pursue a career in non-fiction storytelling as well. All of a sudden, it just made sense. I realized how much of an impact human interest and travel journalism had on my adolescence, so I decided that I want to have that same impact on future generations. COVID usurped my life and brought an innumerable amount of grief into the world, but without it, I’m not sure that I’d be where I am today.

Chin (left) smiles for a picture with President of Esports at UGA, TJ Stephens, at Columbus State University’s Scholastic Gaming and Esports Conference in February. (Courtesy/Sam Chin)
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

Live curiously and be adventurous. Let your natural curiosity lead you to new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you see something that draws your curiosity, don’t be afraid to ask and learn about it. If you let yourself be curious and adventurous, it’ll lead to new opportunities and connections that seemingly appear out of nowhere. You’ll never know when the next big opportunity arises if you don’t even check out the pathway. So, the next time you see an interesting person, go up and talk to them. The next time your professor says something intriguing, go ask them about it. The next time something peaks your curiosity, go find out why. And don’t be afraid to do it.

Who is your professional hero?

Anthony Bourdain. Growing up, I must’ve spent countless hours watching Bourdain’s various travel shows. Watching him interact with so many people of different places and cultures so candidly really framed what a good documentarian looks like to me. Unobtrusive, charismatic, and genuine, Bourdain was able to break down barriers and provide his audience with an intimate view of what life looks like across the globe. He showed me the power of human connection and how a well-crafted interview can change lives.

Chin walks along at Kaihalulu Beach at North Shore, Oahu, HI. (Courtesy/Sam Chin)
Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

During my time in Grady so far, I’ve been treated so incredibly well by the staff here that I couldn’t name just one. From Professor Coley teaching me the importance of concise writing, to Professor Shumway helping me perfect my camera work, all of the professors I’ve had so far have been incredibly kind and supportive. I will say, Dr. Peters is the one professor that’s given me exams that I thought were fun to take, and that’s an accomplishment in itself.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Having the opportunity to do a profile story on Vanessa Briscoe Hay. The opportunity arose last semester when I attended the WUOG 50th birthday concert. Pylon Reenactment Society performed that night, and because I had been randomly talking about local music with Professor Coley a few days prior, I knew about the band from her mentioning them to me. After hearing them perform, I was blown away and my interest peaked even more. I introduced myself to Hay and the band afterwards and told them I was interested in doing a profile story. Luckily, they agreed. I got to enjoy two more of their shows as well as interviews with both Hay and the rest of the bandmates while I worked on the story, and I learned an incredible amount about what the music scene in Athens used to be like. As a local, it was amazing learning about so much of this town’s rich musical history while connecting the dots to stories my parents had told growing up. It’s an experience I’ll always reflect on, and in a way it feels like it was my initiation into the world of journalism.

Where is your favorite study spot?

It’s rare to find an open classroom on the fifth floor of Grady, but if I ever find one available, I always love to do work there. There’s something energizing about the view up there that always makes me more productive. Hendershot’s definitely gets an honorable mention though. It’s my go-to for whenever I need some caffeine.

Professor Coley’s and her Journalism 3190 Fall 2022 students celebrate a great semester with a class selfie. (Courtesy/Sam Chin)
What motivates you?

For me, it’s the people whose stories I get to tell. When I realize that I’ve made a difference in their life by just being interested in what they have to say, it’s invigorating and refreshing. I love that my work can help the public and brighten people’s day, so when I see that happen or hear about how my work has impacted someone positively, it really does motivate me and make me smile.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This is a tough one to answer. Ideally, I’d hope to be on the ocean, sailing around the world and telling stories about the places I go and the people I meet. It’s been a dream of mine to live on a sailboat and travel the globe while being a travel journalist. I’d love to be able to educate and inform people about all of the amazing cultures and places that the world has to offer while being able to go from place to place on my own. Although, I’m not sure if 5 years from now is a realistic timeline to achieve that goal. More likely, I hope to be doing travel journalism with a focus on videography. I hope to be able to work independently, but either solo, or with a production company, I’d love to be involved in a travel show or documentary.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
In 2022, Chin went freediving approximately 2 miles off the coast of Oahu’s North Shore. (Courtesy/Sam Chin)

