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Executive MBA – Business Continuity Management

capstone project comprehensive business continuity

The PECB University Executive MBA in Business Continuity Management is designed for candidates that want to develop a comprehensive understanding of how to manage business disruptions, emergencies or threats in an organization. Through the program, candidates gain the necessary competence on how to react in emergency situations, and how to manage them successfully so that the operations and business continuity of the organization are not distorted. The courses in this program prepare candidates in the areas of disaster recovery, business response, risk analysis, information management and other.

Executive MBA in Business Continuity Management 

Course Requirements (48 credits) Glasspaper Learning can provide all courses marked with green hyperlink below. For more information about the rest of the courses, please contact PECB . 


3     Leadership and Organizational Behavior 3     Business Operations, Analytics, and Decisions 6     Capstone Project 1 (2nd semester)


3      Business Continuity MS Implementation 3      Business Continuity MS Audit 3      Risk Management 3     Crisis Management

ELECTIVES (select 4 courses for 12 credits)

3      Incident Management 3      Information Security Risk Management 3      Compliance MS Implementation 3     Compliance MS Audit 3     IT Service MS Implementation 3     IT Service MS Audit 3     Records MS Implementation 3     Records MS Audit 3     Business Process Improvement 3     Supply Chain MS Implementation 3     Supply Chain MS Audit 3     Social Responsibility MS Implementation 3     Social Responsibility MS Audit 3     Outsourcing 3      Anti-bribery MS Implementation 3     Anti-bribery MS Audit 3     Asset MS Implementation 3     Asset MS Audit 3      Quality MS Implementation 3      Quality MS Audit 3     Management Systems Auditor 3     Environmental MS Implementation 3     Environmental MS Audit 3     Occupational Health and Safety MS Implementation 3     Occupational Health and Safety MS Audit


3     Strategic Management     3     Corporate Governance, Ethics, and Law     6     Capstone Project 2 (4th semester)

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Understanding Business Continuity

a cycle

When the sky is falling on your business, can you make it through the storm?

For the average business owner, business continuity is looked upon as a secondary system that is put in place to protect the investments the business has made. Since the platform doesn’t have much to do with a business’ day-to-day operations, often times some aspects of a business’ continuity strategy is overlooked; a major mistake that the business owner will realize when it is suddenly too late.

Understanding the elements of a comprehensive business continuity strategy is advantageous for any business owner or executive that is tasked to ensure the business’ operations are sustained. To design a solution that is right for your organization, you will first have to pinpoint the elements that make up a successful continuity strategy, and thoroughly implement them.

Why Enact a Business Continuity Plan? The fact is that your company’s health is a human issue. A healthy business that supports numerous workers not only provides a good or service to consumers, it provides food, shelter, transportation, education, and more for the people employed there and their families. This is true for every business, which is why it is crucial to have some assurances in place when tragedy strikes. When data is lost or when systems that these people and their families depend on fail, there needs to be a strategy to get operations up and running again fast. Whether you have two employees or two thousand, operational sustainability is crucial to every single one of their livelihoods.

What are the Elements of a Business Continuity Strategy? A working and thorough continuity strategy is not just a set of protocols that are enacted when something terrible happens. It is a continually changing, fluid strategy that will allow you to sustain operations through any number of issues that have the potential to hinder your organization's progress. Each element of a continuity strategy is the direct result of another element, while being the cause for another.

Element I - Initiation In the initiation phase of a business continuity strategy the concerned party needs to determine what exactly the objective of the continuity plan is, the general scope of the coverage under that plan, and who in your organization is going to carry out the protocol’s outlined in the plan.

Element II - Analysis In the analysis phase, you will conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) and a threat and risk analysis (TRA), and as the plan begins to come together the analysis of any impact scenarios that have been carried out allows an organization to adjust the other variables to best protect against the major threats.

The BIA will essentially separate the critical organizational functions from those that aren’t critical to the sustainability of operations. Once those have been determined each critical function will be assigned a recovery point objective (RPO) and a recovery time objective (RTO). The recovery point objective of a function is the acceptable amount of data loss that the organization can allow, while the recovery time objective is the acceptable amount of time it will take to restore the data needed to sustain operations. Under the BIA, an organization will also want to identify a maximum tolerable period of disruption (MTPOD). This is the maximum amount of time that an organization has to restore core systems before the stakeholders of the endeavor begin to consider their investments to be in serious jeopardy.

The TRA will pinpoint potential threats that face a business. Some of today’s major threats include:

Each of these (and often many more) have to be considered in order to properly determine the recovery objectives for each threat. This way, you have a complete understanding exactly where your organization stands when it is beset with some sort of adversity.

Element III - Continuity Plan Design Once the groundwork is finished, the plan can start to be designed. The first element an organization should consider is who will be responsible for the implementation of the continuity plan if it needs to be launched. At this point a team should be assembled and assigned very specific roles that all carry essential tasks. You will want to identify who is in charge of what and be sure that all members of the continuity team know how to contact other members of the team to enhance the prospects of successfully launching the program proficiently and quickly.

During this part of the plan, decision makers will also want to develop some strategies, such as:

By pinpointing the solutions that will be needed, the continuity team can begin to plan which solutions they would seek out as a part of the continuity strategy.

Element IV - Implementation In the design phase, the team will pinpoint the solutions that are needed to provide the best chance at complying with their continuity goals. In this phase of the project, however, all the planning and designing of the solution is finally implemented. Some of the variables that need to be set in motion at this stage of the project include:

Now that everything is in place and the whole team understands their responsibilities, it is crucial that an organization does not become complacent. While there may have been a thorough design and thorough understanding of the plan, to execute a plan requires the final step in the business continuity strategy.

Element V - Testing and Maintenance An organization that doesn’t frequently test the limits of its continuity plan may run into problems with their continuity plan when it’s needed. A comprehensive business continuity plan requires careful and conscientious consideration of every element in order to work properly. By testing and maintaining the continuity plan periodically, an organization can ensure that when the worst happens, that they are ready to react quickly.

To protect the people that depend on your business, a thorough and well designed continuity plan is a must. If you are having issues with the design of your continuity plan and would like help putting together the solutions and practices you will need to ensure you are protected for the worst, call Capstone Works’s knowledgeable consultants at (512) 882-2242. We can help your organization protect itself from whatever the future holds.

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Business continuity.

Capstone Partners (“CP”) has a business continuity plan designed to address a significant business disruption affecting CP’s business operations and sets forth CP’s objectives of keeping employees safe, recovering and resuming operations, protecting books and records, and enabling communications with employees, clients, key service providers, and regulators.

Whether you are a client or a business partner, you should be aware that CP is committed to planning for and being prepared for a significant business disruption. CP’s business continuity plan addresses two types of significant business disruptions: “internal” disruptions, such as a fire in a CP building, affecting only CP’s ability to communicate and do business, and “external” disruptions, such as an event that might prevent the operation of the securities markets or a number of firms. In either event, CP’s goal will be to recover its critical business processes with minimal interruption, on the same day, if possible, although the length of the disruption is expected to be longer in the event of an external disruption, particularly one affecting the entire securities industry.

The business continuity plan covers CP’s critical business processes that are essential for CP to continue to conduct business for a temporary period during a business interruption. Every important aspect of CP’s securities business, including communications with clients, is addressed in these processes.

CP’s business continuity plan provides for alternative physical location of employees in the event of a business disruption, which may include employees’ residences, depending on the nature of the disruption and the offices affected by it. The plan further provides for financial and operational assessments, identifies mission-critical systems, and specifies how these systems would continue to operate in the event of a disruption.

In the event of a business disruption, CP has alternate methods of communication, specified in the business continuity plan, that would allow it to communicate with clients, employees, business partners, and regulators. The plan provides for CP’s establishment of alternative financial arrangements if necessary to maintain funding for operations in the event of a disruption.

Information technology is central to CP’s operations. CP has systems in place for the back-up and recovery of information needed to conduct its business. CP’s business continuity plan identifies the arrangements that CP would make to recover records, if necessary.

CP does not have custody of client funds or securities. In the event of an internal or external significant business disruption, if telephone service is available, CP will continue to be able to provide services to clients, unless the disruption is industry wide in scope.

The effects of a disaster are of course difficult to predict and the disruption of systems and processes on an industry-wide basis will pose great business continuity challenges for any firm in the securities industry. There can be no assurance that any plan can address these unforeseen contingencies. However, CP regularly reviews its business plan with a view to ensuring that it takes into account technological developments and changes in its business operations. CP will modify this summary from time to time as it reviews the plan. Clients may obtain a written copy of this summary by contacting Capstone Partners’ Chief Compliance Officer, by mail at 1225 17th Street, Suite 1725, Denver, CO 80202.

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 Business Continuity Plan Process

 Business Continuity Plan Process.


Business Continuity Plan for Financial Institutions

Due to increase in customers’ demand, competition, 24hrs continuous service, frequent changes in regulatory policy requirements and changes in various threats landscape have put some pressures on financial institution to bring up a robust and comprehensive contingency plans that assured the continuity of their services.

This paper outlines the relevance of business continuity plan to financial institutions. This project will highlight the stakeholder’s involvement in the development of the plan, the understanding of the plan and how often the plan will be tested.


Financial organizations could confront the disruption of major services due to attacks such as natural disasters like floods, earthquake, or fire. Disruption of services could come because of hacktivist attacks, servers, and networks problems. Because all these reasons, financial institutions need to develop a comprehensive business continuity plans that guarantees quick recovery of business after a disaster.

A single occurrence of a disaster can results in greater financial losses, erode investors and customers confidence and damaging of corporate image. Such an act can also lead to serious legal issues and litigations.

A well designed, implemented and tested contingency plan is the best assurance to protect against financial losses to any organization (Moore, 1995). There is a need for financial organizations to have an effective Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that ensure quick business resumption and limit losses in the event of services disruptions.


Financial institutions are susceptible to different types of services disruptions stated in the introduction above, which could adversely impact the organization. In today’s world, Business Continuity Management (BCM) is becoming increasingly important. This research work will highlight the relevance of Business Continuity Planning to financial institutions and analyses the disaster preparedness of financial institutions to major disasters and disruptions by examining the Business Continuity Management policies, standards, and practices. It will go further to test the awareness and readiness of the stakeholders.

Objective of the study

This research work will highlight the importance of Business Continuity Planning to Financial Institutions.

Scope of the study

This study will be limited to BCP development for financial institutions only. It will cover the following key areas

·  Business Continuity Plan Process

o Identification of key business areas.

o Identification of critical functions.

o Identify dependencies between various business areas and functions.

o Determine acceptable downtime for each critical function.

o Create a plan to maintain operations.

·  Components of Business Continuity Plan:

o Business Impact Analysis

o Disaster Recovery Plan

o Disaster Recovery Plan and Tabletop test.

· Challenges with implementing Business Continuity Plan

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2022 Capstone Projects

CUSP received its highest number of proposals ever for the 2022 cycle of the  Capstone Program . Thanks to our sponsors, our graduate students have the opportunity to have an impact on critical urban issues while continuing to develop their data science skills and honing their public policy expertise. Projects have been grouped into four categories: disaster resilience and climate change, fairness and inclusivity, health and wellbeing, and modern civil and communications infrastructure . To view the full list of 2022 projects, see below. Stay tuned throughout the spring and summer semesters to hear more about how our 2022 Capstone projects are progressing! 

Disaster Resilience and Climate Change

Fairness and inclusivity, health and wellbeing, modern civil and communications infrastructure, a new dataset to develop smart assistants for specialized training with augmented reality, project sponsors.

Project Abstract

Emergency response personnel (i.e. firefighters, medical personnel, and utility workers) require specialized training to act in time- and precision-sensitive tasks. Comprehensive training requires time, practice, and continuous guidance from a professional and experienced trainer able to predict and correct the trainee’s actions. The trainer-to-trainee ratio currently limits the amount of individuals who are trained at a time. Ideally, such training could be carried out by an automatic and smart agent using augmented reality devices like the Hololens. In this project, we aim to develop a system for guided monitoring of a person’s actions as they learn a specialized task.

Project Description & Overview

Smart assistants can guide a trainee’s actions as they learn a specialized task. Such a system can: 1) identify the task being performed, and 2) predict the trainee’s actions. The assistant must process the trainee’s field-of-view (i.e. egocentric video) and surrounding sounds, carry out object recognition (including the trainee’s body parts, like arms), attend to relevant objects, and predict future actions.

Existing approaches rely on multimodal datasets with egocentric video and audio where an individual is seen carrying out a task. These datasets must be annotated so that actions in the egocentric video are associated with clear human-language descriptors. Annotation can be carried out completely by a person, but this is time-consuming and prone to error. Alternatives include automatic annotation via speech recognition, if the video data features an individual narrating their own activities. But narration leads to pauses between actions as the individual speaks, or errors when the individual thinks about what to say, or talks and acts at the same time. As a result, currently existing smart assistants are limited by data used for their development.

This project aims to 1) Improve data quality with a new dataset of egocentric video and audio, where an individual receives verbal instructions from a third party. 2) Benchmarking of pre-trained machine learning models that carry out video summarization and audio-visual correspondence. 3) Evaluation of action prediction models. Hence, the project’s question is: do multimodal egocentric recordings of instructed actions result in better annotations and predictions of human performance by an artificial agent? 

Collecting data from emergency response workers would be logistically challenging and not really necessary to first address our research question (whether multimodal egocentric video of instructed actions result in better annotations to predict human behavior). Instead, to ask our question we will use videos recorded by a real-life worker at the Subway restaurant chain. He uploads to Youtube everyday and his videos are openly-available. The videos feature him making specific menu items as he follows the verbal instructions of customers. He started his Youtube channel in June and has already uploaded 7 hours of egocentric multi-modal video (and his list of videos continues growing every day). Moreover, we have established direct contact with him, shared our research ideas, and if this project is approved he will support us by uploading at least 10 minutes of his real-life footage at work, per day.


The students should be comfortable with Python and familiar with data analysis tools such as numpy and pandas. Having a machine learning background is also desirable (basic classification models such as random forests and test/train splits for evaluation).

Learning Outcomes & Deliverables

To conduct such a project we need audio-visual annotations. First, students will learn how to use existing models for automatic speech recognition and visual object detection. This will result in a real-world audio-visual dataset of egocentric perspective in an instruction-following task with annotated actions. Secondly, students will learn to evaluate performance of existing video summarization and audio-visual correspondence models against their newly-curated dataset. This will result in a study of performance of different off-the-shelf models on egocentric multimodal data in an instruction-following task. Finally, students will learn how to use and benchmark state-of-the-art multimodal action prediction models. The third deliverable would be a report with a summary of the work carried out and main conclusions along with the associated code used.

A Tale of Two Cities: Assessing the state of the thermal environment for New York and Athens

Mitigation plans to counteract overheating in urban areas need to be based on a thorough knowledge of the state of the thermal environment, most importantly on the presence of areas which consistently demonstrate higher or lower urban land surface temperatures (hereinafter referred to as “hot spots” or “cold spots”, respectively).

This is because Land Surface Temperature (LST) is a controlling factor of energy exchange between the surface and the atmosphere, and thus a cause of meteorological and climatic variation. Such exchange is through latent and sensible heat as well as the emission of radiation at the thermal infrared part of the spectrum.

As a matter of fact, as urban areas are covered with buildings and pavements; as a result moist soil and vegetation are being replaced with cement and asphalt. These materials have high thermal mass and tend to absorb more solar radiation than the surfaces found in rural areas, with the result being higher land surface temperatures. Additionally these surfaces are impermeable and tend to dry more quickly after precipitation, reducing evaporation, which has a cooling effect in green areas.

The main objective of the project is to develop and apply a methodological approach for the recognition of thermal “hot spots” and “cold spots” in New York City and Athens, during the warm months of the year. Results will be analyzed separately for each city as well as in a combined manner in view of recognizing potential similarities which may be rolled out as urban typologies.

Specific objectives are:

Satellite data (free) from: Landsat 8 (visible and TIR), Sentinel-2 (visible) and Sentinel-3 (TIR) and MODIS from Aqua and Terra (vIS and TIR).

Provisionally image processing and/or GIS.

Creating a High Performance Construction Project Database To Accelerate Building Decarbonization and Resilience in NYC

Project Sponsor

The power of experience curves in technology (known as Wright’s Law, Swanson’s Law, or “learning by doing”) has made clean energy technologies less expensive than fossil fuel-generated energy, driving exponential growth in clean energy deployment globally. Can this power of learning also be harnessed for the technology of low carbon building to make Passive House construction less costly than traditional methods? This project, a partnership between Invest NYC SDG, Passive House Accelerator, and Source 2050 will (1) study how “experience curves” apply to Passive House design and construction, and (2) create a global project database to accelerate those experience curves.

The Invest NYC SDG initiative is committed to creating a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient built environment in NYC. Passive House is a proven technology for dramatically reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of buildings and providing climate resilience to building occupants, making Passive House (1) a key tool for achieving the goals of Local Law 97, (2) a centerpiece of NYSERDA’s building decarbonization work, and (3) a rapidly growing building-based climate solution in NYC, NYS, and nationally.

At Passive House Accelerator events and industry conferences, it is common to hear project teams report rapid, project-based learning such that each Passive House project they complete becomes more efficient and less costly than the last. Do these anecdotes translate to quantifiable and significant experience curves that can be harnessed to drive costs down and accelerate market uptake? Invest NYC SDG will partner with Passive House Accelerator and Source 2050 to empower Capstone students to:

Data analytics, visualization, data mining and processing, outreach/interview skills, database management, and web integration

Data-Life: Exploring Post-Covid Scenarios Through Data Science

The project will combine quantitative data coming from open data, social media, and other sources, together with ad-hoc analysis, crowdsourcing, and gamification practices, to collect data and understand the perception of people about the present and future of the pandemic. It will look into the post-pandemic future, trying to understand how things are going to change and how people may react to different alternative policies and decisions at different levels.

COVID-19 has affected our lives in unprecedented ways, in many personal, professional, and educational aspects. This impacted both our daily plans and logistics, as well as our perception of the world and of the future. A lot of data is available about COVID-19 impacts and many data-driven studies have been conducted for understanding the associated dynamics at the medical, logistic, and organizational levels. However, fewer studies concentrated on the perceptions, feelings, and emotions involved in these changes.

The project will combine quantitative data coming from open data, social media, and other sources, together with ad-hoc analysis, crowdsourcing, and gamification practices, to collect data and understand the perception of people about the present and future of the pandemic. It will look into the post-pandemic future, trying to understand how things are going to change and how people may react to different alternative policies and decisions at different levels. Possible perspectives to be explored include: educational opportunities, university life, city life and dynamics, professional life, family life, government decisions (mandates, regulations, lockdowns).

The study will be conducted in the cities of New York and Milano, both severely affected by COVID-19, both having lived long and painful lockdown periods, but both nowadays showing important signs of reactions, with a strong revival in social life, cultural events, and desire to return to normality. The project will highlight many aspects of similarity but also many aspects of diversity of the reaction to COVID-19 of the two cities.

Dataset exploration and definition will be part of the project activities.

Students should have basic data management skills and competence in social media data and crowdsourcing practices.

The project will study methods, tools, and reports/analysis on the expectations, reactions and feelings of people with respect to the return to normal life after the pandemic.

Developing an AI-based Image Classifier for School Infrastructure Baseline Data Collection in Large Scale Disaster Risk Analysis

This project will develop a risk-informed classification system to support AI computer vision algorithms for assessing seismic vulnerabilities in schools. The project will be led by the World Bank’s Global Program for Safer Schools (GPSS), the NYU Disaster Risk Analysis Lab, and the NYU AI4CE. The project’s main goal is to develop a simplified vulnerability classification system based on existing detailed taxonomy from the Global Library of School Infrastructure (GLOSI: https://gpss.worldbank.org/en/glosi/overview), to support AI-based computer vision tools to reduce structural vulnerability data collection time and costs in large building portfolios. We envision that this simplified classification will enable more reliable AI computer vision tools to empower communities to be engaged in governments’ disaster risk management efforts more easily, make risk analysis more accessible and informed by up-to-date baseline information worldwide and guide large-scale school safety and resilience investments more efficiently.

This project will focus on a simplified classification system to support easier and more reliable extraction of structural classifications (features) from pictures of schools using computer vision algorithms. The structural classifications will be set according to the Global Library of School Infrastructure (GLOSI) structural taxonomies . GLOSI taxonomies are key to defining structural vulnerabilities in school buildings that are considered in large-scale earthquake risk analysis. The project will use the vulnerability data of GLOSI typologies, and school inventory data from ~2000 schools collected in World Bank projects. The project will have four main parts:

The team needs at least one person with a background in disaster risk analysis, and preferably computer vision and machine learning. For computer vision, this requirement means a student that took or is taking a class equivalent to CSCI-GA.2271-001 or ROB-GY 6203. A team member with a strong programming background (especially with hands-on deep learning experience) will increase the success rate of the project. For disaster risk analysis, this requirement means a student that took or is taking a course equivalent to CUSP-CX 8006. Please get in touch with Professor Ceferino for further inquiries about competencies.

