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Capstone Experience

The Capstone Experience

Great leaders understand the value of using quality data to inform decision-making. The ability to identify, collect, and analyze relevant information is a vital skill in order to thrive in today’s world.

The BLI Capstone provides project teams with ongoing professional development, up to $10,000 of financial support, and access to elite mentors whose careers are built on evidence-based leadership.

Whether your project is still an idea or an existing venture with potential to grow, the BLI Capstone experience will provide you with the funding and resources necessary to make your vision a reality.

Questions? Email: Ashleigh Bell

Office hours are available by appointment with: Ivy Tran 

The London Idea Partnership

One lucky Capstone team will be selected as the London Idea Project.  The student team selected will benefit from specialized support for their actionplan as well as a Mentorship Network and Summer Immersion Program led by The London Idea.

The London Idea was created to celebrate the legacy of Adam London, a 2011 graduate of the University, majoring in Organizational Studies. He was an innovative ideator, a passionate creator, and an avid explorer. The London Idea Foundation's partnership with BLI continues Adam’s work connecting people and ideas.

2017 Capstone London Idea Team was Quirk!

Congratulations to the 2018 Cohort!

Alternate Reality Initiative

To create a clear vision and roadmap for how the Alternative Reality Initiative student community can expand and leverage resources for the 2019-2019 school year.

Rural Education Initiative of Michigan (REIM)

An effort to expand the representation of rural students on college campuses through direct recruitment efforts.

Serving the First

Seeking to enhance the experiences of first-generation college students and their families on campus by focusing on gaps in the dissemination of information and resources available to these constituents.

Stitches for Bullet Wounds

An effort to understand and leverage resources to support individuals suffering from homelessness in Washtenaw County.

The Dot

A student organization dedicated to ending the stigma surrounding menstruation and increasing awareness of menstruation-based disparities among women from low-income households.


A mobile application that allows everyone in the party to have a say in the music playing.

Venue Tourist

A 3D modeling service that offers a fully customizable virtual tour experience for venues seeking new customers.

NavNext Steps

An effort to provide students from low-income households adequate web-based resources to search, apply for and fund higher education or vocational opportunities.

Heal Move Shift

To build cultural competence in our team and evaluate pilot program data to best serve immigrant populations in the Greater Detroit/Ann Arbor area in regards to cardiovascular, mental and nutritional health.

Capstone 2018 Timeline

Info Session 1:

Wednesday, 2.21.2018 | 5:30-7 PM | Weiser 855

Info Session 2:

Wednesday, 3.7.2018 | 7-8:30 PM | Weiser 855

Application Deadline: Sunday, 3.11.2018

Application Link: The Capstone 2018 application is closed

Program Cycle: May 2018 - December 2018

Winter 2018: Cohort meetings on 3.30.18 and 4.18.18 | 3-6 PM

Bootcamp: 4.30.18 - 5.4.18 | 8 AM - 6 PM

Showcase: 5.4.2018

Summer Data Collection: 5.5.2018 - 9.2.2018

Fall Implemention: 9.4.2018 - 12.20.2018

December Project Showcase


What is the Capstone Experience?

The Barger Leadership Institute will support advanced undergraduates in the pursuit of significant collaborative leadership projects whose design, implementation, and evaluation requires significant analytic work. Project teams will have a capstone experience that brings abstract skills learned in the classroom into sustained contact with practical challenges in urban, environmental, socioeconomic and global arenas.

Resources and Opportunities:

  • Develop concrete skills through networking, mentorship, public engagement, workshops, and more
  • Gain relevant content-area expertise through targeted data collection and research
  • Receive professional development in areas related to: project management, data collection and analysis, navigating ambiguity, stakeholder analysis, public speaking,
    team development, curating and managing an advisory board
  • Participate in an exclusive week-long bootcamp with access to alumni mentors and BLI staff, intensive feedback opportunities, and robust skill development related to individual student projects
  • Gain eligibility to receive up to $10,000 of project funding, including the opportunity to receive stipend support
  • Engage in multi-faceted reflection process with the help of BLI staff
  • Receive personalized feedback and support from an experienced BLI Graduate Assistant (GA)

Who is Eligible?

  • All team members must be current undergraduates in good academic standing who are enrolled at the University of Michigan through December 2018
  • At least one team member must be a BLI Fellow who has completed ALA 170 (Leadership Lab)
  • Teams must have a minimum of two members and up to a maximum of five members who are actively participating in the program including attendance at all required dates.
  • All participating team members must be available for Cohort Meetings, Bootcamp, and December Showcase. Note that the bootcamp (4.30.18 - 5.4.18) is a full-time, mandatory commitment with deliverables to be completed each night. Students are expected to be available for in-person programming from 8 AM - 6 PM. 


2016 Summer Capstone Cohort Projects

Aequora: Michigan
Ayla Wing and Evan David

Our project will bring Aequora, an after school program that teaches Classical Latin to elementary and middle school students in struggling school districts, to southeast Michigan. We will be partnering with Eastern Michigan University's Bright Futures program, which brings other after school programs to various schools around the region, and Estabrook Learning Community, a K-8 school in Ypsilanti, Michigan. As Latin education students, we are very excited to share our passions with a young audience, and we will hopefully expand our program to multiple sites in the upcoming year!

Internet Friends

Jonah Beck and Zachary Beck

What comes to mind when you hear the word “gamer?” Is it a sweaty, socially inept man of indeterminate age ranging anywhere between 16 and 40 years old? Is it a bunch of kids shooting digital avatars of each other? Or do you recall the overt sexism of certain media scandals such as Gamergate, perpetrated by individuals who claimed to be defending the gamer identity? All of these concepts factor into how we understand what a gamer is today, and thus how games are made and played. Our leadership project wants to get to the heart of these issues in order to re-examine them and give forum to new discourse on gender in video game communities. After researching online gaming communities, we are beginning work on a student-developed video game that will synthesize our data into a role-playing game that explores themes of sexism and gender norms in online communities. The player will be put in the shoes of two characters who frequent online forums and message boards to connect with others who share their passion for video games. We hope that our game will give players new perspective about one's words and actions online, and what it means to be a gamer.