Your passion in scholarship

The Honors Capstone is advanced-level work that is the culminating project for the Honors Minor. It is a rigorous intellectual project that results in a significant scholarly contribution to your chosen field(s). The Capstone gives you, as a Reed Scholar, the opportunity to dig deeper into earlier projects or pursue new avenues of inquiry.

You’ll choose from three project types:

  • Traditional thesis
  • Service project
  • Creative project

The Capstone experience is a two-semester sequence. You will determine and lay the foundations for your Capstone in HON 450 (1 credit, Fall) and develop and finish your project in HON 451 (3 credits, Spring).

Your Capstone topic may be based on assignments that were completed in an Honors class.  However, the topic must be significantly developed beyond the work you completed in the class.

Capstone requirements

  • Students must choose one Faculty Mentor.  The Faculty Mentor should be someone who can provide disciplinary guidance.
  • All Capstones must be research-based. The number of required sources depends on the type of capstone and will be determined with the input of the HON 450/451 instructor/s, the student’s Faculty Mentor, and the Reed Honors Coordinator.
  • Because each Capstone will vary, the length/scope of the project will be determined with the input of the HON 450/451 instructor/s, the student’s Faculty Mentor, and the Reed Honors Coordinator.
  • Capstones should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the field(s) as well as familiarity with disciplinary conventions.
  • All written parts of the Capstone should demonstrate clear, polished writing, free of grammatical, mechanical, and typographical errors.
  • All Capstone require public presentation in the form of either a poster presentation or an oral presentation.  Opportunities include:
    • FLC Undergraduate Research Symposium (Spring; abstracts due in March
    • Western Regional Honors Council Conference (late March; abstracts due Dec/Jan
    • National Collegiate Honors Council (November; abstracts due April
    • Other professional conference (documentation and faculty mentor approval required
  • Creative project
  • Service project
  • Thesis project
Creative project

Creative projects give students the opportunity to use creative talents towards a project that makes a significant contribution to a particular field of study or a particular community.

Creative Project Requirements

Your final project submission includes:

  1. An abstract of your project (200 word maximum)
  2. A critical introduction that:
  • Addresses the importance of undertaking the project
  • Provides a contextualization of the work (e.g., political, historic, cultural, generic)
  • Demonstrates knowledge of prior work in the discipline and the dialogue about the issues the project confronts
  • Discusses the creative vision that guides the project
  • Reflects upon the completed project, may include:
    • Consideration of the success of the project
    • Future development of the project
  • Includes primary and secondary sources; the number of which will coincide with disciplinary requirements
Service project

A service project identifies a specific need in a community and makes a significant contribution that benefits that community. A service project is rooted in knowledge of the community and the disciplines that contextualize the community.

Service Project Requirements

Your final project submission includes:

  1. An abstract of your project (200 word maximum)
  2. A critical introduction that:
  • Addresses the importance of undertaking the project
  • Provides a contextualization of the work (e.g., political, historic, cultural, economic)
  • Demonstrates knowledge of prior work in the discipline and the dialogue about the issues the project confronts
  • Reflects upon the completed project, may include:
    • Consideration of the success of the project
    • Future development of the project
  • Includes primary and secondary sources; the number of which will coincide with disciplinary requirements
Thesis project

A thesis is an intellectual, interdisciplinary inquiry into a particular subject.   It should prove or argue a new concept using original research and produce an interdisciplinary understanding of the topic.

The thesis should be for a broader audience and use language and concepts that a broader audience can understand.

Thesis Requirements

  • Include an abstract of your thesis (200 word maximum) in the final project submission
  • Typically, an undergraduate thesis is around thirty pages, not including bibliography pages, but each project is considered individually
  • The number of primary and secondary sources you use will coincide with disciplinary requirements

Student projects 2020 - 2021

Jacob Bollinger

From 1952 – 1989, Rocky Flats was the primary supplier of plutonium pits to the United States government for the manufacturing of Nuclear Weapons. Although run by governmental agencies, Rocky Flats frequently broke protocol on the disposal of radioactive waste and would dump it outside the facility. This is still a developing concern for Denver residents with Rocky Flats located only 15 miles outside of the city, and the issue of the radioactive material being present for millions of years without action.

Jasmine Keyes

Confronting Colorism

Many people today believe that racism ended when slavery ended. However, that is the farthest thing from the truth. When slavery ended it birthed several different forms of racism and oppression that our schools refuse to speak about. I think it is time to end this cowardice and trust children with the information regarding the oppression of minorities. This is why, for my projects, I have decided to create a website discussing colorism and analyzing it in media. By providing example and information (psychological impacts, economic impacts, history, etc.), I believe that this will open up the dialogue to children which will bring us closer to confronting colorism in our society.

Precious Holcomb

Beauty Standards of America

I am constructing a PowerPoint presentation that will analyze beauty standards in America based on skin color. Due to white supremacy, the ultimate beauty standard that rules over America is the white beauty standard. The ideal woman is fair-skinned with long hair, blue or green eyes, small nose and lips, and a small physique. However, this standard only applies to white women; it is unattainable for any woman of color, leaving us out of the consideration of beauty. As a Black and Native American woman, I have struggled with my self-esteem all of my life simply to do my skin color. With my project (Beauty Standards of America), I want to address the issue of mis/underrepresenting Black women in media, and I want to promote the idea that Black is beautiful.

