So, What’s this about a Capstone Project?


Sep 22, 2016

Dear Future GREEN Student,

Now that you have been accepted into the adventure of your lifetime, you may be examining the agenda and wondering to yourself, what the heck is a Capstone Project?  Fear not.  To ease your apprehensions and fire up your imagination, let me tell you about why I think the Capstone is the one best parts of this program. 

citxa9p4b0f86b3i5n83lxmsb young 791849 1920

So, what is the Capstone Project?  

A Capstone Project is an interdisciplinary assignment that serves as a culminating academic experience. Capstone projects typically involve developing a solution to a real world problem.  Because these projects are interdisciplinary, students are encouraged to apply skills and investigate issues across many different subject fields.  Capstone Projects teach students to think critically, problem-solve, and develop skills such as public speaking, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, and marketing.  These skills will prepare students for modern careers in any field of study, and in fact, many corporations ask their employees to complete Capstone Projects in training in order to build these skill sets.  

As you may have seen in the itinerary, all of the GREEN Program’s sessions culminate in a Capstone Project.  While this might sound daunting, there is no need to stress about this project — it’s simply a way to think outside the box and apply your knowledge from school to a real life problem. What an incredible opportunity!  There’s only one major rule: your project must pertain to the program’s general subject of focus.  For me, that meant exploring a whole new area of my knowledge.  

Setting The GREEN Program apart from any other study abroad program

I want to tell you more about my experience, group, and Capstone Project to demonstrate how the this project sets The GREEN Program apart from any other study abroad program.  When it came time to brainstorm ideas and form groups, I chose a group based on how my specialties and skill sets could improve and assist the project. As a geoscientist, I am consider myself a fundamental scientist. I wanted a group that I could put to use my hard science skills.  

Let me tell you about my Capstone Project:
Introducing renewable energies into the petroleum industry

I joined a group that proposed to help the petroleum industry integrate renewable energy into their companies. I could not have chosen a better group! What I found most intriguing was the group dynamic; we had engineers, bio-materials scientist, policy makers, and a geologist. I learned more from my group members than I imagined I would. I had no idea policy was so important in the energy industry until we worked together to brainstorm a business plan or how solar panels and wind farms can produce enough energy to reduce revenues for a company until we calculated energy outputs and costs using real data. Our ideas fed off each other and we worked collaboratively as a group to develop our project. 

We all gained different viewpoints of the energy industry, realizing that for the energy revolution from petroleum to renewable energy to ever take place, collaboration and integration are key.  This was by far my favorite part of the project.  In traditional study abroad programs, you learn in a class of students who all have the same major from a professor who specializes in that field. The GREEN Program, however, allows students to explore a new field of study by applying their existing knowledge from their degree, learning new viewpoints from other students in different majors, and learning new aspects about themselves in the process.  

As mentioned previously, my group proposed a consulting company that would help oil and gas companies integrate renewable energy into their industry.  This was near and dear to me because coming from Texas, I live in the capitol of the petroleum industry and therefore had more knowledge of the industry than my team members.  To implement our consulting company, we designed a business plan that would help companies understand how implementing renewable energy would be beneficial to them on financial, political, and social bases.  Currently, oil and gas companies waste one-third of their revenue to produce more oil and gas.  We chose Chevron as a case study for this project because they already have some renewable energy production as the largest producer of geothermal energy in Argentina.  We focused on three real production sites and worked together to design the best plan to implement renewable energy for the site based on the resources available.  For example, for an off-shore rig near New Orleans called Blind Faith, we calculated the energy cost, the production cost, taxes, and the wasted revenue for that rig for one day using real data.  

To implement renewable energy, we decided that an off-shore wind farm would be the best option.  The engineers in the group helped calculate how many windmills would be needed to produce enough power, how much building would cost, and how much money this would cost the company in one day.  The same analyses was completed for a potential geothermal site and a solar farm site.  In the end, it was neat for all of us to see how important collaboration is—both in our team and between the petroleum industry and renewable energy industry. Renewable energy implementations did save our case study company some money, which made us realize that collaboration and integration is the first step towards the energy revolution.

There’s nothing quite like applying your knowledge to a real-life problem 

I’ve worked in a lot of group setting before, but nothing quite like this where I am applying my knowledge from school to solve a real life problem.  What’s really neat is that some students even take their Capstone Projects to the next level and bring them to life!  I think future GREEN students will benefit from this type of project because it teaches you a lot about yourself. I learned more about myself as a teammate and leader than any other project.  Perhaps that was because this was a new field of study for all of us or because we were all self-motivated and brought different viewpoints and specialties to the table.  Most of all, I think all students walk away from the Capstone Project with a better understanding on how to problem solve and apply what we’ve been leaning in school for years. Capstone Projects are challenging, but they prepare you for a career that can impact the world.  

Good luck, everyone! Time to change the world.     

