UGA Amazing Student: Kelly Krincek

This story was originally published on UGA Today as part of its Amazing Students series.

Kelly Krincek, a graduating senior majoring in entertainment and media studies from New Jersey, was recently named Student Employee of the Year. Krincek is the student media coordinator at the Office of the Dean of Students. She was recognized for her web and video production skills as well as her “infectious energy, enthusiasm, initiative and joyful spirit.”

Chatham, New Jersey

High school:
Chatham High School

Current employment:
I am the student media coordinator at the Office of the Dean of Students at UGA.

Degree objective:
Entertainment and Media Studies Major

Other degrees:
Film minor, Entrepreneurship Certificate, New Media Certificate and an Arch Ready Certificate.

Expected graduation:
May 2021

Family ties to UGA:
My grandfather’s brother and wife both graduated from UGA.

Top university highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
My four years at UGA have been some of the most rewarding, fun and crazy in my life. I have met amazing people, learned from incredible faculty, and have grown personally, academically and professionally. One of the clear highlights of my experience here at UGA though has been working as the student media coordinator at the Office of the Dean of Students. I create video content (e.g., student staff spotlights to Orientation videos), photograph campus events, help update/maintain the dean’s office website, and assist with crafting newsletters to freshman students. This position has allowed me to form a deeper connection with UGA and become more involved with campus events, including Gettin’ Down with Dean, Dogs for Dawgs, and countless University Union events.

Kelly Krincek holds her Student Employee of the Year plaque

Undergraduate student Kelly Krincek with her Student Employee of the Year plaque. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Honors and Awards:

  • Student Employee of the Year 2021. I was nominated and extremely honored to win this award for my work as student media coordinator.
  • Selected for OneUGA. In an effort to showcase varying UGA experiences, OneUGA featured profiles on select members of the Bulldog community.
  • Presidential Scholar (four semesters)
  • Dean’s List (three semesters)


  • Delta Gamma – As an out-of-state student from New Jersey, I was nervous about moving to a new state and finding my footing. I really had nothing to worry about though because after joining Delta Gamma, I immediately had a support network and an instant family. People always say that the UGA community is huge, but as you become more involved that community is smaller than you realize. Becoming a part of Delta Gamma was the first step in me seeing how connected all UGA students truly are. Through this organization, I have found forever friends and have been able to put my time back into the Athens community through our philanthropy, Service for Sight. From volunteering, to participating in “Do Good” weeks, which are weeks dedicated to Service for Sight events, (e.g., creating “Touch and Feel” books for visually impaired children or writing holiday cards in Braille to visually impaired students around the region), to working at fundraising events (e.g., Anchor Dash and low country boil), I have seen how small actions can have a gigantic impact.
  • The Guide Dog Foundation– I joined my sophomore year and have absolutely loved it. I am a permanent camper, which means I “camp” or look after guide dogs in training while their raisers are unable to or are in a location that does not allow dogs (e.g., guide dogs in training are not allowed in labs on campus). As a camper, you undergo training that teaches you specific commands, rules and etiquette for having a guide dog in training in public places. Being a member of this organization has been an important part of my college journey, as it has led me to yet another wonderful community within Athens and UGA. It has been amazing to see some of the dogs I have worked with go on to become actual guide dogs who are now helping others.

How did you decide to come to UGA?
I chose to attend UGA for a few reasons. As an only child coming from a relatively small town and high school, I wanted to go to a bigger university. I also knew I wanted to major in entertainment and media studies so Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s high ranking and its connection to the Peabody Awards were both big draws for me. And I am a huge sports fan so UGA having a D1 program was an added plus. The moment I knew that I would come to UGA though was during an admitted students day visit. I walked from the Arch all the way through campus and up to Milledge Avenue. I was able to see how beautiful the campus was and knew UGA was where I was meant to be.

Kelly Krincek standing in front of the Journalism Building.

