Mimi Ensley says she’s never had a dull moment at UGA. The Honors student is pursing a double major in English and magazines, and is an editor at The Red and Black. She’s had the opportunity to conduct academic research and to interact with nationally recognized reporters and editors, and is looking forward to career in journalism after graduation.
Dalton High School
A.B. in English, A.B.J. in Magazines, New Media Certificate
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I’ve never had a dull moment at UGA, especially since I began writing for The Red & Black, our independent student newspaper. I was a reporter for three semesters, and I now hold an editor position in the news section. Also in the journalism field, I recently became a Grady Ambassador for the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. In my junior year, I was selected to be a Ralph McGill Fellow, which allowed me to participate in a symposium about journalistic courage with experienced professionals in the field.
In the English department, I’ve completed a research project focusing on medieval romance, saint’s lives and manuscript studies. In spring 2010, I presented my research at the Institute for Women’s Studies student symposium. Also in that semester, I received the Virginia Walter Award, given to an outstanding English major.
In addition to my scholarly accomplishments, I’ve dedicated time to volunteer work at the Garnett Ridge Boys and Girls Club. As a freshman, I started coming to the club to help out with homework and to be a source of support for the kids in attendance. However, as my relationship with the kids grew stronger, I wanted to do more. I started a dance team for some of the club members, utilizing my training in ballet and jazz dance. I teach a weekly dance class in which I choreograph dance pieces and plan movement activities. My favorite aspect of the program is our showcase at the end of the year. The kids adore going on a real stage and showing off their hard work in front of a live audience.
I receive the HOPE scholarship and the Charter scholarship, and I’ve been a presidential scholar in multiple semesters. I was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in spring 2009, and I’m also in the Golden Key Honor Society.
I am the news editor at The Red & Black, and I can’t think of a more exciting and fulfilling job. Though it was intimidating at first to come up to the newsroom and express my interest in writing stories and reporting, I have since fallen in love with the organization. It’s truly exhilarating to break stories and share information with an audience of readers, and as news editor I get the opportunity to help other students hone their writing skills and develop the same love of journalism I found as a reporter. It’s a tough job that requires dedication and passion, but walking up Baxter hill everyday to put out an excellent final product will never get old.
Family Ties to UGA:
My dad graduated from UGA in 1983 with a degree in psychology. though he always talks about how much the campus has changed since he was a student, he’s never missed an opportunity to cheer on his Bulldogs. Two of my aunts also attended.
I chose to attend UGA because…
…At first I was skeptical of UGA because I thought it would swallow me whole. From an outside perspective, the campus seemed enormous. However, I went to an information session for prospective Honors students, and that changed my mind entirely. I realized that a large campus means more opportunities for involvement. With tens of thousands of students as my classmates, I was sure to find a group with similar interests and goals. Finding this niche shrinks the campus for any student. Although it sounds cliché, I’ve come to realize that there really is something for every interest at the university.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
… I love going on walks to explore the outdoor areas of the UGA campus and find quiet places to relax and read a book. The Horticulture Trial Gardens behind Snelling Dining Hall have a great little gazebo that is the perfect place to sit and read on a warm day. I also love the Founder’s Memorial Garden for some quiet time with my favorite literary voices. When I want to hang out with friends, we’ll often go to the Botanical Garden on Milledge Avenue, and we never forget to bring a camera to capture all of our fun memories.
When I have free time, I like…
…to take a yoga or Pilates class at the Ramsey Center. I’ve found that exercise is one of the best ways to unwind and recharge after a tough day. Focusing on breathing, stretching and clearing my mind through relaxation techniques during an hour-long class puts me in a great mood and gives me the energy I need.
My favorite place to study is…
…the reading room in the Miller Learning Center. I discovered this gem of a study lounge in my sophomore year, and I can’t get enough of it. As a book lover, there’s nothing like going into a room lined from wall to wall with shelves and shelves of books, sipping a cup of coffee from Jittery Joe’s and reading without the distraction of computers and cell phones. I often actually look forward to studying in this room, and I sometimes go there just to pick up a novel for the sheer joy of reading in a quiet, comfortable space.
My favorite professor is…
…Though I’ve had many great professors at UGA, I have to recognize Dr. Cynthia Camp in the English department as one of my favorites. I took her class on medieval romance in my sophomore year, and she encouraged me to expand my final project for that class into a bigger research project. She’s been my research mentor for that project and has been nothing but helpful. She’s incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgeable about her subject matter, and I would encourage any student to take her classes.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
… my great-grandmother Mimi. I was given her name, but I never got to meet her. However, I’ve heard she was a marvelous woman, and I know she was well-loved in our community. I’d enjoy being able to sit down and chat about her life and her memories. I’m sure she would have some great stories to tell about living in a small town and growing up in the South.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
…audition for the New York City Ballet. I danced for 12 years before coming to UGA, and I try to keep it up as much as possible while I’m here. However, I still miss the pure joy of dance performances. When I was in elementary school, I was fairly certain I would be the prima ballerina in a big city company. Although my life has taken a different turn, it would be incredible to fulfill that childhood fantasy.
After graduation, I plan to…
... have an adventure. Though I’m not sure exactly what that adventure will be yet, I have some ideas. I would love to travel for a year, studying and writing about the things that interest me, and I’m applying for a few scholarships to try and make that happen. The prospect of experiencing new cultures and learning about different societies is thrilling. I know I would also be happy pursuing a career in journalism and working in some sort of news media outlet. Everyone hears about how the face of the news media is permanently changing, and I don’t think anyone can predict what the news media will look like even a year in the future. However, I know I would be excited to have a job informing the public, writing about issues of importance and sparking conversations in my community. I’m confident there will always be an outlet for such work.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…having dinner with the business editor of The New York Times while listening to an R.E.M. release party going on in the same building. The Times editor is an alumnus of the Grady College and of The Red & Black, and a few reporters and editors from The Red & Black accompanied him to dinner one evening when he was in town. We talked for hours about his experiences at UGA, his time as a professional journalist, and his thoughts about our newspaper. When we pulled up to the restaurant, we discovered that R.E.M — my favorite band — was having a listening party for their newest release upstairs. That was the perfect cap to the evening. Swapping stories, eating good food and listening to my favorite songs (we could hear the party from our table downstairs) made the evening one to remember.