Every student at Covenant creates a polished body of scholarly and/or creative work, referred to as the Capstone. The Capstone is the culmination of a rigorous and guided program of reflection, skills-training, and research designed to develop students' capacities for both disciplinary competence and faith-learning integration. The Capstone constitutes a demonstration of faithful learning and prime evidence of student readiness to move into successive arenas of work or further schooling.
During the first two years, classes in Covenant's Core Curriculum and foundational studies in major fields develop in students biblical and theological foundations along with key skills in writing, communication, and critical analysis. With significant guidance from faculty, the final two years are spent digging deeper into major content areas, honing discipline-specific research methods, refining discipline-specific communication skills, deepening theological insight and application, and, ultimately, developing and completing a Capstone project.
The Capstone project itself can take a number of different forms, including but not limited to laboratory research, recital performances, artistic exhibits, and oral or written presentations. In some fields, the Capstone project will be encompassed in a single product. In others, a portfolio of products will be appropriate. In either case, the Capstone will demonstrate both disciplinary expertise and integration of the major field with Christian faith. Specifically, the Capstone is designed to:
- Ground students in biblical perspectives and equip them to apply these perspectives to the content, methods, and significance of the chosen capstone project, both implicitly and explicitly
- Cultivate curiosity about the world in all its diversity by developing central concepts and structures necessary for faithful learning and living
- Develop students who write with skill and clarity
- Develop students who communicate orally with skill and clarity
2020 Senior Capstone Project Highlights
Ellie Brown ’20, English, Art: Honey & Ashes
“This is a collection of open form poems that is split into three sections, titled “Elegy,” “Liturgy,” and “Doxology,” respectively. These sections move from a place of lament over the brokenness of our bodies and our relationships with one another, to memories that explore the profound mystery of when deep grief meets deep joy, to the truth of our ultimate hope: He wins. It includes photographs from my four years at Covenant as well, creating a conversation between image and text as well as between author and reader. After taking poetry classes with Dr. Tate, I grew to love and appreciate poetry, specifically open form. I also realized poetry should serve its audience, not just be dumping grounds for the author’s personal feelings. So, using poets like T.S. Eliot and Denise Levertov as my models, I decided to use my own story and experiences as inspiration, and the result was 15 open form poems centered on the themes of lament, joy, community, and embodiment. My first takeaway is that constructive criticism is key to good work, but so is encouragement. My other main takeaway is that poetry for God’s people should be poetry that God’s people are able to understand. It should serve others, rather than intimidate them.”
Emily Fant ’20, Art: “A Third Place”
“This piece is an exploration of the importance of the community that we find outside of our homes and workplaces, and what happened when we lost these communities due to social distancing prompted by COVID-19. I asked Covenant College students and alumni to send me memes, colors, and words that they felt represented their experience of social distancing at the time, and I projected these collections onto a bed which I had taken outside into the woods. The piece challenges our view of the Internet as a community that can unite us virtually when we need to keep our distance, but can also isolate us physically by disembodying its users. Once the studio was closed due to coronavirus, I chose to change my original plan and make my piece interactive in a virtual sense by surveying the Covenant community. The heavy influx of corona memes that flooded the Internet at the same time that Covenant's campus was closing inspired me to make a piece that dealt with something that was affecting our whole community. It was so special to me to have so many members of the Covenant community be a part of my Capstone Project even though we were physically separated at the time. I am also really grateful that the art department set me on a track to begin researching for my Capstone so early in the year.”
Maddie Sparks ’20, Psychology: “Neuroplasticity: The Brain’s Method of Adaptation”
“For my project, I researched the fundamental principles of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and change in response to experience. After a broad overview of these principles, I delved into the specific mechanisms at work in the brain after a stroke. Finally, I examined how specific therapies take advantage of the mechanisms of plasticity to enhance a stroke patient’s recovery. Since freshman year, I’ve been fascinated with the concept of neuroplasticity. The brain is an incredibly dynamic and malleable organism! I wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about the mechanisms at work everyday within the brain. This project showed me just how much we still have to learn about the brain. We understand many of the brain’s intricacies, but there are a significant amount of questions left to be answered.”
Caleb Keitt ’20, Art: The Black Cowboy Initiative
“I believe that storytelling is one of the best ways to build bridges and relate to those around you. In my practice of design and illustration, my goal is to use the stories of others to help people appreciate the lives of people different from them. The Black Cowboy Initiative is the introduction to telling the stories of the Black Cowboys because of the similar experiences that Black people have experienced throughout their time in America, while also including the good white people in the cowboys’ lives. I designed five posters that represent the first five comic book covers of the Black Cowboys. I wrote and illustrated a comic book that is the second installment of volume one of the Black Cowboy series, which stars Boosy Accord. My inspiration for this project comes from three important women who invested in my work last summer. First, is Joanna Taft ‘85 who provides a wonderful assortment of opportunities for artists at the Harrison Center in Indianapolis, and actively works towards racial reconciliation in her community. Next, is Ms. Eleyes Reeves because she's the one who pulled me aside and told me the stories of the Black Cowboys. Finally, if my mother, Tarri Keitt, did not always encourage me to put my best foot forward I definitely would not be here today. (Also, shoutout to Morty, DW, and the graduating art class of 2020!) My takeaway is that my work doesn't have to be big, finished, or monumental to honor God. My work is growing, my designs are improving, and if one life is changed today, then I served God well and I achieved something that day.”
Margaret Luke ’20, English: “Invitation,” A Collection of Poetry
“This collection of poems is organized by the seasons of an academic year. The poems focus on being awake and attentive to the world around us, the natural world particularly but also our friends and presence in both times of joy and sorrow. I chose to title the project "Invitation" because I think God invites us to meet him in those times and to delight in his creation. This project was influenced by the classes I took with Dr. Tate and from several poets: Richard Wilbur, Mary Oliver, and George Herbert. My main takeaway is that creation is delightful and God speaks to us in personal ways; his silence is not a nothingness.”
Have questions or comments about the digital SIP archives? Please contact Kimberly Crocker.