Student Capstone Projects

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Student Capstone Projects

Students in the Master of Public Administration program complete a Capstone project or internship as the culmination of their graduate work. The Capstone allows students to apply academic insight to practical experience. It is designed to provide students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills developed in the program to real world situations. The Capstone experience integrates classroom time devoted to discussion about public administration and the understanding students have obtained from their internship or practicum. It may also include guest speakers from the field and professional training and development workshops.

Students have completed projects at a variety of local, state, and federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and higher education institutions. See below to read about recent student projects.

Preventative Radiation/Nuclear Detection Program for NH: Jeff Dade worked as a facilitator with the New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management and the US Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) to establish a Preventative Radiation/Nuclear Detection program within New Hampshire. Jeff served as the Chairperson on the Executive Steering Committee, which consists of representatives from multiple Federal, State and Municipal agencies. The Committee is charged with developing a statewide concept of operations (CONOPS) by using templates from the DNDO and exemplar’s from other states to craft one specific to NH’s needs within NH’s resources.  The end product, beyond the document itself, is for NH to be fully engaged in the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture (GNDA).
Strategic Plan for Vetflix INC.: Roy Hunter completed his Capstone with Vetflix, INC., a local non-profit that specializes in enlightening while entertaining the public on the lives of military service members and veterans. Roy worked with the organization to develop their strategic plan and enhance the overall functioning of the Board of Directors. Roy assisted the Board in defining their organizational profile by clarifying their mission, vision, and values statements. He also led the Board in conducting a gap analysis in order to compare Vetflix’s actual performance with potential and desired performance.  This information was used to draft lines of effort, as well as goals and objectives.

Endowment Fund Process for Cardigan Mountain School: Kate O’Connor worked with the Cardigan Mountain School, a private boarding school in New Hampshire, to create an endowment fund process. Some of the steps involved with this process included electronic set up, creating agreements and policy, and establishing future reporting procedures.  Kate is hopeful this new process will ensure good stewardship practices within the development department and the school.

Change Direction New Hampshire Campaign: Alexander Pooler completed his Capstone project with the Change Direction New Hampshire campaign. Alexander worked to develop a handbook for how to start and manage this new nonprofit within an existing nonprofit – Riverbend Community Mental Health is the campaign’s home agency. By exploring some of the strengths and challenges faced by Change Direction, Alexander was able to put forth recommendations about areas of threat that other organizations attempting to implement their state’s own Change Direction initiative might encounter.
Additional projects have included:

  • Creating a bi-state task force and tracking system for law enforcement agencies regarding gangs and drug cartels
  • Devising a Medicaid Management plan for a community mental health center
  • Developing a Citizen’s Garden for the Town of Windham, NH
  • Establishing a suicide prevention system for Bhutanese refugees in NH
  • Building a regional collaboration system between emergency management, fire protection, and EMS services in the Great Bay Region of NH
  • Completing a job task analysis for the Dover Police Department
  • Developing an Arts & Culture plan for the City of Manchester
  • Interning at NH International Trade Center and organizing international trade conference
  • Developing and emergency triage plan for NH National Guard (Army and Air Force) and hospitals in NH




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Academic Partnership Coordinator:
Sarah Dorner



“My capstone was one of the highlights of my experience in the MPA program. It gave me the opportunity to utilize my coursework and build upon some of the skills and experience I already had.  I also got to form professional relationships with people that I still keep in touch with and that have been amazing resources for me as I navigate my career post-graduate school.”  - Emily Melhorn ’16, Capstone with the UNH Cooperative Extension Community Profiles program.