Each year, many Pensacola Christian College seniors reach the culmination of their training by completing a capstone project. The final paper, project, show, or performance requires hours of extensive preparation and coffee (of course!) to get it ready.
Preparing the Paper
Celina Sessoms (Sr., FL), who is studying history, is preparing a thesis for Senior History Research Project. Her topic covers the role female Soviet pilots played during World War II. While difficult, Celina knows the thesis will help her apply for graduate school. “My aim for a future career lies in archaeology and museum curatorship,” she said. “This project will be invaluable for working on a master’s degree and having experience in research and the development of higher education. Archeology often requires extensive amounts of research and procedure, and museum curatorship requires scholarly integrity and interpersonal relationships within the field.”
Criminal justice senior Josiah Sainsbury (FL) has been teamed up with a classmate to prepare a paper and 40-minute presentation for Senior Criminal Justice Seminar. “The final presentation and research paper helps test my ability to gather accurate data and present it in a professional manner,” he explained. “It also helps me learn to work with a partner toward a common goal, a skill that will be useful no matter where I end up.”
Together, they have been collecting information on human trafficking, an area of criminal justice Josiah is passionate about. “The most challenging part is learning to distinguish between good and bad information,” said Josiah. “The project makes me genuinely excited to start my career. I enjoyed the research that went into it, and I feel more prepared to go into a graduate studies program after completing this project.”
Stephanie Hansen (Sr., IN), who is studying English, is working on her Senior Literature Research Project. Her paper aims to prove that Jane Austen used a blindness motif in Emma to expose duplicity in late eighteenth-, early nineteenth-century English society. “One of the most valuable aspects of this project is learning time management. Mrs. McIntyre offered us great advice for managing our time and getting the most out of our research,” she said. “Whether I want to teach English in the future or simply write my own works, I can benefit from the logic and close reading skills. I am considering attending grad school, and all the skills that I learn from working on this project will prepare me for future classes.”
Perfecting the Design
Computer science senior William Job (ME) is on a team preparing a business simulation game in Software Engineering Project II. In this class, students design, develop, and refine software as a team. “We are currently fixing all the bugs that have been uncovered due to Black-box testing—when a group of people come in and test our game without knowing what the actual code looks like,” he said. “We are also perfecting and implementing the last of our game’s features—putting in the rest of our assets, perfecting our tutorial, fixing some issues with our database, and adding music/sound effects.”
As team lead, William encourages and works with his team to present the game at Software Expo, where the class puts together a professional event to showcase their programs. “Having already started an internship, I have learned that being able to work with people is crucial to my industry,” he said. “Being able to work with a team this year, in a professional-like environment, has given me the edge in starting a career in software engineering. The experience of working with a team to produce a game, code together, and learn together is something I will never take for granted.”
As a graphic design student, Josh Holmes (Sr., KY) has been polishing up his best projects to display them professionally for Graphic Design Portfolio Exhibit. Currently, he’s completing the finishing touches on his portfolio and new projects he’s excited to feature in his exhibit. “Preparing for this exhibit instills future beneficial skills. This is definitely testing how much I’ve learned and how to apply new skills to past projects while keeping older skills sharp,” said Josh. “It is also a good step toward my next goal as I plan to stay for grad school and will one day have a master’s exhibit.”
Anna Schultz (Sr., IL) is studying mechanical engineering. She and her classmates are designing a manufacturing facility in Wilkes-Barre, PA, for Senior Mechanical Engineering Design. “This is a completely academic exercise, and the design won’t be submitted to an engineering firm, but all building codes and regulations should be followed, and points will be lost for a flawed design,” she explained.
As chairperson of the structural design team, Anna acts as the liaison between her team and those focused on materials handling and mechanical design. All communication between the three teams is kept to formal meetings and emails. “Getting to interact with my classmates on more of a professional basis is rather interesting,” she said. “This will be good practice for future company meetings and presentations.”
In a few weeks, these projects will be completed and polished for presentation, and these students will be anticipating their next challenge—starting their new careers as alumni!