My capstone is the result of various skills and concepts I have learned throughout my ENVS education. From the flow of the thesis to my methods of research and data analysis, the major’s courses equipped me with the toolkit to complete the capstone.
In Environmental Analysis we were introduced to the hourglass model for Situated Research (pictured below). This model has been a central component to all of our ENVS work since then and provided the outline I follow in my capstone. We spent a substantial amount of time in ENVS on understanding this model for research, which gave me a sturdy foundation to base my capstone research on.
In Environmental Analysis we also had a lab in which we built our data analysis toolkit. In this lab we learned how to conduct qualitative, quantitative, and spatial data analysis. I used each of these types of data analysis in my capstone and the toolkit I created helped me create my GIS maps, conduct t-tests, and analyze policies.
Teaching critical thinking is the Liberal Art’s brand. However, the ENVS major taught me not only how to analyze and examine issues to form judgments, but also how to take my judgments and put it in the context of the world I live in and then from there determine the change I want to see and how to actualize that vision using practical tools. This project demanded not only a judgment on affordable housing and its ability to create equitable development but also a thoughtful consideration of real-world contexts in which this question exists.
My capstone research included many meetings with knowledgable people on the subject matter. My thesis also includes many diagrams and communication tools that convey some of the most important information throughout my work. Both of these aspects of the capstone have been informed by the Environmental Engagement I took my Junior year course. Through my engagement project and work on the ENVX symposium, both of which were part of the course, I learned how to effectively conduct informational meetings and create a network for my research. I also learned how to convey my work to my projected audience in a meaningful way, using accessible language, visuals, and approachable concepts.
Overall, the ENVS major has trained me well for me capstone by providing a strong balance of independence and guidance throughout the major. I believe that the agency and counsel I experienced through my undergraduate career is well reflected in my culminating project.