Original Inquiry: Capstone Project

I’ve already explained my capstone project in great detail in the Capstone Project section, but aside from the technicalities, this project has been a great source of original inquiry. Prior to starting my project, I had to determine an issue that I saw in my community and how I could solve it. Throughout my first year in the scholars program, I noticed that a lot of fellow scholars had dropped out of the program due to not understanding all that was required of them or not completing all of their requirements. I began to wonder if the number of scholars leaving the program would decrease if the requirements were more clearly communicated and scholars had an easy way to determine if they had completed everything. I decided to create an iOS app, called STEM Ease, that would provide scholars with a pre-populated to-do list with requirements based on their year, allow them to edit the to-do list as they complete tasks, log their attendance at events with the program coordinator, and view a calendar of upcoming events. With these capabilities at their fingertips, I hoped that more scholars would find it easier to manage their requirements and stay in the scholars program.

To develop my app, I’ve had to employ the engineering design process multiple times for the individual pages of the app. I’ve had to define the problem that I want each page to address, draw a rough idea of what each page should look like, plan how to make each page, implement the page, and evaluate how well the page functions for its given purpose. If there is something the page is lacking in or another problem that the page could solve, I restart the process again to add the new feature. This experience has helped reinforce the idea that no work is ever perfect and the engineering process is designed to improve these imperfections. I’ve enjoyed seeing how much my app progresses with each application of the design process, and I look forward to being able to apply this process to more projects in the future.