aparnaIt’s a daunting two syllables, capstone.

While the first years are currently in the throes of finding their internships, we second years are pounding away at the culmination of our MPH’s…the one…the only…CAPSTONE!

For many of my classmates, they were able to collect data on their internships and are using their summer projects to drive their Capstone theses. For the rest of us, the internship experience is separate from the capstone experience. Students pick an advisor and work with them to hone in on a topic of their choice. In a way, I consider myself lucky that my internship and capstone experiences are separate. I get to explore completely different sectors of public health – maternal and child health during my internship, but congenital heart disease incidence and prevalence for my capstone!

Here’s a snapshot into the life of my capstone so far:

July – Send an email freaking out about not having enough data from internship to my advisor

July – My advisor says I can graduate. I am relieved.

September – Classes start. I consult my advisor on some topics and begin to call upon nuggets of information learned as a first year.

Late September – I picked a project! I’m going to study congenital heart disease in the context of maternal behaviors!

Early October – My computer hard drive crashes not once, not twice, but THREE times. The first two times it was okay…but in between times 2 and 3, I did a lot of work on capstone – DAGs, background papers, drafts of specific aims and hypotheses, and other general ideas…so of course, the third time the hard drive crashed, I lost all my capstone work. Yay…

Mid October – Scramble to reassemble all that I have lost in the realm of Capstone. It was a tiring process…but I did it!

Last Thursday – All caught up and ready to assess where I am so we can move forward with next steps.

Yesterday/Today – My laptop gave out yet again and so I found myself at the Apple store today…..the lucky winner of a brand new laptop….only took all of that craziness, haha.

One of the best parts of capstone is that we get to choose the topics, and our classes follow how one would write a capstone thesis. Of course, everything I have thus far is nowhere near the end, but second year is off to a great start and it’s exciting to be able to work on something “real world”! We get to learn techniques to help us in the future, regardless of whether we choose to pursue public health in the public or private sector. I’m sure once I get to the endless hours debugging the analytical programming, I’ll have a different post to write, but until then, happy capstone-ing!

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