I’m not sure this is the “best” piece of advice I’ve ever gotten, but it sure has stuck with me through everything I’ve done. It’s a bit cliche, but ever since I was a kid, my dad has always just said, “Do your best.” It’s simple, I know, but it really has changed the way I approach things. I used to always feel discontent with the work I would submit no matter the type of feedback I’d receive. I’d get a good grade on a paper yet always believe that it wasn’t good enough and that I could improve it. I don’t know when I finally started believing in the advice my dad gave, but it sure changed things. I began to approach my work thinking about the effort I was giving and how that effort made me feel. When I began to feel proud of my efforts, I stopped constantly thinking about the imperfections of my work and people’s opinions on it. Instead, I started thinking about how happy I am when I put my best effort into my work. Be mindful about how your work makes you feel, and just approach it with the mindset of doing your best.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Jonina Bullock

Jonina Bullock is a third-year student, double majoring in advertising and German. She is the creative coordinator for Talking Dog Agency, the PR chair for the National Association of Black Journalists, and she works as a resident assistant. She was recently awarded a scholarship from the Atlanta Ad Club. Last November, Bullock was the inaugural winner of the AdPR Vision Award. 

Why did you choose your major?

I chose my major because it allows me to be extremely creative, while also providing the knowledge about business that I was looking for.

Jonina in New York City on the way to CultureCon, which she says is her most memorable Grady experience.
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable experience has been Grady sponsoring me to attend CultureCon in Brooklyn, New York. It was one of the coolest things that I have experienced. I want to live in Brooklyn one day, so it was really nice to get a preview, while also connecting with other professionals of color in the creative industry. I was able to meet really amazing people, share my work with others, learn about opportunities post-graduation and try some really good food.

What does tenacity mean to you?
Jonina was a recipient of the Atlanta Ad Club Student Scholarship this year.

Tenacity to me equates to overcoming adversity and being persistent in chasing what it is that you want. Tenacious is a good adjective — I like that word.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself being very content! I hope to work for an international advertising agency, be able to travel and see the world and maybe even run one of my own at some point!

What motivates you?

I am motivated by all of those who surround me, but definitely by my family members. When I think about all that they have done and sacrificed, it motivates me to keep pursuing what I dream of.

Who is your professional hero?

Quinta Brunson — hands down. I used to be an avid BuzzFeed viewer and loved her then, so seeing her blossom into having her own highly-rated comedy series is extremely inspiring.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

“Your journey is your own.” It is so easy to feel like an imposter when at a college where everyone is so successful, but when you focus on your own journey without comparing yourself to your peers, things become much easier.

What are you passionate about?
Jonina in her Grady College sweatshirt shortly after being accepted into the college.
Jonina in her Grady College sweatshirt shortly after being accepted into the college.

A lot of things – mental health is definitely up top for me, followed closely by the idea that everyone deserves to feel a sense of community. It is one of the best feelings to know you have people that support you, love you, and are rooting for you. I think everyone deserves to know what that feels like.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
Jonina was a brand experience intern for Delta last summer. Here she is on the first day of her internship.

I speak German!

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

In the past year, my biggest professional accomplishment was definitely being selected as a recipient of the Atlanta Ad Club Student Scholarship. My biggest personal accomplishment is being more confident in my knowledge and what I create. I used to be really scared to share the projects I work on and photos that I take, but not anymore — so growth!

#ProfilesofTenacity: Ike Epstein

Fourth-year public relations major Ike Epstein has made the most of the opportunities offered to him by Grady College and the University of Georgia. As a transfer student, Epstein has found his community at UGA by getting involved on campus. He serves as a research and strategy specialist for the Arby’s account at Talking Dog Agency and he is also involved in Dawg Camp and the Student Government Association (SGA).

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity is about being persistent. College will have its fair share of ups and downs, something that I’ve certainly experienced myself. Sometimes, you will not do as well on a test as you thought—I know I have—and that feeling can be very defeating. However, learning to stay persistent throughout those ups and downs is something that has not only served me during college, but will also aid me in my career.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose to pursue a degree in public relations because of how versatile it is. Considering how quickly the job landscape changes, having a degree that will give me the tools to succeed in various aspects of the public relations and advertising world will play an integral role in the success of my career.

