Katherine Pieper, PhD is the program director at the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, where she oversees the day-to-day operations of the initiative’s research and advocacy efforts. In her work with the initiative, Pieper has co-authored and contributed to more than 40 studies on diversity and inclusion across entertainment and media industries. As the leading global think tank studying inclusion in media, the initiative examines the prevalence and portrayal of girls/women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and mental health conditions on screen across film, episodic, and short film content. Behind the camera, the Initiative has examined the barriers and opportunities facing women and people of color behind the camera in film, the animation and visual effects industries, and the music business. Additionally, Pieper’s work with the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has supported quantitative and qualitative investigations into the depiction of girls, older adults, and mental health across film and TV.
Pieper graduated with a BA in communication from Michigan State University and completed her MA and PhD at USC Annenberg. Pieper’s dissertation focused on the role of social support in a three-year maternal and child health intervention in Cambodia. Between 2007 and 2011, she worked in communication and resource development, including proposal writing, reporting, and design of monitoring and evaluation activities for a non-governmental organization based in Phnom Penh. She joined the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in 2012.