On Friday, the Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University showcased the capstone projects of its Master of Public Health (MPH) students. Twenty-one students from the Colorado State University campus presented their capstone projects to an audience of peers, faculty, staff, and community members.

The capstone is the culminating academic experience for Master of Public Health students, combining knowledge gleaned from course material and practice-based learning. MPH students are required to select a project that reflects their academic interests and career goals, and utilize the competencies learned throughout the course of the MPH program to implement positive public health change.

Capstone projects usually reflect the student’s concentration of study, and can take place either locally, or around the globe. For example,Tavia Mirassou-Wolf, from the Global Health and Health Disparities concentration, presented on a health needs assessment she conducted in the Tro Pang Cho commune, in Cambodia.  Abby Diehl, in the Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyles concentration, evaluated a Walking Classroom Curriculum to measure material retention, physical activity value, and emotional well-being in a local 5th grade classroom. Emma St. Aubin, from the Health Communication concentration, developed a Mobile Health Application to prevent disease outbreaks in national parks which was adopted for future use by the National Parks Service.

“My practicum and capstone were the highlight of my MPH experience,” said graduating MPH student, Tavia Mirassou-Wolf. “With a passion for improving global health, particularly in populations that face health disparities, the ability to translate classroom topics into real life application is absolutely necessary. I am now a much better-rounded individual and will be able to utilize the skills gained from my capstone moving forward as a public health practitioner.”

The Capstone Showcase is also a valuable experience for MPH students looking forward to their own capstone projects. “As a first year, attending the capstone presentations provided a valuable model for my own future work and was an exciting opportunity to look ahead,” said Alison Stribling, a first year in the Health Communication concentration. “It was also exciting to watch second years realize the completion of their MPH, and witness the great level of support peers provide to one another throughout this process.”