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How BrandJRNY Became My Journey

Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination. In this case, it was a BrandJRNY that opened my education to a level I would have never imagined. In my (almost) year working with BrandJRNY, I have learned more about my professional self than I did in my entire first three years of college. I learned my strengths as well as where I need to improve. I found ways to motivate myself in means I never had before. But, most importantly, I learned that there is more to life than collecting a large paycheck and going through the motions. I have believed in BrandJRNY since the first day I was introduced to the project. Bringing economic dollars back to small communities in West Virginia while promoting tourism and community pride seemed like a perfect way to cap off my college years. However, as I started my first few weeks with the capstone, I felt like I wasn’t living for project and campaign, that it was still just a class. The moment all of that changed was on Thursday, September 12th, and it happened right in Point Pleasant’s Mason County Library.


After giving my opening speech to the community members, a gentleman walked up to me and began telling me how much he loved his city and how thankful he was for what we were doing. He proceeded to show me pictures of Point Pleasant from four decades ago. He told me of stories from the early 1940s and how he was born and raised in the city. His children continue to live in Point Pleasant, along with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That’s when I realized that if I was going to be involved in the project the way I wanted to, I needed to develop the passion that the Point Pleasant residents have.


As we moved through the semester, our team was challenged with work overload: chapter development, campaign book edits, data collecting, and other personal projects. Even though I was being tested and pushed harder than I had before, every time I struggled, I would think back to that day. I remembered who I was doing this for and what our work meant to the community members of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Talking with Point Pleasant Residents | Photo By: David Smith

It can be hard to see your personal growth. You become so caught up in the everyday work and assignments that you forget to see how far you’ve come and in such little time. I first noticed this a few weeks ago. I was reading back on campaign book edits for the background chapter. I came to a paragraph with a huge circle drawn around it and in the top right corner read, “THIS NEEDS WORK.” If I had seen that in September, I would have been confused and asked questions. Now, however, as I skimmed down the paragraph, I couldn’t believe at one point I considered this to be good writing. The growth in just my writing ability in three months was astounding.


Working on this project and getting critiques on my work over the past three months has catapulted me to the level of Public Relations and Advertising knowledge that I had always hoped to achieve in my time at West Virginia University. BrandJRNY has taught me the ins and outs of a full-service agency and rebranding campaign. It allowed me to add to my professional portfolio and gave me experience that will help in my future career endeavors.


The lessons I’ve learned in my time with BrandJRNY are some that I will carry with me throughout my career. It is a special moment in my life where I can say I am truly proud of not only myself, but the people I worked with. It’s a class that is more than just a capstone and three credits on your transcript. It’s a project that is selfless, giving, and believes in telling the story for those who have a story worth telling.

The BrandJRNY Team | Photo By: David Smith

“My name is Nick Morin. I am the Digital/Social Media Director of the BrandJRNY Capstone team as well as the lead Videographer for the BrandJRNY Visual Brand Storytelling team and I’ve never set a goal that I didn’t plan to fulfill” - @NickMorin_



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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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