TiAnna Olivas

How Joyce Meyer has Contributed to Female Representation in the Christian Religion

Joyce Meyer is an American Charismatic Christian author, speaker, and president of the Joyce Meyer Ministries. Joyce Meyer is an influential female speaker in a world dominated by male Christian pastors and authors. Looking at all the different types of works she has produced and created provides a shift in Christianity and an outlet for upcoming female Christian authors in today’s world. Looking back in history, male-dominance was and is the foundation to major religions. Male superiority and female inferiority became the driving factor behind the values and morals taught within the various denominations. How did females gain a voice back in the times of the Bible? How have churches, as a whole altered its ideology to include females? Looking at Joyce Meyer as an example in today's culture, the shift of female representation within Christianity is prevalent.

Avery Benton & Keely Doherty

The Representation Project: Patty Jenkins Edition

Our starting goal with this project was to investigate the effects of positive vs negative representation of minorities in media and how it influences the mental health and self-image of these groups. We are using social media as a means to educate the importance of equal and accurate representation. With this addition to The Representation Project, we aim to investigate the impact that director Patty Jenkins has had on how Hollywood views not only female directors but female characters and female-driven blockbusters as well. Our goal is to investigate her impact on female representation in Hollywood.

Jasznia Marshall

What Does Intersectionality Look Like?

This project will include four different examples of diversity and how their narratives change through intersectionality both within casting and creating. The piece will examine these different narratives through the shows Pose, Black-ish, I May Destroy You, and the film Lovebirds. What does a project look like when people outside of the intersection are writing and representing people within those communities? What does it look like when people of intersectionality are writing about their experiences? How do they differ, and does that affect the way we see these groups of people?

Katherine Potter

Trailblazers in Folk Music

This project examines ten female folk artists and their impact on the folk music industry. Each artist's background, personal influences, achievements, passions, and advancements of social change are explored. Further, their roles within the larger context of women in folk music and the arts in general are conveyed. Ultimately, each artist is analyzed through a critical lens used to amplify the implications of their work in efforts to deconstruct the patriarchy and move society towards equality through the realm of music. The analyses and findings will be consolidated into a WordPress blogpost.

Stephen Ponzer

Representative Bureaucracy

Representative bureaucracy is a theory of governance in which a a diverse government, accurately representing the demographics of a population, provides the best service for constituents.  Unfortunately, attempts to quantify and study this phenomena provide inconclusive evidence to the efficacy of diversity in an organization.  Academics studying decision-making suggest that diversity introduces novel concepts to the process, thus allowing for more inventive solutions.  Social psychologists understand diversity differently.  Humans don't trust each other, and one of the more tragic examples of this fact is racial tension.  Diversity within an organization can lead to a lack of trust and an inability to communicate without a common frame of reference.  Studies analyzing HR practices suggest that this gap between the decision-making theory and the in-group out-group theories is bridgeable... provided the members of an organization are given tasks designed to build trust (team-building).  It is heartwarming to note that in a bureaucracy, private or public sector, tensions are mitigable.

Laurel Grimes

Bethany Yellowtail: Dressing the Resistance

In the midst of the Decolonize movement and an increase in representation for POC in many areas across the country, we have been able to see Native people taking advantage of opportunities to represent their communities on a public scale. In the arts, an active outlet for cultural representation is the arts. Although Native nations have always created art works and had their own unique designs, it has been difficult for us to gain traction in the mainstream or high fashion realms. Bethany Yellowtail, a Crow/Cheyenne designer from Montana, has been able to break the glass ceiling that is the Eurocentric and male-dominated domain of high fashion and is using her platform and brand to combat this. She creates Native-inspired contemporary clothing for the runway or for the every day, and her collectives employ small Native artists in a way that is ethical and sustainable, giving them a platform that appreciates their art for all its intersections.

Laci Begaye, Aliya Godoy, & TiAnna Olivas

“Annie's Orphans: A Case Analysis of Outreach in the Times of COVID-19” analyzed a local nonprofit’s communication effectiveness. Student researchers interviewed stakeholders, analyzed marketing materials and social media presence, and researched comparable regional organizations, ultimately making recommendations to improve communication.

Clay Coyle

“Which Marketing Strategies are the Most Effective in Attracting Volunteers at the Durango Food Bank?” analyzed patterns in volunteerism at a local organization on an effort to increase community resources. Student researchers established benchmarks through best practices in non-profit organization marketing and then interviewed staff, volunteers, and community members to target marketing segments and construct a digital PRE campaign.

Keala Bratsch

“Restorative Justice: The Possible Methods of Implementation on Fort Lewis Campus” established the foundations for a formal restorative justice center for students on campus. Student researchers conducted stakeholder interviews, student surveys, and worked with local police enforcement to analyze crime data in order to gain a better understanding of the needs of their immediate community and how to develop an action plan for the implementation of a restorative justice center.