March 13, 2008
A fourth-generation Bulldog, Abby Blaylock stays busy. In 2006, she became involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Georgia Chapter and served as the community walk coordinator for the Athens walk, organizing the first walk in Athens in seven years and raising $20,000 with 150 walkers. In 2007, she served as the community walk coordinator again and organized 300 participants to raise more than $35,000. She has received the Public Relations Student Society of America/Jackson Spalding Outstanding Senior Member Award for her contributions to PRSSA over the past three years. She was among 100 UGA students to be recognized in the 2007 and 2008 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She attended the 2006 Grady College Cannes Film Festival Study Abroad Program, where she spent four weeks in the summer on the French Riviera going to the festival and writing film reviews about the movies that she saw. When she returned to UGA from France, she worked at the Fanning Institute of Leadership’s Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership as their public relations intern. In her last semester at the university, she is leading a team of five Grady College students that is creating and executing a public relations campaign for the Safe Kids Buckle Up program as part of PRSSA’s National Bateman Case Study Competition. She is a dual major in public relations and marketing, and she is pursuing an undergraduate certificate in leadership from the Institute for Leadership Advancement.
A.B.J. in public relations and a B.B.A. in marketing with a certificate in leadership
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I have tried to make the most of my time at UGA. I joined the Public Relations Student Society of America, and I served on several committees. I became the assistant director of Creative Consultants, UGA’s student-run public relations firm, in my sophomore year and the president in my junior year. I also served as the communications chair on the Residential Hall Association’s Myers Community Council, where I lived, and I worked on the media committee for Dance Marathon. I received a Grady College academic scholarship to apply to my junior year tuition, and I was awarded the Katherine Murphy scholarship for a UGA-sponsored study abroad program. I am in the Honors program, and for the past three years I have either been named a Presidential Scholar or earned Dean’s List distinction. This year, I am a Grady Ambassador, representing the Grady College at several college-sponsored events, where I interact with alumni, donors and prospective students, and I serve as the coordinator of Walk MS: Athens 2008. I am also the chairman of Bulldogs for the Brain Train, a student organization advocating for the proposed commuter rail line from Athens to Atlanta.
Lassiter High School
This semester, I am interning with Jackson Spalding, a full-service image creation, cultivation and communications firm that has offices in Atlanta and Athens. In my short time with the company, I’ve already learned so much about how to be a better strategic thinker, writer and researcher.
Last fall, I interned with Sliced Bread Co., a boutique marketing communications firm here in Athens, and last summer, I had an internship with Coca-Cola North America in the Public Affairs and Communications department. I have always loved the Coca-Cola brand, and from the moment I found out two years ago about the highly competitive internship that is only offered to one Grady College student in his/her junior year, I set my mind to being the 2007 summer intern.
Family Ties to UGA:
My family has been a part of UGA for the past 100 years. My great grandfather, George W. Bagley II, attended the University in the early 1900’s to go to pharmacy school, and my grandfather attended the University in 1949 on the G.I. Bill. My parents also attended UGA together in the late 70’s after spending their childhood going to the football games between the hedges on Saturdays in the fall. My mother graduated in 1980 with a degree in early-childhood education. My father graduated in 1981 with a business degree, and when he decided to change careers in his early 40’s, he went back to UGA in 2000 to earn a master’s degree in business education. Many other people in my family attended UGA including my grandmother, who was one of the first Georgettes for the Redcoat Marching Band; my great aunt, who lived on the same floor of Myers Hall as I did in my freshman year; and several great uncles and cousins.
I chose to attend UGA because...
...I could never imagine a better university to attend. I’ve always known that I wanted to attend UGA. While growing up, I attended the football games, wearing my Bulldog cheerleading uniform, and I was immediately hooked to the enthusiastic spirit and great tradition here. The scholastic rigor was another attraction. When I was in high school, I figured out that I wanted to pursue a career in public relations, and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, having one of the top PR programs in the country, was the perfect match.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...to grab a cup of chai tea from Jittery Joe’s to keep me warm during classes in the SLC, to sit and read at Herty Field on a warm spring day, to walk to my 8 a.m. class when the campus is so peaceful and quiet, to tailgate with my family and friends on the Myers Quad on game days, to work out at Ramsey, and of course, to cheer on my Bulldogs between the hedges.
