#PittJohnstownPeople Project Tells Stories, Makes Social Media Impact


posted April 23, 2018

Kayla Carr wanted to make an impact through her social media internship with Pitt-Johnstown's marketing and communications department in 2017-18.

Throughout her senior year, the communication major from Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh, achieved just that.

Her concept was to feature the people of Pitt-Johnstown, allowing these individual stories to personalize the university's overall story and to generate a greater social media following. 

"This is a combination of traditional storytelling delivered through the latest methods," said Carr. 

The effort was tagged as #PittJohnstownPeople to brand the university, and also carried an alternative hashtag of #MountainCatTales, to emphasize the stories. All links pointed to the landing page The People of Pitt-Johnstown.

Social media postings carrying these tags – and promoted through channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google-plus – told of the university's many student accomplishments and unique achievements. It also familiarized a broader audience with campus.

"By featuring students and their stories on the social media sites, attention to Pitt-Johnstown's social media presence increased," she said. "Students enjoy seeing themselves or their friends being featured and are more apt to like the post and to tell their friends about the posts, which generates more followers.

"It amplifies the message of community by showing the followers that these students' hard work and unique stories do not go unnoticed."

Pitt-Johnstown's social media presence has seen an average across-the-board increase of about 10 percent followers during the past school year.

The very first subject, pre-med student and live liver donor Shauna McMillan saved a life and expressed her hope that the story would lead others to make a difference in whatever way they can. McMillan's story was later featured in the Kaleidoscope Series on WATM-23, an ABC affiliate in Johnstown.

Others stories about The People of Pitt-Johnstown include:

  • Halee Sesock and Kayla Soltis, recipients of the 2018 Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Women in Global Leadership;
  • Pitt-Johnstown's Habitat for Humanity team of 23 students, who built homes during spring break;
  • Drone pilot and engineering major Eric Lobb;
  • Max Tate, a mechanical engineering student and artist;
  • Savannah Sullivan, who has made several trips to Guatemala to help make a village’s dream school for girls become a reality;
  • Coltt Lepley, a performer, sprint car driver, and award-winning writer;
  • Dain Yun of South Korea, who produced a video for international student recruiting;
  • Cierra Smetana, a sophomore business marketing major, and the service dog she's training, Humphrey;
  • Mountain Cat wrestler D.J. Sims, who slammed opponents on the mat and in the annual Shark Tank entrepreneurial competition;
  • Record-setting track and cross-country athlete Tori Fulkroad
  • Volleyball team "Super Fan" Spencer Kale;
  • and a team of seven sports broadcasters and producers gaining real-world experience via an online format.