Reaching my final semester, I knew this class, Senior Capstone, loomed before me. All at once I was terrified, but excited, because I didn’t know what I would do for my project. However, I knew the possibilities were pretty endless. Over and again the semester before, I heard capstone students advising people to begin working on it before they even register, or at the very least know exactly what you’re going to do. This intimidated me, because I am the chief of the procrastinator squad, and I had no idea what I was going to do. Luckily for me, being a Strategic Comm concentration, my focus was already narrowed for me. Furthermore, remaining true to myself, I didn’t quite decide on my topic until it was time for my first director meeting, but it wasn’t long until the plan set and I began plugging away.
I chose for my capstone to do something that hit close to home. I’m a member at a local church in Jefferson county, with a very missional focus. Last summer we set our sights on Haiti as our next place of outreach and had an amazing week of ministry there. I’ve been pretty much dying to go back since we returned at the end of June 2014, and I’m happy to be returning to the orphans we served in just a couple of months. During my time there I took a lot of photos, being the portrait photographer I am — yes, you can check my work HERE and then fill out that nice contact form at the bottom of my site, because I would be STOKED to photograph you and everyone else you know — I wanted to remember all of those little faces and moments. When I came back to the States I was inspired to create a devotional book out of the photographs, using reflections from the Haiti team members in conjunction with my visual perspective to give people a genuine look and a spiritual view of what took place in that magical week. Flash forward about eight months and that book took form.
I created the book as a fundraising medium, entitling it, theBridge to Hope. The devotional book would be marketed to my church, theBridge’s, congregation and the Christian community in the area as a primary and secondary audience to raise funds to send with our team for the next trip. I created a campaign that would promote and sell the book to specifically provision the orphanage, Life Is Hope, we were going to minister to. Being that the project touched on so many personal aspects that really make up who I am — a photographer, a servant, a Christian, and, yes, a strategic communicator — I received a huge impact over the course of the semester. Moreover, the class put into effect everything that I’ve learned in my four years in the department. This was particularly big for me, because I don’t think of myself as I student; I’ve never particularly enjoyed school. When I stopped to realize that the Communication Department at Shepherd University empowered me to realize all of my skill sets into a singular focus (i.e. this project), I understood that I was could use all of my interests and combine them to do things that I love. From childhood I’ve been a creative, and growing up I formed a business savvy about me, and the Comm. department brought every piece of that out of me, even if it was sometimes like pulling teeth for them to do it. Capstone — and my undergraduate career in the Communication & New Media department in general — challenged me to use all of my assets and truly realize my potential. I’m proud of my accomplishments, and if weren’t for the amazing Comm. faculty, I don’t think I’d be able to say that finally: I’ve done it. I’m finished.
You can take a look at the book, just follow this link!