When I have free time, I like...
...to work out, to take hot power yoga classes, to spend the afternoon at Barnes & Noble browsing every section of the store, to find a really good book and get so absorbed in it that it’s finished in a matter of a couple of days, to go to Cookies & Creamery with my roommates for special “cookie bowls,” to take a trip to the outlet malls in Commerce for great sales at Banana Republic, to go the dollar theater behind the Georgia Square Mall with friends, and to bake lots of goodies with my roommates.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...sneak up to the top floor of the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France, during the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, which I attended as part of my study abroad program through the Grady College. My roommate and I had some time to kill between movie premieres, so we decided to see if we could get up to the top floor of the hotel where all of the penthouse apartments were located. Rumor on the street was that Elton John was staying there for the festival and was having a party that night. Unfortunately, we didn’t find Elton, but we found his suite, Uma Thurman’s and Sean Connery’s, and we even found a CD dropped in front of a suite door that had a note on it written by Heather McCartney (now Mills). Now that I think about it, my entire study abroad trip to the festival was one of the craziest experiences of my life. Begging for tickets to attend the world premiere of The Da Vinci Code (which I did attend). Walking the red carpet almost every night. Watching movie premieres with Penelope Cruz, the Rock, Kate Blanchett and other celebrities. Attending yacht parties. Talking with Roger Ebert about his career in the film industry as a film critic. My study abroad experience opened my eyes to the world of film and exposed me to the behind-the-scenes of the entertainment industry. It’s really not as glamorous as the media leads us to believe, yet it is still such a fascinating world.
My favorite place to study is...
...Panera Bread on Atlanta Highway. It’s not your typical study place, but I love the quiet atmosphere and free Wi-Fi. The classical music that the restaurant plays keeps me relaxed while studying, and the delicious bakery satisfies my sweet tooth. It also helps that it’s less than a mile from my apartment!
My favorite professor is...
...Betty Jones. I first met Professor Jones during my freshman year when I chose her as my Honors faculty mentor. She took me under her wing and opened up many doors for me in the Public Relations Student Society of America and on campus. She is the faculty advisor for PRSSA, and I have worked very closely with her over the past three years, especially last year when I served as the chapter’s president. Dr. Jones was also my professor for a graphic communications class, which was one of my favorite classes so far. Dr. Jones is more than a professor or faculty advisor; she is a wonderful mentor and dear friend. She is a warm, loving soul, and I am grateful to have her in my life.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...Grandma Carole. My grandmother passed away at only 62 years old on the day before I started my junior year of high school. I was never able to give my grandmother a proper goodbye. The morning after spending a summer evening with my family and her, she was unexpectedly rushed to the hospital for what we learned was a ruptured small intestine caused by a huge tumor on her colon. The next two weeks were some of the hardest times of my life. She never regained consciousness, so I was never able to have a conversation with her. Grandma Carole was a beautiful, thoughtful and smart woman. She wore her heart on her sleeve and spent much of her late life helping those with mental illnesses in Dalton, Ga., where she lived. I know she is watching down on me from Heaven, but more than anything, I would love to hear her voice and give her a hug.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...win Project Runway, a reality TV show to find the hottest new fashion designer, and then I would open a clothing boutique in Los Angeles. Project Runway is one of my favorite shows, and I think it would be fascinating to be on it. I don’t know how to make a pattern, sew a dress or draw sketches, but I love fashion, creativity, imagination and eclectic people like the ones on Project Runway. If I knew I wouldn’t fail, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to expand my horizons into the world of fashion.
After graduation, I plan to...
...pursue a career in the public relations industry doing integrated marketing communications for consumer goods clients in Atlanta. I would love to live in Midtown near Piedmont Park, one of my favorite parts of the city.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...doing the “Goooo Dawgs” cheer at freshman orientation on the steps at Tate Plaza. At that distinct moment—with my parents watching me—I felt like I was officially the fourth-generation of my family to be a student here. I will always remember this moment because it was the starting point for all of the unforgettable experiences that I’ve had as a Georgia Bulldog.