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

Mary Ellen Barto has had the biggest impact on me during my time at UGA. She is so knowledgeable about the field of ADPR, and she has helped me hone my skills and find a career path that I’m legitimately passionate about. Sometimes I’ll go to her office between classes just to hang out for a second, and I’m very grateful to have met her this year.

Epstein (right) poses for a picture with other student transitions liaisons at the SGA banquet in the presidential suite at Sanford Stadium. (Photo/submitted)
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I’ve received is to try and stay in the moment. I often find myself worrying about things that are far in the distance, especially when it comes to jobs and internships. While I know this is easier said than done, it’s something that has really helped me this year, especially as my time in school is beginning to come to a close. Your time in college is short, so just try to enjoy the moment and make the most of it.

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

If I had to give one piece of advice to Grady students, it would be to get involved! Grady offers so many amazing opportunities, Talking Dog and PRSSA just to name a couple. Getting involved with Grady organizations has helped me make the most out of my time here and allowed me to form meaningful connections.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience has been my time with Talking Dog Agency working on the Arby’s account. Agency work is what I want to do with my career, but it was never something that I thought I could do during the school year. Having the opportunity to work with such an impressive client has been a rewarding challenge, something that I never thought would be possible. Learning how a professional agency operates and getting real world experience working with a big-name client has been an invaluable experience I’ll never forget.

Epstein (second from right) and some of the other members of Talking Dog Agency dressed up as their favorite sauces for a costume night in Studio 100. (Photo/submitted)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment this past year was learning how to successfully build a survey for the Arby’s account at Talking Dog. I had never built a survey before, learning how to craft specific questions to get the most accurate data possible was a great challenge, but incredibly rewarding at the same time. Once it went live, I got about 3x more answers than I anticipated and got great usable data that the client was very happy with. The data ultimately shaped the idea for our campaign and is something that I’m incredibly proud of.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

My favorite Grady professor is Michael Cacciatore. His classes are always ones I look forward to attending and I have never laughed so hard in an academic setting before. He’s incredibly well-versed in his field and worked closely with me to help build a successful survey for Talking Dog.

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
Epstein (back right) and other Dawg Camp counselors smile for a picture at their color group reveal, where he and his team prepared to work together to welcome the incoming class in the fall. (Photo/submitted)

One thing that surprises people is that I’m a transfer student. While it’s been a challenge to integrate into such a big school, Grady has shown me the community and like-minded individuals that have helped shape my college experience.

Where is your favorite study spot?

My favorite study spot on campus is the main library. While this is a hot take for some people, I think it’s the best place to get work done. Whether I’m going to the fourth floor to work on a group project with my friends or sitting on the first floor to get more complex work done, the main library is always my first choice.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Raika Kachwalla

Raika Kachwalla is a fourth-year entertainment and media studies major who is passionate about bringing diversity to the film industry. She served as the assistant director of the Backlight Student Film Festival last year. She is a Grady Ambassador and currently works as a production intern for MACRO. Previously, she was a media production intern at Seacrest Studios. 

Why did you choose your major?

I was in love with everything related to films and tv series and knew I wanted to be part of it somehow. This major was the best way for me to learn everything I need to know before entering the industry, it also gave me connections I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. 

What is your most memorable Grady experience? 

Going to Cannes Film Festival 

Kaichwella was an assistant director of the Backlight Student Film Festival last year, the festival’s first year.
Who is your favorite Grady professor and why? 

Keith Wilson, he is an amazing professor who is willing to understand you and guide you. He is also hilarious. 

What does tenacity mean to you?
Kaichwalla worked as a media production intern at Seacrest Studios in Atlanta.

Tenacity means being able to fight through whatever comes your way. 

What are you passionate about? 

Bringing diversity to the industry, both from behind the camera and in-front. 

What do you plan to do after graduation? 

I plan to work in talent agencies and management.

Where is your go to restaurant in Athens?

Thai Spoon 

#ProfilesofTenacity: Sarah Dorr

Fourth year public relations major Sarah Dorr can trace her love for public relations back to her time in pageants, which allowed her to create her first advocacy campaign. Now, she is the vice president of UGA’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter and she has gained experience through various internships and fellowships in the public relations industry.

