GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  The Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) are pleased to announce that the recipient of the inaugural IPR + TLF Research Fellowship is Kaelan Hicks, a graduate student at the University of Southern California. Hicks will work closely with IPR President and CEO Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, on a research project investigating how inclusive practices influence employee perceptions of their workplace culture and team performance.

The IPR + TLF Research Fellowship was created in alignment with the mission of The LAGRANT Foundation to promote diversity and increase the number of ethnic minorities employed within the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations by bringing a public relations, communications, or business school graduate student onto the IPR team for a paid-work experience.

“We are thrilled to partner with TLF to help expose more diverse students to research while filling gaps in the body of knowledge in the profession,” said Dr. Tina McCorkindale, President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations. “We think Kaelan’s research can provide valuable insight into institutional challenges and how diversity and inclusion programs are implemented.”

Hicks is pursuing a Master’s in Communication Management at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Northwest University in 2018. He is also a 2020 recipient of The LAGRANT Foundation’s scholarship program.

“I could not be happier with the selection of Kaelan for the first-ever IPR+TLF research fellowship program,” said Mr. Kim L. Hunter, Chairman and CEO of The LAGRANT Foundation. “TLF’s partnership with IPR is critical to providing more racially diverse young professionals the opportunity to explore our industry through research.”


Since its inception in 1998, The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) has provided $2.7 million and 643 scholarships to continue its mission to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations. With the generous support of its major donors and supporters, TLF provides scholarships, career & professional development workshops, mentorships and internships/entry-level positions to African American/Black, Alaska Native/Native American, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latinx undergraduate and graduate students.

About the Institute for Public Relations
The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit research foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in corporate communication and the public relations practice. IPR is dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR provides timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research, including a weekly research letter, is available for free at

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Nikki Kesaris

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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