Certificate Program Highlights

By Delaney Padgett

While choosing a minor or certificate can be overwhelming, the endless wisdom and opportunities that arise from these programs are truly so rewarding. I had the pleasure of speaking with Anna Ruth Riggins, Meghan Pontius and Flanigen Phillips about their respective experiences within their programs. Riggins is a fourth-year in the sports media certificate, Pontius is a fourth-year in the music business certificate and Phillips is a second-year in the political communications certificate. Check out what these Grady students have been up to in their programs and beyond.

Anna Ruth Riggins:

What opportunities have you had inside the sports media certificate program?

Riggins at the Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia.

I did a play-by-play live broadcast for the Clarke Central Football team, which was awesome considering I am a woman in a male-dominated industry. Then, this past summer, a group of us went to Sydney, Australia to cover the Women’s World Cup. We wrote for the Associated Press, and some of my articles were published for Fox Sports and NBC News. While I had never been pushed so much out of my comfort zone, we truly made the most unforgettable memories together.

What additional exposure have you gotten beyond the certificate?

Through my internship with Dawg Nation, I have covered Georgia Football, and have also written postseason features for UGA Softball, Golf and Tennis. Additionally, I have written feature stories for the UGA Football players through an outlet called Dawg Post. Currently, I serve as the Assistant Director of Social Media for the football team, while also being president of the Association of Women in Sports Media.  Everyone has really taken a chance on me, and I am so appreciative of the practice that I have gotten through these amazing opportunities.

Meghan Pontius:

How have your advertising/public relations skills helped you in the music industry?

My advertising classes and experiences in Grady have given me the framework for how I approach my work in the music industry. My advertising major has taught me about the marketing world while also exposing me to opportunities in the PR world. Additionally, being an advertising major with PR experience gives me a competitive edge in the interviewing process, as I am able to take creative approaches that distinguish myself from other applicants.  Ultimately, Grady has given me the foundation for success within the music industry.

What experience have you gotten in the advertising field?

I interned for Baby Robot Media, an independent promotion and publicity company, where I did research, client reports, social media posting and artist campaigns. Later on, I was a marketing intern for Strolling Bones, where I continued doing advertising and social media. Currently, I am a college marketing and events representative for Warner Music University, where I host events and promote artists via content creation. I am also a publicist for two local bands: Recess Party and Mars Hill.  My responsibilities include social media marketing, electronic press kits, radio promotion, press campaigns, brand development and PR/advertising consulting. Lastly, I started a business called Pandamonium Promotion and Publicity which researches creative ways to promote smaller artists!  My skills from Grady and the certificate program have played a huge role in these opportunities. 

Flanigen Phillips:

What does your day to day look like within the political communications certificate?

We learn about advocacy writing, opposition management and technical skills like writing press releases and letters to the editor.  Speakers like communication directors, lobbyists and press secretaries also visit each class to share their job experiences, and I am already using their pointers in my everyday life and future career endeavors.

How has your experience in the program been so far?

Through this program, I can combine my interpersonal communication writing and skills into something that contributes towards progress within our country.  While I have always been interested in politics, this certificate has affirmed that I want to pursue the political communications field as a career.  Everyone here has made me feel welcomed and seen, and I have had the best experience so far.