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, it’s having the strength to continue on. Sometimes that means pushing yourself to go for that dream internship or ace that presentation, other times it’s just putting one foot in front of the other and deciding to show up each day, even if it’s the last thing you want to do. In creative fields like communication, criticism and rejection is inevitable. Tenacity is all about being able to accept it, embrace it and use it as fuel for growth.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

I’ve been lucky to have so many fantastic professors here at Grady, but I have to shout out Professors Joseph Watson and Kim Landrum specifically. They are both such great people, as well as amazing mentors that have pushed me to become the young professional and leader I am today. I’ve learned so much from Professor Watson via the PAC certificate about thinking and writing strategically, and I always look forward to discussing all things politics, culture and movies with him. Professor Landrum is not only the Mama Bear of PRSSA exec and the whole chapter, but she’s so good at challenging her students to be their best and push beyond what they believe they’re capable of.

Dorr and other Grady students smile for a photo with Hoda Kotb at the TODAY plaza in Rockefeller Center. (Photo/submitted)
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Hands down participating in Grady’s AdPR: NYC Field Study Program. Living and interning in New York City was a huge step outside my comfort zone, but it was also the best decision I’ve made these past four years. I checked so much off my bucket list, from seeing ten Broadway shows to appearing on the “Today” show, and I did it with the most amazing group of fellow Grady students. I’m sure they would all back me up when I say there’s no other place in the world with the same energy as the Big Apple, whether it’s the food, the people, the architecture, the art or the entertainment. I’m so thankful I got to call it home for eight weeks.

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

I competed in a couple of pageants back in high school! I’m very much not your stereotypical pageant girl, but it was a great way to combine my love of performing with my passion for advocacy (while also winning some scholarship money). I really believe my interest in public relations can be traced back to my time in pageants. I remember one competition in particular required all contestants to create a platform centered around a social issue. That whole experience taught me how to brand myself and shape an advocacy campaign before I even knew what PR was.

What motivates you?

My desire to learn and try new things has been a substantial motivating force for me. My goal during my time at Grady has been to soak up as much as possible. Whether it’s gaining skills in social media, internal communications, public affairs, web development, podcast production or even TED Talk curation, I’ve come a long way in my journey to become a true Renaissance woman in the communications field. Of course, I still have a long way to go, but I’m excited to continue my curious mindset as I begin my career.

Dorr at a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) New York networking event with Grady alumna Brooklyn MacKenzie and students Anna Womack and Frankie Barnes. (Photo/submitted)
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

Get over your fear of networking! I know that for some it’s not fun. I lean more toward the introverted side (shoutout to my fellow INFJs) and have often struggled with putting myself out there. However, it is so essential in the world of PR and communications. The great news is that UGA (especially Grady) has such a wide network of alumni that is more than happy and willing to talk, give advice and sometimes even get you that position. I was struggling to find an internship last spring, decided to cold-email a UGA alum working in fashion PR in NYC, and two days later, I had secured my internship. Dawg Nation is here to help!

What are you planning to do after you graduate?

Through my various internship experiences, I’ve grown to love the fast-paced PR agency life, so I’m leaning that way in the age-old agency vs. in-house debate. I’m hoping to move northeast, either to NYC or DC, and work at an agency that is trend and culture-forward but also focuses on mission-based clients and campaigns.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

I’m really proud of the work I’ve done this year as vice president of UGA’s PRSSA chapter. Not only do I get to work with an amazing group of women as a member of the executive board, but I also had the unique opportunity of overseeing the selection process for PRSSA’s committee network. It was definitely a daunting task interviewing over 50 candidates in one week, but it was so worth it now that I get to see our committee members learning and growing at each meeting. PRSSA has been the driving force in developing my leadership abilities while at UGA, so I think it is important to pay it forward and do everything I can to help build the next group of leaders for the chapter.

Dorr serves as a Tieger Fellow with Olga Diaz (left) and Jenna Monnin (right). (Photo/submitted)
What are you passionate about?

My passion for film and television has grown significantly during college, especially since the pandemic forced us all in front of our TVs for six months. From the newest Oscar-bait movie, to last Monday’s episode of “The Bachelor,” I love getting to break down what I’ve been watching, as well as analyze the media’s potential impact on pop culture and the communications field. (Shameless plug to follow me on Letterboxd @sarahdorr).

