Capstone: 2017-2018

Measuring a Theater Organization’s Impact in Alternative High Schools

Client
Opening Act
Faculty
Erica Hamilton
Team
Joanna Bould, Arielle Conti, Karla Floris, Meirah Shedlo, Tracy Similien
Opening Act is a nonprofit organization that provides theater programs for students in New York City’s most underserved public schools with the goal of providing students with the confidence and skills to succeed in life and become leaders in their communities. Opening Act partnered with District 79 Alternative Schools and Programs to assist in achieving the district’s mission of ensuring that students whose studies were interrupted stay on track for high school graduation. Opening Act enlisted a Capstone team to provide recommendations on measuring, evaluating, and demonstrating the client organization’s impact working with District 79 students and meeting their unique needs. The team conducted stakeholder and peer organization interviews, a literature review, and site visits to decipher relevant means of measuring Opening Act’s impact. Utilizing the data, the team proposed a comprehensive evaluation process and set of tools to identify key metrics and measure impact.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Enhancing Holistic Road Safety in Tanzania

Client
World Bank - Africa Region Urban and Risk Management
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Rachel Gichinga, Elizabeth James, Lisanne Pueschel
The World Bank is a global financial institution that issues loans to countries for development programs. The Tanzania Strategic Cities Project (TSCP) of the World Bank aims to improve the access and quality of basic urban services by financing investments in the urban infrastructure of the country’s secondary cities. The World Bank engaged a Capstone team to complement implementation support of the TSCP by assessing holistic road safety and public space networks in selected project cities. The team’s fieldwork in Arusha and Dodoma included interviewing stakeholders—including government staff, nonprofits, and community members—and visiting local parks, roads, and schools. The team also researched the primary and secondary dimensions of road safety, best practices, and case studies related to pedestrian-friendly urban design elements. Their research culminated in a final report recommending strategies and practices that enhance road safety and stakeholder engagement.
Capstone Year

Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s Evolving Approach in Accra

Client
World Bank Independent Evaluation Group
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Thomas Kalogeropoulos, Fatima Kamran, Fatima Khan, Luiz Felipe Queiroz
The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) is an arm of the World Bank that evaluates the organization’s project portfolio. The IEG is currently evaluating the World Bank’s Urban Resilience Operations, focusing on how the World Bank is helping its clients strengthen their coping, recovering, adapting, and transforming resilience mechanisms in the face of shocks and chronic stresses. IEG enlisted a Capstone team to assist in the preparation of inputs for the larger IEG evaluation. The team conducted a review of the 2016 Greater Ghana City Strength Report and the World Bank Accra Portfolio to serve as foundation to the research case study. The team visited Accra, Ghana, where they conducted interviews with government stakeholders and World Bank staff. The team’s research culminated in a case study on the World Bank’s evolving approach in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, which will inform IEG’s official evaluation.
Capstone Year

Designing an Evidence-Based Nursing Peer Review Process

Client
Hospital for Special Surgery
Faculty
John Donnellan
Team
Steffanii Farrior, Erich Goodman, Patrick Lallier, Lauren Raichle
The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is the most recognized orthopedic hospital in the United States and is at the forefront of musculoskeletal medicine. A fundamental component of HSS is the exemplary care its nurses provide—as evidenced by their four-time Magnet designation, which is given to healthcare organizations that demonstrate the highest standards of quality nursing care while also fostering an innovative and collaborative work environment for their nurses. HSS sought to improve their nursing peer review process to maintain nursing excellence. HSS engaged a Capstone team to support the development of a customized review process that incorporates the most recent best practices and utilizes a face-to-face feedback model. The team conducted an extensive literature review, a survey of HSS staff, and interviews of comparable Magnet organizations. Based on the research results, the team designed and developed a peer review process that HSS will be able to incorporate into their culture, thereby fostering innovation and sustaining their nursing excellence.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Optimizing and Sustaining Discharge Lounge Processes

Client
NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
Faculty
John Donnellan
Team
Luis Jimenez, Christine Palazzo, Linnette Swann
New York-Presbyterian Queens (NYP Queens) is a community teaching hospital affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine. NYP Queens opened a discharge lounge to accommodate discharged patients and expedite bed turnover and new patient admission. NYP Queens enlisted a Capstone team to determine whether the current discharge lounge can be enhanced to improve patient flow or if it should be discontinued. The team completed a literature review to examine national and international best practices and benchmarked high-efficiency discharge lounges in multiple organizations—including those at the Cleveland Clinic. Finally, the team performed focus groups and surveys with staff and stakeholders to obtain firsthand feedback on potential implementations and existing hindrances. The team delivered a final report detailing the causes of NYP Queens’ discharge inefficiencies and providing recommendations to enhance the discharge process, optimize discharge lounge usage, and improve patient experience and flow.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Analysis of Public Support Program Efficacy in Supporting the Disabled

Client
The Effect of Public Support Programs on Income Volatility
Faculty
Aram Hur
Team
Rebecca Augustin, Nichole Huff, Jaimie Vernon
Income volatility—substantial variation in household income—impacts roughly a quarter of American families and disproportionately harms the disabled because they are more likely to have low income. A Capstone team undertook a research plan to assess whether existing public support programs are effectively improving income stability. Departing from current studies that fail to differentiate between specific sources of financial vulnerability the team examined how disability status and type affect program effectiveness. The scope of the team’s research included the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program designed to help needy families become self-sufficient. The team analyzed data from the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation and found significant differences in TANF effectiveness for the disabled, with important variations across disability types. These findings imply that support programs need to allocate funding according to the degree of vulnerability to effectively address income volatility.
Capstone Year

