The Public Health Capstone course is offered every fall and spring semester for AU’s senior Public Health majors. In this course, the students work in small teams to execute semester-long projects for community partner organizations. The professor assists the partner organizations in developing their project descriptions prior to the start of the semester. Representatives from each community partner then visit the class early in the semester to “pitch” their projects to the students. After the students rank their top three project preferences, the professor assigns the project teams and the work begins. Essentially, the students work as consultants for the organizations, with the mentorship and guidance of the professor and community partner liaisons. Community partners are invited back to campus at the end of the semester for final project presentations.
- Adventist Hospital
- Alexandria Fire Department
- Alzheimer’s Association
- American Public Health Association
- Asian American LEAD
- Asian-Pacific Islander Domestic Violence
- Resource Project
- BREM Foundation
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
- Campus Kitchen Project
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Community of Hope
- DC Central Kitchen
- DC Department of Behavioral Health
- DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
- DC Department of Health
- DC Department of Small and Local Business Development
- DC Food Policy Council
- DC Health Literacy Campaign
- DC Parks and Recreation
- DC Scores
- Free the Slaves
- Good Food Markets
- Green Door Behavioral Health
- The Green Scheme
- Indian Health Service, HIV/AIDS/HCV Program
- Institute for Public Health Innovation
- Iona Senior Services
- Isaiah House
- Jubilee Housing
- La Clinica Del Pueblo
- Latin American Youth Center
- Lutheran Social Services
- March of Dimes
- The Market at AU
- Martha’s Table
- Mary’s Center
- Men’s Health Network
- Montgomery County Food Council
- Multicultural Community Services
- National Center for Children and Families
- One Tent Health
- Peer Health Exchange
- Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington
- Rooftop Roots
- Smith Center for Healing and the Arts
- SOS Children’s Villages
- Special Travelers
- Sports for Sharing
- Surburban Hospital
- Sugar-Free Kids Maryland
- Supporting Our Sisters International
- Thrive DC
- A Wider Circle
- YMCA of DC
Capstones projects typically fall into two groups:
- Research Projects
Curriculum reviews and evaluations
Community resource guides
Issue briefs / white papers
Public awareness campaigns
- Policy & Strategy Proposals
Volunteer recruitment plans
Patient education campaigns
Public service announcements
Social media campaigns
Monitoring and evaluation plans
Intervention planning and delivery
“The final product demonstrated a great understanding of the population; the specific mental health awareness needed for that population, and differentiated learning. As a collective the group brought positive energy and enthusiasm to the work.” — Michelle Smith, Jubilee Housing
I cannot thank you enough for the amazing work your program and students have provided to Green Scheme and the communities we serve. The impact has been tremendous and will multiply over upcoming years. — Ronnie Webb, The Green Scheme
“They did a great job of asking great questions, and were very in tuned with what was needed for the project. They went above and beyond what I thought the project would be!” — Yun Simpson, SOUL
“The team tackled a difficult project with a number of unknowns. They used their creativity in coming up with the surveys to their peers, which was most interesting to us.” — Dr. Annina Burns, CDC
"My capstone course offered me the opportunity to build a project from the ground up, collaborate with and assess the needs of a local organization, and navigate working alongside other public health students by assessing unique skills to efficiently execute our product, which was a report on trauma-based entrepreneurship programming." — Jacqueline Lantsman
"The Green Scheme was looking to address food apartheid in Wards 7 and 8 by providing a drink that supplements sugar-sweetened beverages. As a team, we developed a strategic plan to help. Our team used material we learned throughout our time in the program, going back as our intro level courses in public health. Our final product ended up being nearly 50 pages for the organization to use, and we had a wonderful time putting it together because we knew it was going to be actually used in the real world instead of just serving for class credit. " — Trevor Pugh
AU's Washington location gives unparalleled access to internships at numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations involved in public health at the local, national, and international levels. As a required portion of the BA and BS in public health, an internship enriches coursework with hands-on experience and gives an opportunity to apply lessons learned in the classroom to professional settings: see a comprehensive list of recent Internship Locations.