Where is your favorite study spot?

I always find myself studying or working on projects on the fourth floor of Grady. It’s such a collaborative space, and I never cease to run into friends or professors to catch up with!

#ProfilesofTenacity: Kate Hester

Kate Hester is a second-year graduate student, studying journalism with an emphasis in innovation and leadership. During her time at Grady, she’s been involved as a graduate assistant for the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership. Hester was a 2022 fellow for the Cox-SABEW  program, and she is a teaching assistant for JOUR 3030: Media, News and Consumers. She was awarded a Cox Institute Leadership Medal at the Levin Leaders dinner earlier this month. Hester’s most memorable Grady experience was studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark – where she was a teaching assistant for the travel writing course.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose journalism because of the possibilities. There is so much room to be creative, and the opportunities are endless. Not many majors have that same depth of opportunity.

Hester pictured in Copenhagen, Denmark – where she studied abroad as a teaching assistant last June. (Photo/submitted)
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Studying abroad in Copenhagen! This past summer I was lucky enough to be the teaching assistant (TA) for the travel writing course in Copenhagen,Denmark. We spent a month over there and had such a blast! It was the best experience, and no job will ever top it!

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

My favorite Grady professor is 100% Dr. Herndon. He opened my eyes to the magic of innovation and offered me the chance of a lifetime to go to graduate school and be his graduate assistant. I have had so much fun working with him these past two years of graduate school.

What does tenacity mean to you?

To me, tenacity means strength. It means that no matter what, no matter how many times you get knocked down for forced to change directions, you keep moving forward. You do not worry about the things you cannot control; you just keep doing the next right thing.

Hester was awarded a Cox Institute Leadership Medal at the Levin Leaders dinner on March 2. (Photo/submitted)
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I have no idea where I will be in 10 years, and that is so exciting! I cannot wait to see what the future has in store.

What motivates you?

Right now, my students. Being a TA is so much fun and I love getting to interact with my students each week. They have been the best part of this year.

Who is your professional hero?

I could never pick one professional hero over another, but I do have a slight obsession with female-owned businesses.

Hester and three other journalism students traveled to New York City in the fall of 2022 as part of the Cox-SABEW fellowship program. (Photo/submitted)
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

My mom sends me inspirational quotes via email about once a week. I keep my favorites as sticky notes on my desktop. The one I keep going back to is this: “Don’t worry about the next week or next month or next year. Just do the next right thing and keep doing the next right thing.”

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about supporting small businesses. If someone is brave enough and smart enough to strike out on their own, I want to do what I can to help them find success.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am a freelance artist! I do mostly pet portraits right now, but with my own little spin! I love to paint and hope that love never goes away.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Raynor Manley

Fourth year public relations student Raynor Manley emphasizes the importance of joining clubs and getting involved as a student at the University of Georgia. Her involvement in organizations such as the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and Talking Dog Agency has helped her find the things that she is passionate about.

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity is the quality of persevering even when faced with challenges. It is the unwavering commitment to putting forth your best effort, regardless of the obstacles encountered. Tenacity means to display resilience in all you do while maintaining confidence in yourself and your abilities. It means to not allow your mistakes to define you and stay committed to achieving greatness.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

Without a doubt, my favorite Grady professor is Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru. Her unmatched teaching style has been a burst of positivity throughout my time in Grady. My first class with Dr. A was her Public Relations Management course, which was an exceptional learning experience. The practical and valuable PR knowledge that I gained from this class motivated me to take another course with her. And, as luck would have it, I was fortunate enough to take my PR capstone class, PR Campaigns, with Dr. A as well. Th

Manley leads a break-out session and gives other students resume advice at a PRSSA meeting. (Photo/submitted)

is was an unforgettable experience; working on an outstanding campaign with a professor who possesses a deep passion for what she teaches, and who is incredibly kind and encouraging. Dr A has undoubtedly left a lasting mark on my academic journey.

