Elizabeth Howard, a senior majoring in public relations, says “UGA offers more opportunities than a single student can take advantage of in four years,” but she has taken advantage of her opportunities and will be working in her “dream job” after graduation.
Peachtree City, Ga.
Starr’s Mill High School
B.A. in public relations, communication studies
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
If you would have asked my freshman self if I thought I would be where I am today, the answer would definitely be no. During my freshman year, I started an event planning internship with Michele Turner at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education and her wedding planning business, Consultants Unlimited. I truly credit this internship and Michele for propelling me into the public relations field.
As a sophomore, I spent a year writing for The Red and Black in the news department, as well as working for Taste of Athens as the event facilitation intern. During this time, I became more involved with the on-campus philanthropical group Shop with a Bulldawg. The organization plans a yearly holiday event to provide a shopping experience for kindergarten through fifth-grade students who are in need around the Athens community.
During my junior year, I was selected to be the event planning director for Shop with a Bulldawg and I had the privilege of planning the largest event the organization has seen with over 1,200 attendees. I also dove headfirst into the Public Relations Student Society of America here at the university. I was selected to attend the Washington, D.C., agency tour where I was able to spend a week at our nation’s capital learning about the world of public relations and pursuing potential employment opportunities. I ended my junior year by receiving a summer internship at The Reynolds Group, a boutique public relations firm that specializes in the food and hospitality industry. My summer internship taught me so much about who I am and what I value in the workplace. It made me truly think about my life in 10 years and where I saw myself. It was a wonderful learning experience.
Rolling into senior year, I was selected to be the executive director for Shop with a Bulldawg and the treasurer for PRSSA. Serving on two different executive boards has provided a multifaceted perspective on working with people and fostering leadership among a variety of people. I received the Award of Excellence from PRSSA in the fall semester.
I cannot be more thankful for the opportunities and experiences that have led me to the place I am today, and I look forward to this last semester adding just a little bit more to my story.
Family Ties to UGA:
I was born bleeding red and black. My mom, grandparents, aunts and uncles all graduated from UGA, so my roots run deep. I was the little girl in the cheerleader uniform with the diaper sticking out my bloomers. I looked at other universities, but at the end of the day this place has always been my home.
I chose to attend UGA because…
Other than the fact that I would have been disowned if I went to a school that wore any other color besides red, UGA offers more opportunities than a single student can take advantage of in four years, and that is what makes this place so beautiful. I could give you the standard freshman statement of “I came here because they have a good program for my major, and I heard the dining hall food is really good,” but I think it’s better to say why I chose to stay at UGA. At the start of freshman year people tell you that this will be the greatest four years of your life, and I have no doubt in my mind that these past four years have been so great because I attend the greatest university in the nation. There is a place for each and every person on campus. If you’re into anime, we have a club for that. If you’re into insurance, we’ve got a society for that. If you’re into philanthropies, we have tons of organizations for that. You will find a place here, and that place will become your family. You meet incredible people, you live for Saturdays between the hedges, you spend too much money on coffee and you make the greatest memories that will last a lifetime. The University of Georgia embraces new freshmen with open arms and at the end of four years, this university says goodbye to the newest leaders of tomorrow.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
UGA is crawling with incredible history and stories, and I’ve found that my favorite times on campus have come when I’ve stopped rushing from classes to meetings to another class, and truly just taken in what this place has to offer. Have you ever stopped on Sanford Bridge at dusk and watched the sun go down over Sanford Stadium? Have you ever walked through the Latin American Ethnobotanical Garden during the spring when the flowers are freshly blooming? Have you ever rolled around on Herty Field with your best friends? You need to. This university campus creates a story in each one of us that holds so much meaning. It’s these little memories that make up my favorite things to do on campus, which will one day contribute to my story.
When I have free time, I like…
I love coffee, or better yet, I live because of coffee. When I have free time, I try to fill it with a good friend and a good cup of coffee. There are so many great places in Athens to grab coffee that I can never settle on just one. There’s something very comforting about catching up with someone after a long week and reconnecting over a steaming cup of black nectar. I also really enjoy spending time in the mountains, camping and hiking. When I was younger, my parents would drag me camping, but now I really enjoy stepping away from things, unplugging and taking in the glorious natural scenery you can’t find in my apartment complex.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
The craziest thing I’ve done is travel across Spain by myself. During the summer of my junior year, I decided that it was time for me to see the world. I had never been out of the country, so instead of taking baby steps, I dove in headfirst and boarded a flight to Barcelona with one piece of luggage and a notebook. In one week, I saw the cathedrals of Barcelona, drank the wine in Seville, jumped off a castle wall in Cadiz with my best friend, rode a camel in Morocco, chowed down on churros y chocolate in Madrid, was unexpectedly rerouted to Detroit and then kissed the ground when I landed at Hartsfield-Jackson. It sounds silly to say, but I was a changed person when I came back. Travel changes you and it’s always for the better.
