Supporting the next generation of PR pros at Michigan State University


In fall 2004, I stepped foot on Michigan State University’s campus as a first-generation college student, ready to escape my small town and start fresh. I was fortunate to feel confident on day one and flourished during my four years in a place where I found stability, close friendships and a small network I built before enrolling at MSU.

And this all happened because of an informal foundation built by a high school teacher who wished to see me reach my potential and helped me bridge the gap from high school to a large public university. If I didn’t have her or the extracurriculars that helped me create a community and visit and familiarize myself with campus, I wouldn’t have been able to navigate the processes that followed. Applying, getting in and attending MSU, and leaving with a degree and job in my field at the start of a recession.

This experience was invaluable and now, the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts & Sciences has launched Ignite the Future, a formal program designed to empower first-generation students and those from historically marginalized backgrounds and set them up with the tools and support to thrive in their college experience.

Ignite the Future includes a few initiatives within the program:

  • Ignite Pathways which facilitates a smooth transition from high school to MSU.
  • Ignite Cohorts that fosters a sense of belonging through mentorship, coaching, experiential learning and more.
  • Ignite Careers is a career centered mentorship initiative in partnership with alumni and companies like Martin Waymire, dedicated to guiding recent grads towards a career trajectory.

Martin Waymire is proud to partner with Ignite the Future and I’m ecstatic to represent our agency along with a few of my colleagues as we get involved in the program and build relationships with the students and advisors.

We care deeply about investing in talent and our team knows first-hand how important experiential learning opportunities, career guidance and mentorship are for lifelong success. We’ll be involved in a myriad of ways, from mentoring and guiding students to providing opportunities for industry tours, job shadows, internships and more.

Learning is a two-way street and while we have a lot to share with students, we have an opportunity to understand different perspectives and learn from the students as we have through our student practitioners at Martin Waymire over the years. We’re looking forward to building relationships with students in this cohort and help build a diverse public relations talent pool and pipeline that this industry so desperately needs.

You can learn more about the Ignite the Future program here, and we’ll be sure to share updates as the year progresses.

Andrea Kerbuski

With a focus on account management and project management, Andrea has experience in health care, higher education and technology. Andrea specializes in influencer marketing, communications audits and communications strategy planning.