The first week in May kicked off the BLI annual Capstone Boot Camp. The design of this five-day virtual training is to prepare student teams for their eight-month Capstone experience. Each day hosted activities designed to grow the teams' capacities in project planning, research and assessment, working with communities, and teamwork. Over the week, they met esteemed mentors working in various fields who shared their expertise, knowledge, and guidance and helped teams refine their project plans. 

We genuinely value all the supporters who shared their time and experience with our students during the week, including, 

BLI director Ram Mahalingam led Introduction to Contemplative Practices. Teams gained an understating of why contemplative practices are beneficial, learned various ways to engage in contemplative practices, and experience a guided meditation.

Carrie Landrum and Savannah Currier from the Office of Student Conflict Resolution headed a workshop for teams to learn various methods of navigating conflict and exploring different communication styles.

BLI Graduate Assistants Sarah Stilwell and Amanda Ajrouche facilitated a Research Methods Workshop to ensure students understand the fundamental goals of research and successfully identify which evidence collection method(s) best aligns with their project needs. 

Brendan Gallagher and Kelsie Thorne from the Ginsberg Center led Engaging and Exiting Communities Respectfully. This workshop introduces principles and practices for thoughtfully engaging with communities, including motivations, the impact of social identities, and strategies for engaging in reciprocal, ethical, and respectful ways.

Krista Schulte and Lisa Earls from the Operational Improvement Team conducted an A3 problem-solving training, teaching the teams a structured problem-solving and continuous improvement approach.

Kate HelegdaJoe Pierce, and Sarah Snay with the School of Social Work Evaluation Group led Defining & Measuring Success which focused on how evaluation differs from research, crafting questions to measure outcomes, and identifying indicators.

On the final day of the boot camp, the teams presented their A3 to the cohort and a group of esteemed panelists – Ram Mahalingam, Director of Barger Leadership Institute, Adan Hussain, Director of First Generation Initiatives, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, Sheela Lal, Strategic Business Manager, Tata Consultancy Services, Ben Eikey, Manager of State Training and Communications, Wayne State University and Rashi Watwani, Former Capstone student. They engaged in round-robin break-out rooms where the team met individually with a panelist who provided individual feedback and advice.

The BLI is grateful to have such remarkable support within our UM community, our local community, and beyond for the Capstone program. Please read more about the teams' experiences and reflections on our Student Voices Blog.