Kelly Krincek came to UGA in part for the sports. “I could relay to my family the NY Yankees box score on TV before I could even read a word,” she said. “Obviously, my love of sports started early.” (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be:
The UGA Notre Dame night game during my junior year. It was the 21st of September and the Redcoats played Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” during half time. We were all just screaming the lyrics and I remember the band all rushing toward the student section at the end. On top of that it was a night game, and they debuted the new red stadium lights, which had the crowd going crazy. The energy in the stadium was insane, for sure one of the most intense and electric games I have been able to attend. Oh and of course, we won … Go Dawgs!

My favorite thing to do on campus is:
Walking through the main sections of campus. No matter what time of year North Campus is stunning, so normally I will get off the bus at an earlier stop than I need to and walk through there. I also love walking around Tate Plaza since there is always something fun going on outside. And of course, stopping by Sanford Stadium is a must, especially with the new access point from Sanford Drive. So much of UGA’s campus is centrically located, which to me shows how connected our community is.

When I have free time, I like to:
Read, hang out with friends, go on day trips, or to try out new restaurants in Athens. Even after four years, I feel like I have barely explored all there is in and around Athens.

My favorite place to study is:
Herty Field. I love studying outside and Herty Field is the perfect spot since it is quiet, peaceful and has gorgeous views. With Herty Fountain as a backdrop, the sound of water is constantly filtering through the area making it a relaxed place to focus and get work done. Grab a bench or lay out a blanket and you’ll be set — 11/10 recommend.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with:
Ryan Reynolds. Ever since I saw him in “The Proposal,” I have been a huge fan. His social media is hilarious (highly recommend checking out his Twitter/Insta because he’s always cracking jokes or being super sarcastic). He seems like just a happy guy and whatever we ended up doing would be off the wall and kind of crazy but totally fun. And if I’m lucky maybe we’d run into his wife Blake Lively along the way.

If I knew I could not fail, I would:
Move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in Hollywood as an editor or producer.

If money was not a consideration:
I would love to go on an all-inclusive trip across Europe. I have been to Italy with my family and really loved it! It would be amazing to go back and see all the places we missed in Italy, then travel across Europe by train.

Kelly Krincek in front of building

Kelly Krincek knew when she was applying to UGA that she wanted to major in entertainment and media studies. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

What jobs or internships have you done? What have you learned?
Currently, I work as the student media coordinator at the Office of the Dean of Students. In the past, I have interned at the National Institute of Corrections as a part-time creative/research intern, where I worked with the executive producer of Live Webinars to prep for multiple 1,000-person webinars. I have also interned at Jaclo, a company that specializes in designer plumbing fixtures, where my role was conducting social listening and website maintenance. In high school, I interned at HTTV, a local TV station and production studio. There, I helped with recording shows and live award shows. Through these experiences, I have learned so much about the creative process, specifically involving preproduction and postproduction. Further, I have learned how to manage my time properly, effectively approach problems/troubleshoot and spearhead projects on my own.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
My passion has always been telling meaningful stories. To me, stories are the ultimate way to connect with others, shift perspectives and make an impact. I have been lucky to work on projects in the past that have allowed me to share other people’s stories. Currently my job as student media coordinator lets me do this daily. In the future, I hope to continue on this path by having a career dedicated to creating and sharing stories.

After graduation, I plan to:
Get a job in New York City, California or Atlanta in creative development or editing.

UGA Amazing Student: Taylor Gerlach

This story was originally published by UGA News as part of its Amazing Student series.

Taylor Gerlach is a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina majoring in journalism and sociology. She’s passionate about using visual storytelling for social justice and making the outdoors a more inclusive and accessible place for everyone. Currently photo editor for The Red & Black, she has interned with Ryan Seacrest Studios in Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina and backpacked the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.


Charlotte, North Carolina

High school: 

Providence Day School

Current employment: 

Photo editor, The Red & Black

Expected graduation: 

May 2021

Degree objective:

 A.B. Journalism and B.A Sociology

Top university highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

• Georgia Recruitment Team ambassador
• UGA Classic Scholar
• Photo editor at The Red & Black
• Production intern for Seacrest Studios in Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC, summer 2019
• Athens PBJ volunteer

Taylor Gerlach is currently photo editor for The Red & Black. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)
What has it been like working at The Red & Black? What have you learned?

