Marketing Students Gain Real World Experience with Alumni Business

West Liberty, W.Va. May 4, 2023 — West Liberty University’s Gary E. West College of Business soon-to-be graduates enjoyed a real-life opportunity to implement what they have learned as they created a Capstone Project for Vagabond Kitchen, 1201 Market St, Wheeling.

From left, alumnus Matt Welsch, Makayla Blair, Emma Conners and Marketing Instructor Ingrid Loy.

“Each WLU graduate is required to participate in a capstone class related to their major. The purpose of a capstone class is to combine all the previous major courses and implement them in real-world situations. “This project was the work of two of my students in the Marketing Capstone class,” explained Instructor Ingrid Loy.

Makayla Blair, Pittsburgh, Pa., and Emma Conners, St. Clairsville, Ohio, were given the assignment to create a full marketing plan for a local business. Both are expecting to graduate this coming December.

“The local restaurant they picked, Vagabond Kitchen, is owned by WLU Alumni Matt Welsch and we are pleased to be able to assist him in this manner,” said Loy.

The students’ plan includes a brand personality direction, social media plan, implementation time table and full commercial. It was formally presented to an audience of classmates, faculty, staff, and Welsh last week and the comments were favorable.

“It was an amazing opportunity to be the focus of this project. “Not only was I honored, but I got the opportunity to learn a few things, and for that I’m always grateful,” said Welshch, who earned his bachelor of arts degree at WLU in 2002.

Presenting is Makayla Blair in the College of Business marketing classroom.

When asked what this experience meant to them, the students agreed that, “We’re honored to not only be working with Vagabond, a great local business in our community, but also supporting a WLU alum. We hope that we can add value and offer suggestions to an already fantastic restaurant.”

Experiential learning is a hallmark of WLU’s strategic plan for demonstrating academic excellence. Capstone Projects allow students from all disciplines and majors to incorporate their book-knowledge into real-life situations that enhance their future.

West Liberty University is West Virginia’s oldest public institution of higher learning and offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, plus a growing number of graduate programs, both online and on campus. For more information, please call 1.866.937.8542 (WESTLIB), visit or follow WLU on social media. To view more about WLU, please visit

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