One student who was studying digital media created an interactive virtual art exhibit that could be experienced through virtual reality headsets. The art exhibit featured 10 different virtual art installations that visitors could walk through and interact with. Some of the installations included virtual sculptures that changed shape when touched, paintings where the brush strokes were generated by the visitor’s movements, and an environment made of light particles that reacted to sound. The student learned skills in 3D modeling, animation, programming interactive elements, and virtual environment design to create this immersive virtual art experience.
Another creative capstone was a documentary film produced by a student majoring in film. The 80-minute long documentary told the story of a small traveling circus through the eyes of three generations of a family who owned and performed in the circus. The student conducted extensive interviews with family members, located historical footage and photos from the circus’s 50 year history, learned cinematography and editing skills to shoot additional footage at the circus’s current performances, and compiled it all into a film that captured both the artistic skills of the performances as well as the personal histories of the family struggling to keep their tradition alive. The documentary provided an intimate look at a unique American institution and the relationships that held it together.
A graphic design student created an illustrated children’s book as their capstone project. They came up with an original story about a group of forest animals discovering their individual strengths during a snowstorm. The student hand-drew all of the illustrations combining ink drawings with watercolors. They also designed the layout for each page, the cover, and additional promotional materials. Through the process, the student strengthened their illustration and page composition abilities as well as learning self-publishing and book production skills. Several local elementary schools and libraries now have copies of the book to share with students.
A musical theater major composed music and lyrics to produce an original one-act musical play for their capstone. They wrote the story, six original songs, and worked with other student directors, choreographers, actors and designers to stage a full production. Through collaborating with other theater students and completing every step from initial conception to final performance, the student demonstrated comprehensive skills in musical theater creation, production and performance. The short play received positive feedback and interest from those who saw it about the student’s potential for future musical theater work.
As part of a community health science degree, one student identified a need for more accessible athletic opportunities for disabled youth in her community. She created an adaptive sports program for kids ages 8-16 with physical disabilities. Through extensive research, grant writing, collaboration with local organizations and volunteers, she launched a six-week long pilot program. It included lesson plans, skill progressions, and rules modifications for sports like swimming, boccia, wheelchair basketball and sled hockey. Program evaluations demonstrated improvements in the kids’ confidence, socialization and mobility skills. The success of the pilot program helped the student advocate for ongoing funding and institutional support to establish the program long-term through her county department of parks and recreation. Her capstone showed initiative in identifying a community health issue and implementing a sustainable solution.
These are just a few examples of the diverse types of creative works students across various disciplines have produced for their capstone or culminating projects. Through generative thinking, research, technical skill building and collaborative efforts, these projects allowed students to demonstrate comprehensive understanding, innovation and professional potential within their fields of study. The process of conceiving and completing singular works that combine theory and practice exemplifies the purpose of a capstone experience to showcase learning, growth and preparation for post-graduate work or research.