Emergency Response after Earthquakes: Assessing Risk and Guiding Coordination in Hospital Systems

This project will assess the earthquake risk of hospitals and their ability to sustain operations after future large earthquakes. The project will be led by the NYU Disaster Risk Analysis Lab, the World Bank’s Disaster Risk Management Division, and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)’s Public Health Working Group. The project’s main goal is to apply robust disaster risk analysis techniques on hospital datasets to better understand post-disaster hospital capacity. The project will investigate new risk metrics relevant to inform practical risk mitigation policy implementation and emergency planning, e.g., mobilizing patients from neighborhoods with little hospital capacity to high hospital capacity. The goal is to inform communities on how to mitigate not only potential economic losses, as currently done in practice, but also potential functional and societal impacts.

This project will focus on conducting earthquake risk analysis in two cities’ hospital systems. One case study will be located in the Bay Area, California, and the other one will be in a developing country defined according to data availability. The project will have four parts:

Disaster Risk Analysis requires hazard, vulnerability, and exposure data. Data for hazard analysis will be provided. Vulnerability and exposure data will be provided partially. Students will work on completing and curating datasets for vulnerability and exposure. Specifically, the following will be provided:

Students will require a background in statistics and risk analysis. Otherwise, they are highly encouraged to enroll in the Disaster Risk Analysis and Urban Systems Resilience Class (CUSP-CX 8006). Please get in touch with Professor Ceferino for further inquiries about competencies.

FloodNet - Computer Vision for Urban Street Flood Detection

In NYC, sea level rise has led to a dramatic increase in flood risk, particularly in low-lying and coastal neighborhoods. Urban flood water can impede pedestrian and vehicle mobility, and also can contain a diverse array of contaminants, including fuels, raw sewage, and industrial/household chemicals. For this capstone project, the team will train, test and deploy computer vision (CV) and deep learning (DL) models for the detection of street flood events. Existing labelled datasets will be used for training. In addition, an unlabelled NYC street image dataset will be provided for labelling and training of a NYC centric model.

In NYC, sea level rise has led to a dramatic increase in flood risk, particularly in low-lying and coastal neighborhoods. Urban flood water can impede pedestrian and vehicle mobility, and also contains a diverse array of contaminants, including fuels, raw sewage, and industrial/household chemicals.

The FloodNet project is interested in evaluating whether a longitudinally deployed fleet of CV flood sensors can monitor urban flooding events in real-time. This data can improve resiliency by (1) allowing residents to identify navigable transportation routes and make informed decisions to avoid exposure to flood water contaminants, and (2) informing city agencies in targeting flood control improvements through data-driven decision making.

The Capstone team will train, test and deploy CV/DL models for the detection of street flood events. Existing labelled datasets will be used for training. In addition, an unlabelled NYC street image dataset will be provided. The labelling strategy of this dataset will be determined by the team. Unsupervised or weakly supervised DL approaches could also be explored.

The team will work through three stages:

Existing labelled flood imagery datasets will be used in Stage 1 of the Capstone project. Stage 3 will involve the generation of a NYC centric dataset using existing unlabelled images collected from NYC streets in both flood and non-flood conditions.

The team will be using a broad range of urban analytics approaches that will result in proven abilities in: computer vision, remote sensing, data science, and machine learning.

The expected deliverables for each project stage are:

All deliverables will be based around Jupyter notebooks and committed to a well documented public GitHub repository.

Hardening New York City’s Interdependent Water and Energy Infrastructures Against Climate Change and Cyberattacks

Extreme events stress New York City’s (NYC’s) interdependent water and energy infrastructures; impact human livelihood; and can disrupt local ecosystems. The dependence of water and wastewater operations on power implies that a blackout, coupled with backup system components’ failures, can force the discharge of untreated wastewater into NYC’s waterways, and result in a public health emergency. Data-driven and optimization techniques can leverage publicly available data to reveal vulnerabilities in electricity, water, and wastewater infrastructures. Our analysis can aid policy design against natural hazards and cyberattacks, and thus inform the modernization of interdependent urban water and electricity infrastructures.

This project aims to identify supply chain vulnerabilities of New York City’s physical water and wastewater infrastructure; understand water-energy interdependencies; and inform resilience policies against natural disasters. The project will:

Students will collect and process data either on water supply chains (i.e., from reservoirs to NYC water consumption), or on wastewater supply chains (i.e., from water consumption and drainage to wastewater treatment). Between February and May, students will integrate databases that include water consumption and technical features of reservoirs, tunnels, the drainage system, and wastewater treatment facilities. Between May and August, the students will use optimization, statistical methods, machine learning, or a combination of techniques to identify critical assets, interconnections, or spatial and temporal interdependencies with the electricity sector within the water and wastewater supply chains that are vulnerable to disruptions. This project will provide comprehensive databases of the different components of New York City’s water and wastewater infrastructures.

Through this project, the candidate(s) will:

Modernizing Organics “Collection” for Managing the City’s Municipal Solid Waste and Achieving Zero Waste Goals

This capstone will develop a data visualization tool to illustrate the lifecycle costs and benefits of leveraging late 20th century technology to solve a 21st century problem—the need to achieve zero waste and reduce CO2 emissions– as compared to the current use of 19th century (and earlier) technology.

The City’s current policy for residential organic food waste diversion has been a voluntary composting initiative with Department of Sanitation (DSNY) pickup in certain neighborhoods. This policy relies on 19th century (and earlier) technology whereby people collect refuse for pick up and transportation by truck. The future policy debate is likely to be about whether to mandate residential organics diversion on a citywide basis with citywide DSNY pickup and transportation. The multi-year voluntary organics curbside collection program has not been cost effective, with approximately half of the City’s municipal solid waste (MSW) going to landfills. To reduce total program costs below current costs would require either a diversion rate of about 30% or a lower diversion rate with reducing processing costs, with associated increased operation costs, before seeing reductions in the distant future. All this would require a long-term concerted effort prioritizing organics diversion, possibly through fines, and changing residents’ behavior.

At no time has there been consideration of leveraging late 20th century technology, in the form of food waste disposers (FWDs), commonly known as “in sink” garbage disposals, to process organics as a means to reduce CO2 emission and achieve “zero waste” goals. Since October 1997, the City has permitted residential households to install FWDs. A study of the impact for FWDs in the City’s combined sewer areas , assuming FWDs would be installed at a rate of 1%/year, found de minimis increases in City sewer maintenance costs, water consumption, wastewater treatment and biosolids handling costs, water rates, and negative impact on surrounding waters, and costs savings from solid waste export reduction. As of 2008, it was estimated that less than 1 percent of NYC households had installed FWDs . 

The benefits and costs of expanding FDWs at food service establishments, studied in 2008 , would apply to mandated expansion of residential FDWs as an alternative to mandated citywide organics diversion. Benefits would include efficiency with related cost savings at the residential sites; associated reductions in municipal truck trips, with labor cost savings, and localized reductions in truck traffic; and beneficial end re-use of food waste, at the city’s water pollution control plants, now rebranded as wastewater resource recovery facilities (WRRFs), with some increases in digester gas, which, with capital investment to modify the WRRFs, could be reused in WRRF boilers to provide heat for the treatment process (cogeneration), with elements of resulting biosolids available for other beneficial end uses, some with commercial applications, and associated revenues. Costs to be balanced against benefits include incremental water use increases; increased sewer maintenance costs and the potential for sewer backups, which until the City resolves its combined sewer overflow problem could result in increased discharges during heavy stormwater events into surrounding waterbodies; and increased capital investment at the WWRFs.

This project will use publicly available Department of Buildings plumbing permit data for Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City and associated publicly available DSNY and Department of Environmental Protection operations and capital cost data. Additional city-produced reports and studies from other cities that have mandated FDWs will be sources of additional data.

All students should have proficient data analytic skills. An interest in zero waste and large system operations would be helpful.

The deliverables will be an interactive visualization of a comparative lifecycle cost benefit analysis of the two types of organics diversion technology and a final report that provides the methodology and analyses used and findings.

Virtual and Augmented Reality for Community Preparedness to Disasters

This project will create physically realistic virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) environments that represent extreme events such as wildfires, floods, landslides, winds, and earthquakes affecting our communities. The project will use these environments to show how resilient infrastructure and response preparedness in a disaster can significantly reduce the probability of physical and human losses. The virtual environment will then be deployed to VR/AR devices for egocentric and immersive viewing. The project will be led by the NYU Immersive Computing Lab, NYU Disaster Risk Analysis Lab, and the World Bank’s Global Program for Safer Schools (GPSS). The project’s main goal is to raise awareness and prepare our communities to respond to extreme events using immersive realities to enhance the effectiveness of drills, such as evacuating during floods.

The project will focus on building AR/VR environments for floods and earthquakes and assessing/surveying people’s responses to them. Students will select the infrastructure of interest (e.g., schools, hospitals) according to their interests and data availability. The project will have three parts:

*VR/AR environment interactivity will be explored.

Students will require a background in immersive reality, with experience in Unity. Otherwise, they are highly encouraged to enroll in the Urban Data Visualization Class. Please contact Professors Ceferino or Sun for further inquiries about competencies.

City of Bogotá: Data Driven Door-to-Door Care

The Office of Women’s Affairs is looking to make its Care System innovative in its objectives and how it uses data. The Care System is an initiative to reach female caregivers living in dire conditions. It brings services directly to those who often cannot leave their homes because of their domestic workload. Primary caregivers receive certified skillset training, well-being activities, and become part of community-building networks with professional facilitation. Others receive care and services to develop their autonomy. Importantly, the initiative is delivered to those in need and provides evidence on the value of redistributing care for closing gender gaps and economic recovery. That’s where data comes in.

Women’s “time poverty” is a structural cause of gender inequality. In Bogota, the unpaid care burden falls disproportionately on women, reaching alarming proportions: 30% of Bogota’s female population are full-time unpaid caregivers. 90% of them are low-income and 33% lack time for self-care. In 2020, we launched Bogota´s Care System to address these challenges. Bogata would now like to expand its efforts by providing primary caregivers with certified skillset training, well-being activities, community, and other services to develop their autonomy.

For six months, Capstone students will use data-driven methods to understand program impact and identify new ways to increase traffic to facilities used for this work. Students will support the Office as it:

This work will support Bogota’s Women and Gender Equality Policy. Students will be overseen by the Secretary of Women’s Affairs and a coordinating team.

Students will have access to the survey and interview data that the Office collects to measure the average hours per month that women dedicate to unpaid care work, data on the gender gap in unpaid work between men and women, and the number of services the caregiver has accessed before entering into the program as well as the number of services the caregivers and people they care for have access to before the implementation of the program.

Following a mini-public with beneficiaries, students will also work with the Office as it collaborates with a private-sector data holder to access its data for assessment purposes. This data might include telecom data which could be used to map and understand how caregivers move through the city or some other proxy.

Community Economic Recovery Tool

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exposed the existing health, economic, and social challenges within the county, and have highlighted the need to be prepared for such events in the future. Governments of all levels are tasked with easing the burden that citizens and local businesses face. To address this challenge, we propose to create an “Economic Recovery” tool that offers real-time strategies to community leaders recovering from COVID-19 shocks and can be used post the recovery to identify other underrepresented communities.

Using the data we aim at producing four major tools:

Insightful thinking, geospatial knowledge and an interest to understand urban economic data sources.

After the analysis is complete and available on the dashboard, city departments will be able to use it to identify any funding gaps. The dashboard allows the officials to overlay and understand multiple variables at once, while the data will be automatically updated monthly, giving local officials a chance to understand effects of policy changes within a neighborhoods or congressional. Apart from the city officials, we want the residents of the city to have access to the data as well. This will help them understand the employment patterns within different industries which can be very beneficial. The economic opportunity zone can be used to set up new small businesses and mom and pop shops to have maximum footfall and chance of succeeding.

Democratizing New York City’s Urban Development Processes

New York City’s current planning process is a jumble of information on the websites of various community boards in different boroughs. There is no unified source of truth that various stakeholders like developers, city planners or concerned citizens can access this information through. Through this project we’d like to create a unified dynamic map for New York City highlighting city planning projects in flight along with citizen comments and concerns on them.

The purpose of this project is to take the otherwise opaque city planning process during the public review phase and make it transparent and easily accessible to all. Through this project, we aim to build a publicly available, dynamic map that will showcase various planning projects in flight throughout New York City, as well as citizens’ concerns and comments on said projects. This will help to democratize the process of urban development and will be of use to various stakeholders like developers, city planners, citizens, and elected representatives. The current information on various planning projects is available via the websites of various community boards throughout New York and requires hours of searching to find relevant information. Through this process, citizens could access city planning information in other community boards and see how projects were greenlighted or citizen participation brought them to a halt. Developers could also look at our map and decide on how to alter their projects by searching for similar projects that might have faced obstacles and how to rectify them in their proposal.

Project management, data visualization, data engineering, modeling

Informing Policymakers On State Level Supplemental Security Income Support

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal social safety net program that provides cash payments to disabled persons and adults over age 65, who are very low income. Many states offer SSI payments, but the information about these supplements is contained in text-heavy historical reports. It is difficult to show how support varies from state to state and over time. The proposed project will involve text analysis of historical reports, construction of performance metrics, and designing a public facing visualization to convey clear and objective insights about the SSI program on a state level to inform policymakers and the public.

Policymakers, researchers, and the public lack information about state support for the population that receives Supplemental Security Income (SII). This lack of information hampers policy making, research on program efficacy, and public understanding and awareness of the program. The information needed to address this gap is provided in text-heavy historical reports with too much programmatic jargon and little time-series or state-to-state comparisons. This proposed project aims to gather the hidden information with the goal to provide an overview for policymakers to better understand the impact of the SSI program. Information will be extracted using natural language processing algorithms. The final deliverable of the project is a public facing dashboard/visualization that will help guide policymakers in future program decision making. This project is a collaboration across multiple academic institutions, thus the project will be fully remotely.

Publicly available administrative data.

Students should have the following competencies:

Students will learn how to perform text analysis on documents, extract content from document by using natural language processing algorithms. Students will also learn how to design intuitive visualizations. Student will learn how to present results for different audiences.

Measuring Geographic Distribution and Predictors of Variation of Over-Policing Across NYC

Mass incarceration is a well-recognized public health issue and driver of racial inequities. However, focusing on arrests and subsequent incarceration underestimates the totality of police-community member interactions, and risks obfuscating the full magnitude of disproportionate policing within a city. This project will use publicly available NYPD policing data on multiple endpoints of policing (e.g., arrests, desk appearance tickets, criminal summons) to construct a geographic visualization tool to assess the burden of policing across neighborhoods and time in NYC. Through data linkages with the American Community Survey, this tool will allow for the investigation of predictors of over policing within NYC.

The relationship between communities and police has received a lot of attention following multiple high-profile fatal police shootings of unarmed people of color. The disproportionate burden of police violence and the over-representation of Black and Brown people in correctional facilities has raised large questions regarding the unequal policing of communities. Though some investigators have begun to interrogate the impacts of over-policing, few include the broader set of police interactions not captured by arrests. Furthermore, current data structures severely hinder progress towards understanding variations in exposure to policing across time and place. Understanding how policing varies across communities is a critical first step in reducing the burden of over-policing among those disproportionately impacted. The goals of this project are to a) assess geographic and temporal variation of policing in NYC by constructing a geocoded mapping tool of policing interactions, and b) identify predictors of variation in policing burden by constructing predictive models using data from the American Community Survey.

Participating students will create a single, column-oriented database of publicly available NYPD policing data (from 2013 – 2021) on a range of policing end points (e.g., arrests, court summons, desk appearance tickets). Students will geocode the data and create an online mapping tool that will illustrate variations in policing burden across NYC. Finally, students will be asked to link the database to publicly available data from the American Community Survey and build predictive models to identify geographic and sociodemographic predictors of increased policing burden in New York City.

The primary data for this project will be a composite of multiple publicly available NYPD policing datasets. NYPD historic arrests data contains over 5 million individual arrests with date and location data ranging from 2006 to 2020. Additional datasets provide analogous information on cannabis court summons, desk appearance tickets, criminal summons, and stop-question-frisk incidents. Metadata is available for each indicator at the precinct and quarter level for the first three quarters of 2021. Policing data will be linked to census data from the American Communities Survey, including but not limited to racial/ethnic composition, poverty, etc.

The ideal student for this project would have strong data science and programming skills, specifically as it relates to geocoding data and building a dashboard and/or web tools (e.g., R shiny apps). Additionally, students should have basic analytic skills and understanding of predictive model building. Lastly, experience with data visualization and spatial analysis will be especially useful for building the map-based web tool.

There are three expected deliverables that will result from this project.

Repairing Dallas: Leveraging data to improve housing quality

Substandard homes severely impact resident wellbeing: deficient housing quality is associated with asthma and respiratory illness, lead poisoning, accidental injury, anxiety and depression, and poor academic outcomes. Data on housing quality is limited to MSA-level estimates of housing adequacy and subjective assessments by the local appraisal district, so it’s difficult for housing advocates to understand where housing quality issues are most acute and how to direct resources for repair. The project purpose is twofold: (1) identify neighborhoods in Dallas where there is poor housing quality and (2) develop a sampling and surveying approach to collect granular data within high-repair neighborhoods.

Housing quality matters for the mental, emotional, and physical health of residents, but the 2019 American Housing Survey reports that 27,600 housing units in the Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington MSA are severely inadequate. Research indicates that housing quality issues are more severe for people of color, people living in poverty, single parents, and renters. Although there is great need within Dallas’ housing stock, we lack actionable data to elevate the issue of housing quality, better direct limited resources, and advocate for more resources to ensure Dallas residents have a healthy home. Through this Capstone project, we hope to leverage existing datasets to design a methodology for calculating housing quality at a smaller geographic unit in order to identify neighborhoods in Dallas where there is disproportionately poor housing quality that needs to be remedied. This could take the form of a housing quality index that contemplates various data sources and takes into account both renter- and owner-occupied units. In addition, the CUSP team will estimate the cost of housing repair needs in Dallas (see 2019 report from the Philadelphia Fed entitled, Measuring and Understanding Home Repair Costs, as an example using 2017 AHS data). Finally, the CUSP team will develop a sampling and surveying approach to collect more granular data within neighborhoods indicating a high need for repairs. This framework can then be deployed on-the-ground in Dallas in target neighborhoods to better understand specific needs and direct resources, like home repair programs, to units where they’re most needed.

Datasets available for this project include Dallas Central Appraisal District property-level data, the Census Bureau’s bi-annual American Housing Survey, the American Community Survey (for relevant household data), CoStar multifamily data (e.g., property class, unit features — like A/C, and property age), and City of Dallas code violations. Other potential datasets include multifamily and single family rental inspections by the City of Dallas, units with failed inspections from the Dallas Housing Authority, and MLS property listing data. Potential datasets require additional steps for CPAL.

Specific skills that would be useful for students to have include spatial analysis and regression, econometric modeling, hedonic and/or multilinear regression, and sampling design. Nice-to-have is some understanding of housing quality/adequacy and its impact on residents.

Expected deliverables include:

Simulating Interactions with Visually Impaired

Urban environments represent particularly dire challenges for the mobility of the visually impaired, who must travel complex routes in often crowded and noisy conditions with limited to no assistance. To help visually impaired regain their independence, they are offered orientation and mobility training (O&M). However, O&M training represent a risk to the visually impaired, as it exposes them to dangerous situations and falls. We seek to overcome this issue by simulating O&M training in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), in which trainers and trainees interact within a safe and controlled environment that simulates part of a city.

Visual impairments will become a preeminent public health issue, as more baby boomers turn 65 and older. To reduce the impact of these disabilities on mobility, visually impaired attend orientation and mobility training (O&M) sessions, in which they learn techniques to travel safely within their community. These techniques include how to use a white cane, walk in a straight line, or cross an intersection in urban environments. Clearly, O&M training exposes visually impaired to potentially serious harm, including accidental falls, and undesired contact with people and objects.

Our previous work demonstrated that a virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) platform can help overcome these dangers. Trainees can learn and practice new O&M techniques in a completely safe environment, before translating them in the real world. However, our previous study focused on a single player platform, which did not allow virtual interactions between trainers and trainees.

