Former Georgia Sea Grant communications graduate assistant Lacey Avery returned to the University of Georgia on October 6 to mentor students interested in pursuing careers at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Avery worked with Georgia Sea Grant from 2011-2013, while she pursued a master’s degree from UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a focus in health and medical journalism. She now works as a health communications specialist in the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP).

“Working with Georgia Sea Grant was truly a valuable experience,” Avery said. “The position gave me the opportunity to grow as a professional, work with an excellent communications team and learn from real-world experience while expanding my portfolio.”

Avery joined the CDC in 2013 as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow, and now works as a contractor. She manages communication projects and develops materials on healthcare-associated infections, antibiotic resistance and emerging infections, covering topics such as infection control and emergency response. Avery also participated in the CDC’s Ebola Outbreak Response, acting as the Joint Information Center liaison officer and team content manager for the team focused on patient safety, healthcare worker safety and healthcare training in the U.S. and West Africa.

As part of a panel presentation hosted by Grady College, Avery discussed her professional experiences working for a government agency, provided tips for career planning and networked with students. Avery’s position with Georgia Sea Grant allowed her to gain expertise in science writing and environmental communication, while developing a diverse multi-platform portfolio across social, digital and print media.

“One of my favorite projects was interviewing research scientists and shellfish farmers to write a story on oyster research in Georgia,” Avery said about her work with Georgia Sea Grant. “Consulting with experts can be intimidating so that project sharpened skills that I use every day in my current job.”

The Georgia Sea Grant Communications program typically works with between 10-13 students per year through fellowships, internships and assistantships offered by the organization.

For more information on what it is like to work at the the CDC, read this Q&A with Lacey Avery.