Class of 2021: Mass communication major raises social justice awareness through passion for journalism

Class of 2021: Mass communication major raises social justice awareness through passion for journalism

Ava Leone

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Augusta, GA where I attended Davidson Fine Arts Magnet school. Growing up here shaped my love for culture and the arts. Dr. Brian Newsome, head of the Honors College, also attended DFA, and Dr. Harold Mock, head of Leadership Programs, is from Augusta. They are wonderful people and worth getting to know. 

Do you have a minor?
I have an English minor and apply many of the storytelling techniques I have learned in my English classes to my journalistic style. 

Ava Leone
Ava Leone

What have you enjoyed most about being a mass communication major?
I absolutely love meeting new people. There is something magical about meeting a person for the first time and creating lasting connections! 

Favorite course and professor/mentor at GC?
My favorite professor at GC is Dr. James Schiffman. I took two courses with him, Comparative International Media Systems and GC360, both of which changed the trajectory of my life.

In CIMS, I was assigned to follow the news in India over the course of the semester and learned so much about the issues in the country, like air pollution and poverty, which is one reason why I am so passionate about media now; I want to spread awareness. I was able to apply that passion locally when working with GC360, the television news station. The classes were intense but so worth the work. Dr. Schiffman is one of the most genuine, charismatic professors I have ever met. I am so grateful for his dedication to students, and I will carry his leadership and editing philosophies with me for the rest of my life.

Leone (right) and Emma Parry tabling for Swipe Out Hunger
Leone (right) and Emma Parry tabling for Swipe Out Hunger

How have you grown as a student and person during your time at GC?
I came to GC undeclared and didn't really have a plan. I surrounded myself with passionate, driven people, which inspired me to get involved on campus, and from there, I was able to lean into my passion for communication. I can honestly say at the beginning of college, I didn't think I would be doing any of the things I do now, but I am happy I took chances to jump at opportunities as they presented themselves. 

Any advice for incoming freshman?
It's okay to take care of yourself! In all honesty, I lost a lot of family members throughout my time at GC and it was tough, but I definitely did not take the time to care for myself like I should have, and that not only impacted me but also those around me. Self-care is not just face masks and mimosas, it’s doing things you don't want to do, like laundry and tidying up, because they are good for you. 

Favorite spot on campus?
I absolutely love setting out a blanket under the big oak tree on front campus! So beautiful! 

What are your plans once you graduate?
I currently don't have any solid plans, but I have a strong desire to work with nonprofits, especially in Atlanta or Philadelphia. I just want my career to be fulfilling! Right now, I am choosing between working with AmeriCorps or as a reporter!