In this Capstone Project, students will extend our previous work by implementing a VR/AR multiplayer platform in which two users (trainer and trainee) interact in a virtual environment. VR/AR will be exploited to simulate visual impairments in the trainee. Students will design an O&M training in a highly dangerous realistic environment, such as a busy intersection in NYC, and implement it in VR/AR. They will formulate and perform hypothesis-driven experiments with human subjects, toward investigating technology-mediated interaction in training sessions. Ultimately, we aim at demonstrating the potential of a multiplayer VR/AR platform to train visually impaired persons in O&M techniques in a controlled, safe environment.

No datasets required.

We are looking for highly motivated students with a passion to explore and learn new concepts and ideas that range between engineering and medical science. Students should also show a keen and strong interest in rehabilitation and human-computer interaction.

Trustworthy AI for Human Machine Interface

We exist in a world with advanced AI, yet there is a lack of AI for assisting disabled populations who cannot achieve basic manipulability functions. This project will be to develop trustworthy Machine Learning models to to address existing problems of human-machine interfaces.

This research project will try to answer whether: 1) AI models can be trained faster to exclude the need for high-performance computers; and 2) if calibration can be minimized for new users so that neuro-robots are easy to use and ubiquitous in less-developed regions.

For this, we will develop a new biosignal processing pipeline using artificial intelligence, specifically a shallow-hybrid neural network, which includes an engine for modeling long term and short term dynamical dependencies in the signal space. The model will be tested in comparison with exiting state-of-the-art algorithms that we have developed in the last years. For this, data will be used from large datasets available to us. There is a potential possibility of involvement in data collection, depending on the academic and research background.

Students are more than welcome to contact  [email protected]  with questions. See one of our recent efforts with  applications in neurorobotics  for more context.

We will use available large data sets on high-density electromyography and will try to predict the intended gestures. The data set includes high volume of signals collected from the upper limb of ~50 human subjects.

Academic/research background in machine learning and/or signal/data processing is encouraged.

Signal Processing, Deep Learning, Human-Machine Interface

Understanding Public Opinion About the Police in New York City

Defunding the police is a polarizing topic that is on the rise in the United States. Public opinion is generally divided due to controversial recent events that have involved law enforcement officers (LEOs). However, how we perceive or not violence around us likely contributes to our own assessment of LEOs’ necessity. In this project, we seek to carry out an analysis about the interplay between these two factors to study if violent incidents, whether from LEOs or criminals, shape the opinion of New York City (NYC) inhabitants.

Recently, public opinion has been inflamed by controversial police actions, in particular, by the use of excessive force to maintain public order. However, other factors are at play in defining public opinion to police. On one hand, violent episodes might have generated opposition to police. On the other hand, an increase in local crime could have fueled the demand for stricter law enforcement.

In this project, we seek to understand how local crime and incidents of police brutality contribute to shape public opinion. NYC is a great framework to investigate this relationship, due to its abundant data. To this end, we will undertake a massive data collection effort, by cataloguing tweets, which will allow us to track public opinion citywide using machine learning techniques for sentiment analysis. To obtain an accurate description of citywide violence, geolocated data on crimes will be collected from NYC Open Portal and NYPD databases. For the brutality episodes involving LEOs, we will build a dataset relying on Washington Post fatal police shootings and crowdsource databases.

We will test hypotheses that entail the driving forces behind public opinion: i) “Does the increase in crime rate lead to an increase in police supporters?”; and ii) “Does an increase in police brutality lead to higher support for defunding of police?”. We will apply parametric and non-parametric statistical tools to test our hypotheses and elucidate the emergence of spatio-temporal patterns. The results of the study will shed light on drivers of public-police relations and provide evidence to reform policy-making.

  • Geo-located local crimes from 2006 to 2020 will be obtained from the NYC Open Data Portal  
  • NYPD keeps records, on an hourly basis and on a street level of all the various crimes committed in NYC from January 2020 up to date
  • Washington Post records police killings from 2015 up to date with geolocation  
  • Official CAPstat registers payroll info, disciplinary summaries, and federal lawsuits from 2015 to 2018
  • Mapping Police Violence Initiative from 2013 up to date 
  • Fatal Encounters Initiative from 2000 up to date 
  • Tweets will be collected using the official Twitter API with the help of Python package Tweepy and through The Ohio State University software Hydrator 
  • Older tweets will also be collected through web scraping through Twint GitHub initiative .

The Sentiment Lexicon dictionary from the University of Pittsburgh and the dictionary of sentiment words from Bing Liu and collaborators (University of Illinois Chicago) will be used for the sentiment analysis. 

  • Data extraction and web scraping (preferably Python or R)
  • Data analysis and visualization (using Python, R or Matlab)
  • Programming (preferably Python, R, or Matlab)

We are looking for highly motivated students with a passion to explore and learn new concepts and ideas, and with an interest in social media, sentiment analysis, and data science. 

  • Students will learn data collection and pre-processing methods and their importance.
  • Students will be trained in the scientific method approach and hypothesis testing, and they will learn data modeling tools for analysis purposes.
  • Students will learn to apply traditional tools of temporal analysis and information theory.

Challenges and Solutions for Walking with Assistive Wearable Robots in Urban Environments

  • Joo H. Kim , Associate Professor,  NYU Applied Dynamics and Optimization Laboratory

The goal of this Capstone project is to identify challenges for the locomotion of persons with lower-limb disabilities who use wearable robots (powered exoskeletons, prosthetics, etc.) for gait assistance. In particular, this capstone will focus on those related to urban environments, and possible solutions to overcome those obstacles. One of the reasons that wearable robots are not commonly used is the discrepancy between the challenging environment in real world as compared to well-controlled laboratory settings. In this capstone project, these under-explored aspects will be investigated.

Despite their recent advancement and growing demand, wearable robots (such as robotic exoskeletons and prostheses) developed for gait assistance for persons with lower-limb disabilities or older adults are still confined to laboratory settings. One of the main reasons for this is the challenging outdoor conditions and environmental hazards linked to outdoor falls, particularly in complex urban environments. Examples are poor snow/ice clearance and poorly maintained streets and sidewalks.

In this Capstone project, the factors that affect the usability and safety of gait-assistive wearable robots will be identified, and their possible solutions will be investigated. Broad range of aspects can be considered to identify the challenging factors, including but not limited to the perspectives of infrastructure, engineering, urban planning, and human factors. Any possible solutions can be suggested to enhance the reliability of assistive robots with respect to the urban hazards as related to stumbles, slips, and falls outdoors.

The students may use any publicly available datasets as related to this problem.

Graduate standing.

  • Identify factors that adversely affect the safe use of gait-assistive wearable robots.
  • Possible solutions to those challenging factors.

Mapping Agricultural Production in NYC (M.A.P. NYC)

  • Wythe Marschall, Senior Research Project Manager, Food and Health,  Invest NYC SDG (an initiative of the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business)
  • Alice Reznickova ,  Ph.D., Industry Assistant Professor, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

To support an expanded, more just, and self-sustaining urban agriculture sector, Mapping Agricultural Production in NYC (M.A.P. NYC) is using data science to conduct research into NYC’s current food production and distribution. Having created the M.A.P. NYC platform in 2021, the project team is seeking CUSP students to employ this tool to research gaps and opportunities in the local food landscape, analyzing links between urban agriculture and food security status, health outcomes, and land use. Specifically, we seek to set a baseline for agricultural production as a policy recommendation to the new Office of Urban Agriculture.

Mapping Agricultural Production in NYC—M.A.P. NYC—is a tool for farmers, gardeners, researchers, politicians, and food activists that shows all existing food production in the city, whether commercial, non-profit, community, or school-based. M.A.P. NYC displays key food production and distribution data, and each entry is editable by verified users approved by the corresponding farm or garden.

In 2022, we are seeking a CUSP team to use the M.A.P. NYC tool to conduct research into the urban agriculture sector and its links to food security and land use. This work entails a strong research component as well as a light platform-maintenance one, as we seek to extend the utility of the tool and continue to manage the influx of data from growers.

First, we are seeking a team of data science students to analyze the available data and establish the baseline of what foods are produced in NYC, and to inform reasonable estimates about the future growth of the urban agriculture sector over time. Second, we would ask the data team to identify specific urban farming opportunities and distribution gaps. That is, we seek to improve food security in NYC by laying a foundation for an expanded urban agriculture sector, and specifically by establishing how to support urban farming in low-income neighborhoods.

Successful CUSP work will result in a data-driven report on the present and future of the urban agriculture sector in NYC with special attention to policy recommendations and opportunities to meaningfully improve food security.

The M.A.P. NYC tool may be extended by the new CUSP team. The current datasets that power the tool include:

  • GreenThumb gardens (NYC OpenData)
  • GrowNYC website list
  • NYCHA garden dataset (provided by NYC Parks)
  • School gardens (provided by GrowNYC)
  • Potential garden locations (Local Law 46, 2018, via NYC OpenData)
  • Survey of ~100 large (commercial) farms and gardens
  • Community garden list curated by 2021 CUSP team
  • All retail food stores (NY State Open Data)
  • SNAP retail stores (USDA Food and Nutrition Service)
  • Food pantry locations (provided by City Harvest)
  • DOHMH Farmers Markets (NYC OpenData)
  • 2018 NYC PLUTO tax lot data (from DCP)
  • Health and demographic data (from American Community Survey via Data2Go)
  • NYC Subway stations (NYC OpenData)
  • CDC Physical and Mental Health Data (CDC Open Data)

The CUSP team should possess a command of relevant data science concepts and skills, including database management, statistics (including linear and nonlinear regression), and data analysis (Python).

Regarding the map tool, ideally, the 2022 team would also include a software engineer/developer with some full stack experience (Node back-end, Mongo database, React-hooks or Vue front-end) and some visualization experience (Mapbox GL, minimal D3). Spatial statistics (Turf) would be a plus. Basic web design skills, for maintenance of the tool, are also required, although the focus of this project is research.

Comfort with and interest in physical and human geography as well as visual design are important, although domain expertise in these areas, along with agriculture and the social sciences, are not required. The project managers will provide an introduction to research in food systems studies as well as facilitate contacts among farmers, gardeners, and other stakeholders as required by the CUSP team’s research plan.

The team should expect to attend weekly meetings by Zoom and collaborate on research documents using the Google Workspace suite of tools.

The CUSP team will learn to collaborate across disciplines, bridging data science into food studies, business anthropology and sociology, critical geography, urban design, and user experience design. Large and dynamic datasets will inform the construction of a research methodology into the urban agriculture sector’s present character and possible future paths. The tool—a public, visual map—will serve as both a resource for research as well as an object to be improved by research.

In terms of social scientific research outcomes, the CUSP team will learn to develop and refine a clear research question regarding food and society, focusing on the role of urban agriculture. The CUSP team will develop a methodology for correlating urban agriculture data with data regarding other social phenomena (e.g., neighborhood-specific food security, neighborhood-specific health outcomes), as well as identifying and categorizing opportunities for novel urban farms and their likely impacts on health.

This research process will culminate in two deliverables: one, a report that summarizes research findings with an eye toward policy recommendation and also points to future research needs, including methods for addressing any gaps identified in the data. Two, the CUSP team will update the M.A.P. NYC tool as possible in response to their research findings (e.g., improving the visualization of gaps and opportunities and/or adding new layers of data on socioeconomic indicators).

Shape Estimation and Data-driven Intelligent Control of Soft Robotic Upper-limb Exoskeletons for In-home Telerehabilitation

In our aging society, neuromuscular disorders like stroke are becoming more prevalent. With that comes an increasing need for labor-intensive physical therapy, which is prohibitively expensive for many patients in need, resulting in long-term paralysis from lack of appropriate care. Soft robotic exoskeletons can deliver safe, in-home, and quantifiable teletherapy for these patients. We are building a soft exoskeleton to control the hand, wrist, and elbow. We are fabricating, sensorizing, and controlling soft modular actuators. Shape estimation and control of soft robots is nontrivial. In this project, CUSP students will work with us to fabricate soft robots and train machine learning models for shape estimation and data-driven control.

In the MERIIT lab, we are building a soft robotic exoskeleton for telerehabilitation. It has over 15 degrees of freedom (DOF). Each DOF is controlled by a soft module, custom-made in our lab with 3D printing and casting, and pneumatically controlled.

Soft robotic actuators are continuum robots. The kinematics of rigid robots can be captured by simple encoders. The kinematics of soft robots must be modeled with many more parameters. These models are unknown, subject to uncertainties and unmodeled dynamics. Thus, the control of these complex systems is a challenging problem. For a rigid robot, the reference commands can be analytically calculated. With a soft robot, machine learning and data-driven modeling combined with analytical computation can be used to map the reference commands to the resulting shape.

Students will be given experimental data from our soft robotic modules. The data includes pressure inputs from the pump station and optical data from cameras. They will clean and process this data and then build machine learning algorithms. They will use computer vision to perform shape estimation. With self-supervision, the shape labels will be used to train a model. The model will take pneumatic pressure commands as input, and it will output the resulting shape of the soft module. Students will also get involved with soft robotic fabrication, controls, sensorization, processing of other biosignals in our lab, and the corresponding learning techniques.

We have collected data on the kinematic behavior of a large amount of soft robotic actuators being custom-made in our lab. The data includes optical/vision sensing, force sensing, and pressure/voltage readings from pneumatic pumps. We have been collecting this data for many of our custom-fabricated actuators. These actuators differ in size, form, function, and material properties, resulting in very rich data. We also have simulated data from Finite Element Analysis models for our actuators, which can be fused with our real data for hybrid learning approaches. We continue to collect new data from other biosignals in our lab, including Electromyography (EMG), Mechanomyography (MMG), microphones, and more.

  • Computer vision
  • Deep/Machine learning
  • Sensor fusion
  • FEM modeling
  • Mechatronics
  • A learned model to estimate the kinematics for soft robotic continuum actuators.
  • Experience with the modeling, control and design of soft robots.
  • Experience with computer vision, deep learning, and self-supervised learning applied to robotic systems.
  • Experience with the fabrication of soft robots.

Modern Civil and Communications Infrastructures

Addressing Complexity of Urban Networks with Deep Learning

  • Stanislav Sobolevsky , Associate Professor of Practice, NYU CUSP, Urban Complexity Lab

Over the recent years, Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have become increasingly popular in supplementing traditional network analytic techniques. The capstone project will seek proof-of-concept applications on the GNNs and the Hierarchical GNNs in particular to diverse cases of urban network analytics ranging from urban mobility and transportation networks, social media analytics, social networks, urban infrastructure, environmental sensing and beyond.

A city is an interconnected complex system and requires network analysis to be understood. Over the recent years, Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have become increasingly popular in supplementing traditional network analytic techniques. At the same time, many conventional approaches in network science efficiently utilize the hierarchical approaches to account for the hierarchical organization of the networks, and recent works emphasize their critical importance. Our lab is working on a novel model of the Hierarchical GNN , accounting for the hierarchical organization of the urban network and connecting the dots between the traditional network science approaches, vanilla Neural Network, and the GNN architectures. This Capstone project will seek proof-of-concept applications on the GNNs and the Hierarchical GNNs to diverse cases of urban network analytics ranging from urban mobility and transportation networks, social media analytics, social networks, urban infrastructure, environmental sensing and beyond. The practical applications may range from predictive modeling and detection of patterns, impacts, and emergent phenomena in urban mobility and social interactions, urban zoning and regional delineation, classification of urban actors and locations, detecting critical bottlenecks in urban infrastructure, data verification and extrapolation in sensing urban environment and/or quantifying population exposure to urban stressors.

LEHD, NYC TLC and other taxies/FHV, CitiBike, public transit, Twitter, migration data, financial

  • Network analysis, neural networks, pytorch or tensorflow, natural language processing and/or social media analytics experience is a plus (optional)
  • Background in urban transportation, planning, environmental sensing is a plus (optional)
  • Learn how to train supervised and unsupervised graph neural network models;
  • Explore applicability of graph neural networks for urban network analysis;
  • Publication in multidisciplinary, urban or computer science venues.

Airport Departing Passenger Profile Curve at EWR Terminal B: Understanding passengers’ journey through PANYNJ airports

  • Rohun Iyer, Senior Data Scientist,  Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
  • Ai Yamanaka, Data Analytics Program Manager,  Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

This project aims to create a prototype of a departing passenger profile curve to help EWR Terminal B proactively manage its terminal frontage, baggage/check-in, and TSA queues. Using data from various stages in a passenger’s journey at our airport terminal, we hope to estimate when and where passengers will be throughout their airport journey. The model should consider industry knowledge of passenger dwell times and other passenger preferences. Understanding how passengers interact with our terminal will allow EWR Terminal B management to highlight pain points in their journey and plan for future improvements in design or technology.

Air passenger travel behavior has become harder to predict following COVID-19. Having a clearer picture of when passengers arrive for departing flights, how long they wait for security inspections, and how they travel through the terminal will help airport operations team enact solutions (I.e. wayfinding, queue management, staff deployment, capital construction) to better improve customer experience at our airports. Prior to 2019, passenger show-up profiles, as well as general trends observed by industry experts, provided a reasonable model of how passengers flowed through the terminal. We hope this new prototype can help update these assumptions to reflect post-pandemic travel.

Using collected data from numerous points in the passenger journey through the airport (“from curb to gate”), we would like to build departing passenger profiles to create near-term and long-term passenger flow predictions and profiles. Our focus will be on EWR Terminal B (the only terminal that the Port Authority both manages and operates). We have insight into the use of terminal frontage, check-in counters, security checkpoints, and gates, but we have not been able to connect these disparate data sources to create an estimated passenger profile.

This prototype model and accompanying paper should answer the following questions:

  • How does seasonality or weather affect these times?
  • Does this change depend on the type of passenger or where they are flying?
  • Where do passengers dwell in the airport? Why?
  • Can we predict pain points in the airport based on who is departing/arriving?

We will be using various datasets available and regularly used by the data analytics team. These include, official detailed airline flight schedules, PA operational historical flight data, TSA throughput and wait times, CBP throughput and wait times, FHV (for-hire vehicles) frontage data, NYC TLC taxi data, Newark Terminal B baggage scanner data, PA Air Train hourly data, historical passenger survey data, MTA subway, and bus data, official publicly available government data from the DOT and FAA, official reported PA passenger counts, and an internal departing passenger TSA throughput predictive model output.

All the following datasets are available in our centralized data warehouse or accessible through various teams across the department:

  • Arrival/Departure times
  • Seat counts
  • Delays, cancelations, taxi times
  • Broken out by checkpoints
  • Official throughput values also included
  • PA CBP Throughput and Wait Times
  • FHV Frontage Data
  • NYC TLC Taxi Data
  • EWR TB Baggage Scanners
  • PA AirTrain hourly usage
  • ACI Surveys
  • MTA Subway and Bus data
  • DOT O-D data
  • PA Official PAX counts
  • PA Departing Passenger Predictive Model
  • We would like a prototype map/simulation of what this could look like. We have shapefiles to provide.
  • Basic data analytics capabilities (in Python or R)
  • Week/Month long simulation of passenger throughput at the terminal. Highlight hotspots of passengers at the airport through a day.
  • This analysis should help us determine where and how we can improve operations at the airport.
  • Recommendations to applying similar methods to other terminals
  • Learning outcome: Machine learning experience in a business setting, creating assumptions and backing them up with evidence and building a platform to carry to the rest of the department

Audio-Visual Vehicle Localization for Urban Traffic Monitoring

  • Magdalena Fuentes , Assistant Professor,  NYU Music and Audio Research Laboratory (MARL)

Monitoring road traffic is key to ensuring user safety and smooth operation. Increasing traffic volumes impact the stress level of commuters and increase noise levels in communities, leading to health problems. Local authorities need reliable monitoring systems to create policies to help mitigate this. Ideally, automatic monitoring systems should be able not only to count vehicles but also to detect the type of vehicle (e.g. car, truck). In this project we aim to develop a system for classification of vehicles that delivers audio-visual data for the robust localization of vehicles in the wild.

This project investigates the use of audio-visual self-supervised deep learning models for the location of vehicles in urban settings, as a step towards building efficient urban mobility systems. Instead of using labelled data, self-supervised models learn by identifying intrinsic characteristics of the data, which they use to accomplish a given task. These models can be trained on unlabelled recordings and images of natural scenes, for which there is an abundance (e.g. YouTube videos), and they tend to outperform supervised models in practice.

This project consists of three stages:

  • A stage of data analysis from a well-curated dataset of audio-visual urban data to get familiar with the data and the problem;
  • Adaptation of a state-of-the-art self-supervised audio-visual model to work with this data;
  • Analysis, evaluation and visualization of results and document writing.

