When students begin their academic careers here at Southwestern, they know in the back of their minds that the senior capstone project is looming in their future. The senior capstone is the big project that each student must complete in their major in order to graduate and to prove to the faculty that they have learned something from their time at Southwestern.
Generally though, when students think about their future capstones, they think of extensive research papers and several hours in the lab conducting experiments and running data. And while this is true of some capstones for some majors, there is definitely a wide variety of projects every year.
In the business department for example, students have a chance to run their own Fortune 500 Company. Don Parks, business professor, explained how this kind of capstone works.
“In addition to theory exploration and organization/case analysis, the business capstone includes a total business enterprise simulation where students, in teams, compete in a global athletic footwear industry, running their companies by making over 150 decisions for ten rounds, usually one per week,” Parks said.
It is an intense project that prepares students for the real work of competitive business. Running a company gives the business capstone students a look at how different parts of the industry are related, such as marketing, finance, human resources, production and operations, monetary exchange rates, tariffs and corporate social responsibility.
By “running a company,” students get to see what it will be like for them once they have companies of their own.
In addition to this simulation, students’ businesses are actually competing with other student businesses from other universities worldwide in what is called the “Global Top 100.”
In any given school year, there can be up to 4,000 teams of business students from around 250 universities participating in the“Global Top 100,” and SU students generally rank pretty well.
In the fall, an SU team, comprised of A.C. Cox, Kelly Coyle, Naomi Dyer and Alex Keller, tied for second place worldwide on the “Global Top 100.” Other student teams that have done well and ranked on the list in recent semesters include students Todd Boone, Chris Roarty, Travis Barber, Lyle Atkins, Kevin O’Neil and Danielle Waite.
The business department isn’t the only one on campus though that has interesting capstone projects. In the theatre department for instance, projects are extremely diverse due to the many components that go into a theater production.
Kerry Brechtel, a theatre professor who specializes in costuming, explained the department’s capstones.
“In the Theatre Department, students are encouraged to create their own, individual capstone experience that encapsulates the areas of the discipline that hold their primary interest. Each capstone functions as an independent study and is advised by various members of our departmental faculty,” Brechtel said.
Currently, Brechtel is working with Heather Lesieur on a costuming capstone. Lesieur discovered a painting from the 19th century, and is working on creating the garments that the painting depicts.
She had to start by researching the painter as well as the clothing of the period and costuming for the period and has now moved on to the actual construction of the garments.
This includes the corsetry and undergarments that would have been worn during the time period, not to mention the gown itself.
After all of this, Lesieur will write up a paper describing her research and costuming process, and the work will be on display in the FAB.
“This particular capstone encompasses costume history and costume construction, two areas that are a part of costuming,” Brechtel said.
Other students that Brechtel is working with include Lindsey Knapton, Claire McAdams and Danielle Cox.
Knapton is creating a garment out of recycled materials, and McAdams has written a play with music that is based on her own and her mother’s lives that she will be performing in March. Cox will be performing a cabaret in the Cove in April that showcases the funny ladies of Broadway.
All in all, there are some interesting capstones being done this semester, and, underclass, you shouldn’t fear because your capstones have the potential to be just as great.