Adam Shumaker earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Georgia State University in 2003. He participated in the Freshman Community Plunge to beginning his freshman year which turned out to be a pivotal moment in Adam’s life. Although his entire family was historically from Atlanta, Adam was the first generation to grow up in the suburbs. Georgia State University’s Freshman Community Plunge began Adam’s journey of community service by introducing him to a diverse student body with more diverse viewpoints and perspectives on life.
Civic Engagement was instrumental in teaching Adam about community service and what it truly means to live in a community where people know and care about their neighbors. After experiencing isolation in the suburbs, Adam found a much richer life through community service projects, neighborhood clean-ups and getting to know his neighbors in Downtown Atlanta. Community service provided Adam with opportunities to come together in a unified purpose with people of all backgrounds and cultures. Adam’s years of service led him to truly enjoy the diversity of life and expand his horizons beyond his inner circle.
During his time at Georgia State, Adam shot his first news story for GSTV which led to an internship and subsequent seventeen-year career at CNN. For five years Adam divided his time between class and working freelance projects at CNN. This created a rich learning experience since Adam learned things in class that could be applied immediately in his field while his classes provided him with a more complete understanding of many field experiences. After graduating, Adam continued to live Downtown right next to Georgia State’s campus and finally had time to enjoy the benefits including shows at the Rialto and the School of Music.
Although Adam lived near Georgia State after graduating, he did not have much involvement with neighbors in the Old Fourth Ward until Kwanza Hall engaged him to document the positive changes that were happening through the Year of Boulevard initiative. Kwanza’s primary message through this was that “we can build buildings all we want, but if we don’t build people, we will never have the community we all desire.” Working on the video got Adam out of his “downtown bubble” and enabled him to meet many neighbors in the Old Fourth Ward. This further built on his initial community experiences from his time at Georgia State. It also changed Adam’s thinking about redeveloping neighborhoods and made him realize that living in a redeveloped neighborhood comes with a civic responsibility to help others around us, especially long-time residents. He believes that it is much more rewarding to live in a community that works together to use our resources to lift everyone around us. Working with Kwanza taught Adam about real struggles that people deal with, which changed how he thinks about the solutions typically applied in society. Though this experience, Adam now walks through streets of Old Fourth Ward with a stronger sense of understanding and community where he had previously just been passing through on his way in and out of Downtown.
Today, Adam and his wife continue to call Downtown Atlanta their home. After seventeen years at CNN, Adam recently re-entered the freelance world in order to use his skills to promote a better urban quality of life. He is currently self-employed and creates photo, video and social media marketing content for MARTA, Central Atlanta Progress, Midtown Alliance, and even Kwanza Hall’s campaign for mayor. Adam loves working with clients to promote walkable living and transportation options. He is also the person behind MARTA’s Instagram account: @MARTA_Explorer where you can follow Adam and his wife on car-free adventures throughout Atlanta.
Adam is grateful that Georgia State brought him back to the city where much of his family history exists. His time at Georgia State connected him with career opportunities, introduced him to city living and enhanced his connection to the community, neighbors and fellow citizens. Adam attributes his lifestyle and career to Georgia State for bringing him into an urban campus surrounded by internships and job opportunities. We are so thankful for Adam’s heart for the Atlanta community and we cannot wait to see what else is in store for him.