After being away for 16 years, West Virginia University alumna Nikki Bowman returned to Morgantown to follow her dreams.
In late 2008, the 1992 graduate started the lifestyle magazine WV Living to showcase all of the hidden gems the state has to offer.
“It’s nice to come home and see the state from different eyes,” Bowman said. “The first town I went to was Lewisburg, and I didn’t even get out of my car before I called my husband and told him to pack his bags because we were moving there. If I had known there were towns like Lewisburg, Shepherdstown, Elkins and Wheeling, maybe I wouldn’t have been so eager to leave.”
Her goal was to create a statewide publication that would help to improve the image of the state, and encourage young people to stick around.
“If people hop in the car and travel an hour or two to go and really investigate the hidden gems in our backyard that they never knew about, then I feel like we have accomplished what we set out to do,” Bowman said.After earning her bachelor’s degree in international and Slavic studies at WVU, Bowman got her master’s degree in magazine journalism from DePaul University. She later worked in the magazine industry in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Mississippi.
“It took having all of those experiences to bring me home,” Bowman said.
Bowman chose to base the magazine out of Morgantown because of the University and its central location within the state. She has able to staff her magazine by hiring student interns from WVU’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism and College of Creative Arts.
The diverse culture, art and history that surround Morgantown also attracted Bowman.
“Everything comes together in this town; it makes this town really unique,” said Bowman.
The magazine, which has a circulation of about 15,000, is published four times a year, with an annual weddings issue.
For more information on the magazine and Bowman, visit http://www.wvlivingmagazine.com/.
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