Rising senior embraces the liberal arts mission, takes the lead on campus

Rising senior embraces the liberal arts mission, takes the lead on campus

Emma Parry
Emma Parry

S ome students come to college with a strict plan. They know exactly what they want to major in and what organizations and activities they want to get involved with. Others have so many things they’re interested in that they have to spend time narrowing down their options. They’re open-minded and willing to take advantage of opportunities that come their way. That’s Emma Parry.

“I came to Georgia College with lots of questions about how I want to spend my life, and I didn't necessarily answer the questions, I just came up with new questions,” said the rising senior from Griffin, Georgia. “I think that is a testament to the liberal arts mission; constantly evolving rather than adhering to one set plan.”

“I felt comfortable coming in as an undeclared major knowing that I would have the right experiences and meet the right people, and that would lead me in the right direction,” she said.

Immediately drawn to the mass communication field because of her interests in the film industry, Parry quickly found a degree in communication would also be transferable across many career fields as she progressed through the courses.

“I was able to be exposed to the kind of equipment that we would be using in the film industry while also gaining the well-rounded knowledge that you need not just for a career in the Georgia film industry but for a career in journalism or a career in public relations, which is kind of more the direction that I'm leaning in now,” she said.

Her shift to a more PR focused career developed through her service-centered heart.

“I'd like to work for a company or non-profit organization that enriches human lives,” said Parry. “If I can create content that makes people happy and open up opportunities for people in need, I will feel fulfilled in my work.”

Parry and her GEM Cohort from 2019-2020.
Parry and her GEM Cohort from 2019-2020.

Ever curious, Parry hasn’t stopped with just her major. She also minoring in French languages and cultures, as well as English.

“Even in my senior year, I'm still appreciating the liberal arts mission where I can be multi-disciplined and learn about things that I would not normally learn about,” said Parry.

In fact, the liberal arts mission and her involvement outside the classroom in Leadership Programs actually helped guide her to her French minor.

“I got to go on a leadership study abroad program to Strasbourg for the GC Intercultural Leadership Study Abroad Program with the CEPA Foundation,” said Parry. “I went to France for the study abroad program and just fell in love with the French language. I knew I already liked it, but the immersive experiences I had and the appreciation I gained for French and European institutions of leadership solidified my decision to pursue a French minor.”

Aside from landing on her minor, Leadership Programs has had a major impact on her college experience. Through the programs, she’s built relationships and found mentors that have introduced her to many new opportunities.

She refers to connecting with Dr. Harold Mock, director of Leadership Programs, as “by far one of the most important things that I had cultivated my freshman year.”

“Dr. Mock appointed me to his leadership cabinet, which is a panel of students from all disciplines around the university to help guide leadership programs in a direction that we want to see in the next four or five years,” said Parry. “That felt quite empowering to me.”

“Dr. Mock also asked me to come on as the strategic communications coordinator for Leadership Programs. That's what I've been doing for the past year,” she said. “And I'm doing it again this year.”

In her work, she not only communicates how important leadership education is to future communities, but also helps her colleagues re-define what it means to be a leader at GC and beyond.

“I believe our society invests too much importance in having a title. Often, the best, most influential leaders are not known or publicized,” said Parry. “My mission is to praise these people for their effort.”

She’s also participated in several Leadership Programs over the last few years.

“Leadership Programs changed my life because, when I got to Georgia College, I wasn't really very confident in myself as a leader, or as a person,” said Parry.

“It instilled in me the value of finding the things outside of my education and my work that I feel passionate about. That's one core thing that has changed the way I feel about my career direction, and that has come from Leadership Programs. I want to feel like my work is meaningful and like I'm not just working nine-to-five. I want to leave a place better than when I got there.”
-Emma Parry

She’s put that mantra to use in her volunteer service as a student. Last year, she was president of Bobcat Media Productions, the student-run film and digital media production company—where she helped rebrand the group as Bobcat Studios and foster more community partnerships. During her time at Georgia College, Parry has also been extensively involved in her sorority Delta Gamma, worked with the Resident Student Association and served on the Student Government Association.

This year, Parry will serve as the PR coordinator for the student organization Swipe Out Hunger and as vice president of GC’s Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society. All this while being a member of Georgia College’s Honors College and continuing her work with Leadership Programs.

She’s grateful for all the experiences she’s had and for those who’ve helped guide and assist her during her time at Georgia College.

“Ashley Copeland, who is the assistant director of leadership programs, has been a fantastic mentor,” said Parry. “Dr. Christina Smith, Dr. Steven Elliot-Gower and Professor Amanda Respess — they are definitely my professor ‘shout outs.’ Professor Angela Criscoe has also been so supportive of me.”

For new students, she encourages them to be open-minded and free to explore their options during their time in college, just like she was.

“I was not afraid to try out new things and to change my major or minor, and that was really because of my experience when I first got here. So many people said ‘don't be afraid to change your major.’ Study what you enjoy,’” said Parry. “Try to harness those skills that you can transfer between careers because your career, it's going to evolve.”