The Public Relations Lab at the Cronkite School

In the Cronkite School’s Public Relations Lab, students get real-world experience creating strategies and campaigns for clients from across the country – and around the world.

The lab functions like an integrated marketing PR agency, with students working in teams on client projects under the direction of a seasoned PR professional. By the end of a semester in the lab, students have professional portfolios that showcase their work in areas that include:

  • Corporate communications strategies
  • Crisis communications
  • Event planning and promotion
  • Media Relations
  • Leadership and collaboration
  • Multimedia storytelling
  • Social media content planning and execution
  • Strategic internal and external communications
  • Website design

The lab also fosters other skills that are critical to career success. Students learn to collaborate and communicate, to be creative and innovative, to manage projects from beginning to end, and to present their work to clients.

Students can register for the PR professional program for two, three or four full days a week and may participate in the lab over multiple semesters. The lab is located on the second floor of the Cronkite School in a state-of-the-art space that includes an open work area, conference room and the latest technology.

For more information on how to apply to the lab, contact Professor of Practice and PR Lab Director Lisa Schmidtke at or 602-496-5051.

Clients for the Public Relations Lab include all types of local, national and global businesses and nonprofit organizations seeking high-quality, low-cost public relations services.

Students create campaigns and other strategic communications on behalf of these organizations. Recent clients include:

  • About Care
  • Allison+Partners
  • APS
  • Avnet
  • Center on the Future of War
  • Child Health Foundation
  • Disney
  • Honeywell
  • Hooked Rx Documentary
  • Infusionsoft
  • IntelIrish Cultural Center
  • Macmillan
  • McDonald’s
  • NASA
  • Office of the Arizona Governor
  • Palo Verde Generating Station
  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation
  • Save Camelback
  • Scottsdale Arts
  • Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)
  • Univision
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Walmart

Students provide clients with creative and unique solutions to their pain points as well as provide areas for growth. Account needs and goals vary, so no day is ever the same, which provides a stimulating, real-world experience. Through the duration of both a semester and client relationship, students develop strategic plans through:

  • Conducting research and uncovering insights
  • Building a tactical plan for execution
  • Applying digital and traditional assets, design components and multimedia content
  • Presenting findings and recommendations with clients during a formal presentation

To inquire about PR Lab services, please contact Professor of Practice and PR Lab Director Lisa Schmidtke at or 602-496-5051.

Stay current on the PR Lab and student work by following @CronkitePRLab on Twitter.

Lisa Schmidtke: Director, Public Relations Lab

Lisa Schmidtke

Lisa Schmidtke was named Director of the Cronkite PR Lab in April 2019 following more than 20 years as an award-winning marketer and PR professional. A Cronkite School alumna, Lisa served as general manager of the Scottsdale, Arizona, office of Allison + Partners, a global PR and marketing agency. She previously served a variety of PR and marketing roles within health care organizations throughout Arizona after she began her career in broadcast journalism.

PR Lab students regularly win local, national and international industry awards for their work. Many of the 40-plus awards earned during the past decade were in competition with professional PR practitioners.

Scott Pansky

Working with the PR Lab at ASU has been a delight. The students are true professionals, strategic and very creative. I have had the chance to work with them with two of our clients and am never shy to have them work directly together.

-Scott Pansky, Allison+Partners founding partner

Accolades include:

Accolade Global Film Competition - Honoring talented new filmmakers who produce high-quality shorts and new media
Hermes Creative Awards - National awards honoring the creators and messengers of traditional and emerging media: animation, documentaries, educational programs, film, music videos, television pilot programs, trailers, webisodes and more
International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) – Honors global excellence across all communications platforms within four divisions and 28 categories
PR News Platinum Awards – Global awards honoring the year’s outstanding communications initiatives among all U.S.-based and international agencies, corporations, government organizations and nonprofits worldwide
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) – Honors the highest-achieving individuals and communications teams as well as individual creative assets across all platforms
Zenith Awards - National awards honoring outstanding work of undergraduate students within communications and public relations

Gian-Franco Demano

From the early writing and media classes, to the more strategic and long-term lab projects, Cronkite set me up for success after graduation. The PR Lab is a helpful representation of the atmosphere students will find themselves in when joining a communications team in the future, and having real-world clients is highly beneficial to students' growth in building and managing relationships. The lab provides hands-on involvement and strategic thought process behind campaigns, a true professional experience that not many schools can say they offer.

—Gian-Franco Demano (’15)
Internal communications supervisor
McDonald’s Global Corporate Headquarters (Chicago)