Capstone classes are scheduled during the three quarters of students’ second year. During the first quarter, teams assess the scope and goals of their project while developing a plan for implementation. In meetings with their project sponsors, they determine the project’s parameters and its timeline while bringing everything together in a proposal that is ultimately approved by their sponsor.
Over the course of the second quarter, teams are expected to spend approximately 80-100 hours implementing the project. While conducting their research and analyzing results, teams check in weekly with their sponsors, either onsite or remotely, and receive feedback and strategic advice for continuing to move their project forward in the right direction.
In the third quarter, students conclude their research, write their final paper, and develop a presentation for the annual capstone showcase, to which sponsors, instructors, and students are all invited.
In years past, capstone projects have covered the spectrum of the field of emergency management, including projects that have developed emergency response plans for organizations in both the private and public sectors, as well as ones that have sought to further integrate the deployment of new technologies in the field of disaster response.
In 2019, for instance, a team worked closely with the City of Chicago to further a program centered around developing and deploying small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS), or drones, for emergency response. Hampered by meager funding and difficult institutional coordination, the city’s sUAS group saw significant benefit in partnering with the UChicago team, who brought their extensive work experience and academic knowledge to bear on the problem at no cost.