Amazing Students

Avia Meadows

Avia Meadows, a senior majoring in public relations, has led a team to produce a national conference, interned at major corporations and still has time to produce a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog.

Hometown:

Marietta, Ga.

High School:

Kennesaw Mountain High School

Degree objective:

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (public relations)

Expected graduation:

May 2016

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I cannot be more thankful for the experiences I have had while in college. Each has been a true blessing. Stepping onto campus my freshman year, I would never guess the number of opportunities that have been awarded to me.

My freshman year I joined the Public Relations Student Society of America. I had the opportunity to meet and hear from so many public relations professionals in Atlanta. PRSSA has served as a great entree into the public relations industry. I have learned so much and realized this is the industry I want to be in after graduation.

The summer after my freshman year I had the opportunity to work as an event planning assistant to the volunteer services manager at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. I had the opportunity to help plan the annual Christmas in July event for the hospital and the Atlanta Braves organization.

My sophomore year I decided to take a more active role in PRSSA so I joined the event planning committee and PRSSA awarded me the Member of the Year Award. I also worked as a public relations intern at Bloomingdale’s at Lenox Square. I assisted the public relations manager in putting together press materials and I helped in executing in-store fashion shows and the Cosmetic Trend Show.

During my junior year, I was asked to lead the UGA bid for the PRSSA chapter at Grady College to host the PRSSA 2015 Atlanta National Conference in Atlanta. I led a team of six PRSSA members in creating a proposal over 40 pages and presented the proposal to the PRSSA national board in Washington, D.C., at the 2014 conference.

We won the bid and planned and executed the PRSSA 2015 National Conference in Atlanta. The National Conference took place in November and was the third largest National Conference in attendance to date for the organization. We had over 1,400 attendees and secured over $35,000 in sponsorships. We recruited professional speakers from major corporations and public relation firms to speak on relevant topics within the public relations industry. During my junior year, my PRSSA chapter presented me an Award of Excellence and a Spirit of PRSSA Award. I was also recognized on Arik Hanson’s blog as a PR Rock Star.

The summer after my junior year I was the public affairs and communications intern for Coca-Cola North America, and that internship alone changed my life. It really opened up my eyes to the public relations industry in a corporate setting. It was also a blast helping to generate positive publicity and perception of one of the world’s most recognized brands. I worked specifically on the Share a Coke campaign for Classic Coke and the Obey Your Thirst campaign for Sprite. I was responsible for creating press materials such as press releases, talking points, media lists, company statements and I assisted in planning events and branded activations.

I am so thankful for all of my experiences so far, and it has been such a blessing. I am excited about what the future holds for me.

Family Ties to UGA:

My mother and father both attended North Carolina A&T State University. I am the first in my family to attend the University of Georgia. After becoming enrolled at UGA it has been fun to watch my entire family bleed red and black.

I chose to attend UGA because…

One of my high school friends had an older sister who attended UGA. She invited both of us up for a long weekend. She was the perfect host. She gave us a tour of campus and downtown Athens. She gave me a really good understanding of what life would be like here at UGA. After I left that weekend, I could not imagine attending any other school but UGA. My family and I came back to UGA a few months later for an official tour of the campus. I told my parents that this was the only place I wanted to be and I declared that I would be attending UGA after I graduated high school.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

In between classes, I love meeting up with friends for coffee or for a quick lunch at Tate or Bulldog Café. There are so many social areas on campus that are just fun to meet with friends and catch up.

When I have free time, I like…

I recently started a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog. My blog gives me a chance to talk about topics that I love and interest me. It has been so much fun getting to learn the backside of websites, SEO and to see how everything comes together. I enjoy teaching myself different applications and techniques on the computer or reading other blogs to help me better my own. As fun as it is to talk about fashion, beauty and lifestyle, it has also been a huge learning experience when it comes to building websites.

My favorite place to study is…

I like to study in a variety of places. However, it really depends on the time of day and how much I need to get done. During the day, I find myself being really productive on the fourth floor of Grady College. It’s so easy to grab a table, plug in my headphones and dive into my to-do list. I love how the floor is not too quiet and has a good flow of traffic from the classes on the floor. If I have a huge test ahead of me, I enjoyed organizing a group of classmates together and spending the night at MLC. It has a great group study environment. We usually order food and spend the whole night quizzing each other and asking questions. My last favorite place to study would also have to be my bed. I try not to get too cozy, but it is nice being only a few steps away from my fridge.

My favorite professor is…

With no hesitation, Betty Jones was my favorite professor at UGA. She was my graphic design professor my junior year and was also the PRSSA faculty adviser during my first three years. I have never met a more caring individual. Dr. Jones has introduced me to countless public relations professionals as she cares about my future in the industry. I always thought it was so amazing that she cared about my personal life as well. The numerous lunches and emails to check in and see how I was doing meant so much. I’ve missed seeing her around Grady as she retired my senior year, but she is always in touch and I am so appreciative of her.

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

Sharing an afternoon with Judy Smith would be so exciting. I love watching the TV show “Scandal.” When I found out that it was based on a real woman who works in the public relations industry, I became very fascinated with her. I would love to learn more about her career and her contributions to the show.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

I now know that some failures can lead to success. So, I’m not as scared as I once was to fail at something because I know that sometimes doors will have to close before the right doors can open up. Though it’s weird to say and even harder to endure, sometimes failures excite me. I learned that at the end of the day and I grow as a person because of it.

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

… travel the world. There are so many places around the world that I would love to visit and experience their cultures. I would like to start in Europe, as I have never been.

After graduation, I plan to…

It’s insane to think that my college career is almost over. I’ve really enjoyed my time here at UGA so far. I hope to stay in Atlanta after graduation and work in public relations. There are several PR agencies in the city that I would love to work for. I hope I can really define my craft in public relations and learn so much from the different accounts that I’ll be working on. I also plan on spending a great deal of time on my blog and watching that grow.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

There have been so many experiences that I have had at UGA that I will always remember. There are so many stories about long nights on campus and fun Athens explorations with my friends. However, the one experience that still gives me chills to this day was the LSU game in 2013. I think a lot of people would say that was an experience that they will never forget. The energy was so high in the stadium that night and the game was so close. It was a great feeling to be a part of the Bulldog Nation. It is funny how this is the one experience at UGA that I will never forget, but it is also the one experience that is so hard to put into words. You just had to be between the hedges that night to understand the feeling.

Published Sunday,