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

The UGA Mentor Program has been an invaluable resource throughout my time at UGA. I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with three different mentors through the program. One of my summer internships actually resulted from one of my mentor relationships! I am so passionate about this program because of its ability to match students with mentors from a diverse range of industries, allowing students to gain insight into various career paths. The program allows students to explore mentors and select one that closely aligns with their aspirations. Mentors offer guidance, expertise and unique insights. This program has been an incredible way for me to network with professionals in my field and explore new career path options that I might want to pursue in the future.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience, by far, has been my involvement and leadership in PRSSA! I joined PRSSA as a general body member after I was accepted into the PR major. I fell in love with the incredible knowledge and advice that I received in each of the meetings and knew I wanted to get more involved. In my junior year, I was appointed as the Director of Content on the Executive Board, where I managed our blog and website. This year, I have been serving as the Public Relations Director, where I am responsible for creating graphics and promoting PRSSA. PRSSA has provided me with the opportunity to gain valuable insight from various industry professionals across diverse PR sectors, including sports,

Manley smiles for a picture with her fellow PRSSA Executive Board members. (Photo/submitted)

entertainment, cosmetics, politics and more. PRSSA has also allowed me to make some of my closest friends and build a relationship with a wonderful mentor. If you don’t already know Kim Landrum, you should. I am a firm believer that everyone should have a Kim in their lives. Kim has been a phenomenal advisor to the PRSSA board, and we would not be half as successful without her. Overall, PRSSA has been an integral experience in my Grady journey, enabling me to learn from experts, enhance my leadership skills and forge lifelong friendships.

What are you passionate about?

Joining clubs and taking different classes within Grady is a really great way to discover new passions. Talking Dog Agency has been instrumental in helping me discover a new passion of mine – client engagement and management. As an Account Executive with Talking Dog this year, I have discovered a new love for serving as the liaison between my client and our team, ensuring seamless communication. I am a huge advocate for joining clubs because these experiences can lead you to new passions that you might want to pursue for the rest of your life.

What motivates you?

My campus involvement serves as a great source of motivation for me. Being able to give back to the UGA and Grady community and support my peers is something I truly enjoy. I am constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to get involved, take on leadership roles and continue making a positive impact on campus.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?
Manley poses with her Talking Dog Agency team. She serves as the account executive for their client, Shay Latte Coffee. (Photo/submitted)

Get involved early! Getting involved can definitely be overwhelming with how many different clubs are offered on campus. To avoid this, I suggest starting slow. Start by exploring the various clubs available, make a list of the clubs that interest you and then learn more about them. Then, narrow it down and be intentional in deciding which clubs you want to join. Avoid the temptation to join multiple clubs just to pad your resume. Instead, choose clubs that genuinely interest you and align with your passions. These are the clubs that will enhance your college experience in more ways than one. Once you’ve joined a club, take the time to learn about the leadership opportunities available. Most clubs offer committee positions, which provide a great starting point for getting more involved. As you gain more experience, you can then move on to higher positions, such as serving on the executive board or as a director.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Reach out to professors, peers and those in leadership roles you might want in the future. Throughout my time in Grady, I’ve learned that people are more than eager to help and offer advice in any way they can. There is always someone willing to provide guidance and share their experiences. Asking questions not only helps you gain a better understanding but also shows that you are interested and invested in learning. It’s important to remember that everyone was once a beginner, and by asking questions, you are showing a willingness to learn and grow. So, don’t be afraid to ask, because chances are someone is more than happy to help!

Manley smiles in her Grady Ambassadors uniform while working the Dawgs with the Dean event. (Photo/submitted)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

My biggest accomplishment in the past year is being selected to serve as a Grady Ambassador. I was selected out of a highly competitive pool of 90+ applicants, with only 20-25 positions available. However, it took me two application periods to finally secure the role. This experience taught me the invaluable lesson of perseverance as well as the importance of self-confidence. This accomplishment is one that I am immensely proud of, not only because of the prestige that comes with it but because it taught me to never give up on my goals. I want all of you to know that it’s okay to try again. Don’t give up and keep trying because sometimes all you need is a little confidence boost to achieve the goals you are striving for.

What are you planning to do after you graduate?

I was just accepted into UGA’s Graduate School last week! I will be spending one extra year in Athens to obtain my Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication in Grady College, with an emphasis in Integrated Advertising and Public Relations.