The Cronkite Public Relations Lab took home two top prizes at the annual MarCom Awards – an annual contest that honors public relations professionals for concept, direction, design and production of marketing and communication materials and programs.
The PR Lab collected a platinum award for a media pitch for “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona,” which promoted the power of mentorship. The lab also won a gold award for feature stories about Sun Devil Athletics published on its website and social media channels.
Both projects were completed during the spring 2021 semester.
Noah Flack, a May 2021 graduate, worked with Sun Devil Athletics, Fiesta Bowl and ON semiconductor. Flack said that the proficiency he learned while managing three clients during his final semester with the PR Lab helped prepare him for his current job with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Phoenix.
“I know there are many schools with similar programs where you get done with the program and realize you had no real life experience,” Flack said. “But here, you work for real organizations with monetary value attached to it. The outcome is making a difference and winning these professional awards.”
Ariana Diaz Victoria, a student who was a part of both award-winning teams, said these projects taught her the value of teamwork and feedback.
“We were receiving constant feedback from Lisa, and we would all proofread each other’s work to ensure we were only producing our best work,” Diaz Victoria said. “Honestly, the PR Lab has made me confident that if I go into an internship or a job, I know I can succeed.”
Kiarra Spottsville, a graduate student who worked on the “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona” campaign, said this project helped her realize that the student work done at the PR Lab is crucial in helping elevate brand awareness for clients.
“It can be easy to not understand the impact your work is causing, especially with an immersive program like the PR Lab where we are working with our clients full time like a real job,” Spottsville said. “So I was really happy when I found out about the awards we won because an outsider perspective really helped me understand the impact of what I had been doing in the PR Lab.”
Lisa Schmidtke, director of the PR Lab, said that she constantly pushes her students to reach out of their comfort zone.
“I think part of it is challenging them to do their best work but a lot of it is the connection they have with their client, and wanting to do good by them,” Schmidtke said. “I think ultimately, it’s that passion that wins the awards.”
The contest received over 6,000 entries from 40 countries around the world. The winners usually range from huge international creative agencies to Fortune 500 companies.
The award winners are:
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona – Platinum Award
Ariana Diaz Victoria
Sun Devil Athletics – Gold Award
Ariana Diaz Victoria