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

Jessica Whitney

I highly recommend the Public Relations Lab at the Cronkite School. The students were extremely professional and were a pleasure to work with throughout the semester. They put a lot of effort into our projects and always made us feel like we were their top priority. The students bring fresh ideas and a wealth of creativity that elevated our initial ideas and took them to the next level. We will definitely partner with the PR Lab again.

—Jessica Whitney
Vice President of Development and Marketing
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona

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
  • Black Barrel Media
  • Center on the Future of War
  • Child Health Foundation
  • Disney
  • Executive MBA Council
  • Honeywell
  • Hooked Rx Documentary
  • Infusionsoft
  • IntelIrish Cultural Center
  • Macmillan
  • McDonald’s
  • NASA
  • National Guard
  • Office of the Arizona Governor
  • Palo Verde Generating Station
  • Partnerships with Native Americans
  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation
  • PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
  • Save Camelback
  • Scottsdale Arts
  • Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)
  • Univision
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Walmart
Michael Desiderio

As an association of business schools which offer Executive MBA Programs, we at EMBAC have the privilege of dealing with schools globally. Currently we have over 200 business schools in more than 30 countries which are part of our membership. In order to best represent the EMBA industry, we are constantly looking to tap new channels to help us get the word out. In 2019 we had the good fortune of being able to contract with the ASU PR Lab to leverage students to help us with our social channel presence. The competence and professionalism of these students was impressive. The relationship not only met our objectives but the interactions were agency quality. We’d use this group again in a heartbeat!

—Michael Desiderio, Executive Director, EMBAC

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.

National Guard

Working with the ASU PR team has been a great pleasure. The students used their talents and knowledge to create products that enhance the National Guard’s efforts in supporting community based organizations within Arizona. With minimal direction, they produced valuable materials for us to utilize, and strengthen our means of communication within the communities. They remained flexible and displayed professionalism throughout the entire process. Their dedication to this project continues to make a positive impact on the entire state of Arizona.

—Senior Airman Vittoria Gonzalez (Air Force), Arizona National Guard

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.

Erin Dragoo

The professors I have had throughout my Cronkite education have been tremendous. Each of them possessed real-world experience directly related to the course they were teaching; they encouraged students to ask questions and explore their passions. Collectively, my professors have strengthened my recognition of just how valuable a Cronkite education is.

—Erin Dragoo (’19)

Recent PR Lab honors:

2020 AVA Digital Platinum Award for web-based production - “African Humphrey Voices: Building a Better Future for Our Continent”, U.S. Department of State, Institute of International Education; “Future Security Forum Promotional Video, Center on the Future of War, Arizona State University; “Save Camelback: A Phoenix Icon” Save Camelback (Mountain) organization

2020 AVA Digital Gold Award for digital marketing - Power Play: Facing Futures Together”, Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation

2020 Digital Gold Award for web-based production - “10 Across Water Summit: Event Recap”, Ten Across ; “PRSA Phoenix Chapter Website Redesign”, Public Relations Society of America Phoenix Chapter; “The Humphrey Fellowship Program: The American Impact”, The U.S. Department of State, Institute of International Education

2019 Hermes Gold winner - Phoenix Children’s Hospital “Power Play” social media graphics (images)

2019 Hermes Gold winner – Phoenix Children’s Hospital “Power Play” save the date (video)

2019 Hermes Platinum winner – Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center social media campaign (images, series of social posts)

2019 Hermes Gold winner – The Hubert Humphrey Legacy Story (video)

2019 PR News Platinum PR Award – Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation “Power Play: Facing Futures Together” (social media assets)

2019 dotCOMM Platinum award – The Center on the Future of War (video)

2019 dotCOMM Gold award – The Center on the Future of War (infographics)

2018 Hermes honorable mention – 33rd Annual St. Patrick’ Day Parade and Faire (image)

2017 Hermes Gold winner – Chocolate Museum (logo and color palette)

2017 Hermes Gold winner – Hooked RX (case study)

2016 PR News Platinum PR Award honorable mention – 21 or Too Young (logo and video)

2016 PR News Platinum PR Award honorable mention – 33rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Faire (flier and plan)

2016 PRSA Copper Anvil winner – 33rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Faire (strategic plan)

2012 PRSA Copper Anvil winner – 21 or Too Young (logo and video)

Accolades Award of Merit – Avnet

Accolades Award of Merit – 21 or Too Young

Accolades Award of Merit - Intel

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)