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AU Partners with MWWPR to Increase PR Diversity

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Pallavi Kumar/Michael Kempner
Pallavi Kumar (BA, SOC 1994), assistant professor and director of the Public Communication Division at the American University School of Communication; Michael Kempner (BS, SOC 1981), founder and CEO of MWWPR

MWWPR, one of the world's leading independent integrated public relations firms, today announced a partnership with American University's School of Communication (SOC) to launch a summer fellows program aimed at increasing diversity in the PR industry.

The goal of the partnership is to build a pipeline of diverse talent through the design of a hands-on, agency-based learning environment that will encourage more young professionals, particularly people of color, to consider public relations as a career choice.

"One of the most critical issues currently facing the PR industry is the lack of diversity - particularly ethnic diversity - in talent pools at all levels," says Michael W. Kempner, founder and CEO of MWWPR and an American University alum.

"Through our partnership with American University, we are looking to build a truly integrated team of individuals with unique cultural backgrounds, skill sets, and experiences that will contribute to the future success of our agency and the industry at-large."

The seven-week paid fellowship will seek up to eight candidates from historically underrepresented groups who have a desire to work in public relations, communications, social and digital media, content development, design, video editing and data analytics. Working in partnership with MWWPR, the fellows will conceptualize and build their own agency, receiving the opportunity to implement work on behalf of actual clients. At the end of the program, fellows will have the opportunity to pursue additional employment opportunities at MWWPR.

"This partnership with MWWPR will allow our students the chance to immerse themselves in the work and culture of the MWWPR DC offices this summer, which will provide them with real-world experience that will be an advantage to them as they embark on their communication careers," says Pallavi Kumar, director of the school's Public Communication division.

"It also reflects the willingness of private organizations to work with higher education institutions to tackle important issues head on and prepare a diverse talent pool for the increasingly competitive and ever-changing world of strategic communication," adds SOC Dean Jeff Rutenbeck.