Combating Gentrification and Financing Affordable Housing in Tanzania

Client
United Nations Capital Development Fund
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Ying Huang, Shayan Malik, Meredith McNair
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is the UN’s capital investment agency, aimed at promoting investment in the public and private sectors through banks and local governments, to scale up innovative financing mechanisms for the world’s poorest people. UNCDF enlisted a Capstone team to conduct extensive research on gentrification and the lack of affordable housing in Mwanza, Tanzania. The team traveled to Mwanza where they collected quantitative data and interviewed several stakeholders, including representatives from the central and local governments, NGOs, and low-income residents. The team researched affordable housing finance models and anti-displacement strategies from around the world. The research culminated in a report that analyzed the problem of gentrification in Mwanza and the stakeholders involved, and recommended international affordable housing strategies that could be applied effectively in Mwanza.
Capstone Year

Researching Sustainable Energy Solutions to Rural Electrification

Client
United Nations Development Programme
Faculty
Giuliano Bosi
Team
Hillary Dale, Alex Ducett, Andrew Maguire, Lois Taylor- Kamara
As a global knowledge network, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) advocates for sustainable human development and connects countries to experiences and resources to build better lives. In Swaziland, the UNDP provides policy support for the government on poverty alleviation, equitable social services provision, and good governance. UNDP and the Swaziland Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy engaged a Capstone team to determine the policy and financing challenges and opportunities for decentralized, renewable energy approaches to rural electrification. After conducting comparative research on renewable energy use, the team traveled to Swaziland and conducted stakeholder mapping and individual interviews with rural energy users. The team’s research culminated in a final report that includes recommendations on navigating the regulatory environment, identifying financing mechanisms, and addressing gaps in knowledge and awareness of renewable energy technologies. These findings will directly inform the UNDP’s newly launched Partnerships for Affordable Renewable Energy in Swaziland (PARES) program with Swaziland’s Ministry of Natural Resources.
Capstone Year

Expanding Off-Grid Solar Lights in Haiti

Client
Watts of Love
Faculty
Natasha Iskander
Team
Xingtong Cao, Shelley Hoy, Jiwon Kim, Itamar Wigoder
Watts of Love (WOL) is an international nonprofit that distributes mobile solar lights to people without access to grid electricity in low-income countries. WOL enlisted a Capstone team to conduct competitive market research and support strategic efforts in scaling the organization’s operations. The team traveled to Haiti with WOL’s founder and president, board members, and other volunteers. During the trip, the team observed firsthand the solar lights distribution process and gained supplementary training. Additionally, the team independently interviewed past solar light recipients to evaluate the durability and perceived impact of their lights. Based on the results of their fieldwork, market research, and interviews with experts, the team created a final report encapsulating the market research results and recommendations for WOL.
Capstone Year

The Interplay Between Low-Income Housing and Air Pollution in Urban india

Client
World Bank
Faculty
Natasha Iskander
Team
Sasha Massey, Whitley Richards, Melissa Serrano, Jingyi Wu
The World Bank, an international financial institution, aims to end extreme poverty and foster income growth by providing financial assistance and support to various countries. The World Bank’s New Delhi office engaged a Capstone team to investigate the relationship between air pollution and affordable housing construction in India. Air pollution in India’s urban areas has reached emergency levels with thick fog reducing visibility and posing adverse health effects. The team focused on analyzing the construction methodologies used for low-income housing and the correlation between the construction of affordable housing and air pollution. The team evaluated existing research to uncover relevant stakeholders, standard affordable housing approaches, best practices from other countries, and steps that can minimize future air pollution caused by construction. The team provided World Bank with a report detailing an innovative and eco-friendly brick development methodology and policy recommendations to promote affordable housing approaches that will minimize carbon dioxide emissions.
Capstone Year

A New Planning Framework for Mexico City

Client
World Resources Institute Mexico and Mejor Ciudad
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Jordan Cosby, Natalia Garcia, Mariano Mórán
WRI Mexico is a country arm of World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization that works closely with leaders to sustain natural resources and human well-being. In collaboration with Mejor Ciudad, a Mexican NGO, WRI Mexico engaged a Capstone team to develop an urban planning framework for the new planning agency that will guide planning in Mexico City under the country’s new Constitution. The team devised a set of core principles for establishing norms and criteria to promote autonomous, transparent, effective, integrated, and sustainable development planning. The team substantiated and contextualized the principles with the results from interviews they conducted with civil society actors, architects, private developers, academics, and government agencies. The team prepared a final report detailing principles for the new legislature to support the creation of new planning framework, tools, and knowledge products. WRI Mexico will present the finalized principles to the new legislature and share the findings with community-based organizations to broaden awareness and promote public participation in local government decision-making processes.
Capstone Year

Design of a Sustainable Project Management Process and Tracking System

Client
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
Faculty
John Donnellan
Team
Charmaine Barreto, Elizabeth Gianella, Barbara Janiszewska, Shawna Robilio, Mark Tagwalan
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) is one of the nation’s most comprehensive and integrated academic healthcare delivery systems. The Division of Nursing Education and Continuing Education is involved in multiple campus-specific and ero ss-campus projects. Nursing education leadership at NYP seeks to develop a sustainable project management process and tracking system for the division that will enhance productivity by facilitating more efficient planning and execution of initiatives. NYP enlisted a Capstone team to work closely with the NYP Director of Nursing Education and Continuing Education to redesign their project management process. The team conducted comparative analyses, interviews with key stakeholders, surveys at similar hospitals and organizations that manage multiple projects, and a literature review. Using their findings, the team crafted a sustainable project management process. The team also delivered a report that yielded recommendations on managing e-learning modules, an education tracker, curriculum alignments, orientation e-learning, and equipment training requests.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year