Working at The Red & Black has been one of the most defining experiences of my time in college. While many newsrooms are high stakes, intimidating environments, The Red & Black has been somewhere where I could grow and learn while engaging in important work with my peers. I’ve learned how to do community journalism well and lead a team of photojournalists in creating necessary content for our community.

Have you done any internships? If so, where and what did you do?

I interned with Seacrest Studios in Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, during the summer of 2019. There, I joined a team of other future journalists as we all hosted our own live, on-air radio and television programs that were broadcast throughout the children’s hospital each day. I learned how to use my technical skills to cultivate an environment of joy and healing with the patients and their families.

I chose to attend UGA because:

When I visited Athens and UGA as a prospective student in high school, I fell in love with the people and the culture here. I felt welcomed by everyone I met and felt like everyone was truly excited for me to become a freshman and join the UGA community. I like to stay busy and engaged in the broader community of wherever I live, so I was also drawn in by the wealth of activities and opportunities in the Athens community.

How did you pick your major?

I thought of all of the areas I was passionate about and enjoyed. The list was way too long to narrow anything down much. I did change my major a couple of times and added and subtracted other majors and minors as I discovered more about what I truly found purpose doing.

For me, it was about having real experiences in different fields and seeing what clicked. I was flexible and allowed myself to reevaluate frequently and make any changes I needed when I gained new insight or clarity.

Taylor Gerlach was a production intern for Ryan Seacrest Studios in Levine Children’s Hospital in summer 2019. (Submitted photo)
My favorite professor is:

Mark Johnson. I love his teaching philosophy and how engaged with his students he is. He’s someone I know I can rely on for photo-related advice long after graduation.

My favorite things to do on campus are:

I really enjoy being outdoors, so I love spreading a blanket on the North Campus lawn and working on class assignments there. I also love to wander around the Lamar Dodd School of Art and admire all of the student artwork displayed there.

My favorite place to study is:

Before COVID-19, I loved to sit in 1000 Faces with a vanilla oat milk latte and study. Now, the picnic tables in downtown Athens are a new favorite spot.

When I have free time, I like:

Anything outside. I learned how to longboard during Athens’ stay-at-home orders last spring, so I like to take my longboard on the greenway. It’s rare to find me without my camera because I also love to make photos whenever I can.

Fun fact about me:

​I’ve backpacked the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.

The craziest thing I’ve done is:

I booked a cheap flight to Iceland with three friends and zero plans for last spring break. We stayed in a van and had the best time wandering around the beautiful country before our flights home were canceled due to COVID-related international travel bans put in place while we were there.

We booked the next tickets we could find to the U.S. We ended up flying into Newark a day earlier than planned, so we cut our trip a little short to get out just hours before the bans went into effect. We truly just got lucky to find four tickets together and have our friend’s dad willing to drive four hours each way to get us.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with:

Jimmy Chin, an adventure photographer and climber whose work I am obsessed with.

After Taylor Gerlach graduates in May, she would like to land a job in photography that allows her to be outdoors and tell impactful stories in an ethical and humanizing way. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)
If I knew I could not fail, I would:

Climb Mount Everest. I’ve been to the Dead Sea in Israel, so I think it would make a great line for “two truths and a lie” if I could say that I’ve been to both the highest and lowest elevations on Earth.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to:

Part of me wants to live out of a van, adopt a dog, then start in Alaska and drive down to the tip of Argentina making photos and meeting people as I go. And the other part of me that is passionate about creating safe spaces for young people wants to invest time and finances into a program for young students interested in photography. There is such a huge cost barrier to entering the field of photography, and I’d like to see it become a more accessible field, allowing everyone to share the stories that matter to them. There is something immensely powerful about having a creative voice, and I’d love to be a part of amplifying that and creating space for that in others.

