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‘The Driving Force’ Internship with Volkswagen School of Global Journalism and Communication

Morgan State University Expands ‘The Driving Force’ Internship with Volkswagen Group of America

by Morgan State U
June 28, 2024

Volkswagen and BAMG Collaborate to Broaden Automotive Internship Program, Offering SGJC Students Unique Insights into Industry Communications

 

BALTIMORE — Morgan State University (MSU) and the Volkswagen Group of America (VWGA), the U.S.-based operations of the Volkswagen Group, one of the world's leading automotive manufacturers, are committed to building on the success of the inaugural Spring cohort of its “The Driving Force” (TDF) program with MSU’s School of Global Journalism and Communication (SGJC). TDF, an experiential learning initiative, empowered SGJC interns to leverage diverse communication and media skills in exploring dynamic career opportunities within the automotive industry. Program organizers aspire to welcome TDF’s second cohort during the 2024-25 academic year.                                                        

Eighteen SGJC students participated in a 10-week immersive learning experience providing participants with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the dynamic automotive landscape. The Morgan interns—more the 70 percent of whom were female—engaged in a comprehensive on-site curriculum that encompassed training sessions, mentorship opportunities, and hands-on experiences in marketing, multimedia production, public relations, content creation and publishing.

Integral to the program’s establishment is the Black Automotive Media Group (BAMG), a consortium of African American automotive-focused publishers, writers, editors, media talent, and content creators, who sought to expose students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to career opportunities with the automotive industry. Serving as liaisons between Volkswagen and BAMG on the initiative are Vicki Miles, a legacy Morgan alumna and Diversity and Inclusion Senior Consultant, and Kendra Patterson, Fleet Ordering & Delivery Senior Specialist and president of the African and African American ERG.

“Our interaction with Volkswagen and BAMG’s “The Driving Force” internship greatly exceeded our expectations," said Jackie Jones, dean of SGJC. “They ‘get’ our students while raising the journalistic bar, thus creating communication opportunities within the auto industry. The students loved the program and it showed in their final content creation projects.”

The TDF program fosters collaboration, connecting students with seasoned automotive professionals. Weekly virtual sessions offer invaluable insights from industry experts who share knowledge, career advice and guidance on navigating the corporate world. The program culminates in a panel discussion featuring prominent Volkswagen leaders who engage in a dynamic exchange with SGJC students.

‘The Driving Force’ Internship with Volkswagen

“Business can play a significant role in helping promote diversity and developing diverse leaders who future generations can relate and aspire to,” said Andrew Savvas, chief sales and marketing officer for Volkswagen North American Region. “Diversity matters. It matters for the health of a community, and it matters in business because it has been proven time and again to contribute to the success of organizations.”

Under the Audi brand, Volkswagen Group previously offered a TDF program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in previous years. However, the engagement with Morgan marks the Volkswagen Brand’s first sponsored program with another institution and its aspiring journalists, media and content creators from SGJC.

Added Miles, “I championed for Morgan State to participate not only because of the proximity to our corporate headquarters and quality of (Morgan) students, but also because of (the university’s) rich history in the community.”

“BAMG’s collaboration with Morgan State creates new career pathways for our bright students,” said Kimatni D. Rawlins, founder of BAMG. “Data from the U.S. Census predicts minorities will be the “Future Majority” by 2045. Through TDF’s internship, we are helping prepare HBCU students for career development while supporting automakers for the rapidly changing demographic profile in the United States.”

Fully accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC), SGJC served as the perfect collaborator for this initiative. The university’s commitment to academic excellence and preparing students for successful media and communication careers aligns seamlessly with the goals of the TDF program.

Added Dean Jones, “Volkswagen, BAMG and Morgan look forward to welcoming a new cohort of talented students to The Driving Force program in a shared vision and commitment to fostering diversity, building a robust talent pipeline and shaping the future of an inclusive automotive industry, all with Morgan State University students at the forefront.”


About Morgan

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering more than 150 academic degree and certificate programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.

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Media Contacts:

Dell Jackson or Cheryl Stewart, for Morgan State University PR
443-885-3022

‘The Driving Force’ Internship with Volkswagen