My favorite place to study is…
Is it unprofessional if I say my bed? I wish there was a really cool artsy coffee shop that I hang out at and the waitress knows my order as soon as I walk in, but unfortunately I don’t. I’ve always found that I enjoy people watching more than studying, so public places are a nightmare for my attention span. However, on the bright side, since I study in my room, I can take power naps in between flash cards and reading chapters. Plus, Easy Mac and a Diet Coke are only a few steps away. This could be the definition of lazy or the very definition of great multi-tasking.
My favorite professor is…
My favorite professor is Betty Jones. Dr. Jones was my graphic design professor, she is the adviser for the Public Relations Student Society, and she is everyone’s biggest encourager. I’ve always said that she is like my public relations mom. I believe the greatest professors at this university are the professors that equip their students with tools to succeed in the real world. Dr. Jones will do anything to help her students land their dream jobs, and she cares about our personal lives too. She takes us out to lunch and asks us how we are doing, and really means it. I’ve never met a more caring professor and woman. She taught me to take risks, and she pushes me to be the best public relations student I can be. She wants each of us to succeed as if we were her children. When she retires at the end of this year, UGA is going to miss this loving face in the halls of Grady.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
If I could share an afternoon with anyone it would be, without a doubt, Maya Angelou. She has been a role model and inspiration to me since my early days in high school. She was a woman who was hurt physically, emotionally and mentally as a child to the point where she refused to speak because she believed her words caused the pain in her life. A woman, who was once mute, is now one of the most celebrated writers and speakers in history. Her pieces inspire people to fight for the life they want, for social equality and to live life to the fullest. Angelou built others up because she knew what it was like to be down, and that is philosophy worthy of emulating. I had the privilege to hear her speak at UGA my sophomore year, and she sat on stage and wove her conversations in and out of her written pieces. My favorite quote from her is, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” That would surely be an afternoon well spent.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
I think having the attitude of not doing something because I could potentially fail is the wrong way to look at life. If we continue to look at failure as a negative outcome, we won’t take the risks to be great. It takes guts to take a risk and fail, but the real success comes from taking your failure, standing back up and trying all over again. We are constantly confronted with situations and opportunities that we can either take or turn down, and if I had turned down everything when I thought I might fail, I would not be the person I am today. I love the person that I am, because I had to fight through my failures, as well as my success, to become this person. If we never failed, we would never know how our hard work could turn into fulfilling success.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
… take a few years and travel. Every time I leave Georgia, or even just drive a few miles outside of town, I am reminded that there is so much more to learn, and you can’t find any of that knowledge in a textbook. There’s no way to grasp the vast estate of Versailles or the expanse of the Egyptian pyramids by just looking at my travel board on Pinterest. When I visited Morocco, I remember tasting the camel cheese (I would not recommend), the camel dung that ruined my favorite pair of pink TOMS, and the cute little man that ran out of his shop to give me a scarf that matched my outfit. I know it’s cliché to say but travel really is the only thing that you can buy that can make you richer, so if money wasn’t a consideration I can only imagine the experiences I could document.
After graduation, I plan to…
… move to Washington, D.C., to work for Lockheed Martin in its Communications Leadership Development Program. I will be working on internal communication within the company and external communication on Lockheed Martin programs. While I’m not working, I plan to take advantage of the amazing brunch places around D.C., because a great weekend always starts with a late brunch and a good cup of coffee. Landing my dream job in one of my favorite cities makes me extremely excited to begin this next chapter in my life.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
… will be the 2013 UGA vs. LSU football game. I’ve grown up coming to games and was a devoted student attendee, but never in the history of games between the hedges have I felt electricity in the stands like I did that day. Between my 90,000 closest friends and myself, that stadium literally shook with the cheers. No one sat down that day and the red pompoms never stopped waving. I had no voice by the end of the game, but just like most people, with the 44-41 win, a smile was all I needed. Sanford Stadium is a place that gets into your heart and stays there, just like this game will forever be in my memory as the greatest Bulldog performance I have ever witnessed.