Media and Leadership Academy Teaches Real World Skills to Students


By Bridget Frame

The Media and Leadership Academy is a one-week camp held at the University of Georgia by the Grady College. It is attended by students from all over the nation, who are pursuing different forms of communication studies. The students join one of four mass communication tracks: entertainment, broadcast journalism, advertising and public relations, and website journalism.

As Scholastic Outreach Coordinator at Grady, Stephanie Moreno is the director of the Media and Leadership Academy. “The Media and Leadership Academy is one of our biggest outreach programs,” says Moreno.

The outreach is effective, with students coming from states across the U.S. This year’s group is especially diverse, with around 60 students. The program has sparked an interest among these students. “This brings together students from all over the country, from all different life experiences and programs, and that’s what makes it so unique,” Moreno says.

The public relations and advertising track is filled with students wishing to explore what it takes to work in the field. The students are taught by Tom Cullen who says he was “impressed with this groups ability to be flexible to anything I’ve asked of them. They’ve achieved what I would expect of Major students on the AD/PR track.”

The students have worked on creating social media and a PR campaign for a local charity. Spencer Bullard says he chose the PR and Advertising program because he “wants to pursue it in Grady college in the fall.” He will be attending as a rising freshman.  

Maggie Hynes says her favorite part of the program “was visiting an agency. It was nice to see what a real job would look like in PR.”

The group visited the Jackson-Spalding Agency to see how a PR firm functioned.

Paige Cotter says “my favorite part about the program was Professor Tom. He’s done a great job of explaining the Ad and PR side of the world.”

The journalism broadcast track is a lively group. They have been producing a 20-minute newscast and done both behind the camera work and live camera work. Amber Jones, a student in the track, said “I want to pursue this track because it is a good opportunity to get closer to something I want to do.”

Michael Howard has goals for his future as well. “I picked the track because my dream to be a sports broadcaster…I hope this program will help me get there,” he said.

Chloe Franklin says, “I liked recording and going out to film stuff and learning how to put everything together and editing it.”

Many students in the summer program expressed an interest in sports journalism. “My favorite part of this week so far is learning about all the things that actually go on in broadcast journalism, also it’s corny, but the friends I made here, because everyone is really nice,” Sydney Smith said.

The entertainment track created a video project for this week.

Kelsey Henderson says, “I would say my favorite part was our first day of class specifically. We watched a lot of trailers and we reviewed them and gave our own perspective and it was good to hear everybody’s different perspective and be in a room of people with common interests.” The tracks enable students to work on a specified subject with others who share an interest in that subject.

AJ Dodd says “my favorite part was making a commercial. I like that because it gave a taste of what we’re doing now in entertainment and it taught me how to better interact and work with a group.” The campers in the program participated in various projects and worked individually and collaboratively to complete them.

The website journalism track produced The Greatest Gazette ( and wrote and reported several journalistic stories and opinion pieces.

“I like this program a lot because it helps me get more experience,” Aryanna Russell says.

“The class really taught me a lot. I learned different techniques on how to write articles which was really beneficial because I haven’t had much experience with it before,” Jenna Lo says.

During the evening, students participate in various activities throughout the week, including an escape room and bowling. This social aspect has brought campers together to form close bonds. “My favorite part of this week has been getting to meet a bunch of new people and make lots of new friends because that is one of my favorite things to do,” Paul Miller, Jr. says.  

Another social aspect that benefits students is simply living in the dorms, eating in the dining hall and getting to live like a college student for a week. “My favorite part was experiencing the college part of it,” Hunter Rensink says. “It’s kinda like a little taste test of college and hanging out with everybody, experiencing, and getting to know a lot about what’s coming up in the future ahead of me.”

The week in which the Media and Leadership Academy has taken place has been filled with friendship and hard work. Students have worked tirelessly all week to create their projects. They have seen what a college experience is like. The bonds formed here are strong as well as the exciting memories made.