Auburn University’s Global Studies in Human Sciences program blends traditional education with real-world application, and the capstone of this innovative learning model is the final project. Students are tasked with making a deliverable, or a plan ready for application, for an organization that improves quality of life.
For the first time, Global Studies seniors had to present their capstones remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morgan Alexander’s group created a plan to expand the reach of Nourish Alabama, a nonprofit that connects food insecure families with the help they need. The plan included a marketing strategy, website redesign and ways to streamline the grant application process that Nourish relies on to fight hunger in the state.
Alexander said it was the program’s concepts of problem-based learning and design thinking that led to her group’s success.
“To present something that’s going to be used in the real world and be useful for a cause and helping food insecure families, is really rewarding and it’s not just a check in a box,” Alexander said. “We haven’t just finished a project; we’ve actually produced something that’s going to be used and be beneficial for the long run. There’s no better preparation than the problem-based learning process and design thinking model in Global Studies.”
Other capstone projects included deliverables for Bridge the Gap: Vovoro Island, the U.S. Army, Love Justice and Koinonia Farm. All their clients praised the students for their forward-thinking solutions and professional presentations.
Global Education Director Kate Thornton said the students reacted well under unique circumstances and produced final products that will serve them well as they move on to their careers.
“I am so proud of the capstone students this term. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us into remote operations, each student dealt with the situation with grace and determination to finish strong,” Thornton said. “Our clients were all blown away by their work and each emphasized how much value the students added to their organization. While I hate that I didn’t get to say goodbye to these seniors in person, I am confident that they are well prepared for successful careers and that these projects will be portfolio pieces that help them take their next steps.”
Learn more about the Global Studies program .