Senior Debbie Ebalobo is a first generation college student who is making the most of her college experience. She came to UGA to study environmental sciences, but she quickly found a public relations major more aligned with her goals. Now, she has completed six internships in her field and serves as president of the largest student organization in the Grady College: the Public Relations Student Society of America. She was also a resident assistant in the Myers community and is a member of Delta Phi Lambda sorority, the only Asian-interest sorority at UGA. Twice she was one of ten national recipients of a scholarship for minority students studying public relations from the Lagrant Foundation. After graduation, she plans to work in a PR agency or a corporation. Eventually, she wants to go to graduate school and complete a Ph.D. in public relations and become a professor.
Masinloc, Zambales, Philippines
Madison County High School
A.B.J. in public relations with a certificate in new media and a minor in comparative literature
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I originally came to UGA to study environmental sciences, but after I arrived and started taking classes, I found a better fit in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Soon after I changed my major to public relations, I was selected as a Grady Ambassador, which allowed me to become a liaison between Grady and all of its constituents. During my sophomore year, I became R.A. in the Myers community and I joined Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, the only Asian-interest sorority recognized under Greek Life. During my junior year, I founded the Grady Diversity Student Committee to promote diversity within communications. I also served as the president of the Asian American Student Association, where I helped increased membership by 500%. I also received a national scholarship from the Lagrant Foundation for minority students pursuing degrees in PR. Even though there are only 10 undergraduate students chosen nationally, I was fortunate enough to receive it twice. During my senior year, I was one of four people chosen nationally for the coveted Butterfinger FUNternship. I had the opportunity to meet superstars like Seth Green and Jimmy Fallon, and at the end of it, I received a year’s supply of Butterfinger candy! I have completed more than six internships, and I am now the president of the largest student organization in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, the Public Relations Student Society of America.
I currently have three jobs. I work at the Tate Center Information Desk where I help everyone who has a question about the University of Georgia. I also work for Butterfinger as the social media intern. I help promote Butterfinger through social media like Twitter and Facebook. Along with these two jobs, I also work as the communications intern at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, where I help with press releases, multimedia, etc. related to the Grady College.
Family Ties to UGA:
I am a first generation college student. My parents and I moved to the United States when I was in middle school. Hopefully, my children will attend UGA.
I chose to attend UGA because…
…UGA provided opportunity to grow, to excel and to learn. Originally, I began in a College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences program to increase minorities in the sciences, but because of the opportunities at UGA, I found an alternate calling in communications. When I first began my search for a college, I was afraid to attend UGA because I thought it was too large. However, I have to say, in the end, it is what made me stay. I have experienced so many things that have made me a better student, professional and person. I have learned about my culture, and I have learned new perspectives about cultures different from my own! The wide variety of academic majors gave me many choices and helped me to develop my independence.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
…attend seminars and lectures. I know it sound may sound nerdy, but there are so many interesting workshops and seminars to attend from panel discussions on interracial dating to study abroad opportunities. I love being able to learn about so many things. Moreover, I often get to meet really neat people.
When I have free time, I like…
…to take photographs. I have a fancy DSLR camera, and I am in love with taking pictures of everything from the Arch to my friends to everything in between. I have a blast capturing moments in time. I also love to write. I have so many notebooks that are full of my thoughts. It’s fun going back in time to see what you thought about life when you were younger. I also love to read. I am reading a book a week for a year and blogging about it.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
…quitting meat cold turkey (pun intended). After getting ill from eating beef, a friend of mine dared me to become vegetarian right then, and I said yes. Years later, I am still a vegetarian, and I am so glad I made this healthy choice for myself, for animals and for our planet.
My favorite place to study is…
…Memorial Hall. It is not as crowded as the Miller Learning Center or the Tate Center, but its close enough to grab a wrap or coffee from those places. Additionally, Memorial Hall has so much history. I love walking around Memorial Hall and learning something new.
My favorite professor is…
…Kaye Sweetser. I remember walking into class and being petrified. I was so scared, but she taught me to be confident. I saw what academic study really meant—it is not about knowing all the answers, but it is about preparing and learning. I strive to be challenged now. I love learning. I don’t fear not knowing. Now, I love it because I know it is an opportunity for me to grow.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
…Corazon Aquino. She was the president of the Philippines after her husband was assassinated. She changed my home country. I want to speak to her because she was a strong female Filipino leader. I look up to her. Through adversity and though she was a minority, she was a strong role model. I am not sure if I could change a country, but she makes me feel like I can.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
…write an inspirational narrative about my father. I want his narrative to be as great as his life. I look up to my dad and I want my dad’s story to inspire others. I do not know much about his past because he is the most humble person, and he never speaks about his accomplishments, but I know that his life is an amazing life.
After graduation, I plan to…
…work at a major PR agency or a corporate entity. However, my ultimate goal is to teach. I hope to go back to school to receive a Ph.D. in public relations so that I can one day teach PR at UGA. I want to be able to research how new media like mobile technology influences politics in third world nations like the Philippines.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…orientation. I did not know what college was going to be like because I am a first generation college student, but orientation gave me a taste of the pride associated with being a Georgia Bulldawg! I remember calling the Dawgs at the steps of Tate, and I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I knew at that moment that UGA was going to be a fabulous ride.