Favorite UGA memory:

Last fall, I was standing in a bagel shop in Jackson, Wyoming, when I saw the byline of a photo on the front page of a local newspaper. I recognized the name as a Grady alumna, Kayla Renie, who had graduated from the photo program a year or two ahead of me, so I texted our mutual friend with a photo, simply excited to see her photos in print. We had never met before, but Kayla messaged me and offered to spend the morning getting coffee, hiking in Grand Teton National Park and sharing all about her current internship in Jackson. It was such a crazy experience to be so far from home and find a former Dawg so willing to connect.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?

I am passionate about:
• using visual storytelling for social justice. I want to create images and share stories that shape the world we will inhabit tomorrow. I am most passionate about photo stories that challenge stereotypes, humanize statistics, and bring a new perspective to the public eye.
• making the outdoors a more inclusive and accessible place for everyone. There is a lot of intimidation surrounding anything that you’ve never done before, so I hope to equip people with the motivation, inspiration, knowledge, and skill sets necessary to explore our beautiful world on their own through my work.

After graduation, I plan to/would like to:

Land a job in photography that allows me to be outdoors and tell impactful stories in an ethical and humanizing way.

I #CommitTo:

Being here. I’ve learned the importance of being present, of investing where I am, no matter how long I’m there for. It would have been easy to view my four years in Athens as just that, four years where I would be a student passing through a college town. I’m so thankful for different roles like mine at The Red & Black that allowed me to put down roots and truly be where my feet are.

Lillie Russell profiled as UGA Amazing Student

This story first published in its entirety at

As a Visitors Center tour guide and ISL world leader, Lillie Russell has welcomed hundreds of new students to UGA and showed them all the possibilities for growth and how to empower them in their next steps.

Woodstock, Georgia

Lillie Russell (Photo by Chad Osburn/UGA)

High school:
Etowah High School

Current employment:
Tour guide at the University of Georgia’s Visitors Center

Expected graduation:
Spring 2020

Degree objective:
A.B. International Affairs and A.B. Public Relations

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I became a tour guide at the University of Georgia’s Visitors Center during the fall of my freshman year to awaken possibility in the lives of prospective students. If my college career is a bright and beautiful tapestry, the Visitors Center is the largest and most consistent thread within it. I am forever grateful for my bosses, my co-workers and the lessons I have learned there.

Realizing the value of consistent community and mentors, I participated in a program that develops leaders in the freshman class. First-Year Forum, a part of the Student Government Association, created a space for me to grapple with issues of social justice, privilege and equality in the safety of a diverse and trusting community. I returned two years later as a peer advisor and walked alongside 15 freshmen experiencing the program (Go Yo-Yo Yellows!).

As my time at the university is coming to an end, it is a true joy to look back on these past four years with deep gratitude in my heart for how I have been molded into the person I am today.

I chose to attend UGA because …
When I was in high school, I desperately wanted to go to school out of state and carve my own path. I was accepted to my first-choice school in Texas and was excited about my future there. I decided to tour the University of Georgia just to check it off my list. My Visitors Center tour guide, Kevin, shifted things for me that day. He showed me that at UGA, I would be seen, known, celebrated and challenged. He took the time to individually speak to me about my dreams and fears about going to college. Through that two-hour tour, Kevin showed me that this place could, in fact, be my perfect home. I immediately made my decision and paid my deposit to attend UGA. That tour changed my life.

The craziest thing I’ve done is …
My friends and I planned a two-month trip to Jordan, Israel and Palestine this past summer. It truly was a trip of connections.

We served alongside local Jordanians, assisting Syrian, Iraqi and Palestinian refugees. We were Support Team counselors at a summer camp for Jordanian high schoolers. Our final weekend, we drove to Wadi Rum, where we slept in tents in the middle of the desert, and explored the ruins of Petra.

The Middle East brought my academic knowledge from being an international affairs major to life.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with …
… Lin-Manuel Miranda. I admire his ability to combine historical events with creative storytelling. Hey, if I’m dreaming here, my ideal afternoon would be my mom and me having a front-row seat to the original Broadway cast performing “Hamilton” and then grabbing dinner after with Mr. Miranda.

