Amazing Students

Eric Jones

UGA Senior Eric Jones is passionate about a career in broadcast journalism, thanks to the many collegiate experiences he has had while at the university. This Vidalia, Georgia native has studied abroad in France during the Cannes Film Festival, participated in the Washington Semester Program in which he interned for First Lady Michelle Obama, served as an intern for Good Morning America in New York, worked in the UGA Visitor Center and served as president of a leading campus organization.

Hometown:

Vidalia, Georgia

High School:

Vidalia Comprehensive High School

Degree objective:

A.B.J. in digital and broadcast journalism/; A.B. in political science

Expected graduation:

May 2012

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

In the summer of 2010, I studied abroad in Cannes, France for the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the most prestigious film festival in the world and learn exactly how to write film reviews and market feature productions. It was the experience of a lifetime. I met and took a picture with Helen Mirren, saw many remarkable films, made my way on a yacht and made real, lifelong friends. I even traveled to Paris for a weekend to attend the French Open tennis tournament and see such tourist attractions as the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

From January 10 to May 6, 2011, I was a White House intern in the Office of First Lady’s Correspondence, where I ensured that those who wrote Mrs. Michelle Obama received timely and appropriate responses. I was able to meet and talk to the First Lady towards the end of my internship, and she is amazing! Never in a million years would I have thought that I would make it from the small town of Vidalia, Ga., all the way to the White House to help support the first African American President and his administration. Being a White House intern was an experience I was privileged and honored to have. Don DeMaria and the spring 2011 Washington Semester Program made this experience possible. WSP allowed me to take classes and gain credit for my major(s) while living and working in Washington, D.C. The program requires that each participant have an internship, and mine happened to be at the White House.

This summer, I lived and worked in New York as an International Radio and Television Society, or IRTS fellow. The IRTS Summer Fellowship Program is an all-expense paid fellowship, which helps students interested in media, television, radio and more with an internship. I was extremely fortunate to be accepted as an intern for ABC’s Good Morning America. It was a phenomenal opportunity to learn the insides of the chaotic world of morning television. I worked in the booking department, where I pitched stories to senior producers on a daily basis, worked in the Times Square studio, booked guests for the show and even freelance produced a little on my own as an overnight producer.

On campus, I’ve always been heavily involved with the University of Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. It’s my favorite organization on campus. NABJ has been crucial in my development as a journalist and campus leader. I was on the internal affairs committee my freshman year, rose to vice president my sophomore year and president my junior year. Under my tenure as president and with the hard work of our chapter, executive board and our advisor, Ms. Sharon Shannon, we were recently recognized as the NABJ Student Chapter of the Year.

Current Employment:

I have the best job on campus working as a tour guide at the UGA Visitors Center, also known as “the happiest place on campus”! I’ve worked at the “VC” ever since my sophomore year. I cannot tell you how great it feels putting on that red polo shirt and sharing my experiences and perspective on the university to prospective students and parents. Working for and with the best representatives the university has to offer makes it even better.

Family Ties to UGA:

I’m actually the first Bulldog in my family, but many of my relatives have definitely become Bulldogs at heart! They sometimes feel more passionately about a big football win or loss than I do.

I chose to attend UGA because…

I knew that I wanted to go to school not too far away from home, but not close enough to come home every weekend. As a Georgia native, I always heard so much about UGA and how great of a school it is, but I really fell in love with UGA during my campus tour and orientation. It’s a big school with a small town feel that allows students to get involved in a variety of activities and gain tremendous experiences. These have been the best four years of my life!

My favorite things to do on campus are…

stopping by the Tate Student Center and Tate Plaza. Where else can you study, hang out and catch up with friends, grab lunch, go to the ATM, see what your student organizations are doing and watch $1 movies all at the same place?

I also enjoy walking around the Arch on North Campus. Students don’t walk under the Arch until after graduation, but it’s interesting to me how you can literally see and feel how low the steps around the Arch are due to the imprint of thousands of students keeping the tradition alive.

The craziest thing I've done is…

I would definitely have to say working the Beyonce concert in July for Good Morning America’s Summer Concert Series in Central Park. It was complete pandemonium. Security workers there estimated that close to 5,000 screaming fans were there to see her perform some of her hits. And that’s not even mentioning the people lined up alongside 5th Avenue. Even though it was a crazy morning, getting to see Beyonce live and up close was awesome.

My favorite place to study is…

I know this may be atypical, but I mostly study in my room at my apartment. For some reason, studying while watching my favorite television shows, eating a snack, and lying on the bed has turned out to be successful for me. When I’m on campus, my favorite study spot would be the Center for Student Organizations office downstairs at Tate. Not much traffic is down there, so it’s easy to find a relatively quite place at the table or at one of my organization’s cubicles to get ready for a big test or exam.

My favorite professor is…

sort of a tie amongst a few. There is no way I could pick only one because a few have made an indelible mark on my undergraduate experience. I will never forget Diane Batts-Morrow and her African American studies class; she provided me with such a rich understanding of my history, my people and my culture, and for that I will be forever grateful. My White House internship experience would have never been possible without the guidance, leadership and encouragement of my two favorite political science professors Jamie Carson and Anthony Madonna. I owe them so much. Finally, David Hazinski—who taught me broadcast news reporting. As hilarious as he is, he knows the news industry. I really didn’t know how much I learned from him until I interned with GMA and already felt like I had a good grasp on storytelling and what makes good television. I thank them all for everything.

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

Oprah Winfrey. I know many people would say that, but she has been a trailblazer in media.  The success of the empire she created will probably never be replicated by anyone else. I would love to talk to her and learn more about what motivates, drives and inspires her.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

be a professional tennis player. Anyone who knows me would vouch that I am the biggest tennis fan out there. I began playing very late (by tennis standards) when I was 13 years old, but somehow became good enough at it to play number two singles throughout high school. I love Venus and Serena Williams and would jump at the chance to dominate on the court like they do.

After graduation, I plan to…

pursue a career as an entertainment host and/or lifestyle anchor for a nationally syndicated show or network. But before that, I plan on working as a general assignment reporter for a local television station in a small market in the country. My summer internship experience at Good Morning America confirmed that I have to be a part of this industry.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

begging for tickets at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Nothing can humble you more than being all dressed up in your fancy suit while begging for a ticket to get into the premiere of Robin Hood and see stars Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. My fellow Study Abroad friends and I were treated like celebrities, as tourists would come by to take pictures with us and interview us for foreign television shows. Fun times indeed!

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