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At SOC3 Your Course IS Your Internship And It’s Paid!

AU SOC professor and SOC3 founder, Pallavi Kumar, and Isis Amusa, the current SOC3 Creative Strategist, speak to Media in the Mix.

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Special Guests Pallavi Kumar and Isis Amusa

On a recent episode of SOC’s Media in the Mix podcast, host Grace Ibrahim was joined by professor and SOC3 founder, Pallavi Kumar, and Isis Amusa, the current SOC3 Creative Strategist.  

What is SOC3? 

SOC3 is a creative integrated communication agency employing students from various backgrounds and majors and housed in American University's School of Communication (AU SOC).

Each semester, a new cohort of students has the opportunity to gain experience working on an integrated communications plan for a real client while earning course credit and getting paid. From brainstorming to research to pitching and prototypes, students work in collaborative teams to develop innovative solutions to pressing social problems for their clients.

Students hold professional positions like creative strategist, agency director or brand development and work with clients like the 11th Street Bridge Park, DC Central Kitchen and the Bring Our Families Home campaign. SOC3 was created to place GenZ students at the forefront of creative innovation, social justice and industry diversity by equipping them with the professional skills and experience to jump start their careers.  

Why does it matter? 

Professor Pallavi Kumar was instrumental in the creation of SOC3 and spent years researching and developing the program to ensure that it would meet the needs of students. SOC3 was designed as an integrated communications agency within a classroom setting to help work towards equitable access to experience.

Before building the course work, Kumar knew that whatever was designed would need to work for all kinds of students. This core value of equity led the decision to make it both a paid opportunity and a credited course. At the same time, SOC3 is working to help diversify the communications industry.

“We want the [SOC3] cohort to look like what the comms world should look like. I see the photos of our cohort and the work they’re doing and that’s the representation I want to see happen in the industry,” Kumar said.

SOC3 Deliverable for DCCKAnd they are making an impact. The first cohort worked with DC Central Kitchen and five different teams pitched solutions. Within two weeks, DC Central Kitchen had adopted one aspect from the App Team. The results even surprised Kumar. “I've been teaching a long time, I've had clients work with different classes before, to see that level of adoption, just that quickly. It was really, really gratifying,” she said. 


What are students saying? 

Speaking of her experience so far this semester, Isis Amusa, a senior in the current SOC3 cohort spoke about how her passions for storytelling and food justice came together in her work as a Creative Strategist for SOC3: 

“I think experiential learning is incredibly powerful. I think kind of by nature, as a journalism major, I've gotten experiential learning, because you have to talk to people, and you have to go out in the real world in order to write stories. But in this context, I haven't had as much experience. And so, the ability to work with a real client and adapt to their schedule, adapt to their needs, and be flexible in that way, I think is really useful. And I think it's a skill set that all students need.” 

Cady TrCadyTranSOC3an (pictured left) served as the Social Media Manager for the inaugural Fall 2022 SOC3 cohort. Tran let her passions drive her decision to apply for SOC3 as well saying, “I applied to SOC3 because I wanted to develop my communications skills in a collaborative agency that centers DEI and social change, as well as use communications to make a difference in the community.” Looking back, she recognized how valuable the project was for her professional career, “I am grateful for the extremely rare opportunity I had in SOC3 to collaborate across communications disciplines, to work with a real client, and to be a part of an agency that was a paid internship and class in one.” 

ZachSOC3Zach Hill (pictured right) was also part of the inaugural cohort, serving as the Development and Giving Director. His motivation to join SOC3 was for both the unique professional experience and the paid opportunity: 

“I decided to apply to SOC3 for two main reasons. First, I was a rising senior who never had internship experience as the only ones I could find were unpaid. I had to work in restaurants throughout my time at American to afford living here. Second, I am a PR student who wanted to be creative and branch out into all aspects of communications. I care about using communications not for profit but to benefit a community, and that is what SOC3 is all about.” 

SOC3 professor and founder, Pallavi Kumar shared her vision for what she hopes her students achieve: 

I don't just want them to be in the comms industry, I want them to lead the comms industry. Whatever they create, it's storytelling. Storytelling can change the world. That's exactly what they're doing.

To learn more, visit  

Click here to donate to SOC3’s mission and support Experiential Learning at American University School of Communication; or email for more information on how you can give to SOC3.