We will use data and code resources from previous work within our team. The goal of the project is to answer the questions: How well can we localize vehicles in urban settings with self-supervised models? Which conditions (e.g. poor lighting or noisy environments) affect the performance of these systems the most?

This project is a continuation of a previous Capstone project , which students can review for examples of the type of things this team will be doing.

We will use a dataset of audiovisual road traffic monitoring from the MARL team.

The students should be comfortable with Python and familiar with data analysis tools such as pandas or seaborn packages. Having a machine learning background is also desirable (basic classification models such as random forests and test/train splits for evaluation).

To conduct such a project we need audio-visual annotated data to train and assess the performance of the system. We will use our team’s data for that, and a first deliverable would be an analysis of the dataset, its challenges and a definition of subsets of the data to address the problem at different levels of difficulty. Secondly, the students will get familiar and adapt a state-of-the-art self-supervised model (which code is publicly available) to work on our data. Such model was trained with large amounts of data and proved to work successfully in many cases, but has not been tested in urban data yet. So the second deliverable would be the code adaptation of this model to work with new data and a small technical report of the changes needed. Finally, the students will use the model to localize vehicles in urban settings and perform an ablation study on the impact of different conditions on the performance of the system. The final deliverable would be a report with a summary of the work carried out, and visualizations of the predictions that the model produced after its adaptation, and main conclusions along with the associated code used.

Behavior Modeling Using Multi-Modal Mobility Data

  • David K A Mordecai, Co-Advisor, RiskEcon® Lab for Decision Metrics ; Visiting Scholar, NYU Courant 
  • Samantha Kappagoda,  Co-Advisor, RiskEcon® Lab for Decision Metrics ; Visiting Scholar, NYU Courant

Develop and demonstrate methods for analyzing patterns found in mobility data, such as the aggregate tracks of vehicle populations. An expanding collection of research indicates that information about the movements of populations (i.e., syntactic trajectories) provide informative patterns. This project will explore how multiple sets of data can be jointly analyzed.

1. The primary data corpus will be the traces for taxicabs in New York City .

2. Secondary sources of data include the following: (a) dates of movable holidays , e.g., Easter; (b) daily weather data e.g., temperature highs and lows, precipitation, and wind storm conditions (see examples [ 1 ] [ 2 ]).

3. Prospective ancillary (tertiary) data sources could further include arrivals and departures at one (or more) major transportation hub(s):

  • Cruise line and ferry terminals
  • Airport(s) (e.g., La Guardia Airport, JFK Airport, Newark Airport)
  • One or (more) train station(s) (e.g., Penn Station or Grand Central Station)
  • Corresponding schedules for major sporting events, performances, and conventions or trade shows.

These data will be employed to investigate patterns across syntactic traces/trajectories in order to perform exploratory data analysis and unsupervised learning related to the following questions:

  • What is the correspondence between the volume of taxi departures from a particular transit hub and the arrival times of trains or planes?
  • What diurnal patterns are evident?
  • How does the level of activity vary over the week (e.g., weekdays, weekends, holidays)?
  • What are differences exhibited due to weather conditions?
  • Do differences correspond to train arrival terminals, holiday date(s), time(s) of arrival (diurnal/nocturnal), or weather conditions (e.g. temperature, precipitation)?
  • Are transit disruptions (e.g., flight cancellations, rail delays) detectable by analyzing the taxi activity?

Another adviser to this project is John Irvine, Department Manager for Civil Defense at MITRE Corporation, and affiliated with RiskEcon® Lab as a Senior Science Advisor-in-Residence with a PhD (Yale Mathematical Statistics), as well as Adjunct Professor appointments on the Health Faculty at Queensland University of Technology and the Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University. Previous to MITRE, he was the Chief Scientist for Data Analytics at The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. With 40 years of professional experience, he has led numerous projects in remote sensing, and served on multiple boards and advisory panels, and is active in the research community with over 200 journal and conference publications.


  • http://vgc.poly.edu/projects/taxivis/
  • http://wiki.amilab.dei.uc.pt/images/0/04/Veloso_2011_PURBA.pdf
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262377825_Understanding_Taxi_Service_Strategies_from_Taxi_GPS_Traces
  • https://www.researchgate.net/figure/A-route-plotted-by-a-taxis-trace-data-Each-point-denotes-one-reported-GPS-data-with_fig1_309696533

The primary data corpus will be the traces for taxicabs in New York City . Secondary sources of data include the following: (a) dates of movable holidays , e.g., Easter; (b) daily weather data e.g., temperature highs and lows, precipitation, and wind storm conditions (see examples [ 1 ] [ 2 ]).

  • Reasonable proficiency with statistical applications in NumPy, SciPy and/or R
  • Basic familiarity with exploratory data analysis, clustering, anomaly detection, outlier analysis is helpful
  • Problem-solving and experimental design skills with real-world application.
  • Domain-specific application of statistical reasoning and hypothesis testing.

Building Accessible City by Self-Supervised Visual Place Recognition

  • Chen Feng , Assistant Professor,  NYU AI4CE Lab
  • Chao Chen, Ph.D. Candidate,  NYU AI4CE Lab

Visual Place Recognition (VPR), which aims to identify previously visited places during navigation. In the context of SLAM, VPR is a key component in relocalization when the tracking is lost. Existing learning-based visual place recognition methods are generally supervised and require extra sensors (GPS or wheel encoder) to provide ground truth location labels. Differently, we want to design a self-supervised method for visual place recognition which can smoothly recognize the visited locations in a single scene environment without any ground truth labels. The method should be able to handle a variety of input modalities, including point clouds and RGB pictures.

Visual place recognition (VPR), aiming to identify the re-visited places based on visual information, is a well-known challenging problem in computer vision and robotics communities because of visual appearance variation. VPR is crucial in autonomous navigation systems, and is closely related to the concepts of re-localization, loop closure detection, and image retrieval.

Most of the state-of-art methods are supervised, which requires geographical location information in the training dataset. For most indoor scenarios, geospatial information, like GPS, is not obtainable for supervised training. And if GPS can be retrieved, the need for visual place recognition will be less essential. This would reach a paradoxical situation.

  • Supervised Model: The team will implement a Supervised method
  • Self-Supervised model: The team will modify the current model to an Self-supervised model version purely dependent on the temporal information
  • The team will complete a review on visual place recognition
  • Create a large scene Point Cloud dataset based on template given
  • Create a habitatsim environment for Image dataset using a 360 degree RGBD camera
  • Design a new suitable framework to fill the performance gap between supervised and self-supervised methods
  • Image dataset from previous year: https://ai4ce.github.io/NYU-VPR/
  • Existing point cloud dataset can be used for initial testing. After the new model is developed and deployed, we should deploy the model on 2D real 360 degree point cloud dataset and 2D simulated habitatsim environment. We could also collect image dataset ourselves.
  • Contrastive learning
  • Self/Weak-supervised learning
  • Feature learning
  • Topology Mapping
  • Self-supervised localization
  • Machine learning
  • Create simulated dataset
  • Play with real dataset and check how real dataset differs from simulated dataset
  • An self-supervised model that operates with a given minimum performance level on the provided test data.
  • A literature review on visual place recognition, contrastive learning, and feature learning representations.

Data-Driven Agent-Based Modeling of Fake News Dynamics Over Online Social Networks

  • Quanyan Zhu , Associate Professor, NYU CUSP

The spread of misinformation through social media has led to significant issues in sectors like public health and political discourse. We leverage Twitter data to create misinformation models using agent-based models. We aim to understand the spreading pattern of misinformation and the human response to it. This research will also create intervention mechanisms that will combat the spreading of fake news and its impact on the population.

The pervasiveness and accessibility of social media across vast networks of people have rendered it a prime target for spreading malicious misinformation. Historically, social bots have often been deployed targeting certain groups of people in a social network, often with a political agenda. The recent spread of the coronavirus pandemic has also suffered from the spread of harmful and misinformed health-related news. This project aims to use agent-based modeling to model the spread of misinformation in a social network, and couple the spread of misinformation with the spread of a real-world disease. The project aims to use Twitter data to create a heterogeneous network to replicate a real social network by accounting for varying node centrality and creating connections based on shared geographical, political, or general interest attributes. This research will deploy social bots that constantly spread misinformation in the network. We will study the vulnerabilities of the agents based on the agent’s political biases, trust with the agent sharing the misinformation, as well as previous experiences with getting misinformed. We aim to understand how the misinformed agents respond to health-related misinformation and predict the impact of fake news in the real world.

There are many online Twitter datasets that can be used for this research. The students can also collect their own datasets from Twitter.

The students should have fundamental programming skills and interest in system modeling and research.

Learning Outcomes & Deliverables 

  • Create agent-based models based on datasets.
  • Analyze the pattern of spreading.
  • Create methods to combat fake news and its spreading.

Learning Efficient Multi-Agent Robotic Navigation for Exploration and Mapping

  • Giuseppe Loianno , Professor, NYU Agile Robotics and Perception Lab  ([email protected])

This project involves formalizing, both theoretically and experimentally, distributed multi-robot (i.e. swarm) navigation and exploration problems leveraging Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) architectures within the context of reinforcement learning policies. This approach directly employs the graph structure to enable resolution of the multi-robot navigation problem, by leveraging a distributed representation functionality of modern GNN methods, and thereby potentially enabling prospective scalability for large swarms comprised of hundreds of agents. The approach is initially envisioned as a model-free implementation with the option to extend to a model-based (or hybrid) implementation for comparison, as well as scaling to a large number of agents (𝑛 >> 3).

Design and Simulation Setting:

  • Each drone has its own policy and decides its action independently.
  • The state-history (i.e., mapping coverage of the environment) and relative position of each drone comprising the swarm is signaled pairwise.
  • State and action spaces are discrete.
  • Initially a small number of drones employed (𝑛 ≤ 3) and then scaled (𝑛 > 3).
  • Initially a two-dimensional spatial environment (which could be expanded to three-dimensions).

This represents a further advancement by the extension and expansion of progress for a previous CUSP Capstone project, towards a publication which would incorporate results of both the proposed CUSP Capstone project and the previous CUSP Capstone project. The previous Capstone project in process only entails convergence of strategies for discrete stepwise navigation actions and coverage for adaptive motion planning by a pair of drones (𝑛 = 2), in order to optimize a pairwise objective function via reinforcement learning policies acting on tables.

One limitation to scale for this setting is that of redundant action increasing in proportion to the number of drones acting independently. This limitation to scale might be addressed by applying the aforementioned GNN policy network. In the GNN policy network, each node represents a drone, and each edge represents communication between drone pairs regarding state information (e.g., Kalman state transition matrix representation and/or syntactic traces as a transition vector representation summarizing path history) and corresponding relative position of each respective drone. Using such state information, the drone will be able to take optimized action to map the environment collaboratively. We can evaluate its performance by how efficiently the drones mapped the environment (e.g., time steps to reach 95% coverage). By employing a GNN, the aforementioned corresponding state-action spaces for each drone prospectively might be further augmented with structured and unstructured data streams, e.g., optical flow data (images collected by each drone) as supplemental state data and inertial measurement unit (IMU) data (drone acceleration) as supplemental action, in order to govern autonomous both agent-specific and aggregate drone swarm behavior in real-world environments.

Synthetically generated data from simulation.

  • Proficiency with coding (e.g. SciPy, NumPy, Julia).
  • Basic background or familiarity with robotic SLAM, adaptive state estimation/control, or state modeling (e.g., Kalman Filter) is beneficial.

We expect to produce publications and source code related to this project

Low-Power Computer-Vision Counting Research

  • Paul Rothman, Director, Smart Cities + IoT Lab,  NYC Mayor’s Office of the CTO

Many City agencies are involved in the use, planning, and design of public space but good data on pedestrian flows can be hard to come by. Manual counts take coordination and planning as well as staff costs. Computer-vision (CV) counting technologies are being tested in the city now but it is already clear that the infrastructure requirements (tapping into electricity and mounting to light poles) will be a limiting factor in using this technology more broadly and particularly for shorter-term studies where the infrastructure investment is not worth the time and effort. A low-cost, battery-powered CV sensor can help fill the data gap and allow agencies to utilize privacy-protected automated counts in short-term deployments with minimal infrastructure requirements.

In recent years, many hardware manufacturers have created development boards that support low-power computer vision (LPCV) applications. In addition, there has also been a fair amount of research done within academia to create low-power models for LPCV. This proposal aims to take advantage of recent technology advances to develop a hardware device that can be battery operated and utilized by New York City agencies to count pedestrians as they move through public space in the city. As an added resource to the proposed R&D, partnering with a technology developer as a development partner is a possibility.

In terms of requirements, the device should aim to work in outdoor environments, run off a battery for 2-4 weeks (either standalone or with PV), connect to the cloud via LoRaWAN or cellular, and be able to detect at least one object type at a time, e.g. pedestrian or cyclist).

This project is design to create new datasets.

Hardware engineering, AI/ML/CV development, data visualization

An understanding of how to achieve useful computer vision applications using low-power electronics and visualizing count data contextually in ways that make it relevant for the agency use case.

Rapid Detection of Power Outages with Time-Dependent Proximal Remote Sensing of City Lights

  • Gregory Dobler, Assistant Professor, Multi-city Urban Observatory Network ,  University of Delaware
  • Luis Ceferino , Assistant Professor, NYU CUSP 

In this capstone project we propose to use imaging data collected from CUSP’s “Urban Observatory” (UO) facility to build a data processing pipeline and application that can detect and geolocate power outages and restoration in near real-time. The UO’s historical imaging data set includes visible wavelength images of Manhattan at a cadence of roughly 10 seconds per image. An analysis of the lighting variability patterns in these images will be used to identify clusters of lights synchronously turning “off” in the images and with photogrammetric techniques, the geospatial location of those lights will be determined.

The “Urban Observatory” (UO) was first created at CUSP as a facility for studying cities as complex systems using proximal remote sensing (Dobler et al., 2021, Remote Sensing, 13, 8, p.1426). Operationally, the UO consists of imaging devices atop tall buildings located at a distance of 1-5 miles from a city that operate in “survey mode”, continuously acquiring images of the city skyline and transferring those images back to a central server for analysis. Typically, the cadence for image acquisition at visible wavelengths is one image per 10 seconds. Previously, we showed that an analysis of these images at night using signal processing, computer vision, and machine learning techniques yields diurnal patterns of lighting variability for city lights (Dobler et al., 2015, Information Systems, 54, pp.115-126). In this proposal, we seek to leverage this capability to develop a method for automatically detecting power outages in near real time by searching the historical UO imaging data set for collections of “off” transitions of individual light sources that are spatially clustered in the scene and that occur simultaneously, indicating a likely power outage. We will then monitor those sources for the return (via “on” transitions which may or may not be simultaneous) to power restoration. Further, we will use the analysis coupled with simulated outages due to extreme conditions, e.g., hurricanes, to build outage and restoration models that take environmental and infrastructure conditions into account as key input variables for a probabilistic classification of likely outages (Ceferino et al. 2021: https://engrxiv.org/pu5da/ ).

The primary data sets that will be used are the historical CUSP visible wavelength imaging data set (consisting of millions of images at 10s cadence over months and years) that is available on the CUSP servers, publicly available topographic LiDAR for photogrammetric geolocation of outages, and publicly available weather information (winds and precipitation for rain and snow).

Students should be familiar with Python and statistical analysis on numerical datasets. Expertise with NumPy and array-based operations is a plus, particularly as it might relate to signal and image processing. Familiarity with geospatial data and operations using GeoPandas is also a plus, as is experience with interactive visualizations (Plotly, Bokeh, etc.) or dashboard design (e.g., JupyterDash).

  • Image processing and computer vision
  • Dashboard design and construction
  • Large scale data fusion methodologies
  • Probabilistic modeling and risk analysis
  • Estimates of power distribution continuity
  • Rapid alert systems for outages, even in the absence of monitoring
  • Situational awareness and emergency response assessment

RealCity3D: A Large-Scale Georeferenced 3D Shape Dataset of Real-world Cities

  • Wenyu Han, Ph.D. Candidate,  NYU AI4CE Lab

Existing 3D shape datasets in the research community are generally limited to objects or scenes at the home level. City-level shape datasets are rare due to the difficulty in data collection and processing. However, such datasets uniquely present a new type of 3D data with a high variance in geometric complexity and spatial layout styles, such as residential/historical/commercial buildings and skyscrapers. This work focuses on collecting such data, and proposes city generation as new tasks for data-driven content generation. In addition, a proposing new city-level generation models is also included in this project.

As an important arena for human activities, cities have been a focal point of research. Alongside the rapid advancement of image/video generation, data-driven 3D city generation has become more feasible and appealing because of 1) the increasing availability of city-level remote sensing, and 2) the intensification of data-driven methods in architecture and urban planning.

While deep generative models are successful for various data modalities, including language, audio, image, video, and even point clouds, the limited publicly available 3D real-world city datasets makes it difficult to apply deep generation methods towards city-level geometric generation.

The team will work through 3 stages:

  • The team should try to retrain our baseline models on Realcity3D datasets and extend our AETree baseline to more blocks.
  • The team should propose some city-level generation models (should include 2D and 3D data) and train on Realcity3D datasets.
  • The team will complete a review on data-driven generation methods and datasets for geometric generation.
  • The team should follow the same way of collecting data as the author did to collect more data on other cities in order to increase the diversity of the Realcity3D dataset.

Existing Realcity3D data of NYC and Zurich will be used for stage 1. We need to collect more data of other cities in stage 3.

  • Self-supervised learning
  • 2D and 3D data processing
  • Python basic and PyTorch DL library
  • Data management experience
  • Data collection and analysis

The team will be using a broad range of deep learning models that will result in proven abilities in: computer vision, content generation, urban planning, and machine learning.

  • Retrain and extend our AEtree baselines and get reasonable results.
  • Propose some generation models for city-level geometric generation and get some baseline results.
  • Extend Realcity3D data to more city data.

Study of Indoor Spaces Occupancy and Its Correlation with the Performance of HVAC System

  • Yurii Piadyk , Ph.D. Candidate, NY CUSP

Buildings consume around 40% of total US energy use, while heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems account for 74% of building energy consumption. Current HVAC systems often rely on a fixed schedule, which typically results in conditioning of indoor spaces unnecessarily, without knowing the actual flow of the users. In this project, we directly measure the occupancy of university indoor spaces using a distributed sensor network. We then investigate correlation between the performance of the HVAC system and actual occupancy of these spaces to provide insights into building use patterns for adaptive control strategies of the HVAC system.

Without knowing the exact occupancy, building HVAC control systems may set air flow rates for ventilation at a high percentage of maximum air flow rate unnecessarily. Overventilation results in significant energy use and discomfort for occupants.

We plan to use a Reconfigurable Environmental Intelligence Platform (REIP) and a set of 4-6 existing sensors with video and edge computing capabilities to directly measure the user occupancy in public areas of NYU CUSP facilities. For privacy reasons, no video data will be stored but only the outputs of live object (e.g person/user) detection. Students will need to extend the sensor capabilities to environmental (i.e. temperature & humidity) sensing by designing a simple hardware module based on Arduino microcontroller and implementing a corresponding REIP software block.

A total of a couple weeks of data collection (mid-project milestone) will then be used to correlate the occupancy of the spaces (strategically chosen using the floor plans) with the performance of the HVAC system (i.e. temperature & humidity at that time). Our findings about the building usage patterns could help reduce energy waste, carbon and environmental footprint of the building via suggested adjustments to the air conditioning regime. The project is also aiming to demonstrate feasibility of live detection of indoor spaces occupancy using REIP platform, that could be used in dynamically controllable HVAC systems for even better performance and energy efficiency.

The data will be acquired by the students with an option of cross-checking with the data from the building HVAC system (upon availability).

An ideal size of the team working on this project would be three students with a collective prior experience in at least one of:

  • Work with physical sensors (Arduino / C);
  • Python programming language;
  • Data analysis and visualization (e.g. Pandas / Matplotlib, R or MatLab).

After completing the project, students will learn how to design physical sensors for measuring air temperature & humidity, and extend REIP by providing corresponding hardware and software components. Students will acquire weeks worth of user occupancy data and analyze it using Python programming language and common libraries, such as numpy, pandas, matplotlib, etc.

The Electric Commute: Envisioning 100% Electrified Mobility in New York City (TEC-NYC)

  • Robert Mieth, Postdoctoral Researcher, SEARCH Group, NYU Tandon

Every day, almost two million persons enter and leave the central business district of Manhattan using light-duty vehicles such as cars, taxis, vans, or trucks. Currently, around 1% of these vehicles are electric. This project aims to quantify the ramifications of a 100% electric commute in New York City. We will create a model that translates NYC’s transportation needs into electric charging demand, including emerging mobility trends (e.g., electric scooters) and remote work patterns. Interactive visualizations produced by the model will allow citizens, urban planners, and politicians to analyze the impact of mobility electrification and their policy decisions.

