National group connects minority students to industry professionals

Miguel Robles

As Dana Summers walked through the doors of J. Walter Thompson New York on the first day of her advertising internship this past summer, she noticed something set her apart from her fellow colleagues — she was the only black intern.

“Being the only black intern was not the biggest surprise because the industry definitely has a set image that needs to change,” said Summers, an advertising and radio-television-film senior.

Summers got the internship through the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program, a national organization that connects students of diverse backgrounds to the different disciplines within the advertising industry through a 22-week fellowship program. Summers learned about MAIP through the UT student organization Minorities in Advertising, an organization that works to promote and diversify the public relations and advertising industry by connecting students to professionals in the industry.

“Diversity in advertising matters because the core audience is changing and the advertising agency isn’t really reflecting that,” Summers said.

One of the main ways MIA connects its members with these opportunities is through MAIP. 

By interning through the program, students have the chance to connect with agency executives and human resources leaders as well as networking with fellow members throughout the country. According to MIA, while the program is open to college students across the country, UT students make up the largest group of MAIP members. 

“This opportunity peaks my interest because not only does it contain my passions for public relations and communications, but it is also a very inclusive group of students,” said public relations junior Jennifer Hernandez. “I am definitely considering applying to the program because it has a lot of distinctions that I’m looking for like working in a new city, working towards my interest and, of course, getting paid.”

MIA Co-President, Marymar Martinez said the group offers many opportunities that could otherwise not be possible for minority students looking to break into the advertising industry.

“We really work with our members to get them where they want to be,” said Martinez, a theatre and public relations senior. “We’ve changed diversity and minorities to apply not only to skin color but sexual orientation, gender, mental disabilities, all of the above, really.”

Through MAIP, MIA hopes to help all students shape their college experience and future career aspirations through new experiences that otherwise would not be an option for them.

“Without MAIP, I would be stuck in Killeen, Texas flipping burgers,” said Summers.