Honors Capstones

Steps for Initiating an Honors Capstone

For those graduating in May, begin by discussing the capstone process with the director or associate director during the spring semester of your junior year. You will then approach a faculty member in your major and ask him or her to serve as your honors capstone mentor. Subsequent discussions should solidify the precise goals of the honors capstone project. Once the goals are clear, complete the Honors Capstone Proposal Form in the Honors Academy office (160 Floyd Hall). Obtain the necessary signatures and return the form to the Honors Academy office.

Note: Students who plan on graduating in December should begin this process in the fall semester of junior year. Students who are required to spend senior year away from campus (e.g., student teaching), begin the capstone process during the spring semester of sophomore year.

Students then enroll in 3 hours in their departmental course designated for honors capstones (e.g., PSYC 488, BIOL 488, ECON 488). Check with your department to confirm the exact forms your need to submit to registrer for these credit hours. You can enroll in the capstone hours during either fall or spring semester.

Some funds are available to reimburse students for expenses related to their capstone projects. Please discuss anticipated expenses with the director.

Steps for Completing an Honors Capstone

Students will typically begin the actual work of the capstone during fall semester of senior year. It is vital that you meet with your honors capstone mentor regularly to ensure that you are staying on track! Real scholarship always has challenges and unexpected problems. Your mentor will help you solve these inevitable problems as they arise. Be resilient!

Other than completing the capstone itself, students are required to present the results of their work to others. This most often occurs at the Radford Undergraduate/Graduate Engagement Forum, but other professional conferences are acceptable (e.g., BigSURS, MARCUS). Note that December graduates typically cannot present their capstone at the Forum, so another professional conference must be found and planned.

Finally, the Honors Academy office will email your honors capstone mentor to confirm that the project was completed. Your work is now done and you graduate as a Highlander Scholar! Be sure to come to the Honors Banquet to celebrate your achievement and receive the gold stole worn by Highlander Scholars at graduation.

Examples of Recent Honors Capstones

The Big Boom Theory: Powder, People, and Politics

Highlander Scholar: Adam Bennett

Faculty Mentor: Matt Oyos

Bennett examines the impact that World War II had on the city of Radford, and the surrounding counties of the New River Valley. On August 22, 1940, when surveying began for an Army ammunition plant, the Radford area changed dramatically. This led to a change in the environment, the population, and the economy of this Appalachian community. Numerous primary sources gathered from the archives of local libraries, including Radford University and Virginia Tech, provide an in-depth examination of how a world war can impact a small, mountain city.

Cardiac Variable Scoring in Obstrusuctive Sleep Apnea

Highlander Scholar: Wesley DuBose

Faculty Mentor: Adrian Aron

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by complete obstruction of the airway causing a stoppage of breathing leading to oxygen deprivation. OSA is mostly undiagnosed, although can be identified with an expensive overnight observation. This study aims to test a new way of screening for OSA in place of the overnight study. The study uses a six variable score, each variable has been shown to be unique to OSA sufferers. Using a bioimpedance cardiac monitor, patients were tested during periods of normal breathing with 30 sec apnea periods to simulate OSA conditions. Subjects were 15 healthy males (Mean ± SD: age = 37.7 ± 5.6 yr; BMI = 22.7 ± 1.8; neck circumference = 38.1 ± 2.1) and 17 recently diagnosed OSA patients (age = 47.3 ± 10.5 yr; BMI = 34.1 ± 6.9; AHI = 40.9 ± 33.8). Healthy patients and patients recently diagnosed with OSA were given a score based on the prevalence of the following variables: BMI, neck circumference, myocardial contractility during and after Mueller Maneuver, stroke volume at second 90 and second 120 following MM. The assigned score was different between groups (OSA = 4.1 ± 1.3; healthy = 0.8 ± 0.9, p < 0.05) and correlate positively with OSA severity (r = 0.6, p < 0.05). This score was shown to be predictive of OSA with neck circumference having the highest prognostic value. Future research is needed to determine this score accuracy in a larger population.

Regenerative Rending

Highlander Scholar: Lacie Omps

Faculty Mentor: danah bella

"Regenerative Rending" is a choreographic study investigating superficial and profound borders within society, including culture, class, religion, maturation, relationships, and race. During the research process, the focus will be directed toward the development, perpetuation, and deconstruction of said divisions. Furthermore, the choreographic study will delve into individual perspectives as well as individual experiences within societal borders. Therefore, the methodology will include theories, studies, multimedia, literature, folk dances, and one-on-one interviews. The findings will culminate in a thirty to forty minute choreographic project to be disseminated to my peers. Movement has the potential to evoke conversation relating to the theme of the choreographic study as well as allowing the opportunity to reexamine one‘s opinions and views. Throughout the choreographic study, movement phrases will pertain to the development, perpetuation, and deconstruction of said divisions within society. As such, my peers will have the opportunity to discuss with the choreographer her findings as well as their reaction to the movement presented.

Natural Childbirth Education and Planning

Highlander Scholar: Jessica Rakes

Faculty Mentor: Sharla Cooper

Many pregnant mothers desire to have a natural childbirth, but this idea is pushed aside when the excitement and overwhelming stages of labor begin. Nurses should be more educated on the non-pharmacological methods and breathing techniques that can be offered to pregnant mothers. It is the duty of the nurse to be involved in allowing and encouraging pregnant mothers to follow their desired natural childbirth plan, rather than settling on pharmacological methods for pain management. Pregnant mothers should be informed of labor pain management opportunities and relaxation breathing techniques prior to hospitalization; if this is not accomplished, it is the nurse‘s responsibility to be properly educated to coach their patients. Alongside childbirth education instructor, Megan McNamara, I observed alternative pain management strategies and breathing patterns to control labor pain. Candice Matthis, a Doula in the New River Valley, provided insight into coaching pregnant mothers through natural childbirth. Through evidence based research, childbirth education classes and the interview of a doula, I have formed a lesson plan to educate nursing students at Radford University. All information has been thoroughly researched and compiled into an evidenced based paper to achieve the goal of this Capstone; which is to further educate myself, future nurses, and pregnant mothers of breathing techniques and non-pharmacological methods used for pain management during the labor process.

Sensibly Chic: Researching and Designing Around Claire McCardell and Coco Channel

Highlander Scholar: Renata Schmersal

Faculty Mentor: Kathy Mitchell

As a fashion designer, a person will pull inspiration from many different sources. Current trends, interesting artwork, nature, and designers from previous decades are all popular sources of inspiration. Two iconic designers which have inspired many emerging as well as established fashion designers are Claire McCardell and Coco Channel. Polar opposites in the fashion world, and yet they coincided in the same time periods and created unique legacies in the fashion world. During this project I sought to discover the two designer‘s greatest works and their unique lasting legacies before synthesizing their unique approaches to design in order to develop one modern line of cocktail
apparel. This was executed by doing research on both Chanel‘s and McCardell‘s lifestyles (what drove their designs), design history, and signature apparel. I then drew from this information and combined it with modern trends to begin the formation of a unique line of women‘s apparel. Twenty or more sketches of ensembles were developed, ten of which were chosen and put into a fully rendered drawing. One garment was selected and taken from sketch through the pattern making and construction processes to a completed garment. A comparison of the two designers was written into a research paper. A PowerPoint of the complete process, from inspiration to completed garment, was created in order to visually illustrate the process taken and include the research.