            Emilie G.
           University of Texas A+M, Geological Science/B.S
           Colorado School of Mines, Geology & Geological Engineering

           Iceland Alumna, Summer 2015

Read Another Article

Honoring Kate Slattery & Highlighting the Shine On Scholarship for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, The GREEN Program is happy to highlight Kate Slattery – a mechanical engineer and photovoltaic designer for SolarCity who challenged herself and others to work toward a global mission of renewable energy and sustainability. We are honored to work with Kate’s family and GivePower to share Kate’s story and provide the Shine On Scholarship to TGP students in memory of Kate. 

read more

How an Online Sustainability Program Helped Jaedyn Medrano Become an Intersectional Sustainability Advocate

This blog features the virtual Nepal Ethics of Sustainable Development Alum, Jaedyn Medrano who says, “this program taught me how to think about a project holistically, and it has guided me along the path to being a better cultured and inclusive young professional.” She is set to graduate with a double major in Renewable Natural Resources & Ecological Restorations in December of 2022.

read more

Defending Reproductive Rights in the Battle for Climate Justice

Reproductive Justice is Climate Justice. The GREEN Program stands to defend the reproductive rights of all women and people who give birth to access safe reproductive health care. We must do more to educate others and understand the interconnection between Reproductive Justice and the Climate Crisis. It’s important to draw the connections between climate change, pollution, and reproductive rights.

read more

An International Graduate Student Embraces Nepali Culture by Studying Abroad through Shine On Scholarship

On one hand, I believe that every student should be given a chance to study abroad at least once in their life, because it teaches us things that textbooks cannot: adaptability, resilience, curiosity, empathy, just to name a few. Whether good or bad, bursting our bubble and learning about our world will inspire us and open our minds. On the other hand, the people we interact with benefit from the diversity, because all of us bring unique perspectives to the table. Perhaps we share an idea that no one has thought of but could be key to solving a problem; we fuel the aspirations of someone who is facing similar difficulties; or help take down stereotypes.  

read more

Remembering Juneteenth and the Fight for Environmental Justice

n June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It is on this day every year since that we celebrate “Juneteenth” as the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that we celebrate ancestors and leaders who fought to be liberated. We celebrate their power, resiliency, and tenacity. 

read more

LGBTQ+ Leaders and Organizations in Sustainability to Know About this Pride Month

The GREEN Program loves to celebrate love, and there is no better way to do that this month than by recognizing a few LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations that are making a difference not just in their own communities but for our planet altogether. Read below to learn more about some people and spaces that are working together to promote a better world that focuses on inclusion and equality.

read more

Meet 8 AAPI Leaders in Sustainability: Across the Globe and At Home

The month of May is known to many as the end of classes and the start of Summer, but May is also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our team at TGP wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions and influence of AAPI Americans throughout history, culture, and achievements both on a global scale, and from those who are a bit close to home. We also encourage you to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and get involved through additional resources.

read more

From a Start Up to a Sustainability Study Abroad Program: How Patrick Applied his Passion for Renewable Energy in Iceland

When Fall 2021 rolled around and I saw the TGP scholarship opportunity, I thought I’d apply not expecting much. When I found out that I actually got it, I was like “I guess I’m actually doing this!”. I was a little nervous and anxious but also so excited for the opportunity! I was also grateful that the enrollment process was very smooth for me with no significant challenges along the way.

read more

Boston University Student Gains a Unique Perspective for Renewable Energy & Sustainability by Studying Abroad in Iceland

Global experiences have definitely shaped me into the person I am today through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. Getting to really know a great group of diverse individuals from all over the world has not only shaped my perspective on current world issues, but has also allowed me to take a glance at certain topics from another angle and point of view.

read more

A Construction Science Major Turns Lessons into Opportunity after a Sustainability Study Abroad Program 

AJ Ewing spent his past Winter Break a little bit differently than most students, by studying abroad on our GREEN Nepal program. As a Construction Science major, AJ notes that he was nervous coming into the study abroad program having no prior experience in sustainability or electrical/solar grids, but he was excited and eager to learn. As soon as he arrived, all his nerves were gone as he was welcomed by our team and ready to dive in. Now, he can honestly say that when he thinks of The GREEN Program, he thinks of “family away from home.”

read more

How a Geologist Made His Sustainability Dream in Iceland a Reality through a Study Abroad Scholarship

As someone who is in a field with a limited representation of ethnic minorities, TGP created a neutral ground where there was a range of diversity on different levels. My GREEN Program experience in Iceland wasn’t just about the adventures and cultural immersion, but about the education too. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures because I saw how passionate the different lecturers were about their work and research which is truly inspiring. As a geologist, learning more about the wonder that is Iceland in Iceland was definitely a dream come true.

read more

Get to Know GREENie: Maryam Aida Tidjani

Maryam Aida Tidjani got to experience a brand new kind of GREEN Program during the hard times the world was facing, a 100% Virtual and Online experience. Initially planning on traveling to Peru in 2021, the global pandemic continued to shift things around and we had to pivot all travel programs to Online experiences.

read more

Subscribe to The GREEN Program newsletter & updates

Skip to content