Senior Capstone Projects
Senior capstone work provides students with the opportunity to apply their learning to complex real-world situations through focused research or advanced creative projects. Students have two options for culminating their Sterling academic careers: the Senior Applied Research Project (SARP) or the Senior Project (SP).
Senior Applied Research Project (SARP)
Students who wish to engage in in-depth original research typically pursue a 15-credit Senior Applied Research Project (SARP) to culminate their studies. The SARP option spans 3 semesters, beginning with a cohort course (SARP 1), which trains students in research methods and proposal writing, followed by SARP 2, which includes 9 credits of original research, and concluding with SARP 3, also a cohort course, which focuses on data analysis, paper writing, and presentation. Students work with an on-campus SARP advisor and committee, as well as and outside SARP sponsor, typically affiliated with a non-profit organization for whom the student’s research will be beneficial.
Examples of recent SARPs:
Jordan Charbonneau ’16, “Perceptions of Online Advertising Effectiveness among New Hampshire Farmers” SARP Advisor: Gwyneth Harris SARP Sponsor: NOFA-New Hampshire
Ezra Fradkin ’16, “Conducting a Community Foodshed Assessment of Lopez Island, Washington” SARP Advisor: Allison Van Akkeren SARP Sponsor: Lopez Community Land Trust
Timothy Maddalena-Lucey ’16, “Alpine Plant Communities of Mount Moosilauke of New Hampshire: A 22-Year Cross-Data Analysis of Composition and Structure” SARP Advisor: Laura Spence SARP Sponsor: Dr. David Peart, Dartmouth Outing Club
Dave Martorana ’15, “An Analysis of Reproductive Protocols on Dairy Farms” SARP Advisor: Louise Calderwood
Matthew Jackson ’15, Senior Applied Research Project: “Youth at Promise: An Ecological Approach” SARP Advisor: Anne Morse
Allyson Makuch ’15, Senior Applied Research Project: “Alternative Pedagogy for Alternative Conceptions: Using Agriculture as a Tool for Conceptual Change” SARP Advisor: Pavel Cenkl
Erica Sullivan ’15, Senior Applied Research Project & Integrated Internship: “Seeing the Forest through the Trees: A Cross-Boundary Approach to Land Management” SARP Advisor: Farley Brown
Students may also choose the 6-credit Senior Project as their capstone learning experience. The Senior Project occurs in two separate 3-credit installments (Senior Project 1 and 2) in consecutive semesters. A Senior Project may be research-based, but it might also be, for example, an extended creative work, a field guide, a collection of interviews, a film, or a curriculum. Students who pursue a Senior Project are encouraged to enroll in SARP I (which covers research methods and proposal development), but it is not required.
Examples of Recent Senior Projects:
Renee Barry ’16, “Exploring the Knowable World through Documentary: Art and the Challenges of Representing ‘Reality’” (Senior Project Advisor: Carol Dickson)
Tessa Scheele Morelli ’16, “The Forest Beneath the Trees: Non-Timber Forest Products Inventory and Assessment” (Senior Project Advisor: Laura Beebe)
Jesse Keck ’16, “The Ecology and Distribution of Red Oak (Quercus rubra) in Craftsbury Township” (Senior Project Advisor: David Gilligan)
Jessy Lee ’15, “Phenomenology of Diamond Dust” (Senior Project Advisor: Pavel Cenkl)
Claire Goldman ’15, “What the Thunder Said: Multi-Media Performance” (Senior Project Advisor: Leland Peterson). Have a look at Claire’s finished presentation. It was incredible.
Grace Costin ’15, “Together with Bread: Food, Culture, and Community from the Vermont Hearth” (Senior Project Advisor: Carol Dickson)
Katelyn Currie-Huggard ’15, “The Geologic Interpretation of the Colorado Plateau” (Senior Project Advisor: David Gilligan)
Melissa Eckstrom ’15, “Agricultural Applications of Invertebrates: Waste Reduction, Entomophagy, and Ecological Facilitation” (Senior Project Advisor: Gwyneth Harris)
John Smolinsky ’15, “Deliberate Forest Management Using Horses” (Senior Project Advisor: Louise Calderwood)
Darienne Chouinard ’15, “A Cross-Disciplined Approach to the Pear” (Senior Project Advisors: Pavel Cenkl & Gwyneth Harris)
Erica Feinberg ’15, “Creating a Sterling Community Apothecary” (Senior Project Advisor: Jody Frey)
Students may petition the Dean of Academics to pursue a coursework-only option, in lieu of a capstone project, if they can demonstrate that they have successfully completed a series of upper-level courses that create a comparable capstone experience.