MBU Student Scholarship Shines at Capstone Festival

Posted by Leighton Carruth | April 30, 2018

The annual Capstone festival returns to campus on May 10, highlighting the best in scholarly and creative work by undergraduate students at MBU. During a slate of presentations, Capstone participants will show how they’ve tackled pressing social problems, pushed the needle on scientific discovery, and unpacked the meaning of history and literature.

“The Capstone Festival is our opportunity to showcase the highest levels of achievement among all of our graduating seniors,” said MBU Provost Ty Buckman. “It is inspiring for all of us who support Mary Baldwin’s mission to see what our students have accomplished in their studies so far and to glimpse what they are capable of in the future.”

“It is inspiring for all of us who support Mary Baldwin’s mission to see what our students have accomplished in their studies so far and to glimpse what they are capable of in the future.”
Provost Ty Buckman

Is there a connection between Vitamin D and the treatment of autoimmune skin disorders? Two biochemistry majors, Zindzi Thompson (pictured, top right) and Annapurna Chitnavis (bottom right), work to find out in their senior research projects. Both students plan to continue their studies in medicine after graduation.

Psychology major and the first in her family to earn a college degree, Destiny Rodriguez (pictured, top left) looks at the effect of caffeine on anxiety in pre- and post- pubescent mice, research that will serve her well as she pursues a career in behavioral health and youth counseling.

On the arts and humanities front, history major Nicole Keen investigates changes in women’s status after Christianity came to medieval Iceland. With her sights set on becoming a professor of European history, Keen hopes to pursue a master’s degree in history after MBU.

For the first time in several years, the Capstone Festival features three performances by music majors — two vocal projects, “The Impact of Global Music” by Y. Rebecca Dubois and “Journeys in Song” by Christia Moore (pictured, bottom left), and exploring the styles of 20th-century piano music by Kelsey Jamerson.

This year, MBU’s Advisory Board of Visitors (ABV) has worked in collaboration with the Office of University Advancement to provide sponsorship support for the festival and student awards.

“The Capstone Festival is a relevant collaboration between the university and our business community that gives these students an edge in today’s competitive job market,” said Linda Hershey, chair of the Advisory Board of Visitors for MBU. “We are thrilled to support their robust and fascinating research, and then to see the results presented in such a professional, compelling approach.”

Two new awards are available to support senior projects, through the generosity of ABV member sponsors. The ABV/Capstone Senior Project Fellowships provide up to $500 to support the growth and development of two undergraduate students’ work in any academic discipline during the 2018–19 academic year that will lead to a senior project at MBU. Students in all undergraduate programs are eligible to apply, and the award winners will be announced at the Capstone Festival celebration and reception on May 10.

“Our faculty, staff, and students look forward to this event every year, and we are especially grateful to our Advisory Board of Visitors for sponsoring the event and providing helpful feedback to the student presenters,” Buckman said. “The Capstone Festival remains an ideal demonstration of what is possible when a campus and community partner together.”

The Capstone Festival is open to the public, and supported by the Advisory Board of Visitors, the Office of Sponsored Programs and Undergraduate Research, and the Global Honors Scholars Program.

MBU is pleased to recognize the generous sponsorship support for the 2018 festival from the following:

Miller Coors, McKee Foods Corporation, Hershey Chocolate of Virginia, ITA-International, Mr. Chuck Henck, Daikin Applied, Staunton City Schools and and Ms. Cynthia Burnett, Heifetz International Music Institute, City of Staunton, and Dr. Leigh Frame ’06, program director for The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.