Capstone Optimism

It’s the beginning of the end.  I have spent the last year and half at SPEA building the policy skills and knowledge I came here to learn.  Other than the renowned SPEA community, cost-benefit analysis, program evaluation, and government finance have filled my time.  Now it’s time to put it all together – or so we’re told about the capstone from the moment we arrive in Bloomington.

On Monday, I was curious to see how this enterprise called capstone would begin.  The first class was essentially a scope of work and lessons from previous capstones, given to the class as a whole.  Then the professors left.  It turns out that Capstones really are our collective product.  Since, we have elected class leadership, divided into substantive groups, and begun research.

I’m highly optimistic about the quality of our class’ finished product.  I have worked in class groups, in or across student organizations, or collaborated on other projects with most of the people in the class.  I know classmates from nonprofit, environmental, economic, political, and international backgrounds in the capstone class.  Our various disciplines will likely cause friction along the way, but I am confident it will result in a complete picture of our transportation topic.

The capstone epitomizes what SPEA imparts to us.  We are required to master analytic techniques, gain an understanding of substantive policy areas quickly, and lead among peers to produce high quality work.  It is exciting to put use skills learned so recently into practice on a project so quickly.  I’m happy to contribute to the class’ work and reference the product in future interviews.

-Mike

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