As college students attend classes, complete assignments, and evaluate their progress at the end of each semester, it can be difficult to have a complete vision for their future career. This is especially true for Interdisciplinary Studies majors. We are in uncharted waters.
IDS 499 is a class designed to help seasoned IDS students complete an individually designed project and develop valuable project management skills. These students will have already taken courses that have helped them develop an interdisciplinary mindset and have an advanced understanding of their emphasis and minor/cluster(s).
The capstone project is the focus of the course. Brother Adam Vorderstrasse, a professor and online course representative for this course, encourages students to think, “What do I really want to do after I get out of BYU-Idaho? How could I do something that could apply to the workforce? How could I do something that would really stretch me- That I would be passionate about?” Your journey to a career is greatly impacted by the effort and passion you put into the programs at the university.
The capstone project must fulfill the following requirements:
- You must submit a project proposal by the first day of the semester in which you wish to enroll in the course. Students cannot register for the course until this proposal is approved, which can take 7-10 days after submission. You can complete a project proposal via this link.
- Prior to completing a project proposal, each student must find a mentor. This can be a professor or anyone in the field of work relevant to your project. You will meet with your mentor throughout the semester, and they will serve as a resource for industry advice and for brainstorming ideas. For more information on finding a mentor see this article.
- The project must be relevant to your IDS emphasis and your chosen minor/cluster/certificate(s). It is also important to consider your future career goals as you plan your project.
- You must spend at least 50 hours on your project. You will be required to provide evidence of your work and present your project in a professional setting at the end of the semester.
In addition to the project, there will also be assignments for this class, especially in the first 4 weeks to learn skills you can apply to your capstone project and future career.
Brother Vorderstrasse says, “I get to meet with students twice during the semester […and] see the end result of everything that they have learned at BYU-Idaho. ...Teaching this class broadens my horizons about how people solve problems.”
“‘You leave with confidence in really understanding your disciplines.’”
It is important to do a project you will enjoy. Your capstone will require a lot of work, so it is important to find motivation from all angles. “There’s just so much benefit in actually executing something on your own”, Vorderstrasse says. “I love project-based learning. [It is] so beneficial to students, especially if you can make it authentic.” He also emphasizes the importance of preparing your project idea early. “It’s really, really painful for those that aren’t passionate about what they’re doing. So, I would just say: Give yourself time, talk to a lot of people, talk to your professors, and pray about it, and I think that if you do those things and you really put in the time, and effort, and thought, that you can come up with an amazing project because I have seen it happen over and over again.”
When you complete a project, you are passionate about, “you leave with confidence in really understanding your disciplines and you’re ready to go out in the world”, Vorderstrasse says. There is no doubt that a capstone project can help you in your journey to understand the direction of your career and achieve your career goals.