The Art of Communication

When you walk inside the Creative Arts Center at West Virginia University, you can almost feel the talent and inspiration that lives there. Galleries filled with original paintings, music echoing throughout the halls, and dancers practicing their pirouettes are just a few of the things you can expect to flood your senses when you go through those front doors. For most of us, a trip to the CAC is a special treat–something that we buy tickets for in advance and anticipate for several weeks or even months before we arrive.

For Bernadette Dombrowski, Communications Specialist at the College of Creative Arts, that magical feeling of being surrounded by artistic talent is something she experiences every single day.

Bernadette Dombrowski taking a photo with phone Bernadette Dombrowski taking a photo Bernadette Dombrowski at the computer

Finding Her Fit

After making the move from Cape May, New Jersey to Morgantown to pursue a bachelor’s degree, Bernadette quickly discovered that West Virginia was where she belonged.

“West Virginia is home and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I never really fit in where I grew up and it took coming to Morgantown to see why. I love the people. Everyone is so friendly. I hike with my dog a lot, and it’s usually just us. I always meet such friendly people, whether on the trails or in our travels. Here, you can be alone, but you’re never really alone.”

Once Bernadette realized that she wanted to stay in Morgantown after earning her bachelor’s, she started looking into the master’s programs that WVU offered.

The Online Game Changer

“I was always interested in the IMC program. It’s basically a more in-depth and practice-based version of my public relations degree and I loved that it was online. The program gave me the opportunity to work during the day and do my school work in the evenings.”

With the ability to work full-time and earn her master’s degree at the same time, Bernadette jumped at the opportunity to gain some experience at WVU’s College of Engineering. She worked there for two years and spent a lot her time drafting press releases as well as helping to promote events taking place at the college.

The experience she gained at the College of Engineering lead her to her current role as Communications Specialist at the College of Creative Arts. Here, Bernadette says that she uses her IMC degree every single day.

“The IMC program taught me how to strategize and create new exciting ideas. As an arts school, much of what goes on is event-based so we need to get attendees to those events. Coming up with new ideas of how to reach the Morgantown community and get them excited about the arts is one of my favorite parts of my job.”

An Eye for Business

Perhaps one of the reasons that Bernadette loves working with such creative students and faculty, is because she is quite the artist herself. She created her own company called, Wild & Wonderful Lifestyle Co. because of her love for the state of West Virginia.

“I’d always want something to wear or put on my car that correctly described my love of WV but never found anything I loved. After finding out a lot of my friends felt the same way, I decided to just make my own. When my friends all loved the idea, I figured it was worth a shot.”

“The students and faculty in the IMC program were very personable. I felt like I really got to know everyone in my classes and the instructors were always available to answer questions.”

Bernadette has designed everything from car decals to koozies, t-shirts and even bandanas for your favorite furry friend. She launched her website in May and has shipped orders to several different states including California, Texas, Florida and everywhere in between!

Giving Back

Bernadette has learned a lot about running an online business in the time since launching Wild & Wonderful Lifestyle Co., but her favorite part has been the opportunity to give back to the state that she fell in love with as a college freshman nearly six years ago.

“I’d like to expand our collection and tie even more products to a cause that benefits West Virginia in some form. We’ve had three products thus far that benefited animal shelters, veterans programs and flood recovery, but I’d love to have more.”

Her advice to future IMC students?

“Don’t procrastinate and ask for help when you need it! The students and faculty in the IMC program were very personable. I felt like I really got to know everyone in my classes and the instructors were always available to answer questions.”

Learn more about WVU’s Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and start your very own success story!