TEC-NYC will offer unique insights on the practical challenges of a 100% electrified transportation sector in dense urban areas. This project focuses on New York City, but the methodology will be transferable. The project comprises three central milestones, each focusing on different skills of data processing.

First, we will create a comprehensive data set on the transportation needs between central Manhattan and the greater New York Metropolitan area. This data set will differentiate between the various modes of transportation and the commuted distance. Complementary, we gather data on NYC’s power system infrastructure and the technical specification individual electric transportation (e.g., e-vehicles, e-bikes, and e-scooters).

Second, we will combine the gathered data such that we can answer the following questions: If all transportation switches to e-mobility, what will be the charging demands in the city? How many commuters can switch between different modes of transportation? What would be the best combination of commuting modes for the needs of the commuters and the available infrastructure? This milestone requires data-analytics skills, including identifying cross-correlations and extrapolating data trends, e.g., to quantify the impact of remote working arrangements.

Finally, TEC-NYC will visualize the data in an interactive and engaging manner. The user will be able to change model parameters (e.g., how many commuters exchange their car for an e-bike) and observe the impact on the city’s power system. We will ask: Can you tune The Electric Commute to suit the city and its citizens?

The data required for TEC-NYC is readily available through online resources and from our previous projects.

The transportation model will mainly be derived from the “Hub Bound Travel Data” published by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council. Additional required data is publicly available from the NYC Open Data Platform, the NYC Department of Transportation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. We will provide a detailed list of the relevant data sets and their sources.

Information on e-mobility technology and NYC’s power system infrastructure is available from our previous research. Data on distribution and transmission infrastructure will be “artificial but realistic” to accommodate security concerns related to the publication of real data on critical infrastructure. This data has been tested and used and will provide a realistic foundation for the planned analyses.

Students should have fundamental knowledge on data analysis and processing, i.e., be at least comfortable with Excel and have some experience in a high-level programming language (Python or Julia are preferred). Further, students should be familiar with fundamental methods of data analyses such as regression models, correlation analyses and histograms.

Ideally, the students have advanced knowledge in Python, Julia, Matlab or similar data processing language, have experience in collaboration and version control tools such as Git, and are familiar with data-visualization packages such as Plotly or Bokeh.

Each of the three milestones of TEC-NYC will address a central data analyses skill and will provide important insights. During the data collection, project members will learn how to access and handle large public data sets. They will learn the fundamentals of good data hygiene and database control. Students interested in power systems will gain additional insights through infrastructure data that is not publicly available. The initial data set will be the first deliverable.

For the second milestone, students will be required perform data anlysis tasks, e.g., suitable aggregation and de-aggregation, identifying trends and correlations. Depending on progress, more advanced data analytics methods, e.g., modelling traffic patterns using Markov decision processes are possible. The resulting second deliverable will be a numerical model that, at minimum, maps commuter numbers and modes of transportation, to electricity demands in the city.

Finally, the third milestone will strengthen the project member’s skills to design and implement an interactive data visualization tool. Depending on the student’s interests and previous experiences, such a tool can be created online of offline, with or without real-time calculation abilities. For this deliverable, we aim to focus on creating a visualization that not only makes a large data set accessible but is engaging to the user. We plan to achieve this by pursuing a carefully “gamified” approach, e.g., by asking provocative questions to the user or including exaggerated visuals if the user chooses infeasible input parameters.

V2X-Sim - Collaborative Perception for Self-Driving in Urban Scenes

  • Yiming Li, Ph.D. Candidate,  NYU AI4CE Lab

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X), which refers to collaboration between a vehicle and any entity in its vicinity via communication, might significantly increase perception in self-driving systems. Due to a lack of publicly available V2X datasets, collaborative perception has not progressed as quickly as single-agent perception. For this capstone project, we present V2X-Sim, the first public synthetic collaborative perception dataset in urban driving scenarios. The team will train, test and deploy computer vision (CV) and deep learning (DL) models for collaborative perception on V2X-Sim dataset.

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X), which denotes the collaboration between a vehicle and other entities such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), seeks to help self-driving vehicles see further, better and even see through occlusion, thereby fundamentally improving safety. According to the estimation of U.S. NHTSA, there would be a minimum of 13% reduction in traffic accidents if a V2V system were implemented, which means 439,000 fewer crashes every year.

The V2X-Sim project aims to provide lightweight collaborative perception technologies for use in urban driving scenarios. The main tasks include: (1) design high-performance and low-bandwidth multi-agent collaboration strategy in the high-dimensional feature space, (2) develop effective and efficient multimodal learning framework based on RGB image and LiDAR point cloud, and 3) improve the system robustness against communication latency and sensor noise.

The Capstone team will train, test and deploy CV/DL models for the collaborative perception tasks including multi-agent collaborative detection, tracking and segmentation. Existing V2X-Sim dataset will be used for training and evaluation. Data-driven multi-agent 3D scene understanding methods could also be explored.

  • The team will train and test a model built using V2X-Sim dataset.
  • The team will design a multimodal learning framework based on different sensory input.
  • The team will test the robustness of the model against realistic noise, and make improvements.

Alternatively, the team may choose to build a real-world V2X dataset, which is to be discussed with the PI.

Given that building a collaborative perception dataset in the real world can be costly and laborious, we had built a virtual dataset to advance collaborative perception research . Specifically, we employ SUMO, a micro-traffic simulation, to produce numerically-realistic traffic flow, and CARLA, a widely-used open-source simulator for autonomous driving research, to retrieve the sensor streams from multiple vehicles located at the same intersection. Besides, we mount sensors on the traffic lights to empower the roadside to perceive the environment, and the sensor streams of both the vehicles and the roadside infrastructure are synchronized to ensure smooth collaboration. In addition, multi-modality sensor streams of different entities are recorded to enable cross-modality perception. Meanwhile, diverse annotations including bounding boxes, vehicle trajectories, and pixel-wise as well as point-wise semantics labels are provided to facilitate various downstream tasks.

Alternatively, if the team chooses to build a real-world V2X dataset, then we will collect real-world visual data (mainly images).

  • Federated learning
  • Multimodal learning

The team will be using a broad range of urban analytics approaches that will result in proven abilities in: computer vision, data science, and machine learning.

  • A high-dimensional feature-based collaborative perception model trained on the provided V2X-Sim data.
  • A multimodal learning framework which supports both RGB image and LiDAR point cloud.
  • A report of the robustness investigation under different levels of realistic noise.

All deliverables will be committed to a well documented public GitHub repository.


Guide to the Business School Capstone Project - Types & Examples

  • What is an MBA Capstone Project?

B-School Search

An MBA capstone project is the final step in many MBA programs. It’s here that MBA students put all that they’ve learned into practice by analyzing a meaningful and strategic business question. Often, this involves hands-on work within an existing company, but not always: MBA capstone projects can take the form of startup business plans and business simulations, too.

No matter their format or focus, each capstone project is likely to be the most intensive, and possibly the most rewarding, feature of an MBA candidate’s journey.

A capstone project is not the same as a thesis project, although they do share some qualities. Thesis projects are focused on theory and research, and based on the type of situations one would face in academia. Often taking the form of a large research paper, thesis projects can last the entire final year of an academic program, and some students may even begin before that, with the ultimate goal of contributing new knowledge to the canon of business research.

MBA capstone projects, by contrast, are more practical and similar to situations one would face in the business world. Here, students work in teams to answer strategic business questions. MBA capstones are hands-on immersions with real-world consequences, and they can have a major impact on an MBA graduate’s program experience, as well as their career.

To see some examples of MBA capstone projects, and to get a walkthrough of the general process, read on.

Stages of an MBA Capstone Project

Most MBA capstone projects take place during a program’s final year and can last anywhere from four weeks to a full semester. They often include some form of instruction (whether through prerequisite courses or scheduled advising) along with practical application.

While MBA capstone programs will vary in format from program to program, they generally include the following stages:

  • Topic Selection
  • Preliminary Research
  • Project Execution
  • Written Report
  • Final Presentation

It’s not necessarily over after the final presentation, either: some capstone projects carry over beyond the MBA program, leading to successful startup businesses, offers of employment, or investment opportunities.

Choosing a Capstone Topic

Many MBA programs provide some structured options for choosing a capstone topic. This can mean students are allowed to select from a list of possible partnership opportunities; it can also mean that faculty advisors will work with students to find a topic that meets the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and goals. But in other programs, MBA students are given more freedom to choose both their topic and their partner organization.

In their capstone project, MBA students should select a topic where they can answer a meaningful and strategic business question: one that’s complex enough to warrant significant time and energy, but also realistic enough as to be achievable. These are not theoretical questions, though; each one is tailored to a specific real-world business.

Some examples of MBA capstone topics include:

  • What are the short-term outcomes of a mutual fund’s impact-investing initiative?
  • How do the diversity and inclusion efforts of multinational companies adapt to non-Western office environments?
  • What is the market feasibility of a startup’s application in target demographics?
  • How can a recently downsized organization recover employee morale while keeping the budget balanced?

It’s critical for the capstone topic to be specifically relevant to the partner company or organization. To this end, MBA students should heavily research the company’s strengths, weaknesses, and objectives before selecting their topic.

Similarly, MBA students should turn that lens on themselves, too: what problems do they want to explore in their business careers, what causes do they find interesting, and how can their own unique skill set be best put to use?

How an MBA Capstone is Graded

Some programs provide MBA candidates with a rubric for how their capstone will be graded, while others do not. Most capstones are graded through their ability to demonstrate key business skills (theoretical, practical, applied, and reflective) across functional areas (finance, human resources, marketing, and operations).

The final presentation is also a factor, as this is where the candidate demonstrates what they learned, or didn’t, through the course of the capstone.

It’s rare that an MBA candidate will fail their capstone project. After all, they’ve made it through practically an entire MBA program up until then. Even if the project is a failure from a business point of view, an MBA candidate will likely still be able to effectively analyze where and why the project failed, and what lessons can be learned from that failure going forward.

Examples of MBA Capstone Projects

Ucla anderson school of management capstone project.

The MBA program at UCLA Anderson School of Management offers three capstone options: the Global Access Program (GAP), the Business Creation Option (BCO), and Anderson Student Asset Management (ASAM).

In the GAP, students partner with high-growth global companies in a market-entry consulting project. Working in five- to six-person teams, students bid on partnership opportunities, perform five to six months of research, then travel internationally to the partner organization. Combining interviews, meetings, and research, the students develop effective strategic business plans to advance the organization’s growth, and present it to the organization’s executives, potential investors, and industry professionals.

Along the way, students are advised by faculty members who have directed, invested in, and provided consulting services to leading companies worldwide. In the last 20 years, over 3,000 students have completed the GAP, impacting 738 companies across 23 countries.

For students with an entrepreneurship focus, the BCO offers them the chance to launch a company. After taking two prerequisite courses to prepare their business plans, students will work in teams across two academic quarters. Through extensive research, development, and implementation, students will put strategies for every aspect of their business into practice. In three years, the BCO has had 47 teams and launched 24 companies.

The ASAM program is for current and aspiring quants who want experience as successful long-term portfolio managers. Guided by a faculty advisor and oversight committee, students in the ASAM program will select an optimal mix of equity, fixed income, and cash investments. Each four-member team manages approximately $200,000. Students will rotate work roles between that of an executive board member, strategy lead, risk manager, and programmer.

Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business Capstone Project

The MBA program at Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business offers students three different forms of capstone program: Global Study; Strategic Management of the Enterprise; and Management Game.

In the Global Study capstone, MBA students will take a four-week study abroad course in either Mainland China and Hong Kong or Germany. Previous topics of study have included bank lending in China; entrepreneurship in Asia; European economic integration; and operations management in Europe. Each class is complemented with tours of local companies and meetings with local business leaders. Upon completion of the international experience, students return to Tepper to give a final presentation.

The Strategic Management of the Enterprise capstone is an experiential learning course where students are matched with one of several consulting projects to solve business problems faced by partner companies. This is a more traditional capstone program, focused on the practical application of business skills learned through the MBA curriculum. Past clients have included Walmart, P&G, and Ameriprise.

Tepper’s Management Game capstone is an applied management experience. Student teams run a computer-simulated multinational manufacturing company for three years, acting as its executive committee. Taking place at the end of the MBA program’s curriculum, the Management Game capstone focuses on the unstructured nature of business problems and prods students to use all the functional skills they’ve learned so far. External-facing exercises include interaction with industry partners and are related to each student’s career choices.

Uniquely, the Management Game capstone is graded by external professionals on the merit of the results students deliver; students have the chance to receive direct feedback from corporate partners throughout the process.

Matt Zbrog is a writer and freelancer who has been living abroad since 2016. His nonfiction has been published by Euromaidan Press, Cirrus Gallery, and Our Thursday. Both his writing and his experience abroad are shaped by seeking out alternative lifestyles and counterculture movements, especially in developing nations. You can follow his travels through Eastern Europe and Central Asia on Instagram at @weirdviewmirror . He’s recently finished his second novel, and is in no hurry to publish it.

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This course is part of the Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business Specialization

Entrepreneurship Capstone

Image of instructor, Dr. James V. Green

Financial aid available

About this Course

Integrate the tools and concepts from the specialization courses to develop a comprehensive business plan. Choose to enhance new venture concepts previously explored in specialization courses, or develop a new concept for this capstone project. Develop a comprehensive, customer-validated business model and create an investor pitch for the concept.

With this course, students experience a sampling of the ideas and techniques explored in the University of Maryland's master's degree in technology entrepreneurship, an innovative 100% online program. Learn more at http://mte.umd.edu.

Could your company benefit from training employees on in-demand skills?

Skills you will gain

  • Venture Capital
  • Financial Statement
  • Entrepreneurship


Dr. James V. Green


University of Maryland, College Park

The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 47 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget, secures $500 million annually in external research funding and recently completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign.

See how employees at top companies are mastering in-demand skills

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Defining the opportunity.

Value innovation, your solution, and your initial business model canvas

Discovering the Customer

Discovering the customer and interviewing customers

Understanding Customers

Analyzing customers

Creating the Marketing and Sales Strategy

Marketing mix, sales forecasting, and managing the sales pipeline

Refining the Solution

Product fit, validation, and scaling.

Crafting the Business Plan

Creating a business plan

  • 5 stars 79.49%
  • 4 stars 15.89%
  • 3 stars 3.34%
  • 2 stars 0.41%
  • 1 star 0.83%


Great course content for a recap of everything done in module 1 to 3.

Comprehensive, depth, breadth and quality materials for study and application.

This is the best course that teaches the overall business and running start up in simple terms

Amazing course experience it was worth the time and sacrifice

About the Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business Specialization

Develop your entrepreneurial mindset and skill sets, learn how to bring innovations to market, and craft a business model to successfully launch your new business.

The Entrepreneurship Specialization examines the entrepreneurial mindset and skill sets, indicators of innovation opportunities, critical steps to bring innovations to the marketplace, and innovation strategies to establish and maintain a competitive advantage. Fundamentals of new venture financing are explored with attention to capital structures for new ventures, term sheets and how to negotiate them, and the differences between early-stage versus later-stage financing. You will develop an understanding of how to develop winning investor pitches, who and when to pitch, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to ‘get to the close’. In the final Capstone Project, you will apply the tools and concepts from the specialization courses by crafting a comprehensive, customer-validated business model, and creating a business plan and investor pitch.

Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business

Frequently Asked Questions

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Access to lectures and assignments depends on your type of enrollment. If you take a course in audit mode, you will be able to see most course materials for free. To access graded assignments and to earn a Certificate, you will need to purchase the Certificate experience, during or after your audit. If you don't see the audit option:

The course may not offer an audit option. You can try a Free Trial instead, or apply for Financial Aid.

The course may offer 'Full Course, No Certificate' instead. This option lets you see all course materials, submit required assessments, and get a final grade. This also means that you will not be able to purchase a Certificate experience.

What will I get if I subscribe to this Specialization?

When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. Your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. In select learning programs, you can apply for financial aid or a scholarship if you can’t afford the enrollment fee. If fin aid or scholarship is available for your learning program selection, you’ll find a link to apply on the description page.

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The Bush School of Government & Public Service

Public Service is a noble calling.

Annenberg Presidential Conference Center

PSAA Capstone Projects

PSAA Capstones - Student Research | Photo of PSAA Students at the state capitol

PSAA Capstone Projects | PSAA Mini Capstone Projects

During their second year, MPSA students participate in two semesters of capstone research courses. These courses allow students to tackle a problem or project in the real world, often working in conjunction with a government agency or nonprofit organization. Designed to test the knowledge and abilities students have developed through their previous classes and experiences, capstones necessitate strong teamwork, careful research, writing ability, and often a large amount of ingenuity in identifying ways to approach an issue or find a solution.

Past and current capstones include the following:

Social Innovation Leadership Experience

Supervising instructor: Dr. Will Brown

The Project This project team is exploring a social innovation program that seeks to connect the TAMU community with prominent international artisan-entrepreneurs to equip participants as catalysts for economic and social impact. This project builds on prior year capstone outcomes to explore the feasibility of this project. 

  • Social Innovation International Leadership Experience Report

What is the Cost of Conservation?

Supervising instructor: Dr. Cole Blease Graham, Jr.

The Project Invasive species as a model system. Bottlenecks of authority, funding and knowledge. Markets for remediation and innovation. Client: Wildlife Conservation & Policy Program.

  • Calls to Conservation Report

Social Innovation Leadership

Supervising instructor: Dr. Deborah Kerr

The Project This project team will study the existing curricular guidelines established by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, and assist in the update and revision process. These guidelines are used around the world by nonprofit and philanthropic degree programs.

  • External Review of NACC’s Curricular Guidelines Report

Strategic Planning: How to Better Serve Children and Families in Need

Supervising instructor: Dr. Robbie Robichau

The Project This project team will complete a strategic plan for the Texas Council of Child Welfare Boards (TCCWB): Stakeholder & Industry Analyses, Performance measurements, Marketing & Fundraising campaign, etc. The team will conduct interviews with regional child welfare boards and nonprofits.

  • Texas Council of Child Welfare Boards Strategic Plan Report

Using Social Determinants of Health to Improve Health Outcomes

Supervising instructor: Dr. Laura Dague

The Project What is the evidence on social determinants of health? The team will do the following: summarize national literature; compare costs and benefits of different interventions; identify gaps in the research and major areas to prioritize for researchers, funders, and communities. The team will study the question ‘Where are we at in Texas with SDOH?’ and assess related activities at HHSC, while discussing usage of SDOH with Medicaid MCOs.

  • Incorporating SDOH in Medicaid: Lessons For Texas Report

Red Teaming of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)

Supervising instructor: Dr. Danny Davis

The Project The student team will conduct research, [including the use Red Team techniques], into the TABC’s organization and processes in order to identify best practices to better maintain the anonymity of its agents, capabilities, and operations.

Strategies Enhancing Diversity at the Congressional Research Service

Supervising instructor: Dr. Deborah L. Kerr

The Project This report is designed to help the Congressional Research Service identify actionable strategies for employee recruitment and retention efforts that can improve diversity and inclusion among the Congressional Research Service staff.

  • Strategies Enhancing Diversity at the Congressional Research Service Report

The Project This project team will bring policy to science: what do we pay for managing invasive species in TX? The team will consider the following problems: exotic big game, birds, fish, insects, shellfish – and consider social & economic effects.

Foreign Threats to Research Security

Supervising instructor: Dr. Kevin Gamache

The Project The capstone group was tasked with reviewing data to determine if there were credible threats, actions, and theft of intellectual property taking place in academia with a primary focus at the doctoral level of education from both students and professors.

How Can Cities Best Implement New Technologies?

Supervising instructor: Dr. Justin Bullock

The Project This project teams works with the City of Bryan to develop a Technological Needs Assessment. This team works with the city to identify their gaps and needs for utilizing new and innovative technologies.

  • A Tale of Two Cities Report

Studying Racially Motivated Violent Extremists Through Open Source Research

The Project This capstone group works to explore the full spectrum of Racially Motivated Violent Extremists elements; to include: left to right leaning militias, radical white and black identity groups, neo-Nazi types, Christian Identity elements, and the Sovereign Citizen movement. How can the FBI better understand, monitor, and ultimately prevent attacks from racially motivated violent extremists?

