Capstone Experience

What is the Capstone Experience?

The Capstone Experience is a three-course series (ENVIR 490, 491, 492) centered on a quarter-long internship with a community site partner. Potential Capstone sites range from community-based non-profits and government agencies to faculty research projects and private sector initiatives. Capstone projects can be done individually, or with a team of students depending on the needs of the site partner. With the mentorship of your Faculty Advisor and Site Supervisor, you will gain valuable hands-on experience, explore career possibilities, and build a wide spectrum of professional communication skills. The end result is a Capstone Experience that is academically rigorous, extremely practical, and personally meaningful.
See examples of current and past projects below to explore the diversity of projects that Environmental Studies majors have worked on:

Capstone Course Series

ENVIR 490—Pre-Capstone Seminar

This seminar is the first step in developing your Capstone project. You will meet with a range of site partners representing pre-established Capstone Projects, or you can develop a project based on your own relationships with potential site partners. You will complete your Capstone Learning Contract and Bibliography. You will interact with a variety of visiting speakers including ENVIR 492 students, PoE alumni and staff in order to make informed decisions about your Capstone Experience. After completing the course you will be able to:

  • Analyze the relationship between academic learning and applied environmental work
  • Articulate your qualifications and skills to potential site partners, faculty or future employers
  • Describe how your chosen Capstone Experience will build upon your existing skills and experience, and/or develop new skills

Finally, you will be expected to attend the Capstone Symposium to watch and review presentations by your peers enrolled in the Post-Capstone Seminar.

ENVIR 491—Capstone Experience

This course is the Capstone Experience itself -- the work you will do outside the classroom, applying your environmental knowledge and gaining new skills.

ENVIR 492—Post-Capstone Seminar

This seminar aims to put your Capstone Experience in the broader context of your Environmental Studies education.  You will reflect on, write about, and discuss your Capstone project, education, goals for the future, as well as broad topics related to the environment.  After taking the Post-Capstone seminar you will be able to:

  • Evaluate your Capstone Experience and any deliverables you produced, and relate what you did to larger environment issues.
  • Describe your personal origins, ‘educational footprint’, and/or goals for the future with respect to Environmental Studies; and
  • Represent your experience, education, and opinions to different audiences both informally and formally.

During the seminar you will write two papers: an Analysis Paper and an Integrative Essay.  You will also present your Capstone Experience at the Capstone Symposium at the end of the quarter.