The NMI is home to the Spark Awards which are graciously funded by an anonymous donor’s support. Students are chosen annually from eight departments within Franklin College and the New Media Institute.

The Spark Award provides funding for out-of-classroom learning and opens doors for students to pursue new experiences. Spark students use their funding for academic research and projects that spark their passion, motivation, and desire to do something great in the world.

Spark in the NMI

While every Spark project varies, a group of Emerging Media Masters students are leveraging the funds to travel the state to produce a podcast exploring the relationship between the state of Georgia and the university that lives within the heart of it — Georgia On Your Mind.

Now in its second season, each episode dives a unique topic where the University of Georgia is making an immense impact in the community, state, and beyond. Season 1 explores a series of industries where the state of Georgia excels, highlighting the many ways the University of Georgia acts as a major contributor to that success. Joined by industry experts from both the state perspective and UGA perspective each week, GOYM provides a well-rounded glimpse into the ways Georgia stands out as a multifaceted powerhouse.

Season 2 pushes Beyond the Hedges introducing listeners to lesser-known people and programs doing incredible things at UGA – not only for the university, but for the state of Georgia and beyond. Each episode offers exclusive, in-depth perspectives through conversations with those directly involved in the advancement of Georgia’s excellence.

Read more and tune in at!

Season One Team

Bailey Pelletier

Berkley Chandler

Erin Riney

Season Two Team

Beau Wallace

Isabella Aranda

Kelly Corder

Want to Help Light the Spark?

Georgia On Your Mind is one of many examples of how the Spark Awards enable students to expand their academic pursuits beyond the classroom, pursuing research and projects that spark their passion to do something great in the world. If you’re interested in contributing to the mission, all donations are welcomed and appreciated, and if you have creative ideas of future Spark initiatives, please reach out at