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Arizona State University students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication took home some of the region’s top professional public relations honors at the annual Copper Anvil Awards, presented by the Phoenix chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
Students in the Cronkite Public Relations Lab won a Copper Anvil Award and four Awards of Merit for developing and implementing a strategic communications plan that raised awareness about the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Faire in Phoenix. The Cronkite PR Lab is a full-immersion professional program that offers students the chance to develop campaigns and strategies for real clients in an agency environment under the direction of faculty.
The PR Lab team — Teresa Joseph, Tyler O’Tremba, Dylan Foy and Sidney Pearce — won a Copper Anvil Award for Special Events – one of only 11 awarded in this year’s contest. The other 10 Copper Anvil Awards went to professional public relations agencies and communications teams in the Valley. According to the PRSA, the Copper Anvil Award was established to encourage and recognize excellence in public relations in the community. Today, the award is recognized as one of the highest honors in the industry.
Students also won Awards of Merit in the categories of Community Relations and Integrated Communications and Publicity/Promotion.
In addition, the Public Relations Society of American chapter also awarded two $1,000 scholarships to PR Lab students Caitlin Bohrer and Savannah Harrelson. Both are members of ASU’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter.
Bohrer, who serves as the marketing director of the ASU chapter of the PRSSA, said she was honored to receive the PRSA scholarship. She said the PR Lab has offered her the opportunity to take on new challenges.
“The PR Lab is a great experience,” Bohrer said. “It has helped my PR career by giving me a hands-on environment. I get great support and feedback from my professors, which will help prepare me for the real world.”
Students leave the lab with professional portfolios and experiences in all aspects of PR, including crisis communications, event planning and promotion, image and reputation management, internal and external communication management and corporate communications strategies. Graduates have gone on to work for Fortune 500 companies and some of the largest PR agencies in the world.
Harrelson, who is doing publicity for a Miami-based author in the PR Lab, said she is honored to be recognized by the PRSA and plans to attend the association’s national conference in Indianapolis.
“All of this experience in the PR Lab has really built up my portfolio and skills for my career,” Harrelson said. “The Cronkite School has done an amazing job preparing me for the future through the PR Lab.”
Work by Cronkite public relations students has been honored in numerous prestigious competitions, including the Accolade Competition, NASA Means Business Competition, PR News Platinum PR Awards and Zenith Awards.
“We are extremely proud of the work of our outstanding students in the PR Lab,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “To win professional awards from the region’s top PR organization is a testament to the hard work of our students and the leadership of Fran Matera.”
The PRSA is the world’s largest and most prominent organization dedicated to the professional development and advocacy of public relations practitioners. The Phoenix chapter is one of the largest in the nation, serving more than 300 PR and communications professionals in a variety of industries. ASU’s student chapter is open to all ASU students, regardless of their academic major.