RSU Seniors Complete Capstone Research Projects

Defending a dissertation has long been a rite of passage for students in graduate school. In the spirit of this tradition, undergraduates studying art, communication, math, science and the social sciences at Rogers State University go through a similar rigorous and rewarding process.

During their final semester, seniors enrolled in the university’s School of Liberal Arts and its School of Mathematics and Sciences are required to complete a senior capstone class, which emphasizes their cumulative academic experience. To fulfill the requirements of the class, students must complete a research project, scientific study, a series of essays or artwork that is the “capstone” of their university career.

Each of those projects will be on display during the RSU Research and Creative Arts Symposium, or “Senior Capstone Week,” April 23-27 on the RSU campus in Claremore.

“The capstone project represents a final demonstration of the research, writing, speaking and creative skills students acquire in the course of their studies,” according to Dr. Frank Elwell, dean of the RSU School of Liberal Arts, “These are the same skills that are needed for success in the workforce and in life.”

At the end of the semester, students present their project to a faculty committee. During the presentations, students have seven minutes to present an overview of their project, and then answer questions about their project from faculty, which can take up to one to two hours, a preview of what they might expect in graduate school.

“The process is much like presenting and defending a thesis in graduate school,” said Elwell. “It provides them with valuable research experience, a professional portfolio and skills for professional or graduate school.”

Students must successfully complete the senior capstone class to graduate this May. Many of the students plan to enter the workforce and some plan to attend graduate school in the fall.

Topics vary across the academic disciplines. For example, social science projects include an examination of the relationship between violent video games and adolescent aggression and a study of common diagnoses and treatments of adolescent psychological disorders.

Justice administration students have researched current events including capital punishment, organized crime in the 21st century and immigration in contemporary America. Communications majors will present their advertising, marketing and public relations campaigns and video and audio editing projects.

“Developing oral and written presentations about their research fosters an ability to synthesize and process information and helps students enter into a dialogue about their work with others,” Elwell said.

Senior capstone projects will be on display at the Stratton Taylor Library April 23-27. Seniors will make presentations of their projects according to the following schedule:

  • Bachelor of science in justice administration
    11 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 23 and 25, in Room 303 of the library
  • Bachelor of science in social science
    11 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 23 and 25, President’s Conference Room, third floor
  • Bachelor of science in biology
    3-5 p.m., April 24 and 26, Room 207
  • Bachelor of arts in liberal arts
    art on exhibit 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 19-26, Foundations Gallery, Baird Hall (reception at 5 p.m. April 26)
  • Bachelor of arts in communications
    9:30 to 11 a.m., April 24 and 26, Room 108

The presentations and exhibition are free and open to the public. For more information call (918) 343-7740.