AdPR Student Spotlight: Connor Siegel

Connor Siegel
Connor Siegel is a third year public relations major from Marietta, Ga.
What encouraged you to apply to Grady College?
I was encouraged to apply to Grady College because of the male/female ratio (just kidding). Public relations had always sparked my interest. I love the focus on maintaining image and building this brand that people can become passionate about. I wanted to ignite fires in people’s hearts and have them partner with something or someone in building big dreams. Grady College has this pristine reputation and places high emphasis on bringing in keynote speakers to really develop our classroom learning experiences.
What activities are you involved in at Grady College, UGA and around Athens?
I’ve been blessed with a bunch of opportunities to get involved at UGA. I really wanted to experience all facets of The University of Georgia. My freshman year I got my feet wet with a lot of different organizations, and then as each year passed, I narrowed down where to spend my time most effectively by putting 100% of my heart into what I’m most passionate about. I was able to represent the Class of 2016 through SGA Freshman Programs as a Freshman Board Representative. I continued this role into my sophomore year as I served Franklin College as a student senator and University Council student voter. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with UGA HEROs my freshman and sophomore years as I served as a team leader.

I believe that The University of Georgia has given me so much, taught me many invaluable lessons, so I wanted an opportunity to pour back into my peers. My sophomore year I was selected to serve East Campus Village as a resident assistant. Although I was not in a traditional residence hall, I had an incredible experience serving our student athletes and learning more about the hard work they put in daily.

The most fruitful organization that I have had the honor to serve in is my experience with UGA Miracle, which is home to 64 families that have had children whose lives have been radically improved at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This year we raised more than $683,000 for the children through Dance Marathon. It was not only an honor to serve as a fundraising committee lead for Dance Marathon, but it was a privilege to be able to be a part of something much larger than myself. Approximately 1,500 college students united for one cause, stood for 24 hours straight, and danced the night away in honor for the kids who can’t stand. I’ve learned so much about myself this year and have a true glimpse of what selfless leadership truly looks like. 

What kinds of internships or work have you been involved in, and what were your main responsibilities?
I have had a couple of really great experiences. Last spring, I interned as a marketing intern with USA CRITS/Athens Twilight bike race. I gained a lot of experience in social media integration, social media marketing, interviewing racers and entertainment, escorting media and journalist, and creating creative campaigns in order to spark interest in Athens. The second internship I had was through a Summer Discipleship Project program in Myrtle Beach through my church here in Athens. I was employed for the summer at Salsaritas Fresh Cantina and initially began as a cook. After my boss learned about my passion for public relations, she challenged me to create a media event spotlighting the restaurant's new products. I worked with local news channels, did taste tests at the local pier, and created a 200-person eating contest that was actually featured on the news! She further used me for business-to-business marketing approaches to promote the restaurant's new catering menu. This allowed me to go to various local businesses and give them a short presentation along with our special cheese dip and salsas.
What part of your Grady experience has been helpful in your internship or work experiences?
I love how every single class has extreme relevance in the workforce. The most incredible part of the Grady experience are the professors. Each professor goes to the ends of this earth to make sure his or her students are successful. Dr. Reber went out of his way to perfect two of my projects that I wanted to use as an interview piece for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Ms. Smith took initiative and spent countless time learning what drives people to their core. She was one of the professors that showed me that each individual matters in a workplace. Our professors are a lot of the times untapped resources, and they are more than willing to provide wisdom and mentoring if simply asked. Each experience in class has given me great talking points when applying for internships.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing the AdPR program? 
Be yourself. You were created to be who you were supposed to be. Comparison is the biggest stealer of joy. When you pursue a degree in the advertising and public relations field, you are entering a job force that is highly competitive and full of world-changers. Remember that each company, each position is looking for their best fit to serve in that particular capacity. Never compare yourself to any counterpart.

What are your career goals and interests?
My dream is to work in non-profit public relations. I would love to serve as a senior public relations coordinator for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or Dance Marathon for the rest of my life. My big picture goal is to change the schema for what PR truly is. I want to play an integral role of transitioning public relations from a manipulation, dishonest and shifting the blame/frame position to one that is focused upon integrity, transparency, vulnerability and love as our forefront of every action. I believe that public relations should serve the consumer and connect the consumer’s dream to the company’s dream. We all dream big dreams; it’s time that professionals in the public relations world help those dreams become a reality.

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