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Every semester, graduates majoring in communication participate in the Senior Showcase. There, they present projects they’ve worked on to a panel of judges and to anyone who wants to see them.

BYU-Idaho’s page on the senior projects says “the project requires a minimum of 50 hours” and should be something that “demonstrate(s) their marketability to future employers.”

At the showcase, projects can include anything from a book defining emojis to a beauty blog.

Torry Barnes – Public Relations

One of these projects was a ‘true scary stories’ podcast hosted by Torry Barnes.

“For my podcast I went out and interviewed people and tried to find the true scary stories,” Barnes said.

He said his interest in these types of stories started at Pocatello High School. “My friends, who were in the drama department, would have experiences because they spend a lot of time late at night in the auditorium, which is really haunted.”

The first story Barnes told on his podcast was about a missionary in a haunted house.

Missionaries teach about having “opposition in all things” frequently on missions, but Barnes said these elders didn’t need to read about it in the scriptures: It was a first-hand experience.

One of the missionaries said, “Every time this happens, (the evil spirits) are cast out with the priesthood. I got closer to God from this experience.”

Barnes designs his podcast to scare listeners, not to lead them toward the darkness. He likes scary stories and sharing them with others.

Carissa Jones – News/Journalism

Carissa Jones wrote a short novel about her main character Quinn and her best friend Axel going through the last semester of college.

Jones said, “I came up with this idea based off (of) my personal experiences and some others in friends and family about being a sexual assault victim.”

She said she wanted to create a story that was based on relationships first, so she took her love of writing and created Quinn as a combination of real experiences and people.

“Quinn is having these unwanted, unrealistic dreams as she’s going through her last semester,” Jones said. “She’s been having them for a while, but she doesn’t tell anyone.”

Quinn gets a boyfriend, Luca, and she figures out through her dreams what happened in her real life and who was involved. Jones said, “It’s a really powerful ending, to be honest.”

She hopes to get it published after graduation.

Korry Burrows – Video Production

For Korry Burrows, finding a story is a matter of looking around and developing one. For his project, he did a short film about a girl in a blindfold.

“I saw a group of people talking and one of them put on a blindfold and I just ran with it,” he said. Shortly after he saw this group, he did some research about the movie Bird Box and learned that one of the themes in it was depression.

Because of this, he built on that theme in his own film. “The over-arching theme of the story is getting rid of the unnecessary parts of your life, but not cutting out so much of your life that it becomes dull and you end up being left with no personality,” Burrows said.

After seven weeks of work and seven different scripts, he finally came up with a film he was happy with.

The moral is that “you’ve got to change yourself but only for what you think is better, not for what other people tell you is better.”

Makayla Miller – Visual Communication

Makayla Miller also did a short film, but this one was an animation. It depicted a small purple blob that grew and explored a fishbowl until it adopted a bigger, human form, and had created an entire universe. This was Miller’s universe creation story for her Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

She wanted a story unique from real-world religions. “The very first idea I came across was ‘put it in a fishbowl.’”

The project took 70 hours to complete for an animation a minute long. However, Miller layered the video to have both an entertaining story and deeper meanings.

“On a story level, he’s a sentient mass of space. In reality, space expands,” she said. As he experiences, he learns to shape himself into anything.

However, for those who take the time to read deeper into the story, she said it could mean the beginning of life. Humans haven’t fully developed physically or mentally. Babies haven’t had any experiences to shape them.

“Then as you live on, not only do you grow more into a fully-developed human body, but your experiences also develop you into the human that you are,” Miller said.

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