The Impact of Environmental Factors on the Health of Texans: Scientific Realities and Policy Possibilities

Supervising instructor: Dr. Bryce Hannibal

The Project The aim of this research project is to identify the set of threats within the environment that are having negative effects on individual and public health and well–being in Texas, to identify and frame important policy problems and to suggest possible public and private policy solutions.

  • The Impact of Environmental Factors on the Health of Texans Report

The Project The I-School is exploring establishing a program in which TAMU faculty, students, and former students together with B/CS community members, would work with international artisan-entrepreneurs, equipping them as catalysts for economic and social impact in their home countries. This project team define program features, determine feasibility, and propose next steps necessary to pilot and test.

Constructing Sustainability: An NGO’s Social Enterprise Opportunity

Supervising instructor: Dr. Mary Hilderbrand

The Project The client wants research on the product and on how it can be turned into an income-generating, sustainable social enterprise both for Warm Heart in northern Thailand and other communities in low-income countries that want to replicate it to remove Styrofoam from the environment, reduce poverty, and improve housing for the poor.

Mapping Services and Beyond: Addressing Foster Care Delivery Gaps Through Collaboration

The Project Foster care services in Texas are transitioning to a Community-Based Care model of care There are gaps in law, policy, and practices regarding available options for youth with disabilities and their care givers. This project team will conduct interviews, implement survey, and research on collaborative foster care service delivery models. The team will also compare other state’s networks and services to develop best practices for Texas.

Impact Fees: The Silver Bullet 

Supervising instructor: Dr. Brian Nakamura

The Project This report explores the history of development funding in America and the legal restrictions to the use of impact fees in the State of Texas through a literature review, and provides best practices for success for municipalities that choose to implement impact fees.

  • The Silver Bullet Report

The Texas Legislature:  87 th Session

Supervising instructor: Dr. Ann Bowman

The Project As part of the team’s project, all Bush School students study complex public policy issues during their capstone projects.  These high-energy and highly motivated students develop an understanding of real-world problems and address them with their clients.

  • Bush School in the 87th Texas Legislature – Social Series
  • 87th Legislature Report Executive Summary
  • 87th Legislature Report

Combined Arms Consulting

Supervising instructor: Dr. William Brown

The Project This project aims to provide Combined Arms with a report that substantiates their model, gives an honest appraisal of the support service they offer member organizations, and gives an analysis of the markets Combined Arms plans to expand to, Dallas, Tarrant, and Bexar Counties.

  • Combined Arms Report

City of Bryan | Strategic Task and Technological Analysis

The Project The Bush School of Government and Public Service partnered with the City of Bryan for the 2019-2020 academic year to perform an analysis of five city departments and to identify opportunities to improve departmental effectiveness, efficiency, and equity through technology. This analysis was conducted by a group of ten Bush School students, advised by Dr. Justin Bullock, as part of their Graduate Capstone Project. The research team is divided into five sub-teams that worked directly with the following departments: Development and Planning Services, Fire Department, Information Technology, Library Services, and Parks and Recreation.

  • Strategic Task and Technological Analysis Report

Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs in U.S. Higher Education

The Project American colleges and universities are infected with the cancer of malign influence of foreign recruitment programs; like the deadliest of diseases, most unsuspecting educational establishments do not even know they are ill. Known as “foreign talent recruitment programs,” these scholastic viruses present themselves innocuously and hide in plain sight. Without confronting this sickness, wrought by foreign money and influence, U.S. institutions of higher learning are unwittingly becoming weapons in the war between free democratic societies and rogue nations intent on harming our country and its institutions.

  • Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs in U.S. Higher Education Report

Sustainable Funding for Conservation in Texas

Supervising instructor: Dr. Cole Blease Graham

The Project The consulting capstone team sought to find a self-sustaining, fair, and viable revenue source that can be established and implemented to generate $20 million for wildlife and habitat conservation in Texas. The team studied several possible funding mechanisms and the potential support they would receive by comparing survey responses of local governments with those of conservation organizations. We surveyed Councils of Governments (COGs) to assess attitudes of local government because the councils are composed of elected officials from regional governments in Texas. We surveyed members of America’s Fish and Wildlife Alliance to assess attitudes of conservation organizations because the Texas Alliance has endorsed HR 3742 Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which is under consideration in the 116th Congress (2019-2020). The conservation group served as a control with a positive bias for funding conservation whereas the COGs represented the voting public.

  • Sustainable Funding for Conservation in Texas Report

Planning for Resilience and Reducing Risk: Lessons for Mexico City

The Project Disaster risk management (DRM) has never been as essential to Mexico City as today. Three years ago, the city was hit with its largest earthquake in over 30 years. It killed 219 people, caused billions of dollars in infrastructure damages, and left a vibrant city in disarray. While Mexico City and its surrounding communities continue to recover, the aftermath of the earthquake confronts its residents, businesses, and local leaders daily.

  • Planning for Resilience and Reducing Risk: Lessons for Mexico City Report

Commemorations in Congress

The Project This project is a product of the Bush School of Government and Public Service Consulting Capstone Program. The Capstone team created a database of commemorative legislation and calculated the number of commemoratives introduced and approved in the 93rd-115th congresses. The project has been performed for the research wing of the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service. The project has lasted one full academic year and involves five second-year master’s degree students, who collected the data from https://www.congress.gov/, created a database and developed descriptive statistics and nonpartisan analysis.

  • Commemorations in Congress Report

From Flashlight to Searchlight | A Sustainable Information Program for Sex Trafficking Victims in Texas

Supervising instructor: Dr. David McIntyre

The Project This project is a product of the Bush School of Government and Public Service Capstone Program. It expands upon a previous project that mapped the legal pathways for domestic minor sex trafficking victims and the resources available to them in the Brazos Valley. It expands victim information and resource models by applying them to broader geographic areas and additional categories of victims for the Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section of the Texas Office of the Attorney General. This project lasted one academic year and involved ten second-year Master students. They have reviewed the literature on trafficking, validated and revised the previous project, created a visual model for the legal pathways of international trafficking victims, mapped the victim resources available in two additional Texas counties, and developed a more comprehensive, bilingual resource model and website that can be updated by community leaders into specific resource guides for any Texas region.

  • From Flashlight to Searchlight Report

Preparing for Threats in Harris County: Utilizing a Community Approach

Supervising instructor: Dr. Sonny Smith

The Project The recent federal response to the COVID-19 virus outlines the important role of planning in disaster preparedness. One vital variable within the planning phase, that is sometimes overlooked, is messaging to the general public. More succinctly, how can government entities effectively communicate important information to diverse populations? Addressing this question becomes more problematic as the population becomes larger and more diverse and when you also add population sprawl into the equation.

  • Preparing for Threats in Harris County Report

Compassion International

Supervising instructor: Dr. Kenneth Taylor

The Project The nonprofit landscape is evolving as Generation Z, a group of individuals in their late teens and early twenties, earns more disposable income and exercises greater influence on purchasing decisions in households (National Retail Federation, 2019). Bush School capstone consultants partnered with Compassion International to help them understand who Gen Z is, how they can engage this young generation through social media, and what effects these understandings have on the Life Cycle Journey Map of Gen Z.

  • Compassion International Report

Emergency Items of the Governor: An Analysis of the 86th Legislature

The Project The 2019 Scholars analyzed emergency items presented by Governor Greg Abbott at the start of the 86th legislative session. These emergency items include school finance reform and pay raises for teachers, property tax reform, mental health reform, school safety, and disaster relief. These emergency items are considered the most important to the legislature and to the state and are required to be addressed in the legislative session. Some of these emergency items are more controversial than others—disaster relief legislation followed a politically-smooth process while school finance and property tax reform remained in the spotlight throughout the session.

  • 86th Legislature Report Executive Summary
  • 86th Legislature Report

Partners or Purses? A New Approach to Cross-sector Collaboration for the World Organisation for Animal Health

The Project The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is dedicated to the improvement of animal health and welfare throughout the world. The OIE was exploring the creation of a structure to capture funds from the private sector. In determining how to appropriately secure such contributions, the OIE is committed to ethical and good governance principles (such as avoiding conflicts of interest). The purpose of the OIE http://bush.tamu.edu/?page_id=176Group was to determine what would be the most appropriate structure or mechanism for the OIE to capture contributions from the private sector. The report included an introduction and definition of the problem, a review of relevant literature, the context and an analysis of OIE’s World Fund, five case summaries of relevant structures and mechanisms, summary of themes from expert interviews; and overall conclusions and recommendations for the OIE.

OnWard with OnRamp: Mapping the Road Ahead

Supervising instructor: Dr. Catherine Cole

The Project Researchers have concluded that automobile ownership has a greater impact on a person’s chances of being employed than having a high school diploma. OnRamp is a startup nonprofit whose mission is to provide reliable transportation to people in-need to get them on the road to self-sufficiency and to share with them the grace of God. We found that transportation nonprofits tend to be responsive or reactive to community need, lack clearly defined leadership roles and succession plans, and have a large variety of indicators used to define success that tends to be output based. These organizations also have strict eligibility criteria and almost universally accept clients through a sponsor referral process.

Comprehensive U.S. Cyber Framework: Key Aspects of Critical Infrastructure, Private Sector and Personally Identifiable Information

Supervising instructor: Dr. Danny W. Davis

The Project This project is a product of the Class of 2019 Bush School of Government and Public Service,Texas A&M University http://bush.tamu.edu/?page_id=176Program. The project lasted one academic year and involved eight second-year master students. It intends to synthesize and provide clarity in the realm of issues pertaining to U.S. Internet Protocol Space by demonstrating natural partnerships and recommendations for existing cyber incident response. The project was produced at the request of PointStream Inc., a private cybersecurity contractor. This capstone team analyzed existing frameworks for cyber incident response for PointStream, Inc. in order to propose a comprehensive and efficient plan for U.S. cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, and private sector stakeholders.

Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) Information Management Analysis

This Project generated 13 recommendations for HCOHSEM by employing an Action Research model using Purposeful Design. It also observed the occurrence and first stages of response by HCOHSEM to Hurricane Harvey. First-hand information and lessons learned from the response to Hurricane Harvey are incorporated into this project and its recommendations. Incorporating this information also helps pave the way for additional research opportunities, especially the unprecedented community response to the disaster. The recommendations provide a range of options for HCOHSEM to implement in order to improve their information management and the emergency notification process during emergency management operations.

Addressing IP Theft While Preserving Research

This report discusses and examines the factors surrounding this dilemma—government perspective, academic perspective, shortage of graduate research students, foreign entities identified as intellectual property risks, cyber security, funding, legislation, and policy. To create more appropriate and effective solutions, guidance is provided that reframes the issue as a security problem rather than a foreign-entity problem. The report makes 12 recommendations based on a best-practices survey of research teams from 39 premier research institutions to address the issue while preserving the concepts of fundamental research and academic freedom.

Science to Policy: Funding Wildlife Conservation in Texas

The Project This project studied options for expanding wildlife funding in the state of Texas. Initial analysis shows a consensus among stakeholders for voluntary and familiar funding methods such as stamps, license plate fees, outdoor recreation fees, and a tax on plastic. These findings imply that some voluntary methods of funding (e.g., license plate fees) could be modified to develop additional, long-term revenue generation to support wildlife conservation policies.

Leveraging the Garment Worker Diaries: A China Strategy for MFO

The Project Due to the emergence of China’s middle class and the growing global influence of Chinese investment, Microfinance Opportunities (MFO) views Chinese actors as significant stakeholders in the apparel industry in South and Southeast Asia. In its aim of addressing garment worker conditions in South and Southeast Asia, MFO desires a strategy to reach Chinese stakeholders with the Garment Worker Diaries (GWDs). By leveraging the GWDs and other data, MFO seeks to influence Chinese and other relevant stakeholders to improve the conditions of garment workers. MFO has asked the research team to provide a strategy document, involving an analysis of the best methods to communicate and frame GWDs in a contextually legitimate manner to Chinese stakeholders in the apparel industry. This strategy tests the public value proposition to assess if MFO may have an impact on the economic well-being of garment workers in South and Southeast Asia by influencing Chinese stakeholders through the GWDs information . The MFO http://bush.tamu.edu/?page_id=176project provides MFO with a strategic plan to leverage its diaries with Chinese actors, based on an analysis of the offshore Chinese apparel industry, relevant Chinese stakeholders, and MFO’s organizational capacity. The main research question is as follows: Can Microfinance Opportunities expand the impact of the Garment Worker Diaries by influencing Chinese stakeholders to improve conditions of garment workers? If so, how?

Congress, Constituents and Social Media: Understanding Member Communications in the Age of Instantaneous Communication

The Project Building the first database on Congressional use of traditional and social media, this project examined media use by Members in the 115th Congress. The team collected data on the use of both traditional media (franking disbursements, communication staff) and new media (social media, e-newsletters). Analysis indicates that (1) Member ideology has an effect on use of franking and on size of communication staff and (2) the more members spoke on the floor, the more Facebook posts they made.

Mapping the Darkness: Finding Support for Victims of Sex Trafficking in Texas

Supervising instructor: Dr. David H. McIntyre

The Project Prosecutors in the Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section, Criminal Prosecutions Division, Texas Office of the Attorney General, face two problems in dealing with victims (and especially child victims):

After extensive research and revision of models, this capstone group produced an “education aid” and website that addresses these two needs. Brazos County was used as a model, and more than 170 sources of assistance were identified and categorized. The customer was so satisfied that the project will be extended for another year in order to develop models and data bases for different sized communities ranging from rural counties to major cities.

Launching into the Future: How the Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy Can Build a Sustainable Operation

The Project Based on existing academically-housed and community-based nonprofit centers and institute models, the study revealed the importance of academically-housed nonprofit centers, especially in early form, to develop a core identity aligned with values, collaborate with peer academic nonprofit centers, and prioritize activities which lead to international third sector involvement.

Habitat for Humanity: Does Habitat Homeownership Impact Well-Being?

Supervising instructor: Dr. Matthew Upton

The Project This project studied the effect Habitat homeownership has on the personal economics of the beneficiaries and how the relationship affects their children’s education and their families’ health. The team collected data from Habitat Applications and surveys filled out by the Habitat homeowners. Preliminary observations show a positive association between Habitat homeownership and both health and education outcomes.

Building Resilience: Planning and Recovery Strategies for Small Towns after Hurricane Harvey Flooding – The City of Wharton, Texas

Supervising instructor: Dr. Arnold Vedlitz

The Project As part of The Bush School of Government and Public Service capstone project, this report was conducted in an effort to provide recovery assistance to Texas communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Specifically, this report focuses on the City of Wharton, Texas, a small community 60 miles southwest of Houston that experienced extensive damage and destruction from Hurricane Harvey. The following report is the product of several months of work conducted by a team of Master of Public Service and Administration graduate students using available literature, case studies, secondary data analysis, and stakeholder interviews to provide a detailed analysis of the storm and its aftermath experienced in Wharton, including recommendations to community leaders for current and future recovery actions, areas to increase resilience, and possible priorities for consideration to improve response and recovery for future natural disasters.

Meeting The Healthcare Needs of United States Veterans: Texas 8th Congressional District

Supervising instructor: Dr. S. Catherine Cole

The Project Veterans of all ages utilize healthcare through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which is the medical branch of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VHA is “America’s largest integrated healthcare system” serving approximately 9-million veterans annually (VHA 2018). Thousands of medical centers, hospitals, clinics, and community based outpatient clinics offer healthcare services within the VA network. These facilities are found throughout the country with 12 VA hospitals/healthcare system facilities located in Texas alone (USDVA 2018). Our study area is specific to the Conroe Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC). Even though the VHA currently serves 9-million veterans, approximately 20-million veterans live in the United States, meaning many veterans are either not utilizing VHA services, or they are getting their health needs from other facilities (VetPop 2016). The VA network offers countless services for veterans, but such an expansive medical framework comes with its limitations. The 2017 nonprofit and public administration capstone team extensively researched financial impacts of veterans healthcare, impacts of the Veterans Choice Act (VCA), and veteran homelessness and suicide (Castro, Hare, and Willis 2017). The findings from last year’s team provided a window for more work to be done, which led our group to research much of the same subject matter through a different lens. We also continued working with Congressman Kevin Brady and his Conroe office staff. Our main task was to review gaps previously identified by the former team and to find even more specific information about veterans’ healthcare in the 8th congressional district (8th district).

Lobbying After Federal Service: The Revolving Door, Shadow Lobbying, and Cooling Off Periods for Former Government Officials

Supervising instructor: Deborah L. Kerr

The Project This project is a product of the Bush School of Government and Public Service Consulting http://bush.tamu.edu/?page_id=176Program. It intends to create a database of post-government employment of senior executive branch officials to increase the knowledge about former executive branch officials’ post-government career paths. The project is performed for the research wing of the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress. The project lasted one academic year and involved nine second-year Master students, who have collected data, created a comprehensive database, and provided nonpartisan analysis presented in this final report.

Habitat for Humanity: An Exploratory Study on Homeownership Quality of Life

Supervising instructor: Dr. Domonic Bearfield’s

The Project Habitat for Humanity International (HHI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded to help build simple and decent homes seeking to put God’s love into action in communities ( B/CS Habitat for Humanity , 2018). The nonprofit organization has served the Bryan/College Station (B/CS) community since 1989 and has recently finished the construction of its two hundred eighty-second home. The purpose of this study is to collect data regarding the impact of the organization on Habitat homeowners and the community. The results will help to provide key information needed to evaluate program impact, inform and support organizational and developmental goals, and build brand awareness . To achieve this, the following research question is utilized to guide our study: What is the impact of Habitat homeownership on the quality of life of homeowners?

Economic Contributions of the Louisiana Nonprofit Sector: Size and Scope

Supervising instructor: Dr. Laurie Paarlberg

The Project This economic contribution study describes the nonprofit sector in the state of Louisiana. Nonprofit organizations studied in this report included 501(c)(3) organizations and 501(c) other organizations, defined under Title 26 of the United States Code. Trends in the size and scope of the sector, as well as employment, volunteerism, grant-making, and the financial health of nonprofits in Louisiana are detailed in order to tell the story of Louisiana nonprofits as well as uncover areas of concern for the sector moving forward.

An Evaluation Of The Causes, Consequences, And Potential Solutions To Increased Red River Flooding In The Caddo Parish Regions Of Northwest Louisiana

The Project Urban flooding is a challenge for many parts of the world, and Caddo Parish, Louisiana, is no exception. Caddo Parish, located in Northwestern Louisiana on the banks of the Red River, has been the subject of intense flooding for decades, issuing widespread devastation to many areas of the parish. As waters from rain events and upstream reservoirs deluged the Red River, countless individuals and communities were affected. In addition to damage and destruction of homes and personal belongings, sectors of the economy were also impacted, notably agriculture and industry. Rising waters jeopardized public infrastructure, affecting commerce throughout the parish, particularly waterway systems. This report, prepared by graduate students of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, per request of the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, outlines policy solutions to protect the individuals and communities of Caddo Parish from future flooding.

Exploring Income Inequality and Economic Mobility in the City of Bryan

Supervising instructor: Dr. Kenneth Anderson Taylor

The Project Although not specific to the City of Bryan, income inequality is a local reality and results in perpetuated intergenerational economic stagnation. This capstone project conducts research relating to income inequality both in general and as it relates to the City of Bryan, thus leading to recommendations for actionable responses for community stakeholders. This report is prepared for Community Development Department Manager Alsie Bond and other key stakeholders to demonstrate how income inequality affects the residents of and the City of Bryan, and what can be done to address it. This capstone team seeks to discover and present practical responses for the city, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses in order to foster greater economic mobility for low to middle income residents.

Working Even Harder for Our Veterans: Recommendations to Continue Improving Healthcare Access, Resource Allocation, and Accountability

The Project Congressman Kevin Brady is committed to fighting for veterans within his district, across the state of Texas, and throughout the United States. So much so that he led the effort to establish a veteran’s clinic in Conroe, opening the current facility in late 2015. Always looking for better ways to serve his veteran constituency, Congressman Brady and his staff asked the Bush School Team to examine issues related to the effectiveness of VA services in the 8th Congressional District.

Surface Water Regulations in Texas: Problems and Solutions

Supervising instructor: Jim Griffin

The Project According to the 2017 Texas State Water Plan, Texas will experience an 8.9 million acre foot water shortage by 2070. The question is what role surface and groundwater will play in alleviating this shortfall. The 2016 project to Comptroller Hegar assessed the potential for ground water to meet these predicted water needs (the Brady et al. report). This report is a follow on report focused on surface water.

