Bluestone Founders Panel: Learning From the Creators

Current Bluestone Communications members had the opportunity to learn about how the organization started firsthand from the actual alumni that founded it. Peyton Johnson, Jenna Scull, Julia Smith, Jordan Aadahl and Brittany Leuth, along with former faculty advisor Dr. Yeonsoo Kim, joined our meeting on Wednesday April 14, 2021 to share about their experiences building a student-run public relations agency from the ground up. Through this panel, current employees were able to learn about the history of Bluestone and all of the hard work that paved the way for the firm we know today.

Bluestone Beginnings

In the fall semester of 2017, Dr. Kim approached several students, asking them to join her in creating JMU’s very first student-run public relations firm. The founding members worked tirelessly to create and establish Bluestone Communications, creating a handbook with all of the basics. Jenna Scull said, “A large portion of it was deciding how the firm was going to be structured… It also stemmed into the creative side too.” So much of what we know Bluestone as today is because of the decisions made by our founders.

Growing the Firm

Once the foundation had been laid out, the students were eager to dive headfirst into the “pilot semester” of Bluestone. Spring of 2018 provided the new firm with both challenges and opportunities. Bluestone employees worked with three clients and one remains a client today - Harrisonburg Little League Association. As the pilot semester continued, more students began to express interest in joining the firm and applications began rolling in. The founders began to realize that their hard work was paying off and the firm began to grow.

Bluestone Skills in the Real World

The Bluestone alumni all shared countless examples of how they have been able to apply the experience they gained from their time with the firm to the professional world. From emails, to media pitching, to client relations, the founders have seen firsthand how being a member of the student-run PR firm is invaluable. Graduating from JMU with Bluestone experience has proven to be extremely helpful for our alumni as they navigate the real world.

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