Hi everyone! My name is Lily Steele. I’m a senior at Saint Joseph’s University studying communications and journalism. For my capstone project, I will be focusing on mental health and how pets, specifically bunnies, have played a crucial role in helping humans cope with the global pandemic. This topic interests me because I had a rabbit for eight years growing up. Her name was Harmony, and she was truly my best friend. Now I have a new rabbit living with me in college. Her name is Luna. Their personalities are so different, but one thing will always stay the same; their calm, peaceful nature, and their ability to help me heal through a difficult time. This project connects with my professional goals of being a news writer or reporter using my skills from writing for the Hawk Newspaper on campus and taking advanced design courses. Combining my interview and design experience, I will create a PDF booklet that organizes all of the work I have done for this project. On the left pages, there will be a summary of the participant that I interviewed and their backstory. Under that, there will be the transcription of the interview. On the right pages, there will be the graphic design of the pet owner and their rabbit. The design is meant to further engage the audience, especially if they don’t have experience with a pet or can’t connect to someone’s story. The visuals will make it easier for the audience to feel part of the community.
The primary audience will be rabbit owners (called “bun moms” on Instagram) and anyone who has felt alone and needed a friend throughout this pandemic, no matter how small the friend may be. The bunny community on Instagram is one many people are not familiar with. I created an account for my bunny, Luna, in September 2021, initially to keep friends and family updated. Shortly after posting a few photos, I started to get followers of rabbit owners from all over the world. They began interacting with my posts, commenting as if the rabbit were typing themselves. It may sound silly, but these interactions brought me an incredible amount of joy.
Using Instagram on my personal account has always brought me a lot of anxiety. I will look at a picture for hours and analyze it until I’ve found every flaw and convinced myself not to post it. Using Luna’s Instagram is a completely difference experience. I get excited to post pictures and I don’t zoom in and judge how she looks because she’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
I don’t feel a need to show off what I’m doing to impress others and get a lot of likes. Every post is made because I want to show her life and how I much I care for her. It’s not a competition of any sort.
The secondary audience will be all pet owners and people who are interested in bettering their mental health or the health of others they care about. Since starting the account five months ago, I have been welcomed into a new group of supportive, funny, and loving bunny owners. Through this project, I want to make the community come alive for outsiders.
My capstone project incorporates both writing and designing. I have experience writing stories and interviewing from working with the Hawk Newspaper. I have written for the news, features, and opinions sections. I have experience with graphic design from my Digital Aesthetics and Advanced Design courses at St. Joe’s.
I created these designs for a rebranding project for my mom, Cassie Premo Steele. I used Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, which are two design software programs used to make posters, symbols, logos, patterns, icons, etc.
Though I am familiar with both writing and designing, I have never combined the two together. My reporting and my creative design skills have always been separate. This project will challenge me in that way, and I have to make sure the writing and the pictures flow together and tell a similar story to the audience.
The research I will have to do for this project will include interviews and in-depth tutorials for Adobe software. I’ve conducted many interviews as a journalist and watched tutorials for Adobe to make sure I understand the new functions I will be using. I will also create a Google Form for potential candidates to fill out. I will post the link to the form in Luna’s Instagram bio. I am aiming for four to five rabbit owners who each have their own unique story to tell. Each of their stories will be included in the PDF booklet.
An obstacle I may face is not receiving enough feedback from potential candidates, which would make it difficult to start the interview process and later create the designs. Another obstacle could be working with the Adobe software since I last used it almost a year ago.
I have created a timeline that sets due dates every two weeks. They outline the steps that should be completed by that date. The tasks and dates are subject to change.
February 16: post on Luna’s account letting followers know of my project, link to Google Form on Instagram, start messaging potential candidates
March 2: find at least three candidates, start the interview process
March 16: have all interviews completed, write transcripts and begin summaries
March 30: have at least two drafts for the graphic design section of the booklet, start making PDF booklet
April 13: have at least two final versions and two drafts for the graphic design section of the booklet
April 27: finalize entire project and start practicing for presentation