Capstone Projects

Environmental Studies students major in a wide range of fields across campus, and their senior year Capstone Projects reflect that breadth and scope. At the end of each year, students share their capstones in a symposium-style event, where we also get to celebrate the excellent work they have done! Below is an archive of many such projects, compiled from recent years of student work.

ENST Minors 2020

This year’s graduation was unlike any other, occurring under the specter of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated implications. The Capstone Symposium was held via Zoom on April 15, 2020, but using that platform didn’t diminish the impact of these excellent projects! {Note: Melissa Zheng, a Management major in the MSB, graduated in December 2019, and for her ENST capstone participated in a research project with a faculty mentor under the auspices of the International Food Policy Research Institute.}

Title: Financing the Future of Clean Energy & Technology: An Examination of the Funding Gap & An Analysis of Alternative Investment Vehicles 

Julia Choi, an Economics major in the College, wrote a paper on the world of investments and finance when it comes to clean energy technology. In her paper she outlines the challenges clean energy companies encounter in financing their projects. She then dives into potential new investment vehicles for the funding of clean energy, and examines the role of both the public and private sectors in clean energy innovation. 

Title: “The Pear Tree”

Emily Arnold, who focused her studies at Georgetown on English, used her passion for words to explore how humans connect to physical space and how this shapes our perception of our environment. Her capstone project consisted of two distinct projects: “The Pear Tree”, a 52-page collection of poems; and “Tree of Letters”, a sculpture of a tree made of wire and paper mache with recycled pages (pictured above). This project succinctly captures Emily’s studies for the last four years; she reflects, “‘The Tree of Letters’ considers the relationship between trees and written language and comments on the chosen form, poems, to convey the ideas in my Thesis.”

Title: “Discarded Narratives”

After years of interest in the environmental impacts of medical waste, JUPS major Maddy Rice decided to do something productive with single-use medical products. Her project, “Discarded Narratives”, aims to “reclaim the discarded stories and objects of the medical industrial complex”. She worked to collect medical waste and create art that had an impact on viewers and shifted the current modes of storytelling. Her first project was a bamboo garden constructed entirely of discarded medicine bottles, and she intends to continue her work. You can learn more about “Discarded Narratives” here

Title: Climate Change and Environmental Degradation

Lucy Stebbins, a government major with a background in Catholicism, found inspiration from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and decided to delve into the environmental perspectives of the Church. She analyzed a variety of environmental challenges we face today, paying special attention to how these issues disproportionately affect marginalized communities. She also focused on the commitments the Catholic Church has made to care for the planet and how these tie into the fundamental values of the Church, and synthesized the two by selecting passages from the Pope’s encyclical: “Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” — Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ 

A blue and white umbrella

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Title: “Environmental Education through Play and Learning for Grade R Students in South Africa”

Jinia Sarkar, a Human Science major in the SFS, completed her capstone project while studying abroad in South Africa. For the community engagement portion of her program, Jinia volunteered at Ikaya Primary School, planning lessons and organizing activities for the students. Throughout her time there, she designed and painted an educational play area for the community with environmental themes.