If I knew I could not fail, I would …
… be a photographer for National Geographic. I started my own photography business during my junior year of high school. Since then, I have had the honor of capturing numerous senior portrait sessions, engagements and weddings. I probably have more photos on the camera roll on my phone than anyone reading this! I am always the one in a group who is documenting the event. One of my favorite parts of photography is editing the photos I captured that day. Photographs allow you to step back into any moment and relive it.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
I value people and the complexities that life brings. I believe it is imperative to truly listen to those around you and find ways to accompany them in their dreams. I have loved my roles as a tour guide and a world leader, as I was provided a space to individually look at people and empower them in their next steps.

Somewhere down the road, I might attend law school, so that I can enact change with human rights among vulnerable populations.

After graduation, I plan to …
My senior year of college has looked different than I anticipated. On Aug. 7, my dad was rushed to the hospital with viral encephalitis of the brain. This caused both an acquired and traumatic brain injury (ABI and TBI). At 21 years old, I became his power of attorney and have served in this role for the past eight months. In September, my father was medically airlifted to a Veterans Affairs hospital in Virginia that specializes in brain and spinal cord injuries, where he lived until just a few weeks ago.

My father was released from the facility on Feb. 26 after 203 days of consecutively living in a hospital and medical center. During this time, I gained a crash course in medical law, patient advocacy and an understanding of the United States military — all while balancing my senior year. It has taken grit to remain strong in the face of crushing disappointment.

Recently, we all got the news that universities around the country would be suspending activities on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am filled with grief for my community and the world. Personally, I face this newfound reality already holding shattered expectations of my senior year. But I will rebuild, as will we all.

My senior year has been tumultuous and unexpected. At this time, I am unsure of what I will be doing after graduation. Experiencing an earthquake requires patience to rebuild from the rubble, and I will continue to explore my dreams while taking care of myself and my family.


Jaylen Spidell profiled as UGA Amazing Student

This story originally appeared in its entirety here:

It took a year for Jaylen Spidell to find his groove, but when he stepped out and found opportunities to learn, grow and build a community, he took full advantage of them and says UGA “has been everything and then some.” Next stop: L.A. or New York.

Marietta, Georgia

Family ties to UGA:
I’m the first to attend UGA! The rest of family went to other colleges, but hopefully we’ll have a few more Bulldogs down the line.

Expected graduation:
Spring 2020

Degree objective:
Entertainment and Media Studies

Other degrees:
Design and Media Minor, New Media Certificate

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
The one way to do college wrong is to not get involved and I experienced that firsthand. My freshman year was a very interesting time where I was so lost at this university because I didn’t take the time to venture out and get involved.

Sophomore year, I got involved in an organization called UGA Miracle, and that was the changing point in my college career. It started when one of my friends reached out to me to apply to the Media Committee. The following year I jumped from a committee member to the Executive Board, serving as the co-chair for the Media Committee. This year, I had the honor of serving as communications director on the Executive Council.

In the spring semester, I started my current internship at Seacrest Studios as a broadcast intern. This also allowed me to combine my passion for the hospital and digital media in a very exciting way. As interns, we get to learn how to broadcast using all kinds of technology, but also meet the community of the hospital.

Then after it all, I finally got into major, Entertainment and Media Studies. During my time as an EMST major, I have learned so much about the entertainment industry. Last summer I was fortunate enough to be accepted to the Grady LA Domestic Field Study and have the opportunity to work in my industry. This program allowed me to connect with so many entertainment professionals. I interned at Valhalla Entertainment, the production company behind “The Walking Dead,” and 1091 Media, a film distribution company. I got the chance to work on the “Them That Follow” movie premiere with 1091 Media and learn all about the world of a production company at Valhalla.

The best decision I made was applying to be a tour leader at the UGA Visitors Center. I remember how I felt after my tour of UGA and I wanted the opportunity to help other high schoolers on the same journey.

The University of Georgia has been everything and then some. This place has provided me so many amazing experiences that have shaped who I am today! As I continue my journey, I’ll always have UGA as my home away from home.

