Every semester, different interdisciplinary studies students enroll in the IDS 499: Interdisciplinary Capstone course. As one of the requirements in the IDS 499 course, students complete a 50-hour project. This capstone project is a way for students to link their areas of study together and create a project that utilizes those different skill sets.

Natalie Bodily is an interdisciplinary studies major with a concentration in Spanish and a minor in TESOL(Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages) who is working on her capstone project this semester.

Natalie was born and raised in small town, McKinleyville, in Northern California. She served her mission in Belize and El Salvador and has used her experiences in life to develop her capstone project.

“I’m writing a bilingual children’s book,” Natalie said. “When I was in elementary school I did a Spanish immersion program from kindergarten through fifth grade so we worked a lot with Spanish and English.”

With the increase of spanish immersion programs in elementary schools, Natalie wanted to create a project in support of those programs.

“I had gone to the local library here and sat for hours and read kids books just to try to spark ideas,” Natalie said. “There are so many kids books, but [I] don’t want it to be the same as something that’s already written.”

Natalie also had to find someone to illustrate her children’s book, utilizing the school’s art department and reaching out to people through social media. She was able to connect with an illustrator through Facebook who was willing to help her with her project.

“I'm really excited about finally being able to put it together, do the translations and get it designed,” Natalie said. “

As an interdisciplinary studies major, Natalie gives her thoughts on the major itself and how the capstone project highlights that degree.

“With the interdisciplinary studies major, there’s so many different options that you can do with it, it’s kind of like a build your own major - you choose a concentration and you choose clusters or a minor, and you just bring together what you want to bring together,” Natalie said, “With that, the capstone project is really important to show how all of that connects and it shows how you’re able to connect them to what you want to do with your career.”

As Natalie finishes up her project and prepares to present it, she offers words of advice to students who will be working on their capstone project in the future.

“Start thinking of ideas now. Coming up with a project can be really difficult because there are so many options,” Natalie said. “Talk to people about it so you can develop those ideas, that way you’re just ready to go whenever that comes.”