In several ways, surface water poses a more complex task because one cannot point to a single regulatory institution with simple fixes. Indeed, in many respects, surface water institutions in Texas are relatively sophisticated. From the extensive WAM modeling used by the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) to the comprehensive 50-year water plans produced by the Texas Water Development Board (TWBD), Texas is significantly ahead of other states in their water planning and management. However, our analysis has identified three major problem areas, the solutions to which are the focus of this report.

Texas vs. the Federal Government: An Examination of the Influence of Political Ideologies on State‐Filed Lawsuits

Supervising instructor: Ann O’M. Bowman

The Project This study explores the role of ideology in the filing of lawsuits by the state of Texas against the federal government. Four important policy areas are examined: criminal justice, environmental protection, immigration, and social issues. The time period of the study encompasses an ideological spectrum in Texas government and among the American presidents holding office at the same time as the governors. To gain a comparative focus, the Texas lawsuit data is contrasted with federal lawsuits filed by Florida and California. The analysis shows no clear connection between ideology and the number of lawsuits filed by the three states.

The Search for Smart Schools: Identifying Texas School Districts’ Best Practices

The Project This report outlines findings from the TXSmartSchools.org (TSS) Capstone Team’s mixed methodology study identifying best practices in high performing and cost-efficient school districts. TSS was particularly interested in finding best practices transferable from high performing school districts to low performing districts. The Capstone Team accomplished this using the TSS concept of “fiscal peers.” After completing a narrative literature review on the best practices in public education, the capstone Team examined the effect of various school district expenditures on academic performance and cost efficiency through quantitative methods. The Capstone Team’s findings suggest the amount of money invested in practices are not indicative of the quality of the programs. Additional findings demonstrate the administrative cost ratio caps do not improve cost efficiency, and investments in bilingual education are associated with improved academic performance. To better describe the practices employed in school districts, semistructured interviews were conducted with school district officials. The findings from interviews with chief business officers and superintendents capture the importance of culture in district practices and operations. Based on the quantitative and qualitative findings, the Capstone Team makes recommendations that can be implemented at the district and state level. Further research is needed that will allow educators and researchers to better identify the best practices that will improve Texas schools’ and districts’ student academic achievement and fiscal efficiency.

Examining the Prevalence of Financial Exploitation of Individuals Suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia Related Diseases in Texas

The Project The Alzheimer’s Association of Houston and Southeast Texas (Association) is committed to expanding care and services for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease through awareness, research, and legislation. The Association has asked the Bush School capstone team to examine the prevalence of elder financial exploitation in Texas, specifically among individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases. The result of this examination will assist the Association’s policy and recommendation agenda during the 2019 Texas Legislative Session.

Financial Exploitation Report

College Station 2030: Issues Affecting a Growing Community

Supervising instructor: Dr. Jeryl Mumpower

Municipality Index Capstone: US Edition

Supervising instructor: Dr. Domonic Bearfield

The Project The study will expand the scope of the Bush Transparency Project to include local governments across the United States. Specifically, we will focus on cities with populations of at least 100,000 people.

Reorganizing Groundwater Regulation in Texas

Client: Glenn Hegar, Texas Comptroller Supervising instructor: Dr. Jim Griffin

Groundwater usage in Texas appears severely dysfunctional. Neither the market for water or regulation is working properly. Currently, 80+ Groundwater Conservation Districts (GCDs) “regulate” groundwater production in their areas, with locally elected boards that act as independent Balkanized states. Selling water across district lines is very difficult, making cities like San Antonio unable to access abundant groundwater in nearby GCDs. At the same time, landowners own the rights to groundwater based on the Rule of Capture, which creates a perverse incentive to extract all you can before your neighbor does.

Assessing Policies for IT Governance and Transatlantic IT Cooperation

Client: Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Dr. Philipp Mueller, Director, Public Sector-Europe Supervising instructor: Dr. Mary Hilderbrand

Following Edward Snowden’s revelations of extensive NSA surveillance, including data gathering from German citizens and political leaders, there have been tensions in the US-German relationship (as well as in the larger US-European relationship) over the interrelated areas of surveillance/intelligence and data protection/privacy. The conflict hinders transatlantic business operations, including those of the IT sector; and it also has broader public policy implications, as it has created obstacles to progress on issues of common interest, including trade agreements. The two countries approach questions of data protection and privacy as well as those surrounding electronic intelligence gathering from quite different perspectives, and there is a lack of understanding on each side of the other’s perspectives.

Congressional Research Service: Dear Colleague Letters

Client: Congressional Research Service, Dr. Jacob Straus, CRS Analyst on the Congress Supervising instructor: Dr. Deborah Kerr

For this capstone project, the Congressional Research Service and Dr. Jacob Straus plan to continue their research on “Dear colleague” letters, using data from the just completed 113th Congress.

Homeland Security, Emergency Management, and Business Continuity: Building a Framework to Secure the Future

Client: Rentsys Recovery Systems Supervising instructor: Dr. David H. McIntyre

In the last three years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have made tremendous strides in the intellectual, policy, and operational frameworks that guide national preparedness. The concepts of integrated risk management (IRM) and resilience have developed into policy drivers for the mission areas of mitigation, prevention, protection, response, and recovery that now define the way federal, state, and local organizations identify and prepare for disasters and restore communities after such an event. Understanding these seven intellectual constructs and the national disaster policy frameworks published to support them is critical for anyone seeking employment or advancement in the fields of Homeland Security (HLS) or EM.

Field research leading to important findings, conclusions, and policy recommendations in these areas has been the focus of Bush School HLS capstone projects over the last two years.

The Bush School/Law School Capstone on State and Local Trade Barriers

Client: North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO) Supervising instructor: Dr. Jeryl Mumpower

The client for this capstone is the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO), a nonprofit voluntary coalition of North American governments, businesses, and educational institutions. One of NASCO’s core missions is improving the competitiveness of the North American supply chain. NASCO is concerned that regulatory efforts at the state and local level are creating barriers to trade along the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) corridor. This capstone will provide NASCO with a careful description of the trade frictions that occur as a product moves across national and state boundaries and a framework for dealing with regulations that impose undue burdens on the free flow of goods and services in North America.

Consulting Capstones

Clients: Salvation Army of Bryan-College Station, Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, and State Urban Search and Rescue Alliance Supervising instructors: Dr. Will Brown, Dr. Jenny Morrison, Dr. Wynn Rosser

The goal of the consulting capstones is to enhance students’ management and policy education by developing collaborative consulting engagements with public and nonprofit organizations. Students assist client organizations in addressing existing and emerging challenges. Client hosts are solicited from a range of public and nonprofit organizations, including state and local government agencies, school districts, and intermediary entities. Prospective clients submit applications, which are reviewed by faculty supervisors. Projects are based on client needs and entail a range of topics, such as marketing, organizational assessment, policy recommendations and analysis, fund development planning, program evaluation, human resource management, and strategic planning. The consulting capstone utilizes a structured framework to approach problem definition and project oversight. Student teams meet with client hosts to develop a project scope memo, completed in the first four weeks of the semester. The student teams work with the organizations to complete the agreed-upon work plan.

Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium – Dr. Jenny Morrison

Understanding Poverty in the Brazos County – Dr. Wynn Rosser

Professionalization and Effectiveness in State Legislatures

Client : Texas Legislature Supervising Instructor : Dr. Ann O’M. Bowman Authors : Matthew Bangcaya, Thomas DiGiuseppe, Blake Dodd, Christopher Gruning, Rebecca Parma, and Johannah Roberson

The 84th regular session of the Texas Legislature will convene in Austin on January 13, 2015, and is scheduled to run through June 1, 2015. Students in this capstone will spend the fall semester learning about state legislatures in general and the Texas Legislature in particular. During the spring semester, students will relocate to Austin to work for state legislators, legislative committees, or legislative agencies. The specific legislators and committees have not been finalized as yet, but students can expect to have opportunities to use their analytic skills. Even though students will have different work assignments during the spring semester, we will come together as a capstone class regularly. Students will produce a capstone report that builds on their fall semester study and their spring semester work experiences. The actual substance of the report will be determined by the capstone class; but it could address session milestones (significant legislation adopted/defeated/deferred); noteworthy shifts in policy (e.g., redistricting in the 82nd session, the rainy day fund in the 83rd session); or, possibly, a comparison of Texas legislative actions to those in other states as well as the identification and discussion of issues on the horizon for the 85th session.

Texas Transparency Project Capstone: The Texas School District Indicator Project

Supervising Instructor : Dr. Domonic Bearfield

This capstone represents the second iteration of what is now known as the Texas Transparency Project. The Texas Transparency Project joins other initiatives working to promote transparency of governance information. The first iteration, the Municipal Performance Index (MPI), adapted the Grading the States evaluation framework to a local government context, utilizing a particular focus on the online transparency of government performance information. The goal of TTP is to equip citizens and public officials with the information they need to assess how their governments operate. Without that information, citizens cannot determine whether they are being governed effectively, nor can they hold their governments accountable for reaching and exceeding that expectation.

Student Recruitment:Best Practices Implementation

Client : Dr. Bill West, Dr. Matthew Upton, Ms. Kathryn Meyer Supervising Instructor : Dr. Joanna Lahey

The continued growth of the Bush School has created a need for formalization, refinement, and expansion of its recruitment methods. What are the best practices for student recruitment? What metrics can be used to evaluate methods already in place? How do we set up data collection and analysis for future evaluation? What best practices can be implemented going forward? This capstone will integrate skills from across the MPSA curriculum to effect solutions that will raise the profile of the Bush School going forward.

FEMA Proposed Best Capstone Project

Client : Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Supervising Instructor : Dr. Dave McIntyre

Description This capstone investigates Preparedness and Response to Hurricane Ike in Galveston and understands how accomplishment of all mission areas–Mitigation, Prevention, Protection Response, Recovery–could have been improved.

ENRICH Capstone

Client : Cooperative for After-School Enrichment (CASE) Supervising Instructor : Dr. Melissa Tackett-Gibson

Overview The objective of this capstone is to develop and conduct a study of the impact of after-school care on children and families. The project is part of an ongoing research agenda established by ENRICH of Harris County on after-school care. It is a follow-up to a Bush School capstone return-on-investment study conducted in 2013 to 2014. The capstone fills a particular need for information related to after-school care outcomes. Past research suggests that after-school care reduces student involvement in delinquency, drug use, and truancy. Additional work indicates that it also may increase the likelihood of graduation and promote better academic outcomes.

Consulting Capstone

Client : Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, Texas Association of Community Colleges, McKenna Foundation, Knapp Foundation, Workforce Solutions, Cooperative for After-School Enrichment (CASE) Supervising Instructors : Dr. Will Brown, Dr. Deborah Kerr, Dr. Jenny Morrison, Dr. Wynn Rosser

The goal of the capstone is to enhance students’ management and policy education by developing collaborative consulting engagements with public and nonprofit organizations. Students assist client organizations in addressing existing and emerging challenges. Client hosts are solicited from a range of public and nonprofit organizations, including state and local government agencies, school districts, and intermediary entities. Prospective clients submit applications that are reviewed by faculty supervisors. Projects are based on client needs and entail a range of topics, such as marketing, organizational assessment, policy recommendations and analysis, fund development planning, program evaluation, human resource management, and strategic planning. The consulting capstone utilizes a structured framework to approach problem definition and project oversight. Student teams meet with client hosts to develop a project scope memo, which is completed in the first four weeks of the semester. The student team works with organizations to complete the agreed- upon work plan.

The project is an analysis of Dallas Challenge’s current image through a stakeholder assessment. Following the assessment, we will provide strategies and tactics that Dallas Challenge can incorporate in order to successfully complete the rebranding process. This project is important to our client because they want to remain a competitive service provider in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They want their image to portray their services and mission more accurately so that they can better serve at-­‐risk youth. By providing rebranding strategies, Dallas Challenge stakeholders will have a more concrete perception of the client’s identity and the scope of their program services.

The Brazos Valley Council of Governments Service Integration Report 2013-2014

This report examines human service integration efforts of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments and what regulations stand in the way of full integration. Along with the findings from the Brazos Valley Council of Governments, we developed a report of other states’ human service integration attempts. We found that “siloed” funding streams, restrictions on information systems, and other regulations present significant barriers to the Brazos Valley Council of Governments. We also found that human service agencies in California, Colorado, and New York provide a model for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments to achieve full human service integration; however, regulations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will prevent the full integration between all programs offered at the Brazos Valley Council of Governments.

Water Use in the Eagle Ford Shale: An Economic and Policy Analysis of Water Supply and Demand

The Eagle Ford Shale is a massive geologic formation located in South Texas spanning 30 Texas counties from Brazos County in the north east to Webb County in the southwest. With the advent of hydraulic fracturing (HF) and horizontal drilling, over 200 operators have been able to tap into previously inaccessible shale reserves to produce abundant amounts of oil and gas. The oil and gas proliferation in the Eagle Ford has seen exponential growth, and production is not anticipated to decline until 2025. In addition, a typical HF well in the Eagle Ford is estimated to consume about 13 acre-feet of water for a standard 5000 foot lateral. Approximately 90% of water for HF comes from fresh groundwater aquifers. This interaction of HF and water consumption is of primary importance from a political and economic perspective. This serves as the focal point of our report.

Postsecondary Completion in Rural Texas: A Statewide Overview

Educate Texas, our client, is a partner and key player in postsecondary education in Texas. The nonprofit seeks to improve postsecondary completion statewide. Under their mission, our capstone was charged with assessing the state of postsecondary completion in Rural Texas. Using a mixed methods approach, the capstone studied institutional, attitudinal, and academic barriers that impede rural students from pursuing and obtaining a postsecondary credential. Why should policymakers and stakeholders focus specifically on the rural student population in Texas for postsecondary enrollment and completion?

Teenage Pregnancy: The Case for Prevention and Increased Quality of Life in Waco, Texas

In 2011, Texas was ranked 5th in the nation for total teen births rates amongst females, ages 15-19 (Department of Health and Human Resources 2011). Compared to the national average in the United States of 31.3 per one thousand, in 2011 46.9 per one thousand of Texas teens became pregnant (Appendix A). Teen Pregnancy is a very real issue in Texas, and the Waco community has found itself in the forefront of this fight.

Integrated Risk Management at the Local Level: The Gap between Theory and Practice

In the years following September 11, 2001, there has been significant development of Integrated Risk Management (IRM) in the field of Emergency Management. The last decade has brought substantial refinement of federal guidance, an increase in the quantity of guidance, and expansion of many local emergency management programs. While these developments indicate progress, it is not known to what extent federal guidance is reaching the intended clientele; nor what quantity of the guidance has been adopted by local emergency management organizations, jurisdictions and personnel. This study aims to identify a gap, if one exists, between Department of Homeland Security guidance on IRM (theory) and the local application of IRM (practice). Furthermore, there is a need to determine the width and breadth of the gap, if such a gap exists, and what possible improvements could potentially close the gap.

Does Developmental Education Meet Student Needs?

Many students graduating from Texas high schools, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are underprepared for the rigor of college coursework, and they need extra help. Institutions of higher learning across the state have attempted to provide that help in the form of developmental education (DE)- supplemental instruction designed to fill in crucial gaps in a student’s knowledge base.

A Texan’s Guide to the Past, Present, and Future of the Economic Stabilization Fund Report

In November 1988, Texans approved the creation of the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF). Designed to help the state weather the storms of economic strife, budget shortfalls, and unexpected catastrophes, the Fund is currently accruing billions of dollars annually thanks to booming oil and gas severance tax revenues. Despite the Fund’s expanding reserves, access to its wealth is anything but a walk in the park; a fact no Texas lawmaker would dispute, having labored the summer away for a piece of the ESF pie even as robust economic figures swell the General Revenue and forecast prosperity into the near future. Many Texans are scratching their heads now, wondering whether the state’s rainy-day dollars might be used for anything from water projects to transportation infrastructure, or education and tax rebates, or whether they should remain untouched, jealously guarded against future unknowns and expanding government.

CommunitiWorks: Baseline Assessment and Recommendations

Client : CommunitiWorks

CW requires assistance in its efforts to evaluate the impact of their microfinancing strategies on their community recipients in Cambodia. Because of its expertise, the George Bush School of Government and Public Affairs, Texas A&M University has been selected to provide the necessary assistance. Given the recent implementation of CW Cambodia program, this project must be viewed from a multi-year perspective. Assistance will be required over a number of years. The Bush School is committed to providing assistance through year-long capstones. Hence, the purpose of this project is to recommend strategies for evaluating the impact of CW’s community-based financing strategies in Cambodia. This project will provide the foundation for comprehensive evaluations of CW’s efforts in Cambodia in near future.

Not All Cavities Are Treated Equal

The purpose of this report is to examine oral health care for children in Texas. United Ways of Texas is concerned with the disproportionate levels of access that low-income children face. This research team was charged by United Ways to:

There are significant disparities in access to oral health care for children in Texas. These disparities are frequently based on income levels, ethnic status, and if a child lives in an urban or rural area. Because disparity continues to exist among Texans, this report offers the following recommendations to improve access to dental care.

Development in Rural Texas: An Assessment of TEEX Economic Development Reports

Client : Knowledge Division of the Texas Engineering Extension Service

The Development in Rural Texas report provides an evaluation and assessment of economic development recommendations made by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). Due to the nature of its work, TEEX seldom has an opportunity to revisit the communities it has worked with in the past. In 2011, the Bush School of Government and Public Service was contacted with the opportunity to assist in evaluating several of the economic development recommendations and plans put in place by TEEX. The capstone group evaluated ten TEEX reports that were written from 2006-2009. Their subjects vary between facility development plans to regional economic development strategies.

A Community-Wide Financial Needs Assessment

Client : Community Development Services, City of Bryan, Texas

Immigration Reform: Policies and Implementation

Client : Accenture

How will comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) affect federal agencies? Determining the specific implementation demands likely to result from comprehensive immigration reform legislation without knowing the specific policy elements that will be enacted is a difficult task. This capstoneclass presented a broad overview of the effects of likely policy changes by conducting in-depth interviews with eleven-stakeholder groups, a comprehensive literature review, detailed investigation of relevant case studies, and analyzing public opinion polls.

A Study of Dual Credit Access and Effectiveness in the State of Texas

Client : Greater Texas Foundation

In 2010, with the support of the Greater Texas Foundation (GTF), the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University initiated a study of dual credit opportunities in the state of Texas. Through a capstone course directed by Prof. Jeryl L. Mumpower, Director of the Master of Public Service and Administration Program, this group was charged with analyzing and presenting data related to both the degree of access to dual credit resources throughout Texas, as well as the effectiveness of dual credit opportunities by type. The Greater Texas Foundation further charged the capstone group with examining the dual credit opportunities for minority, low-income, and rural populations. Throughout a year-long course of study, the capstone team worked to collect data regarding these issues. We hope that this study will provide a valuable resource for our client, the Greater Texas Foundation, as well as for researchers and practitioners in Texas and throughout the nation.

Texas Department of Public Safety Homeland Security Threats and Operations

Client : Texas Department of Public Safety

The capstone team worked on two capstone projects for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). One was an assessment of spillover violence from Mexican cartels and transnational gangs in Texas, including topics such as the definition of spillover violence, the characteristics of violent crimes related to drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), the victims of the violence, causes of the violence, quantifying DTO violence, and whether the violence in Mexico is moving to the United States. The research also included the national and border state perspective of spillover violence, federal funding levels for border security, programs to address spillover violence and border security, and spillover violence data collection mechanisms used in Arizona, New Mexico and California compared to Texas. The second project was the impact of violent domestic gangs in Texas, including information on gang size and membership in Texas, sources and affiliations of Texas gangs, and gang recruitment and growth. The team also provided DPS with feedback and local evaluation of the statewide gang-monitoring database, allowing DPS to consider ways to improve the system and increase its use.

Mapping the Nonprofit Infrastructure: A Comparison of Capacity Building and Related Resources in Texas and Beyond

Client : OneStar Foundation

The “Mapping the Nonprofit Infrastructure: A Comparison of Capacity Building and Related Resources in Texas and Beyond” http://bush.tamu.edu/?page_id=176Project was conducted for OneStar Foundation: Texas Center for Social Impact in Austin, Texas, with support from the Meadows Foundation in Dallas, Texas. This capstone research is a follow-up study to a single study of Texas’ nonprofit infrastructure, carried out by a Bush School http://bush.tamu.edu/?page_id=176Team during 2009-2010. In the present study, a national comparison of the nonprofit infrastructures of all 50 U.S. states and a detailed analysis of the nonprofit infrastructure of Texas and seven comparison states was performed, in an effort to answer the following research questions: What is the relationship between the strength of the nonprofit sector and the nonprofit infrastructure? How do the Texas nonprofit infrastructure and systems of support compare to other states, and how can the infrastructure and systems be improved?

