Mount Saint Dominic Academy


Senior Capstone Project

The MSDA Senior Capstone in Directed Research is a new and innovative program open to Mount seniors. The partnership between Mount seniors and MSDA alumnae mentors is a unique opportunity. Students have the opportunity to delve into an area of passion, performing research and hands-on work associated with their project. Mount alumnae partner with a student and give back to the Mount with their time and talents. 

Deep exploration of an academic topic, problem, issue, or idea of individual interest

During the course of the 2017-2018 school year, Mount St. Dominic Academy added a number of exciting new courses to its extensive list of curricular offerings for students. Among these offerings is a Senior Capstone in Directed Research. The Capstone course, an elective offering for seniors, allows students to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, issue, or idea of individual interest, possibly tied to a future major or career interest, and design, plan, and implement a yearlong investigation to address student-developed research questions. Capstone was designed as a culminating experience where students can delve into an area of passion, performing research and any hands-on work associated with their project. Research topics typically build off of academic courses already completed. This capstone experience requires students to make connections across disciplines, bridges theory with practice, and promotes the development of higher-order thinking. Students work with a faculty mentor as well as an alumna mentor to help guide them.

Prepare our young women to hit the ground running

Library media specialist, Marissa Muoio, who developed and teaches the course, recognizes the need for students to have opportunities to pursue personal interests in relation to research. Muoio stated, “Undergraduate research opportunities are on the rise. Our belief is that this course will prepare our young women to hit the ground running when they attend their respective universities. We want them to have a head start on identifying their interests and feel comfortable jumping at the opportunities that will present themselves in their future education.” Student final products will be presented to a panel of faculty members at an Academic Symposium inviting students, parents, faculty, board members and the greater school community to attend.

Mount’s distinguished alumnae play a significant role

One of the exciting elements of this course is the key role that some of the Mount’s distinguished alumnae will play in the development of the current students’ topics as alumnae mentors. Looping Mount alumnae into the community of educators that fosters the growth and empowerment of the young women that attend Mount St. Dominic Academy immeasurably expands the learning opportunities provided to them, and provides enhanced social interaction on a more adult-level, critical to future success in higher education and other professional arenas.

Alumnae expertise spans areas including:

  • entrepreneurship and concussion detection
  • astronomy
  • military affairs
  • public policy
  • education
  • healthcare
  • and much more!

Student topics include:

  • The role of PTSD in soldiers’ re-acculturation into society/implications for funding
  • The rise of “athleisure” wear and its newfound niche in the boutique marketplace
  • Brain training and its role in an athlete’s ability to push his/her limits
  • The role of emerging technologies in the field of physical therapy
  • The neuropsychological effects of children raised within the foster care system in the US/ mental health services available for those in foster care
  • Applied behavioral analysis and its place in the community of those with developmental disabilities
  • Prison privatization and its impact within the poverty cycle
  • “The Modern Day Space Race” and the evolution to globalized inquiry
  • Political and economic factors influencing immigration
  • Group homes: an examination of care and perception
  • Campus sexual assault and rape culture
  • Various therapies and their impact on alleviating the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome and other comorbid disorders
  • “Community Schools in the Dominican Republic”: how to meet the medical needs of students in the DR
  • Ethical considerations of pediatric neurosurgery

Students embarked on a field trip to Tozuda, LLC early this year, where alumna Jessie Garcia ’08 is the founder and CEO. Jessie and her company make helmet sensors to detect concussion strength hits and is mentoring Mount senior Sarah in her Capstone project. Read more about the trip and what the students learned about linear and rotational forces in concussion detection.

The Capstone Symposium took place Monday, May 1, 2018 at Mount St. Dominic Academy. Presentations ran through the school day in the Athletic Center for the student body, faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae. The evening Reception took place 7-8:30 pm and was open to the greater Mount community and the public.

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