Letter from the Editor: Thank yous


Audrey Johnson, Editor-In-Chief

As graduation approaches and I reflect on my time at UNA, I feel honored to have made impactful relationships that made my college experience so special. If you know any of these people, consider yourself lucky. Here are my thank you notes: 

First, thank you to Maria Kerstiens–the reason I chose to come to UNA. On the hottest September afternoon, you settled all my nerves, answered all my questions and gave me a glimpse into my future. Without your kindness, gentleness and patience, I surely would have chosen to go to college somewhere else. Thank you for being the best tour guide (from LaGrange and beyond!) and bringing me to UNA.

Thank you Dr. Vince Brewton for welcoming me once I got here. You were like my college dad–wisdom I turned to constantly freshman year (especially) and beyond. It has been such a joy to watch the Cole Honors College grow during my time in it. And obviously, thank you also to Ms. Laura. You deserve all the credit in the world, and I hope you know how noticed, appreciated and well respected you are. 

Though no longer at UNA, I would be remiss to not thank Tyler Thompson for his impact on me. Tyler, thank you for letting my cry in your office dozens of times. Thank you for challenging me professionally and making me laugh often. I have missed you tremendously in the year you have been gone. 

In terms of professors, I feel so lucky to have learned from some of the greatest. Dr. Stephanie Montgomery, thank you for being the reason I am a Communication major. Though it certainly took me a while to land where I am, I use what I learned in your classes daily. You are an incredibly kind, patient heart, and I still look up to you. 

Dr. Marie Taylor, aside from completely transforming the way I think about literature, objects and (most significantly!) the Puritans, you are so incredibly cool and fun to be around. I adore you and your classes. You are so down to earth and wickedly smart. Thank you for changing the way I think for the better. 

Dr. Ansley Quiros–where do I even begin. Thank you for everything ever: advice, my thesis, book recommendations, just a good ‘ole conversation. In the classroom, you are second to none. As a person, I’m tempted to say the same. I look forward to watching your career (and then bragging that I learned from you). I am so lucky to have been your advisee. You are the kind of woman I want to be. 

Other women on campus I am grateful for include Dr. Andrea Hunt. Man, is UNA lucky to have you. Thank you for all your guidance through tough situations, calling it like it is and standing up for what is right. You inspire me. Also, thank you Laci Lake for being a pillar of support to me.

Off campus, Lindsey Holt and Michelle Winkle of Singing River Dentistry, thank you for being the best people to work with in the world. Seeing you both each day lights me up with joy, and I feel truly blessed to have both of you in my corner at such an important time in my life. 

Miranda Bergh, also of SRD fame and other acclaim, thank you for being my family away from my family and making me laugh through things I should definitely not be laughing about. You are one cool chick, and I am so happy to know you.

Ms. Sarah, thank you for being my personal career counselor and my travel buddy. Thank you for sharing your expertise with me, and finding Baby Baby in that tree. 

Colby! Thank you for making me laugh all the time. Thank you for always making my problems feel smaller than they are. Thank you for being the only person who I want to burst my bubble when my head gets too big. Thank you for always telling me when I’m being an asshole. And, by extension, thank you Emma for being so supportive and an incredible listener. I never wanted a sister until I met you. 

Thank you Ellen McDonald–oh my god, thank you Ellen. How I did anything without you on speed dial, I do not know. I am so proud of how much you’ve grown. Thank you for being my best friend and one of the smartest, deeply grooved brains I know. 

Thank you Carson Brite for always knowing exactly what to say, for being my editor, my confidant and so much more. You have made me smarter, tougher and better. You challenge me to be my best. I am lucky to have you in my life. 

Thank you Dad for all of your encouraging words and giving the best hugs. Thank you for taking care of Mom, Colby and me our whole lives. I wake up everyday feeling so lucky to have you as my dad. I love you so much, and I am so grateful to be a Johnson. 

Thank you Mom for always answering my phone calls and always having my back. Thank you for always sending me back to Florence with a car full of food. You are a great mom, and I’m grateful I could lean on you so much these past four years. Thank you (most) for reminding me to never let the bastards get me down and believing in me even when I doubt myself. I love you so much. 

In terms of student media, thank you to the entire Flor-Ala staff for a wonderful semester. Watching you all grow has been a tremendous joy. Thank you also to the past staffs of The Flor-Ala and Flow. Making the paper and the magazine with such wonderful people has been one of the highlights of my college career. 

Thank you, deeply, to the women who entrusted me to tell their stories in the past ten months. I think about you all daily and remain deeply honored and humbled you all shared your most vulnerable moments with me.

Thank you Ashley Remkus for walking through stories with me, helping me navigate tough challenges and being wonderful listening ears. I am so grateful for the relationship we’ve developed and tremendously grateful for all of your help. You are a total badass, and I want to be like you when I grow up.   

Finally, thank you deeply to College Media Association award winning student media adviser Dr. Justin Bergh. Thank you for changing the course of my life for the better and for encouraging me to hold those in power to account, question everything and always stand up for what is right. Thank you for all of your time, energy and support in developing the award winning Flow with Gabe Rhoden and me. Some of my favorite memories are working on stories with the two of you. Thank you for challenging me as a reporter, supporting me as a professor and being an incredible mentor. I am lucky to have learned from the best–you.