Evaluation of Short-Term Outputs and Outcomes of the Teens for Food Justice After-School Program

Client
Students for Service
Faculty
Elizabeth Hoagland
Team
Tori Fenton, Ruchi Hazaray, Lalita Kovvuri, Hassan Naveed, Lui Lisa Ng

By educating and empowering youth, Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ), powered by Students for Service, brings food equity to urban communities where good nutrition and healthy food access are significant challenges. In TFFJ’s unique after-school program, students gain expertise in food justice advocacy, health and nutrition, and cutting-edge urban agricultural technology to build a grassroots movement for health and food equity in their own schools and communities. TFFJ engaged a Capstone team to evaluate their current program in terms of behavioral change, educational outcomes, and health implications for students and their families. The team conducted an in-depth literature review in the areas of food justice, advocacy, and the effects of after-school programs on low-income neighborhoods. The team also analyzed short-term outputs and outcomes collected from focus groups, surveys, and interviews with different stakeholders in the school community. The team focused its recommendations on long-term strategies of systematic data collection, as well as the analysis and refinement of the outcome indicators needed for the success of the program.  

National Expansion of Online Programming

Client
Reach the World
Faculty
Erica Hamilton
Team
Emily Ong, Harlin Singh, Lanthy Truong, Michael Weston-Murphy

Reach the World (RTW) was founded in 1998 to make the benefits of travel and global education accessible to K-12 students in New York City.  Partnering with the Gilman and Fulbright Scholarship programs, RTW connects university students and recent graduates studying abroad through video conferencing and an online platform. Given the growing interest in global education, the organization is expanding into New York City private schools and new cities across the U.S. RTW engaged a Capstone team to evaluate the experiences and perceptions of existing digital platform users and to outline a growth strategy for its online programming. The team interviewed RTW Board and staff members, surveyed existing users, analyzed data, and conducted state and federal policy research. The team’s final report outlined recommendations for a national expansion of programming to school districts in states that support global education.

Strategies for Expanding Geographic Reach via Technology

Client
People with Disabilities Foundation
Faculty
Rona Affoumado
Team
Ramona Almenana, Sarah Higgins, Kristin Montgomery, Dustin Shryrock

Federal data indicates that almost 20% of the U.S. adult population is living with a mental or emotional disability. People With Disabilities Foundation (PWDF), a San Francisco-based nonprofit, has been providing public education and advocacy services related to psychiatric and/or developmental disabilities for over 15 years. Although PWDF is a very small organization (eight employees), its staff members are some of the nation’s foremost legal experts practicing in this area, specializing in the legal rights of people with disabilities as they relate to multiple federal issues, including social security benefits. The organization engaged a Capstone team to analyze and redesign the dissemination strategy of its public education program, with a specific goal of leveraging technology to increase geographic reach. The team conducted a detailed environmental scan and best-practices benchmarking analysis and provided PWDF with phased recommendations that can be implemented gradually as the organization obtains additional resources.

Long-Term Impact Assessment

Client
Opening Act
Faculty
Louisa Chafee
Team
Cymone Fuller, Abby Mayerhoff, Zara Nasir, Akshita Patnaik, Adam Sanders

Opening Act (OA) provides free after-school and extracurricular programs to high-need New York City public high schools without theater and arts programs. Founded in 2000, the organization strives to help students develop leadership, commitment, confidence, and community through theater. With a growing need to strengthen their programs and increase funding, the Capstone team identified and developed a measurement tool for OA to better understand the long-term impact of participation on OA alumni. The team helped OA supplement student and alumni anecdotes with tools for measuring impact, in part to become more competitive for new funding sources. Through a literature review and key stakeholder interviews, the team identified key metrics, developed a measurement tool, and created a training manual for staff members to help the growing organization demonstrate to its stakeholders how OA’s youth theater programming impacts student development.

Measuring Leadership Skill Development

Client
New York University Leadership Initiative
Faculty
Rona Affoumado
Team
Kevin Butrick, Laura Forshay, Michael Kraus, London Reyes, Mikaela Sanders

Created in November 2013 to enhance and coordinate leadership development and national scholarship opportunities across New York University (NYU), the NYU Leadership Initiative works with students, faculty, and administrators on several academic programs. The NYU Leadership Initiative engaged a Capstone team to design impact assessment surveys for two of its programs: the Undergraduate Leadership Fellows and the Social Sector Leadership Diversity Fellows. The team created an integrated logic model for the two programs, conducted background research on best evaluation practices, reached out to peer academic leadership programs across the country, identified crucial programmatic impact metrics for measurement, and designed pre- and post-program surveys to determine the improvement in student leadership abilities and behaviors that reflect the Leadership Initiative’s intended learning outcomes. The team’s final report also outlined recommendations for additional evaluation methods to support the work of the NYU Leadership Initiative.

