Insights about the capstone experience from 2021 Berkeley MEng Capstone AwardeesEach year we celebrate remarkable achievements of our graduates, you can find more about the 2021 capstone awards. Below, we’ve asked the winners and nominees to reflect on their Berkeley MEng capstone experience and how the capstone selection process went for them.
What are the criteria you used to pick your capstone project?“I wanted to take on a capstone project that I felt could teach me skills that could translate across disciplines as well as have great social impact. Coming from a transportation engineering and planning background, I was immediately interested in my project, as its focus was transportation safety. I saw an opportunity to learn how to develop an application, which is an incredibly versatile tool in a world booming in technological innovation. The transportation field, and civil engineering in general, has yet to see a widely-adopted crowd-sourcing application with the public as its target audience, thus I felt my capstone project would be a perfect fit for what I would like to learn and hopefully bring to the field in the future.” — Jasper “I chose my capstone project based primarily on their mission to innovate in the field of neuro-rehabilitation. I also chose my project based on what skills I could bring to the project and the skills I could learn during the project.” — Anna “I selected my project as I thought it was the most likely to encapsulate all aspects of product design from concept generation and ideation to design for manufacturing and play testing. It also had the greatest chance of bringing an actual product to market, something that I really valued in a product design capstone project.” — Katie “When I was browsing the list of capstone projects within the nuclear department, I was dismayed as to how technical they were. Don’t get me wrong — the development of AI for energy optimization and 3D printing of metals are important, but those weren’t what I wanted to do. I decided to propose my own capstone, which was water purification using plasma, because I wanted to develop something that could have a huge impact. I knew I was alone, but luckily I found Nebeyu — a fellow student — who also liked the idea. Together, we pitched it, and it got accepted. We were granted an awesome team by Fung, and we made a lot out of nothing.” — Justin “When I was transitioning from undergraduate life to graduate school, I wanted to find a way to leverage my limited life and educational experience for the benefit of my program, my peers, and myself. I did not have a traditional engineering background like most of my peers. However, my previous clinical experience in low-resource settings (Africa, European Refugee Camps, Asia) inspired me to find innovative solutions to address vast unmet clinical needs and provided me with a valuable, unique perspective on problem solving. With this in mind, I applied to projects where I could serve competently in the capacity as a problem solver. Fortunately for me, I found a project that seemed to fit perfectly with my experience and personal goals. A few weeks later, I found myself developing a novel single-use microneedle device for vaccination in low-resource settings. I could not be happier! This project was the best decision in my life!” — Diego “When I chose my capstone project, I picked the one that excited me the most. I tended to select a project that provided me with a unique experience that would be hard to get in the industry. I also thought about what kind of skills and knowledge I’d acquire through the project and if I could apply what I learned in school in the project. Projects that allowed me to get hands-on experience instead of fully remote work would be among the best options.” — Henry Check out more projects and highlights from the MEng Capstone Showcase: Innovating Across the Globe.
Anna Wolfe [ME], Mission Award ([Blue Goji] Motion-Tracked VR Experiences to Improve Balance and Posture Rehabilitation)
Diego Espinoza [BioE], Mission Award (MEDiRoller: Revolutionizing Low-cost Vaccine and Drug Delivery in Low-Resource Communities)
Jasper Lee [CEE], MEng Showcase Audience Choice Award (SafeTport — The Creation of a Crowdsourcing Application for Transportation Safety)
Justin Gonzalez [NE], Alumni Award for Most Innovative Project (Advanced Oxidative Water Treatment at Home)
Katie Henshaw [ME], MEng Showcase Audience Choice Award ([Move2Play] Blowing Bigger Bubbles to Get Kids Moving)
Henry Fong [ME], MEng Showcase Audience Choice Award (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle with Wireless, LED-based Optical Communication System for Ocean Exploration)
How students select their MEng capstone projects was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.