I chose to attend UGA because …
Unlike many of my friends, I didn’t know anything about UGA before my senior year. I’ll never forget my high school counselor telling me about UGA, and I said: “What’s that?” I toured this campus my senior year, and at that moment, I knew this was the place for me. The feeling of home and the community here couldn’t be compared to any of the other schools I visited. I’ll never forget when I saw those fireworks at 4:40 p.m. on March 13 … the best day of my life.

The craziest thing I’ve done is …
… say yes to road-tripping from Los Angeles back to Athens. I’m not a very spontaneous person, but my friend needed to drive back to Athens and asked me to join him on the ride. I always dreamed of going to Los Angeles, so that same day I booked my flight! I spent a week getting to explore Los Angeles and I fell in love. Most go along the southern border of the U.S. on the way back to Georgia, but our journey started from Los Angeles and up to Washington. We stopped in San Francisco, Napa Valley, Portland and Seattle. We then cut down diagonally, stopping to camp in Yellowstone, and then finally getting back to Athens.

My favorite professor is …
How do I choose one! All my professors in the Grady College Entertainment and Media Studies department have taught me so much about what it means to work in the entertainment industry. They are my toughest critics but the biggest cheerleaders! If I had to choose, it would be Anne Gilbert. Dr. Gilbert taught my introduction class to EMST and allowed me to see it from a whole new lens. Her knowledge of how the industry operates fascinates me that I could talk to her for hours. Dr. Gilbert was the program director over Grady LA and she made sure that we not only enjoyed our internships but experienced the meaning of being an Angeleno, trying every food possible. We also talked about our love for the “Golden Girls,” which is always a plus!

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with …
… Betty White! I have loved Betty White for as long as I can remember. “The Golden Girls” is my absolute favorite show and I took a special trip to see the real house from the show. I posted on my Instagram for her birthday, did a TED Talk about her, and the list goes on and on. I LOVE Betty White. She reminds me of a lot of my late great-grandmother who was my best friend my entire childhood and Betty White gives me a way to still feel her.

After graduation, I plan to …
… move to either Los Angeles or New York to pursue a career in entertainment news. My entire life I dreamed of working for entertainment news in some capacity. I have no idea where the road will take me, but I believe everything will work out the way it is supposed to. It’s funny because the old me would be freaking out about not knowing, but I’ve watched so many before me go on to do amazing things not having a single idea.


Charlotte Norsworthy profiled as UGA Amazing Student

Charlotte Norsworthy has already racked up two bachelor’s degrees, numerous awards and scholarships and is now working on her master’s in journalism. Her passion is communication — presenting information in an understandable way — because she believes knowledge is power.

Norsworthy received her Bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2019. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in journalism and expects to graduate later in 2020.

“Since graduating from UGA in spring 2019, I decided I couldn’t leave Athens,” Norsworthy said. “I am back as a master’s student studying journalism. I am currently serving as the Morris Master’s Fellow for the Cox Institute. One of the best decisions I could have made was sticking around the best university in the world.”

She says through her involvement with the Cox Institute and her journalism classes, she has formed a great bond with journalism professor Keith Herndon.

“I have traveled across the U.S., co-edited a book, co-written academic conference papers, received fellowships with The New York Times’ Ian Urbina and NPR, hosted a podcast, received scholarships and even received my current graduate assistantship, all because of Dr. Herndon’s support,” said Norsworthy. “He has truly made my time at UGA extraordinary because he is extraordinary.”

See the full UGA Amazing Student profile here.

UGA Amazing Student: Caroline Windham

Excerpts reposted from

 As a master’s degree student in emerging media, Caroline Windham is committed to connecting people through the media in a positive way and make them feel accepted.


Peachtree City, Georgia

High school:

Landmark Christian School

Current employment:

I am a graduate assistant for Dr. Keith Herndon and a master’s student in the Emerging Media Program, currently in its second year of operation and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!

