Confidant, a creative and strategic communications agency with offices in New York and Nashville, has pledged $10,000 to establish a scholarship focused on diversity within the College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS) at The University of Alabama for the 2021-22 academic year.
The scholarship will assist in promoting increased diversity among the College’s student population with a particular focus on students studying public relations and who demonstrate financial need. In addition to the monetary award, the selected student will receive a full-time paid internship with Confidant in New York City during the Summer of 2022 and ongoing mentorship from employees of the company.
Garland Harwood, co-founder of Confidant and a UA alumnus, hopes that by establishing this opportunity for a student, other companies in the industry will follow suit in serving students and paving the way for more diversity in the communications industry.
“Creating a diverse workforce is not only the right thing to do in light of the inequities that have long existed in our society, it’s also what’s best for business,” Harwood said. “Diversity on our team, and the industry at large, leads to more diverse ideation and better outcomes for all. Our hope is that this model will eliminate the barriers that many students face in getting great experience early on, including income, geographic residence, or legacy. It counters many agency internship programs that favor students with connections to senior executives at an agency or its clients.”
According to Dr. Damion Waymer, C&IS advertising and public relations department chair, the College is grateful to see innovative companies supporting its continued diversification efforts.
“It is one thing for a company to say it is committed to diversifying the practice of public relations. It’s another thing entirely for a company such as Confidant to demonstrate its commitment to diversity via concrete actions, including financial support, professional mentorship, and paid internship experiences for our students,” Waymer said. “We truly appreciate Confidant’s generosity, and I hope this partnership signals to our students and the larger university community our collective commitment to diversity and its importance to both our department and the college.”
C&IS is committed to promoting an environment that fosters diversity and inclusion and is proud of the efforts of our students, faculty and staff. To learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion in C&IS, visit cis.ua.edu/diversity.