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A Book With Many Chapters

To say not to judge a book by its cover is perhaps too obvious of a cliche to use for a reflective blog; however, it’s very applicable to my time with BrandJRNY. 


Four months ago, I was living in a pop-up camper in southern West Virginia, playing in rivers and making fancy cocktails for a living. However, since May of 2019, I had been dreading even the whisper of the word “capstone.” Academia is a passion of mine, but the looming responsibilities associated with the uttering of a capstone brought a deep, deep aching to my stomach. Did I feel that I couldn’t do it? Of course not. However, from the minute I was made aware of BrandJRNY, it was understood that this would be no easy endeavor, and quite frankly, it was an honor to be invited to interview for such a course.


Upon beginning our journey—quite literally on the first day—it became clear as the 30 pages of course material were dropped in front of me that all of my fears were not only well-founded, but also somewhat underestimated. The six of us who were accepted into this program had no clue what we were signing up for. However, I cannot say with enough sincerity how grateful I am to have been a part of such an amazing team.


There’s truly no way to expect what you’ll experience during something like BrandJRNY, but that’s what makes it special. We were each pushed to our truest limits. We’ve seen depths of ourselves that have never had the chance to surface before, but from these depths came something amazing.


The Fall BrandJRNY team. | Source: Max Shavers

When you work on something as monumental as BrandJRNY, you get to see a certain side of people that most others in their life don’t get to experience. This side of each teammate is certainly complex, but also resilient. Not only did we all become great friends, but we got to learn about one another on a very intense level. Yes, there were disagreements. Yes, there were ebbs and flows of productivity (because we are, in fact, still human). But regardless of hardships, our team worked relentlessly to make something amazing for this community. I’ve personally never worked as hard for something as I have for BrandJRNY,  and I am confident that my team members could say the same about their own work. 


I’m incredibly proud of what my team has produced for Point Pleasant this semester. I had no idea what book I was opening or about to start writing when I joined BrandJRNY, but I am so incredibly glad that I did. I’m stronger, more confident, and more capable than I have ever felt, and I really hope that I can nurture this growth even more in the coming months.


I think we’ve left BrandJRNY with a wonderful base to continue the #BrandPointPleasant project and I cannot wait to see the results of the Spring Team’s work. Thank you BrandJRNY, for allowing me to be part of something so special for West Virginia. 

P.S. The best books are the unpredictable ones -- the ones that surprise you. 


My name is Claire Hemme, and I am the Creative Director for the BrandJRNY capstone team. If I’m not cooking or coffee-ing, you can find me in the woods somewhere.— @shimmyhemme

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Housed at the WVU Media Innovation Center, BrandJRNY is a community branding initiative that is a grant-funded collaboration between the American Electric Power Foundation and WVU Reed College of Media.

The Initiative was previously funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for our three pilot projects.

Original website designed by Mariah Elliott, under the direction of PI and Director Dr. Rita Colistra.

Photos and content may not be used without written permission by contacting brandjrny@gmail.com.

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