With a passion for sports and a love for his family and friends, Cody Nichelson, a senior public relations major, has made the most of the many opportunities that UGA has provided him.
Rockmart Comprehensive High School
A.B.J. in public relations with minors in political science and religion.
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
My first three years at the University of Georgia have given me incredible experiences. Coming from a small town with an even smaller high school, I found myself mostly searching for ways to get involved and adapt during freshman year. Like most freshmen, I had never been presented with so many opportunities for so many organizations. I had always been focused on academics, so I started there. After my first semester, I was welcomed to the Honors Program and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Another aspect of UGA that has tremendously impacted my undergraduate career is University Housing. At the conclusion of my freshman year, I was hired to become a resident assistant—a position that I still take great pride in holding. Through my job on campus, I have made some of my closest friends and greatest UGA memories.
During my junior year, I really came into my own. As a Grady student and PR major, I started looking for ways to get involved and develop both personally and professionally. I started out by interviewing—and eventually becoming selected—for a Grady Ambassador position. I also served as an account executive for UGA’s Public Relations Student Society of America’s student-run public relations firm, Creative Consultants. At the end of my junior year, I was elected PRSSA president and am leading the chapter during the 2013-2014 academic term. Finally, I was named an inaugural Koonin Scholar as part of Grady’s Koonin Scholar Fund program, founded by Turner Entertainment President Steve Koonin.
I have maintained a 4.0 GPA and been named as a Presidential Scholar every semester that I have been enrolled. I have served in internships with Six Flags, Kiwanis International and Southern Company. I have stayed involved in the community through Key Club and Kiwanis. And, most importantly, I have created lasting friendships and memories that will stay with me beyond the Arch once I graduate next spring.
During the summer, I was a corporate communication intern at Southern Company, the premier energy company of the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. I am also a third-year resident assistant for University Housing at UGA.
Family Ties to UGA:
I am a first-generation Bulldog.
I chose to attend UGA because…
I recognized, appreciated and valued the importance of quality education and understood what the University of Georgia could offer. Without ever making a visit, UGA was my first and only choice. During my senior year of high school, I completed only one college application: an application to the University of Georgia. When I received early admission in December of 2009, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, and I never even thought about completing another application. My family and I celebrated my admission and—almost immediately—sent in my commitment deposit. The beauty of Athens, the allure of the HOPE Scholarship, the shorter distance from home and the quality of education that UGA offered were just far too exceptional to pass up. Of course, being a lifelong Bulldog fan certainly played a role in the consideration. Go Dawgs!
My favorite things to do on campus are…
My favorite things to do on campus include attending football games, playing intramural tennis and spending time with close friends. There’s just simply nothing better than a fall Saturday in Athens. Growing up as a Bulldog fan, I never had the opportunity to attend a game at Sanford Stadium, so I truly appreciate the chance to join the Bulldog Nation in the student section and call the Dawgs on game day. Sports have always been one of my greatest passions, and UGA offers plenty of sporting events throughout the year. I played tennis throughout my entire high school career, but, let’s be honest, I never had the talent to play for a university (especially not UGA). However, I have played intramural tennis for several semesters during my time in Athens, and I have loved every minute of it. Lastly, Athens and UGA offer a wide variety of things to do with friends. Since being in Athens, I have made new connections and developed existing ones. Whether we’re going to a football game, watching a movie, studying in the apartment, walking around campus, making quick trips to Starbucks or eating dinner downtown, I have so valued my time with friends at UGA, and I will never forget the memories we have made together.
When I have free time, I like…
One of the things I like to do when I have free time is watch sports. Sports are my primary means of entertainment. I would say 80 percent of the time, my television is tuned to ESPN, a Braves game, a Falcons game or a Bulldogs game. I’m a sports addict and have been since I was very young. I do also enjoy watching great movies and television.
I also enjoy making my own films. Two of my closest friends went to film school, so there’s always something to film or at least talk about filming. For the past year or so, I’ve been doing event videography, particularly weddings. In high school, I took video of all of the sporting events. It’s just something I like to do for fun.
I also am involved in the community. I serve as a member of Kiwanis and as an adult adviser to the Georgia Key Club board of trustees. Key Club is a student-led high school service organization. The board is made up of about 25 student leaders from throughout the state. I do my best to help guide them in their decision-making, stand by them and service and help to develop them as people and as leaders.
Lastly, but most importantly, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. My family holds me together. They support me in all that I do, and I could not be more grateful for their love. When I’m with my closest friends, I know I will always have a good time. God has truly blessed me with an unbelievably loving family and group of friends, and I truly enjoy every minute I spend with them.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
During my first week as a student at UGA, I took the Family Housing bus. No explanation necessary.
My favorite place to study is…
My favorite place to study is my apartment. I typically find myself studying in the late afternoon and into the late hours of the night or early morning hours. For that reason, it’s good to be comfortable and be able to easily crawl into bed once I am done.
My favorite professor is…
Choosing my favorite professor is not easy. This is especially tough because I study three separate areas (PR, political science and religion).
PR: My favorite PR professor is Betty Jones. To no one’s surprise, Dr. Jones is a popular choice among many Grady students. To her students, Dr. Jones is a teacher, a mentor, a counselor, an advocate, an adviser, a leader and a friend. No teacher, professor or university official that I have encountered cares more about students than does Betty Jones. She’s always in your corner, always by your side.
Religion: My favorite religion professor is Rouslan Elistratov. There’s a reason why I have taken three of the four courses he teaches at UGA. Dr. Elistratov (more widely known simply as Dr. E) has taught me so much about the world and has challenged me to think in ways and about things that never really came to mind before.
Political science: My favorite political science professor is Jamie Carson. Dr. Carson is such a dynamic, brilliant professor who truly enjoys teaching his students, researching and learning. He invests so much time into his classes and the field of political science. Dr. Carson’s classes are always engaging and insightful.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
Hands down, if I could share an afternoon with anyone it would be my nanny. Kind of cliché to pick a relative who has passed away, I know, but to be honest, there’s simply no one else I’d rather spend time with. Growing up, I spent many afternoons with her, and I loved every minute of it. No other human being has made such a significant impact on the person I am today—my personality, my outlook on life, my work ethic, my family values and my purpose—as she did. I miss her every second of every day. While her love and her heart are carried with me each and every moment, I would love to spend another afternoon with her.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
If I knew there was no chance of failure, I would run for president of the United States. Honestly, I have little to no ambition to run for president, mainly because of the negative politics that are involved with it. But throughout my life, I’ve had numerous people tell me that I would make a good president. I would not mind giving it a shot. Plus, I think I could do some pretty good things for the country. After all, it wouldn’t hurt having a UGA alumnus in the White House.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
If money was not an issue, I would love to take my family on a world tour vacation. We have a house. We have cars. We have so many material items. But my mom has always had a desire to travel. The one thing holding us back is money—the money it costs to travel and the money we would lose from not staying at home and working. If money were no issue at all, I would take my family all around the world—New York, California, Australia, Brazil, Barcelona, Europe, China, South Africa and more.
After graduation, I plan to…
When I graduate, I plan to find a job in sports PR, establish my career, find a home and start my own family. Have fun, love and enjoy the journey.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
The one UGA experience I will always remember is the 2010 UGA vs. Georgia Tech football game. For that game, I was invited to sit in the president’s suite by President Adams. During the game, I was fortunate to meet Falcons’ owner and co-founder of Home Depot Arthur Blank, former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and current Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. It was an unforgettable experience. Also worth mentioning: The undergraduate Class of 2014 has never experienced a loss to Georgia Tech.