By Jordan Beach
Since graduating from Reinhardt in 2017 with a communication degree in digital film and video, Justin Hawkins has worked with major broadcasting studios, such as Georgia Public Broadcasting and Turner Broadcasting. His hard work during his time at Reinhardt – including work-study in video for marketing and athletics – was the foundation to his contributions on an Emmy win.
Currently, Hawkins works full-time as a studio technician apprentice with Turner Broadcasting. He also has worked as a camera utility on GPB’s “Paternity Court,” which earned a Daytime Emmy this year and earned Hawkins a Contribution Certificate.
“Getting this certificate means the world me,” said Hawkins. “It is very rare that people get to work on a TV set, let alone work on a TV set and play a role in it winning a Daytime Emmy. It forces me to realize that working hard at what you do, no matter what it is, will always pay off at some point in the future.”
While his time at Turner has just started, Hawkins has already worked on a variety of networks and projects, such as NBA TV, TNT, E-League, the World Arm Wrestling League and two game shows: “Paid Off” and “Street Smarts.” Hawkins’ biggest career goal is to retire with Turner.
“That’s all I want to do, to just continue growing and gaining all the experience and knowledge that I can. I’m always reminded that not many people have the opportunity to get a job in their field fresh out of college.”
Hawkins contributes his work ethic to Reinhardt University’s challenging, yet supportive environment.
“I would say Reinhardt was a big help in getting me here due to the fact that it was always a grind. It was a grind to make it to the end goal of getting my degree. I can’t take all of the credit, there were a lot of people that had a major impact on me while I was there that I would not have had the pleasure of meeting if I didn’t go to Reinhardt.”
His senior year felt especially challenging, between 18 credit hours of courses, wrestling practices, internships and running an internet stream, but several people on campus helped him finish strong. Hawkins referenced Coach Jeff Bedard, head wrestling coach, saying he taught him how to be tough and not give up at wrestling practices, and that “if it wasn’t for those wrestling practices and getting roughed up,” he wouldn’t be as tough or hard working.
Another person who contributed to his mindset is Erika Neldner, director of marketing, who he called his “school mom,” and said she never let him lose focus and always kept him in check. Hawkins also worked with Huitt Rabel, the digital media specialist during Hawkins’ time as a student, who taught him everything he knows about video.
“If it wasn’t for Huitt having the faith in me to run the whole internet stream, I don’t think I would be here today.”