St. Paul, Minn.Sean Mock ’17, from San Francisco Calif., has been selected as a 2016 Frank Karel Fellow. This was the fourth year Macalester was invited to participate.

The Frank Karel Fellowship Program in Public Interest Communications is a leadership program that places undergraduate students in leading nonprofit organizations that promote the public interest for a hands-on, experiential summer fellowship.

“I feel very fortunate to be selected as a Karel Fellow for this coming summer,” said Mock. “I am studying abroad in Beijing this spring so it will be exciting to return to the United States and undertake a internship in our nation’s capital.  I’m grateful for Macalester students and previous Fellows Eura Chang ‘15 and Milliecia Lacy ‘17, as well as Political Science Prof. Julie Dolan, who all helped me along the way. Summer can’t come soon enough.” 

The Karel fellowship provides a stipend to cover travel to and from Washington, D.C., housing, and living expenses for the summer while the awardee completes a full-time internship with a non-profit.

Last year, Mock interned with Minn. State Senator Foung Hawj, which was an eye-opening experience.

“Sen. Hawj told me, “If the word ‘Hmong’ is on five of my bills, it’s not good for me.” Hawj, the only Hmong senator in the State Senate, has had to contend with many unspoken rules and limitations in his legislative work.”

“The Karel Fellowship focuses on public interest communications. I’ve had the field described to me as ‘marketing for social justice causes,’ and I hope that learning more about it would give me the tools to promote good public policy. Would public interest communications help Sen. Hawj in his representational challenges? This summer, I hope to find out.” 

The Karel Fellowship honors the legacy of Frank Karel, who established, led and nurtured the field of strategic communications during his 30 years as chief communications officer for the Robert Wood Johnson and Rockefeller Foundations. Among Karel’s strong beliefs was that racial and ethnic minorities were underrepresented in the public interest communications field and that foundations and public interest organizations needed to be proactive in recruiting and nurturing broader participation and leadership in public interest communications and advocacy.

Mock hopes that the Karel Fellowship will give him a better idea of what he wants to do when he graduates from Macalester.

“Being in D.C. will be a great networking opportunity,” said Mock.  “Additionally, I’m hoping that the mentorship the Karel Fellowship provides will help me find new opportunities and open doors for me after I graduate.” 

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,138 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

February 2 2016

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