Capstone Courses and Projects

Research Capstone

Effectiveness of State Participation in Voluntary Programs for Pollution Control
"Regulating pollution levels can be costly for governments and polluters. In hopes of a more cost­effective manner for reducing pollution, the EPA launched its first voluntary programs for pollution control in 1991. Such programs form partnerships with firms, industries, and state and local governments using voluntary commitments to reduce pollution not generally addressed by laws and regulations. The Clean Energy­Environment State Partnership Program (CEESP) is a program that helps states review and adopt policies and programs that effectively integrate clean energy into a low­cost, clean, and reliable energy system. The intended result of the program is the public good of reduced pollution levels. While firm participation in voluntary programs has been studied to a significant degree, state participation has not. The intent of this study is to understand which state characteristics encourage participation in a voluntary program, specifically CEESP, and whether a state's participation significantly and positively affects a state's generation of green power."

Research Capstone

Minding the Gap: Exploring State Factors Associated with the Black­White Test Score Gap
"Racial inequality has been a persistent failing in American education. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) requires that states decrease the size of achievement gaps between racial subgroups each year and close all test score gaps by 2014. Research has explored which student, family, and school characteristics impact student achievement and the black­white gap, yet little research has focused on which state­level demographic, economic, and education factors relate to the test score gap between black and white students. The Capstone team addressed this issue by conducting a study relating state­level factors to the size of states' black­white test score gaps over time. "

Research Capstone

Racial Disparities in the Diagnosis of Depression Within a Hospitalized Geriatric Population in New York State
"Projections suggest that by 2020 depression will become the second leading cause of disease worldwide. The high prevalence of the disease and its associated morbidity and economic burden are major public health concerns. Racial and ethnic disparities in access and receipt of appropriate mental health care have been documented in the United States. The Capstone team explored this issue by focusing on disparities in the diagnosis of depression among older adults hospitalized in New York State. This study will contribute to the literature on mental health disparities, as well as fill a gap in knowledge regarding the elderly. The development of sound health policy models that integrate mental health care into physical health services requires examining the status quo of the mental health care that older adults receive. Identifying the existence of disparities would allow for a more effective approach to re­conceptualizing and improving integrated health care for the elderly in a hospital setting. "

Research Capstone

The Effects of Welfare Reform on the Well­Being of Single Mothers
"The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 changed the face of welfare by imposing time limits, work requirements, and stricter eligibility controls. While many studies show that it has been successful in reducing welfare caseloads and increasing the number of women who work, little research has been done to determine the effects on women who were the worst­off prior to reform. This research aims to determine how single mothers who face the most financial hardships have fared in the post­reform period. The Capstone team also investigated the impact of state­level variation in the strictness of post­welfare reform policies. "