Business Management Capstone: A student analyzed the marketing strategies of a mid-sized pharmaceutical company and proposed recommendations to help increase sales of their top 5 best-selling drugs. Through competitive research and customer surveys, the student identified gaps in the company’s marketing approach and recommended refocusing marketing dollars towards digital campaigns and collaborating with physicians to promote the medical benefits of the products. A implementation plan was proposed outlining tactics, budget, timeline and metrics to measure success. This provided the company valuable insights that could potentially help boost revenue.
Nursing Capstone: For her nursing capstone, a student chose to focus on increasing childhood vaccination rates at a rural community health center. Through a comprehensive literature review, she identified barriers to vaccination adherence among the patient population which included lack of education, limited transportation options and distrust of the medical system. She then designed and led an educational outreach program that included distributing educational material in both English and Spanish, hosting community seminars at local churches and schools, and making home visits for at-risk families. Post-implementation surveys showed an over 20% increase in full vaccination compliance among children under 5 at the clinic, demonstrating how her project helped improve public health.
Computer Science Capstone: A computer science major worked with a local software startup to develop an app to help connect veterans experiencing homelessness or poverty with volunteer-based assistance programs in their local community. Through user experience research and iterative programming cycles, he designed and built a functional mobile app prototype that allowed users to input their location, desired assistance categories like food/housing/employment and be matched with relevant non-profits offering aid nearby. The prototype demonstrated an elegant, easy-to-use technical solution that could one day help address a real social issue if further refined and marketed by the company.
Engineering Capstone: A mechanical engineering student consulted with engineers at an electric vehicle manufacturer to help improve the battery cooling system design in their upcoming model. Through computational analysis and laboratory testing, she evaluated alternative heat exchanger designs, coolant flow paths and thermodynamic models to identify the most energy and cost-efficient configuration. Her recommended design changes were estimated to provide a 10% increase in battery thermal management performance while lowering component costs. The company was so impressed they offered her a job after graduation to help implement her improvements in the production phase.
Social Work Capstone: A social work major collaborated with a state child welfare agency seeking ways to minimize placement disruptions and better support foster family stability. Through interviews and surveys of foster parents, social workers and child welfare administration, she pinpointed organizational barriers hindering continuity of care such as high caseloads, lack of foster parent training and delays in licensing approval. Her capstone paper proposed a series of policy and procedural recommendations including reducing social worker ratios, streamlining the home study process and providing ongoing resources/mentorship for foster families. The agency implemented several of her suggestions which showed early promise in boosting placement retention rates.
The film and media production students also complete compelling capstone projects. For example, one group of students worked with a nonprofit organization that provides arts education to underserved youth. For their capstone, the students produced a short documentary film highlighting the meaningful impact of the nonprofit’s programs as seen through the experiences of the children, their families and volunteer instructors. The film was used by the nonprofit in grants applications and community outreach materials to garner more support. Another student created an animated public service announcement promoting wildfire prevention safety tips. The California Department of Forestry featured the PSA on their social media channels during peak wildfire season when awareness of burning restrictions was critical.
These are just a handful examples that demonstrate how capstone projects provide real-world, applied learning experiences for students across diverse fields. By directly consulting with and addressing needs of community partners and organizations, capstones allow students to utilize their academic knowledge and skills to design solutions for issues facing the public/private sectors. This bridges the classroom to practice and provides valuable work samples that showcase competencies gained, making capstones an impactful concluding experience for undergraduate degree programs. Overall capstone courses foster self-directed learning, collaboration skills and civic engagement through practical application-focused projects.