Media Matters Blog

Posted on November 23rd, 2021 by Emily Turnier
Picture of Sarah Lounsbury for PRSSA page
Senior Sarah Lounsbury, PRSSA president

On Nov. 10, eight IUPUI public relations students participated in an event called Half Day with a Pro, which is organized by the Hoosier chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The event pairs PRSSA students from around Indiana with PR professionals. According to PRSA, this offers students a chance to enhance their understanding of public relations while building meaningful connections with Indiana’s leading PR professionals.

Senior Sarah Lounsbury, president of IUPUI’s Chapter of PRSSA, shared details with us about her Half Day with a Pro experience:

1. What did you do during Half Day with a Pro? 

“I shadowed the Communications Lead for Information Security at Eli Lilly, Sonja Popp-Stahly. Sonja showed us around Eli Lilly’s international headquarters in downtown Indianapolis, which was so cool. I had no idea that Eli Lilly provided their employees and staff with so many amenities, including numerous restaurants, a coffee shop, a bank, a dentist office, an outdoor track, an amphitheater, and a gym. Additionally, Sonja showed me her workspace where she spends most of her days alongside her communications colleagues at the top floor of the headquarters, where I could see panoramic views of downtown Indy. At the end of the tour, I was able to ask questions and learn more about what goes into internal corporate communications.

After my time with Sonja, I attended a PRSA luncheon where I was able to learn from IUPUI instructor and PR agency owner, Denise Herd, about diversity and inclusion within the public relations industry.”

2. What are some concepts or skills that you learned? 

“The most important thing I learned during my experience with Sonja at Eli Lilly is that internal communications among employees and staff is essential to the success of a corporation as a whole. I never considered this when thinking about public relations and communications so it was very useful for me to understand that internal communications are just as important as external.

During the PRSA luncheon, I learned so much from Denise and the panelists she included in her discussion, PR pros Brandi Davis-Handy, LaMar Holliday, and DeShong Perry. I learned that it is important to open my ears and my mind in the workplace and beyond to those who come from a different race than myself so that I can learn about their experiences.”

3. What was your favorite part of Half Day with a Pro? 

“I enjoyed getting the opportunity to network with public relations and communications professionals, like Sonja, and with other students who are a part of PRSSA from different universities. When I was at Eli Lilly, I was placed in a group with an Anderson University student and a Butler University student. Both students are members of their university’s PRSSA chapter so it was great to speak with them about their experiences and career goals.”

4. What is the process for getting matched up with a PR pro? 

“In order to get matched up with a PR pro and participate in Half Day with a Pro, you first have to be a member of IUPUI’s chapter of PRSSA. You can then sign up for Half Day with a Pro online through a link our chapter provides. There, you can select whether you would like to be paired up with a professional from a non-profit, corporation, or agency. Then, you will receive an email approximately a week before the event detailing the public relations professional you will spend the day with, directions on how to get to the agency/corporation/non-profit office, and any expectations you must follow.”

5. How can students sign up for the next Half Day with a Pro? 

“Students can stay up-to-date regarding PRSSA events like Half Day with a Pro by following our Instagram and Facebook pages (@iupuiprssa) or by adding their name to our email list. Joining our chapter is also a very important step students can take because it gives them the opportunity to attend networking events, informative meetings, and learning opportunities. If you are interested in joining PRSSA or adding your name to our email list, please send me a message at”