An essential part of preparing for a public service career involves practical experience for companies and nonprofit or governmental organizations. At Texas A&M University, students at the Bush School of Government and Public Service gain this experience by conducting capstone research projects for a range of clients. Student teams led by a faculty advisor undertake research projects for selected private or public sector clients. This past year, there were twenty-three capstone projects in the International Affairs (INTA) and Public Service and Administration (PSA) departments. Each project provided important research and advice for the client.
Two of the capstones have been selected to receive the Central Texas Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) McGrew Research Award. The capstone selected from the PSA department was entitled “Envisioning a Bright Future for New Braunfels Children: A Community Based Approach to School Readiness”; the winning INTA capstone was “Youth Employment in Ghana: Conditions and Determinants.”
“Capstones are the cornerstone of our efforts to educate and socialize our students to be principled leaders in the fields of public service,” said Dr. Leonard Bright, assistant dean of graduate education in the Bush School. “These two award winners were carefully selected from among many excellent projects reviewed by the INTA and PSA departments,” he added. Dr. Mary Hilderbrand, the chair of the PSA department award committee pointed to “the creativity of the research, the students’ engagement with the community in doing the research, and the extent to which they fulfilled the purpose of the project and met the needs of the client” as being among the criteria used to select the award winners. The PSA capstone was led by Dr. Jenny Morrison. Team members were Herilala Fanomezantsoa, Elizabeth Hopkins, and Kathryn Tooley. The INTA capstone was led by Dr. Ren Mu, and team members were Michael Barrett, Andrea Berrios, Yukuai He, Sean Larsen, Miguel Novoa, Kwame Twusmasi-Ankrah, and Camille Vega.
Both teams will be honored at a banquet in Austin on May 14th and will split a prize of $1,000 from the School.