Capstone Courses and Projects

Barriers to HIV Testing

Breaking the Barriers: How Do State Policies Impact HIV Testing Rates?
In September 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their ?Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women in Health-Care Settings.? These revised recommendations encourage routine HIV testing to be offered as a part of routine primary care for people ages 13 - 64 in all health-care settings (unless the patient declines). The recommendations also suggested eliminating several polices that have been identified as barriers to increasing the rate of HIV testing (i.e. written consent and pre-test counseling). In the wake of the recommendations, however, not all states have acted to ensure that their laws align with the new guidelines. This study examines whether states with fewer of these barriers have higher annual rates of HIV testing, and whether certain barriers keep HIV testing rates lower than others. The team tests whether the elimination of barriers to HIV testing through changes in state legislation has increased the rate of HIV tests administered annually.

Mexican Immigrant Remittances

The Impact of Remittances on Crime Rates in M?xico
In Mexico, remittance flows represent the second most important source of external income, which amounts to approximately 2.2 percent of the Gross National Product. Recent studies have suggested that not all of the earnings from remittances are spent on consumption; rather, they are invested in productive activities. This applied research Capstone provides a framework for understanding the impact of remittance flows on the social and economic lives of Mexicans within Mexico. The goal is to gain a better understanding of whether remittances have been put to productive use by looking at their impact on the municipal level, specifically by measuring crime rates, such as violence and robbery. The team's hypothesis states that the positive effects of well-invested remittance flows will undermine organized crime within Mexico, thereby resulting in lower crime rates in areas that have higher inflows.

Neighborhood and Public School Gentrification

Neighborhood Schools?: Assessing the Changing Relationship Between the Demographics of New York City?s Public Elementary Schools and their Surrounding Neighborhoods Between 1990 and 2000
How well do New York City's public elementary schools represent the demographics of their surrounding neighborhoods? Using data from the 1990 and 2000 census and the New York State Department of Education, the Capstone team analyzed the extent to which racial composition and poverty rates of neighborhoods predicted the racial distribution and poverty rates of students who attended public elementary schools in those neighborhoods. In the context of gentrification and other changes to New York City neighborhoods in the 1990s, the team also examined how the relationship between school and neighborhood demographics changed from 1990 to 2000.

Tax Policy and Brownfield Redevelopment

The Effectiveness of State Policy on Brownfields Redevelopment
Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties ? typically former industrial or commercial sites ? that are possibly contaminated. They currently pose an economic burden; however, they offer an opportunity for cities and states to grow their housing stock, retail space and expand public amenities. The federal Brownfields Program initiated cleanup efforts in 1995 by funding local government pilot projects. The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act in 2002 enacted into law various policies developed under this program. In the last fifteen years, mostly as a result of EPA funding, the states? role in brownfields cleanup has expanded. This study measures the impact of four types of state policy on the number of brownfields redeveloped: liability relief, tax credits, direct financial assistance, and technical assistance. Data on the number of brownfields sites come from the US Conference of Mayors. State policy data were compiled using EPA sources and state agency websites and staff.