Student Spotlight: Janat Batra

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Name: Janat Batra

Major: Literature, Media, and Communication (threads: Media and Communication)

Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2022

Hometown: Peachtree Corners

Favorite class: tie between Documentary Film (LMC 3258) and Communicating Science/Tech (LMC 3412)

Favorite professor: John Thornton

Internships/clubs: CNN The Row Intern (Spring 2022), Dow Jones News Fund Digital Media Intern (Summer 2021) – International Center for Journalists Communications Intern (Summer 2021), Ivan Allen Freshman Research Intern (Freshman year), Gideon’s Promise Intern (Summer 2018)

Other Jobs: Communications Assistant for College of Engineering (2020-2021)

Clubs – The Technique (current Editor-in-Chief), Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority (President 2019-2020) and Multicultural Penhellenic President (2020-2021), Student Coordinator of Asian American Journalists Association (Atlanta chapter), Sikh Students of Atlanta


Why did you choose to study media and communication at Georgia Tech?

I originally wanted to attend a traditional journalism school, but I wasn’t 100% sure about journalism as a senior in high school. I knew I had to stay in state for at least my undergraduate degree, so when I was comparing programs, LMC seemed really unique in the different threads it offered and I was also drawn to possibly doing Computational Media because of my interest in design. I ended up loving the classes LMC had to offer (and discovered I hate coding) so I never switched to CM!


What’s the coolest research/project/initiative/event you’ve worked on in LMC?

Some of the coolest projects I’ve worked on as an LMC student have been in my film production courses with Thornton. When I took Documentary Film, our final project was to highlight Black owned businesses in the Atlanta area, and my group got to create our own short documentary on Bombchel, a boutique in Ponce City Market owned by a Tech alumna. It was really challenging producing a whole film from scratch and we ran into a lot of obstacles, but the end product was worth it.


How does a degree from LMC contribute to your life plans?

I’ve done my fair share of exploring the different threads within LMC. I started studying Communication and Social Justice, then switched Social Justice to Design, and ultimately landed on Media in my last year. Throughout each of these threads, I was really able to hone in on my writing, designing, and video skills and use that as an advantage not only on campus (as a part of The Technique and writing for the College of Engineering) but also in my internships outside of class.


What has been your biggest challenge at Georgia Tech, and how did you overcome it?

I immediately overwhelmed myself with extracurriculars as a freshman. I felt like I had so much time compared to my high school schedule that I absolutely had to fill it, but it took me that first year to realize that I had to prioritize certain things over others and that if I wanted to try something new, I had to do it in college otherwise I might not ever pursue it. One example is The Technique – I knew I was interested in writing, but I wasn’t very active in it my first year because I was so busy with other organizations. Once I decided to drop some extracurriculars going into my second year, I went back to The Technique and began writing more until I eventually joined the staff, and now I’m the Editor-in-Chief three years later.


What is the biggest change you see in yourself now from when you started at Georgia Tech?

I’m definitely more confident in what I want to do moving forward and ways I can get there. I was always interested in the idea of journalism since high school, but never entirely sure if I wanted to, or even could, pursue it full time. Entering a really big STEM school with no journalism program didn’t help me gain any confidence as my peers seemed to excel in their classes and go on to earn internships with really cool companies early on in college while I was still deciding which direction I wanted to go in. I later realized that even though I wasn’t attending a traditional journalism school, everything I was learning in my LMC classes and my extracurriculars was applicable to real life and I had to be willing to learn outside of the classroom no matter what school I was attending or program I was in.


What is your greatest achievement since coming to Georgia Tech?

Seeing all of the different organizations I’m in evolve and grow into something bigger than I could have imagined! It’s been so fulfilling to see how the organizations I’m in have changed over the past four years, and I feel like I can confidently say that I’ve helped make some of the changes and met members who make those orgs stronger and better everyday.


What’s your favorite spot on campus and why?

I love the Harrison Square and Tech Tower area in the evening, right when the sun is setting. Before Inspire apartments were built, there was an amazing view of downtown when you went down the Tech Tower stairs, and I would look at it every evening walking back to North Avenue during my second year.


What has been your favorite/most memorable moment in LMC? (This does not have to be academic, it could be connecting with a professor, working on a research project, volunteer work, etc.)

When I was working as a Freshman Research Intern during my first year, I was assigned Dr. David Young as my faculty advisor. I had never met him prior to that, and it was also his first year at Tech, so I was a bit unsure how to approach meeting with a faculty member on a regular basis. Our weekly meetings ended up being one of my favorite parts of that year – he not only offered great guidance on my research topic, but also my career and personal goals, and I truly felt like I had a mentor I could turn to if I ever needed a sounding board or support.


What advice would you give to incoming students in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication?

Try anything and everything, but don’t stick with it all! Explore all the classes, threads, extracurriculars, etc. that you want while you’re in college, but don’t feel like you owe it to anyone to stay in them if you can’t balance it all. One of the cool things about LMC is how diverse the program is, so no matter what you pursue, you’ll gain good exposure to all of the different facets of LMC and you’ll definitely feel like you’ve gained hard and soft skills to rely on after graduating!


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