By: Sharon Nellist
Two years ago, as a junior transfer student to Portland State from a two-year college in Florida, I did not have the luxury of Freshman and Sophomore Inquiry and wondered what University Studies was. When I found out, I was for lack of better words, “pissed off” that I had to spend more money just to take more general education. There was to be three junior cluster courses and a capstone in my immediate future.
A couple of film classes and an English course to cover the Popular Culture junior cluster did the trick. Now what about the Senior Capstone?
My mind was absolutely changed about University Studies when I began the Effective Change Agent Senior Capstone, especially during our recent class project.My community partner site for Student Leaders for Service is Albertina Kerr’s Project Grow, a unique nonprofit program encompassing an art studio, gallery and urban farm that provides various job opportunities and endless possibilities in artistic media for individuals with developmental disabilities. We decided to continue an archiving project that I had begun in the fall term at Project Grow by photo documenting the artists’ artwork into a professional and efficient system. Our class immersed ourselves in an unfamiliar community with our minds solely focused on selfless service. The idea of ‘scaling across’ (which we have been discussing throughout the term), where people of different cultures and backgrounds bring forward their experience and knowledge to create something that will fit the needs of those whom it is for, was prevalent during our time there.
It is the community based learning in the capstone courses that I believe is essential to a successful academic career. Your perspective of the world will be wider even if nothing else is taken away from this experience.
What is your capstone story?