Engage Cleveland Capstone Experience

Looking for a unique capstone experience? Try something different with a new capstone course: UCAP 395A, Engage Cleveland Capstone Experience.

Course Components

The capstone provides an exciting opportunity for students to become involved in greater Cleveland in two parts:

  • Summer community experience (non-credit): Serve in an internship-type capacity 20 hours/week for 8 weeks at a local nonprofit and select a community issue as the focus of your capstone project. Meet together to share your experiences with other students.
  • Fall course (3-credit): Register for UCAP 395A, utilize your summer experience to analyze and research the issue more in-depth, complete a significant paper, and present your work.

Limited to a small group, students meet in seminar to learn about urban issues, community engagement, nonprofit organizations, and themselves as leaders and advocates for social change. Open to students in any major.

Summer Placement

CCEL helps students identify a summer placement based on individual interests. Contact Betsy Banks at CCEL for more information. Because students are enrolled only in the fall, there is no summer tuition for the capstone.

2012 UCAP 395A Students and Projects

capstone group 20122012 UCAP 395 students (R to L): Andrew Schriver, Alexis Crosby, Fanni Yuan, Kathleen Evers.

Alexis Crosby is a senior Sociology and English major from Cleveland, Ohio. Alexis spent her summer interning with the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, working with the Foundation's Good Samaritan Grant Program, a program that grants funding to organizations that service the basic needs of communities within Cuyahoga County. Alexis's project entails a program evaluation of the Good Samaritan Grant Program and significant research on high impact grant-making and funding of basic needs.

Kathleen Evers is a senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Health Communication and Medical Anthropology. She is interested in pursuing a career in public health marketing and management. This summer she worked for Inner City Tennis Clinics (ICTC), a summer program that includes tennis, fitness, wellness, literacy, and poetry designed specifically for Cleveland's inner city youth. Kat specifically acted as a director of the tennis component and an assistant in the wellness component. She acted as an instructor and counselor, and was also involved in program set-up and the development of daily curriculum. In her research project, she plans to focus on the design of inner city youth programs that emphasize health and fitness. She will be using findings from case studies of youth programs similar to ICTC as models for personally designing an innovative summer program.

Andrew Schriver is a senior pre-law student, majoring in Biology. He is currently working with the Ohio Democratic Party on the Senator Sherrod Brown re-election campaign. Some of his responsibilities include organizing canvass efforts and community meetings, along with "get out the vote" efforts and voter registration. His capstone project consists of a best practices guide for encouraging student voting at Case Western Reserve University, as well as a research paper focused on the motivations of student voters across the country. After graduation, Andrew hopes to attend law school and potentially enter the political arena himself.

Fanni Yuan is a senior Psychology major graduating in December. Over the summer, she worked with the non-profit organization Cleveland Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services. She had the pleasure of interacting with a diverse refugee community in Cleveland in a wide range of responsibilities including, teaching English and Cultural Orientation Classes, accompanying clients to medical appointments, and setting up housing. Fanni's capstone project will focus on developing and implementing a new Health and Hygiene curriculum for Migration and Refugee Services. For refugees who are unfamiliar with the American health system, it is of the utmost importance that they learn about basic health related topics, such as knowing how to read a prescription or knowing the protocol of scheduling a doctor's appointment, to aid in their future wellbeing. It is Fanni's hope that this new curriculum will help inform refugees about such essential healthcare topics, while reinforcing English language skills.

Capstone & Community Internship Examples

To give you some ideas of the type of work you might undertake, visit this page to see examples of previous community-based capstone projects. This page highlights placements and projects for a previous capstone seminar that had an environmental theme.

Examples of previous CCEL community-based internships are below to help spark your ideas about placements and projects. Contact CCEL to schedule a time to meet to discuss your interests.

Burten, Bell, Carr Development Corporation, Inc.
The mission of Burten, Bell, Carr Development Corporation is to enhance the quality of life for residents of Ward 5 by initiating and cultivating housing, retail, employment, and recreation opportunities through effective partnerships with residents, community groups, government, corporations and institutions. The intern will participate in a variety of different programs designed to support residents and improve the neighborhood including Afford-A-Home, Cleveland Paint Program and Emergency Home Repair Grants. The intern may also be asked to attend community and/or city council meetings that relate to the neighborhood development.

Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services
The Migration and Refugee Services program strives to give recent refugees and immigrants the tools needed for self-sufficiency and independence while also creating a supportive environment that is respectful of each individual and culture. The CCEL intern at this site will assist with the goal of preparing for the arrival of new refugees and assisting recently arrived refugees adjust to life in the United States. The intern will assist with teaching English as a Second Language class. Additional projects may include helping to set up apartments, orienting refugee families to their new homes, and working with refugees to help prepare them for employment positions and complete job applications.

Esperanza, Inc.
The mission of Esperanza, Inc. is to enhance educational and economic opportunities for Hispanic Americans through a variety of programs for children, youth and adults. The CCEL intern at this site will work with the Prime Time Enrichment Program, geared towards Hispanic children in grades K-5. The objective of the program is to help children maintain their school learning and receive additional support in the language arts throughout the summer. The intern will work with the Prime Time Coordinator to plan and implement the program with the children. The intern will also participate in data entry and other administrative tasks to ensure the program meets all requirements stipulated by the funders.

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH)
The mission of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) is to organize and empower homeless and at risk men, women and children to break the cycle of homelessness through public education, advocacy, and the creation of nurturing environments. Because of the significant increase in family homelessness in Cleveland, the CCEL intern will help put together a Family Street Card, a two page (front and back) resource guide for families to use if they become homeless or are in danger of becoming homeless. The intern will look at the resources available for families in the area of child support, child care, storage, foreclosure help, eviction assistance, rental assistance, health care and employment. Once printed, the card will be distributed throughout the community. The specific skills an intern needs to be successful at this project include good communication skills, good organizing skills, the ability to work independently, and a willingness to learn about the development aspects of a non-profit organization.

Ohio City, Inc.
Ohio City is home to over 150 small businesses, over 10,000 residents, and a handful of anchor institutions that make it one of the most complete neighborhoods in the state of Ohio. The CCEL Intern would be exposed to all aspects of community and economic development, including organizing and outreach with residents, planning, event organization and marketing, communication, neighborhood advocacy, and exposure to quality of life issues including vacant and foreclosed housing, transportation, blight, safety, schools, and parks.

Thea Bowman Center
The Thea Bowman Center improves the quality of life through positive and safe community activities. The CCEL intern at this site will assist with the Adult Basic Education program, which prepares adults for the GED test in high school level subjects such as math, language arts, and science. In addition to tutoring through this program, the intern will also assist with administrative tasks which may include data entry, website updates, and program planning activities.

University Circle, Inc.
UCI is the development, service, and advocacy organization responsible for the growth of University Circle as a premier urban district and world-class center of innovation in health care, education, and arts and culture. The CCEL intern at this site will help interface with the business community through UCI uptown partners business association and with some of their work with adjacent neighborhoods. In addition to attending meetings, the Intern will assist UCI with administrative tasks such as data gathering, compiling/organizing, and phone calls.