Strengthening New York City Government’s Ties with Immigrant Small Business Owners

Client
New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs
Faculty
Joan Montbach
Team
Alma Esperanza Santa Ana Vara, Ali Simpson, Meghan Patricia Alpert, Ruhi Bengali, Qijun Wen

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) is a city agency that promotes the well-being of immigrant communities. It aims to ensure that immigrant small business owners are aware of the city services available to them and that these services adequately address their needs. MOIA engaged a Capstone team to find ways to effectively reach this population. The team delivered a research paper on New York City immigrant-owned small businesses, focusing on the landscape and key players, contributions of immigrant-owned businesses, their interaction with various city entities, their needs and challenges, and how comparable cities serve this population. The team interviewed small business advocates and leaders to learn more about the successes and challenges of immigrant small business communities and what methods work best to engage owners and meet their needs. The final report identified specific strategies that MOIA can undertake to better engage and serve this constituency.

Estimating the Impact of Street Cuts on Pavement Longevity

Client
New York City Department of Transportation
Faculty
Geoff Davenport
Team
Michael Ariel Cohn-Geltner, Evan Fisher, Asha Jayaraman, Chaoyi Xiong, Weiqi Gloria Zhang

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) works to provide safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods, and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure. Pavement management is a key part of this role. DOT uses techniques such as road resurfacing and reconstruction to keep the City’s roads in good condition. Street cuts are usually rectangular in shape, becoming defective when the street surface is no longer level because a filled-in cut has either sunk or has been mounded too high. To quantify the impact of street cuts on the quality of the pavement, DOT engaged a Capstone team to analyze data on road repair, reconstruction, ratings, defects, and permits issued for street-cuts. The team created the dataset, set up a regression analysis using STATA, and interpreted the results of the analysis. The team’s final report estimated the impact of street cuts on pavement longevity, created deterioration curves to inform future pavement management activities, and made recommendations to improve the objectivity and reliability of DOT’s data collection.

NeON Arts: Illustrating Impact at the Intersections

Client
New York City Department of Probation
Faculty
Erica Hamilton
Team
Miriam Apter, Desmond Simon, Adam Wexelbaum

The Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) brings together community organizations, government agencies, local businesses, and community residents to connect probation clients who live in target neighborhoods to opportunities, resources, and services. This unique initiative of the New York City Department of Probation is transforming the way probation works and helping clients reintegrate into their communities. Within NeON, NeON Arts is a program specifically using art to help connect clients to local resources and their communities while also giving them the tools to express themselves. NeON Arts engaged a Capstone team to look at NeON through lenses that are popular in the world of philanthropy. Through the Capstone team’s analysis, NeON was provided with language and tools to communicate clearly and intentionally about the relationship between NeON Arts and a set of emerging and established policy frameworks.

Objectives for CTE Internships for New York City High School Students

Client
Objectives for CTE Internships for New York City High School Students
Faculty
Joan Montbach
Team
Andrew Brown, Melissa Cole, Natalie Garcia de Heer, Stephanie Kaplan, Xue Luo

While leaders across city government have a strong desire to significantly increase the number of internships available to high school students, there are competing views about the specific objectives of these internships. Career and Technical Education (CTE), a program of the New York City Department of Education, provides students with valuable knowledge and necessary skills to enter the 21st century workforce. In order to ensure that CTE internships meet the learning and developmental needs of today’s high school students, and prepare them for higher education and eventual employment, CTE needed a clear statement of internship objectives. Taking into account perspectives from multiple stakeholders as well as a literature review, the Capstone team proposed objectives for CTE internship participants. These objectives can be used to design, modify, and evaluate CTE internships.

Energy Reduction Strategies for New York City Cultural Institutions

Client
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs & New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services
Faculty
Thehbia Hiwot
Team
"Jessalyn Gotsdiner, Jingyi Hu, Lianna Reagan, Rick Suchan, Derek Weng "

In accordance with the Mayor’s One City: Built to Last climate action plan, New York City aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from city buildings by 80% from 2005 levels by the year 2050. Complying with this plan poses unique challenges to each member of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), 33 institutions located on city property that receive funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and provide cultural services in exchange. In order to understand these challenges, the Capstone team used city-provided data to conduct a comprehensive analysis of energy usage by CIG buildings. The team also conducted an online survey of all 33 institutions to evaluate their interactions with DCLA, and conducted in-depth interviews with a select sample from the 33 institutions. Based on the data collected and the information provided by CIG, the team compiled a summary of findings and recommendations on how to increase energy efficiency with the assistance of city programs.

Subscribe to