Media Matters Blog

Posted on May 5th, 2021 in Alumni Spotlight, Public Relations Jobs by Emily Turnier
Picture of Samantha Sandala for blog post
IUPUI Journalism and PR alumna Samantha Sandala

When her job offer from a public relations agency fell through due to COVID in March 2020, Samantha Sandala reached out to her contacts at Hirons to see if there were any openings. Sandala, B.A.J. ’20, had interned full-time at the advertising, PR, and digital agency in 2019. Because she had a proven track record at the agency and had continued to develop relationships with her former supervisors, she was soon hired on as an account coordinator. Sandala told us more:

1. What are your main duties at Hirons?

“One of my main duties is to manage project timelines across departments. I work with our creative, media/digital, and communications management teams to make sure all deliverables are on track and ready to present to our clients by their designated due dates. 

My other main responsibility is to execute communications plans for our clients. This includes pitching stories to publications within target markets, conducting focus groups, maintaining large stakeholder lists and writing releases, media alerts, blogs and social copy.”

2. What are some interesting projects you’ve worked on?

“One of my favorite projects so far has been assisting IU Health with various community relations efforts in preparation for the construction of a new downtown medical campus. Such a large project has many moving parts, and it’s been fun to have a hand in all of it.

Another project I had a lot of fun with was a media relations campaign that I planned and executed for an autism therapy provider. I had the opportunity to pitch the client’s 2021 expansion announcement, resulting in 27 hits nation-wide.”

3. What is your favorite part of your job?

“My favorite part about working at Hirons is the fast-paced environment and variety of work. Every day looks different than the last and I’m constantly kept on my toes.”

4. How did your education at IUPUI help you with your job search?

“Looking for a job at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was scary but, thanks to my experiences at IUPUI, I was well equipped for the challenge. Many of my professors, specifically Fred Bagg, had provided me with great advice on how to apply for jobs post-grad.

My experiences as a member of IUPUI’s PRSSA chapter were also invaluable. PRSSA made it easy to establish connections with PR professionals in the Indianapolis-area and helped me secure multiple internships.”

5. What advice do you have for current PR students?

“There’s a reason everyone preaches the importance of internships and networking. I would not have the job I have today without my Hirons internship and continued efforts to stay in touch with my supervisors. After my internship ended, I kept in touch with my supervisors through PRSSA and PRSA events and the occasional coffee date.”

I encourage PR students to join PRSSA and lean into the opportunities IUPUI’s chapter provides. Having contacts and mentors that are currently working within the industry will set you up for success.”

Interested in learning more about working in public relations? Reach out to Sandala about agency life at