"I used my knowledge about stakeholders that I learned about in Intro to Health Promotion and Health Promotion Planning to help my organization. For one small project, my supervisor asked me to find funding sources and organizations that we could share the Aging Conference information so they could help promote the event. With my knowledge I learned in Health Promotion about unconventional partnerships, I thought about what organizations would be invested in aging care issues. I initially contacted other aging care organizations, science/technology organizations, and universities that had departments that specialized in aged care. But I began to think about unconventional partnerships like barber shops and the salon intervention that I presented in Health Promotion Program Planning. I ended up finding unconventional and interesting organizations that catered to older adults. I found a chorus that was made up of senior citizens and a film making group that worked with older adults. I am glad I was able to use this knowledge of stakeholders and unconventional partnerships to find different organizations to reach out to so they could help promote events."
"I conducted statistical analyses when creating graphics and analyzing data for various topics in the HIV realm. I was able to use my skills from Statistics and Health research to do my data analysis as well. Specifically, the differences between quantitative and qualitative research were recurring themes that I could apply to my internship work. Similarly, graphs and charts to display data were essential to my intern work. I had a firm understanding before I came in but learned from the evaluators which graphs are best to display each type of data."
"The lessons I learned in my Health Promotion Planning and Evaluation class and my Multicultural Health class were incredibly vital in my journey as an intern, as most of the clients I work with come from communities and backgrounds that I myself am not a part of. I always kept in mind that the clients I saw did not have the same educational level or understanding of healthcare as I do, and that’s not a bad thing! The clients are experts in their own lives and experiences with valuable, unique perspectives to offer."
"What I learned from the Health Research and Health Promotion Planning classes strengthened my ability to perform health related background studies as well as providing ideas about upcoming programs using health promotion models. Meanwhile, what I learned from these classes allowed me to set specific goals and objectives for research as well as analyze feasibility in states, communities, and at the individual level."
"Nearly everything covered in class was somehow applied in my internship. Perhaps most valuable was seeing how things play out in the real world, as opposed to how they look in theory. I would also say that the class Health Research Methods provided me with a solid skillset in evaluation and data collection. It was in this class where I learned how to make Qualtrics surveys, which meant I could apply it here. HRM also provided me with substantial insight into research ethics, which is paramount in any sort of evaluation or data collection activity."
"Our public health coursework emphasized the importance of stakeholders, and interning at CSC showed how the funders work to fund the organizations and its programs, how the affiliates contribute to the development of medical materials and the role of the patients and caregivers as they are behind the purpose of CSC. The endless number of projects and presentations during my three years at AU actually prepared me for the executive meeting I had to attend and participate in, and for the National Blood Cancer conference where I had to interact with patients and present them the materials and mission of our organization. "
"The internship made me realize that I could combine my love of writing with the public health field. I used to be very science oriented but now I love the idea of writing as a way to advocate and spread awareness of public health issues. I would love to work for an organization like APHA one day. The internship has also opened doors for me because now I have experience with social media, writing, and blogging, which has expanded the jobs I am qualified for."
"Now I can wholeheartedly say that this experience has only clarified my aspirations in the public health field. I now know that my future is to pursue public health communication and education, so that I can better serve the community I grew up in and whatever community I end up being a part of. I am thankful for the experience I have gained through my internship at DCHA. I would not have felt as ready to graduate it were not for the knowledge and skills I have gained throughout this semester."
"This internship experience has, in a way, both clarified and altered my career goals. Going into this internship I felt strongly that I enjoy working with people and will always want a hands-on career, rather than policy or research. This goal has been strengthened; I have enjoyed the hands-on and personable aspects of this internship. But I have aslo become much more interested in social work and mental health during my internship."
"Although I never saw myself going into the education field, I have been able to come out of my shell when it comes to my confidence and my ability in leading a team and teaching a class. After this internship, I can say that my passion for nutrition and sustainability has only grown. It has made me want to learn more about the career options I have to create health promoting programs not just in schools but in other environments as well."