Capstone Project Examples

The goal of the doctoral capstone is to provide an in-depth exposure to one or more of the following areas: clinical practice skills, research skills, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education, and theory development. Following are real-life examples of capstone projects completed by some of our graduates.

Kate de Castro: Adv clinical skills, research
Feasibility of Implementing a Modified SENSE Program to Increase Positive Sensory
Experiences for Preterm Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

This project aimed to evaluate the feasibility of implementing a modified Supporting and Enhancing NICU Sensory Experiences (SENSE) program to increase positive sensory exposure for preterm infants, improve neonatal neurodevelopment, and decrease parent stress. The recruitment and retention rates indicated high participation among the participants. Outcomes for parent stress and neonatal neurodevelopment supported continuation of SENSE. Time commitment for implementation, coupled with supporting families in meeting dose recommendations, suggested a need for continued OT services in this setting to promote sustainability.

Qianwen Liu: Program development, adv clinical skills
HELP for a Better Life: A Multicomponent Interest-based Project for Hospitalized Older Adults with Delirium Risks

This project focused on a delirium prevention program for hospitalized older adults. This program included interest-based activities for clients, facilitated environmental stimulation, and promoted caregiver education to support each patient's hospital stay. The project outcomes indicated decreased numbers of delirium incidents, falls, hospital length of stay, and overall high patient satisfaction.

Emily Casile: Program development, adv clinical skills
Implementation of Formal Wheelchair Skills Training at VA Pittsburgh

This program was implemented to support clinicians through comprehensive assessment and training of wheeled mobility device use. Participants demonstrated increased functional wheelchair skills, significant improvements in psychosocial outcomes measures, self-perceived quality of life, and self-esteem.

Alyssa Boccardi: Education, adv clinical skills, program development
Development of an Educational Model for Creating 3D Printed Assistive Technologies with Staff and Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)

This project consisted of an 8-week makerspace training program aimed to educate participants on the creation of 3D-printed assistive devices. The training program consisted of four elements: 1) workshops, 2) classes, 3) worksheets/assignments, and 4) bi-weekly staff meetings. Program outcomes were measured using a knowledge test and survey, Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES), QUEST 2.0, staff satisfaction survey, and interview-based assessments.

Taylor Martin: Education, program development, research
Crash Course Resilience: Examining the Effects of a Resilience Education Program on Occupational Therapy Student Resilience and Coping Flexibility During Fieldwork

This project sought to investigate the impact of a resilience education program on 15 OT students' resilience and coping flexibilities during their level II fieldwork placements. This six-week resilience education program empowered students to join communities of practice related to their fieldwork placement practice settings, learn how to strengthen their resilience within the fieldwork context, and apply learned material to their lived experiences. Outcomes indicated statistically significant changes in resilience and increased confidence in stress management skills.