Family ties to UGA:

My grandfather played basketball here in between his military service. My dad and uncle both graduated from Terry College, so I was somewhat of a traitor choosing Grady College but I’ve been forgiven. My sister is about to start her sophomore year and two cousins both transferred in this past fall. To say it lightly, UGA is definitely a family affair!

Expected graduation:

Spring 2020

Degree objective:

Emerging Media

Other degrees:

Certificate in Media Analytics

My favorite professor is …

… Dr. Keith Herndon by a landslide. He was the one who really helped and encouraged me to pursue entrepreneurship, and is also one of the kindest people I know. He truly wants his students to succeed, and has definitely found his purpose in life. *Disclaimer* I’m going to be his graduate assistant in the fall, and I promise I’m not saying this to get on his good side, just meet him and you’ll see.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?

For me, passion and purpose go hand-in-hand. Without passion your purpose becomes dull, and without purpose your passion fizzles out. I’m committed to pursuing my purpose of loving people and making them feel accepted. That’s what drives me, and I am passionate about doing that through media and connecting people. Media isn’t all bad, and I want to help people see the positivity and love available because that’s essential for a happy life.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be …

Getting to go to the National Championship game. Even though we lost, the energy was insane and truly made me proud to be a Georgia Bulldawg.

Please visit Amazing Student: Caroline Windham to view the entire Q&A about Carolines time at UGA.

UGA Amazing Student: Journalism and international affairs major Aaron Conley

The following are excerpts from an interview Aaron Conley conducted when he was chosen as a UGA Amazing Student. The complete interview can be viewed on the University of Georgia website.

Journalism and international affairs major Aaron Conley chose to attend UGA because of the research opportunities and has been involved in CURO ever since. Along with excelling in the classroom, he’s worked with three service organizations and had the opportunity to study in Italy.

“Having grown up in Athens, I was originally hesitant about going to school in my hometown,” said Conley. “Ultimately, I knew that UGA was the right choice for me because of the opportunity that the CURO Honors Scholarship provided me. I learned very early on in my time at UGA that my worries were unfounded, and that I would be able to have the greatest college experience possible here.”

In addition to his studies and CURO, Conley has also been involved with Phi Beta Kappa, the Classics Department Rome Program, UGA HEROs, Habitat for Humanity and Action Ministries.

In the interview, Conley cites journalism professor Barry Hollander as one of his favorite professors.

“Over the course of my time at UGA, I have been able to take classes from so many amazing professors,” Conley said. “If I had to choose, I would pick Barry Hollander, who has also been my research mentor throughout my entire undergraduate career. He encouraged me to pursue a topic that I was passionate about, even though it was very different from his own research, and supported and guided me every step of the way throughout its development.”

Conley plans to attend law school following graduation.

Aaron Conley complete interview.

UGA Amazing Student: journalism senior Jaylon Thompson

Jaylon Thompson, a senior majoring in digital and broadcast journalism, is living out his dream of earning his degree and sports media certificate from Grady College along with a minor in sociology. His hard work paid off with the opportunity to cover the Olympics in Rio. His goal is to inspire others to follow their dreams.

“I have two favorite professors in Vicki Michaelis and Welch Suggs,” Thompson wrote in his profile. “Both have helped me tremendously to get better as a journalist and I wouldn’t know where I would be without them. I truly grew under their guidance and they are the one of the many reasons I am standing here today. I am eternally grateful and I have so much love for them!”

Thompson has completed sports internships at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Houston Chronicle, the latter of which stemmed from his selection to the Sports Journalism Institute Class of 2015.   He is co-editor of UGA Elite, a platform for all writers on campus to grow and receive feedback. He also has worked for the Red & Black and participated in Grady Newsource.

Following graduation, Thompson hopes to work as a beat reporter for a professional sports team at a newspaper, eventually aspiring to become a sports analyst for ESPN.

“As I wind down my college career, each award from being a 2016 McGill Fellow to becoming an Olympic journalist has taught me that I can make my dreams come true,” he wrote. “It also helped me realize that my life is truly meant to inspire and I hope to continue that in the future.”

Read more about Thompson here.