Using a mixed-method quantitative and qualitative research design (involving economic data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, Foundation Center, US Census and labor data, GIS analysis, and document analysis) and extant framework for nonprofit infrastructure (developed by David Renz, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Midwest Center for Nonprofits, 2008), the nonprofit infrastructures of the states were compared and contrasted to better understand the characteristics of strong and weak infrastructures. Texas was found to have a fairly weak infrastructure. Recommendations were made to strengthen the nonprofit infrastructure in Texas, with emphases on ways to strengthen charitable giving, nonprofit association, and self-regulation and to enhance collaboration and networking among foundations and nonprofit management support organizations. In tandem to this research, capstone students also carried out a literature review and analysis of statewide survey of nonprofits relating to capacity building needs, in support of the Texas legislative Task Force on Strengthening Nonprofit Capacity, a task force organized by Texas Health and Human Services Commission under House Bill (H.B.) 492 and implemented in partnership with OneStar Foundation.

Expansion Management Model

Client : Abriendo Puertas

Abriendo Puertas is a small, education non-profit using parental engagement initiatives to reduce the number of Hispanic student dropouts in Texas. To date, Abriendo Puertas has seen much success – both in recognition by external organizations and in the wide support of its parent participants and volunteers. As such, Abriendo Puertas hopes to expand its program across the state, most notably to the Fort Worth area. The nonprofit is interested in solidifying its current operations in the hope of expanding its impact.

Introducing… Objectivity: A Texas Redistricting Report

Client: Texas Legislature

Seven Bush School MPSA students spent the spring 2011 semester working with the Texas Legislature in a policy-related capacity. Two reports and a video were produced by the capstone team. In the video, capstone students explain what they did during the session and how their Bush School education enhanced their legislative work.

An Analysis of the Civil Service System of the City of New Orleans

Client : Business Council Of New Orleans And The River Region

The capstone team conducted a comprehensive review of all New Orleans Civil Service System policies and institutional arrangements. The research activity included reviews of the literature on civil service systems; analyses of legal and constitutional requirements for New Orleans and the State of Louisiana; in-depth interviews with dozens of experts and stakeholders who have direct experience with the New Orleans Civil Service System; reviews of all reports, planning documents and evaluations of the New Orleans Civil Service System; and case study analyses of comparable cities and states. The students identified several problems in system recruiting, operations, training, and evaluation and made specific recommendations to overcome these difficulties. The New Orleans mayor has embraced these recommendations and begun implementing them in the Civil Service System. The students participated in city hall briefings and news conferences highlighting their recommendations.

Diversity of Graduates from Professional Degree Programs: The Challenge of Achieving Diverse Applicant Pools and Implementing Successful Recruiting Efforts

Client : Congressional Research Service

The capstone team (1) obtained and analyzed information about pools of job candidates from historically under-represented groups in certain disciplines and (2) reported on mechanisms that had proved effective for recruiting and retaining such candidates. The team analyzed trends and characteristics of these potential applicant pools and identified schools that have graduated the largest numbers of candidates from historically under-represented groups in specific disciplines. The report presents a literature review concerning practices of public and private entities to create and maintain workforce diversity by recruiting and retaining persons from historically under-represented groups. The report also summarizes successful recruitment and retention strategies based on theoretical and practical frameworks used by government agencies, non-profit organizations, and the private sector.

Master of Public Service and Administration Program Review and Evaluation

Client : MPSA Program Director, Bush School of Government and Public Service

Assessing the quality and effectiveness of educational programs is becoming increasingly important. Ensuring the quality of Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs, like that at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, is even more critical. This capstone designed and implemented evaluative methods to assess the MPSA program. The group designed and conducted data collection and analysis to identify the program’s strengths and limitations by collecting alumni feedback. This project helped the MPSA program meet accreditation requirements and provided input to the next self-study report to be completed by the program during the 2012-2013 academic year. The capstone created and distributed an alumni survey to MPSA graduates and conducted alumni focus groups. The capstone report consists of a literature review followed by a summary of the research methodologies applied in the project, and concludes with results and a discussion of the findings.

Organizational Resiliency after Hurricane Ike

Client : Local Municipalities in Louisiana’s Cameron Parish and Texas’ Bolivar Peninsula, With the Financial Support of the Bush-Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund

Hurricane Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. Cameron Parish in Louisiana and the Southeast Texas coast of the Bolivar Peninsula, still recovering from earlier hurricanes, sustained catastrophic damage. The capstone focused on three specific long-term resiliency planning projects for client consideration: (1) long-term recovery and resiliency economic development goals; (2) policy options to meet these goals within the context of federal, state, and county/parish policies; and (3) the strengths and weaknesses of each, including implementation challenges. The Cameron Parish work involved analysis of a housing survey of 600 Parish individuals and families, a research project on Geographic Information Systems, and research on business economic factors. The Bolivar Peninsula work involved deliverables to county officials and community members, including an initial research report on economic development opportunities and a second report providing additional details on selected economic development projects identified by Bolivar officials and community members.

Social Service Availability & Proximity And The Over-Representation Of Minority Children in Child Welfare

Client : State of Texas, Department of Family Protective Services

The capstone group assessed whether child welfare services were available and proximal in predominantly low income, black areas with high foster care rates in three southern cities. GIS mapping of services contained in a State 211 community services database revealed that there were no treatment services and/or no public transportation and/or lengthy public transportation times in nearly 25% of the identified areas in the three cities combined. The authors suggest that increasing child welfare service availability and proximity could reduce the overrepresentation of black children in foster care by making services available and proximal to black parents. The authors recommend that child welfare administrators perform annual GIS analyses of State 211 community services databases to assess child welfare service availability. The authors offer a number of recommendations for increasing child welfare service availability and proximity in high foster care areas.

The ABCD’s of Texas Education: Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Reducing the Dropout Rate

Client : United Ways of Texas

This capstone team examined the economic consequences of the high number of high school dropouts in Texas. Their report discusses alternative strategies for measuring the dropout rate, and provides estimates of the dropout rate for different geographic regions and student populations. The team also estimated of the economic benefits and costs associated with reducing the high dropout rate in Texas. Finally, the team reviewed available research regarding dropout prevention programs in order to identify best practices that could be implemented in Texas. One goal of the study was to inform and encourage a broader discussion by the Texas Legislature of the state’s high school dropout rate and the societal and economic impact of failing to address the problem.

Generation Y in the Workplace

The recruitment and retention of Generation Y, individuals born between 1977 and 2002, concern the federal government and the Congressional Research Service particularly, as the retirement rate among Baby Boomers increases. A clear understanding of this generation’s perceptions and expectations about work and career-related issues will assist the federal government in formulating its recruitment and retention strategies. Thus, this study identified and examined career choice factors and public service perceptions among members of Generation Y.

National Preparedness Goal, Execution, and Performance

Client : The Homeland Security and Justice Team/Government Accountability Office (GAO)

A presidential directive ordered the secretary of homeland security to develop a domestic all-hazards preparedness goal. In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security finalized the national goal and related preparedness tools such as national planning scenarios and identification of specific capabilities that communities, the private sector, and all levels of government should collectively possess to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from all major hazards. This capstone project reported to the GAO their observations about what national preparedness means in terms of assigning authority and responsibility for preparedness across the nation’s highly decentralized system of public, not-for-profit, and private sector entities. They also reviewed factors management should consider to achieve preparedness within acceptable risk tolerances, to allocate resources for preparedness, and to assess performance in developing needed preparedness capabilities.

The Regional Impact of Climate Change on Public Infrastructure and Decision Making

Client : Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC)

In the wake of Hurricanes Rita and Ike, policy and decision makers in the Houston area are concerned with the growing threat of climate change impacts and how to adapt to these changes. This capstone studied the regional impact of climate change on public infrastructure in 13 counties in the Houston-Galveston area, focusing on resiliency planning as one alternative solution to the problem. They also looked at how local governments respond to recommendations from a non-binding metropolitan planning organization (MPO). The goal was to offer conclusions that reveal the needs and solutions for local and regional governments regarding funding, capacity building, and regulatory authority necessary for adaptive responses to the hazards of global climate and environmental problems at the regional level.

A Study of Municipal Funding of Nonprofit Agencies for the City of College Station, Texas

Client : City of College Station

The City of College Station funds nonprofit agencies through a program called Outside Agency Funding because the nonprofits provide services not offered by the city. In working to streamline the application, review, and monitoring of this funding, it became clear that there is no standard method outlined and packaged for municipal governments to use as a guide or best practice in funding nonprofit agencies. This capstone project developed a guide for municipal governments that fund nonprofit agencies.

Assessment of Local Ordinances to Reduce Illegal Immigration

From 1990 to 2005, estimates of the unauthorized alien population in the United States have risen from 3.5 million to 11.5 million people, a 325 percent increase. It has been the federal government’s responsibility to prevent unauthorized immigration. However, a small number of localities have taken action over the past few years to prevent unauthorized immigration within their jurisdictions by passing a series of ordinances and resolutions. Some of the localities passed ordinances and resolutions targeting the businesses and landlords who hire and rent to unauthorized aliens, while others passed legislation targeting day labor centers, loitering, and government services. Consistent with findings made in other studies, we found that only approximately 100 localities have or are considering legislation that would impact their unauthorized alien communities.

These documents are adapted from work performed under contract for the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

Bilingual Education in Texas: Exploring Best Practices

Client : Florence Shapiro, Chair, Senate Committee on Education

This capstone team conducted an analysis of bilingual and English as a second language (ESL) practices in the state of Texas. Their analysis has three distinct parts. In the first part, the team developed four indicators of school success with respect to students who have limited English proficiency (LEP). In the second part, they developed a survey of teacher, classroom and program characteristics that they distributed to all elementary and middle schools with at least 30 LEP students. The final part of their analysis examined the relationship between their four measures of school success and the survey responses regarding instructional practices and program characteristics. The team found that there were no school-level differences in performance between teachers in bilingual education programs and teachers in ESL programs. They also found that consistent instruction in one language (either English or Spanish) was more effective for content learning than a mix of instructional languages, and that instructional methods identified as particularly effective by the existing bilingual/ESL literature are widely practiced in Texas.

Community Leadership: Best Practices for Brazos Valley

Client : Brazos Community Foundation

This report was prepared as part of a graduate student capstone project at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service for our client, the Brazos Community Foundation (BCF). We believe the report has implications for the BCF and the broader nonprofit community in the Brazos Valley.

The project team identified ten potential community leadership roles based on best practices in the field and interests of the BCF. Students conducted interviews with 25 local nonprofit leaders, Texas A&M University representatives, as well as other community foundations to inform our recommendations.

After careful evaluation of data the group identified five community leadership roles with the most potential for implementation by the Brazos Community Foundation and the Brazos Valley at large. These roles received wide support, were feasible – based on available resources, and aligned with the mission and purpose of BCF. Students developed a series of action steps to provide guidance for the implementation of these roles. Through the interviews students discovered many opportunities for partnerships in implementing roles.

Current Trends and Future Challenges in the Freight Railroad Industry: Balancing Private Industry Interests and the Public Welfare

Client : Citizens for Rail Safety

Deregulation has put the freight railroad industry on a more secure financial footing. In general, the transformation of the rail industry since the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 has been viewed by stakeholders at many levels as overwhelmingly positive. Perhaps most important to note is that deregulation has allowed the rail industry to fully realize the benefits of operating as a private business — cutting costs, boosting productivity, eliminating unprofitable lines, and gaining a higher degree of business autonomy. One consequence of this reduction in physical capacity is that often only one railroad company’s lines run on a particular route, resulting in monopolistic pricing practices.

The Low-Income Housing Program in the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Opportunity Zones

Client : Congressional Research Services

A series of tabulations of data contained in a HUD database for Louisiana and Mississippi revealed that prior to Hurricane Katrina, 500 low income tax credit housing (LIHTC) developments (consisting of 24,107 units) were built in Louisiana and 302 LIHTC developments (consisting of 13,970 units) were built in Mississippi between the inception of the LIHTC Program in 1986 and 2004 (when hurricane Katrina hit). Additionally, GIS maps of the same data revealed that, although these developments were scattered throughout both states, they were heavily concentrated in a few major urban areas. Further, a series of regression analyses, revealed a multicollinearity of several factors including ethnicity, education and income. In other words, the regression analyses did not reveal poverty as the main determinant for the location of housing. Moreover, though the HUD data base provided researchers with some idea of the amount of low income housing built in both states since the inception of the LIHTC Program’, varying estimates of the amount of housing damaged and destroyed as well as differing reports of amounts housing units “allocated” for rebuilding make it difficult for both state and federal officials to determine the amount of additional federal housing assistance that should be provided.

An Analysis of Nonprofit Capacity-Building ‘Industry’ in Minnesota

Client : The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN), led by Jon Pratt*.

* Jon Pratt is regularly listed as one of the “50 Most Influential People in the Nonprofit Sector” by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. MCN is one of the earliest statewide nonprofit associations, with a professional research staff and an international reputation, operating in a highly robust state nonprofit economy and mature nonprofit sector. A second client is the Forbes Funds located in Pittsburgh, PA, an influential foundation in the world of philanthropy and capacity building.

This capstone group conducted an analysis of the nonprofit capacity-building “industry” in Minnesota. (The nonprofit capacity-building “industry” comprises the consultants, private and nonprofit firms, management support organizations, and academic centers that provide technical assistance and leadership training to nonprofits.) It was a replication of studies by Dr. Angela Bies in Pittsburgh during 2004-2005 and of a Central Texas capstone during 2005-2006. This capstone project contributed to a growing interest in measuring the effectiveness of nonprofit capacity-building efforts and the degree to which those efforts influence nonprofit organizational effectiveness. The general purpose of the project was to provide information about effective strategies and interventions to strengthen nonprofit management and organizational capacity, the types of challenges nonprofit organizations and providers face in building capacity, and the degree to which there were unmet needs in the region.

Identifying Effective School Principals

Client : The State of Texas

Policymakers and superintendents have been holding teachers accountable for student performance in Texas public schools. As the interest in results and school accountability has grown, attention has shifted to the role administrators play in creating a successful educational environment. The task for this capstone was to create a set of indicators for what an effective principal might look like. The project focused on three areas: Student Performance, Teacher Retention, and Financial Management, with the understanding that an effective principal would have students who perform well on TAAS/TAKS exams, have acceptable levels of teacher turnover, and achieve these results in a financially efficient manner. Using data from the Texas Education Agency, the project developed indicators for each of these three categories so that it would have a concrete way to discuss a principal’s success. After defining what it meant to say a principal is “effective,” students also checked to see if a principal’s influence was statistically significant controlling for other, non-principal factors such as location, demographics, and school size. Finally, the project looked at various groupings of principals in Texas in order to report on the current patterns of principal effectiveness in the state.

Voting Systems and Election Reform: What Do Election Officials Think?

Client : The Congressional Research Service

After the completion of the highly successful 2004-2005 capstone project, “Voting Systems and Election Reform: What Do Election Officials Think?”, the Congressional Research Service agreed with the principal investigators from the school that another study would be useful after the 2006 election.

The Board’s Role for Credit Union Mergers

Client : Filene Institute for Credit Union Research

This project explored the role of the board of directors in decision-making during mergers and acquisitions. Mergers are a viable and wide-spread growth strategy for many credit unions. The study considered how the board engaged or disengaged in the process of working through issues related to mergers and acquisitions. Merger opportunities are strategic decision opportunities for organizations, and boards are critical to ensuring good decision-making.

Federal Funding in Response to Hurricane Katrina: Utilization by New Orleans Residents

Congressional Research Service (CRS) requested the assistance of the graduate students at Texas A&M University to evaluate the awareness and utilization of federal programs and policies passed by Congress that are aimed at facilitating the post-Katrina recovery of New Orleans. Federal programs enacted and/or expanded to benefit residents in the New Orleans area post-Katrina include, but are not limited to, tax incentives for businesses to rebuild and hire workers, such as the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program; the Stafford Act programs, including FEMA grants and assistance; the Gulf Opportunity Act of 2005 (GoZone); the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 (KETRA); and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which includes the Road Home program. The study will allow Congress to examine the effectiveness of the funds allocated. In addition, students provided Congress with recommendations based on the findings of their research.

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Universally-Accessible Pre-Kindergarten Education in Texas

Client : The Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition (TECEC) and the Texas Program for Society and Health at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University

This study provided an analysis of the relative costs and benefits of a high-quality, universally-accessible pre-kindergarten program in Texas. The analysis identified the costs and benefits unique to Texas’ population, workforce, economy and existing educational system. It concluded that even when making very conservative assumptions, the benefits of universally-accessible, high-quality pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds in Texas greatly outweigh the costs.

In the aftermath of voting problems in the 2000 presidential election, Congress passed legislation seeking to reform how elections were run and what voting technologies were used. Some of the new voting systems selected, particularly electronic voting systems, drew criticism for perceived security and transparency problems. Absent from this debate was any systematic representation of the views of the administrators who actually run these elections. This report presented the results of a survey of over 1400 local election officials from across the country. The survey solicited views on specific election systems and technologies; the factors local election officials consider in determining the appropriate election systems for their specific jurisdictions; the influence of vendors and federal, state, and local officials on the decision making process; the impact of federal reform on state and local jurisdictions; and other topics.

Water for Texas: Applicant Capacity Assessment Tool for the Economically Distressed Areas Program

Client : Texas Water Development Board

This report contains recommendations, analysis, and an assessment tool for the Economically Distressed Areas program administered by the Texas Water Development Board. The purpose of the assessment tool, known as the Applicant Capacity Assessment Tool (ACAT), was to reduce the number of water infrastructure projects running over-budget and over-schedule.

Rural Viability Index: A Tool for Assessing Rural Communities

Client : Texas Office for Rural Community Affairs

This report describes, analyzes, and contains a tool designed to provide local leaders and citizens with a way to assess the status of a variety of elements within their community. The tool, named the Rural Viability Index, offers communities the opportunity to identify possible options for current and future community planning.

Big Thicket National Preserve: Trails to the Future

Client : National Park Service

This report traces the history of the Big Thicket region and the political process that occurred to establish the Big Thicket National Preserve, identifies the current threats facing the Big Thicket region, and describes a continuum of possible policy solutions that might be applied to the threats facing the Big Thicket.

CAFTA: Sanitary and Phytosanitary Evaluation

Client : United States Department of Agriculture

This report informed the USDA about the status of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) regulatory systems in five Central American countries that are participating in negotiations for a Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with the United States. To complete the report, the capstone team sent surveys to the appropriate in-country experts in each of the five CAFTA countries and utilized the Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation model to measure the level of compliance with international standards.

A Snapshot of the Texas Aerospace Industry and a Comparison of Competitor States

Client : Texas Aerospace Commission

This report analyzed the factors that affect the ability of Texas to attract and retain aerospace-related businesses by considering the following factors: statewide economic development policy, human capital, aviation, space, and military. In addition, the report provided a comparative analysis of ten states with which Texas will be competing for future aerospace-related economic development opportunities.

Emergency Preparedness: An Analysis of Policy Leader and Community Perspectives

Client : Office of Congressman Bob Riley

This report, which was produced for then-Congressman Bob Riley’s office, provided findings regarding the state of emergency preparedness in Calhoun County, Alabama, related to chemical weapons (CW) storage and incineration at the Anniston Army Depot. The analysis addressed the following research question. Given that CW incineration is set to start at the Anniston Army Depot in September 2002, what information would provide the basis for practical dialogue about emergency preparedness in Calhoun County and provide a possible foundation for policy leaders to reach consensus over this critical issue in order to ensure citizen acceptance, understanding, and compliance?

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capstone project comprehensive business continuity

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capstone project comprehensive business continuity

Capstone Turbine (NASDAQ:CPST) Provides Update on its Business Continuity Plan in response to COVID-19 that is designed to keep Employees Safe and Support Adjusted EBITDA Positive Goal

Leadership and Top Executives Extend Voluntary Salary Cuts to September 28th

VAN NUYS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / May 14, 2020 / Capstone Turbine Corporation ( www.capstoneturbine.com ) ( CPST ), the world's leading clean technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, today provided an update to its Business Continuity Plan, as previously announced on March 24, 2020, and then updated on April 3, 2020, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, that is designed to keep employees safe as well as support the Company's stated goal of reaching Adjusted EBITDA positive in the current June quarter.

A critical part of the Business Continuity Plan is the Capstone Leadership Team volunteering to take a 25% temporary salary cut, as well as the fiscal 2020 Executive Bonus in equity in lieu of cash, if earned. Additionally, 28 other top company managers have volunteered to take a similar 15% reduction in salary. Today, in response to the ongoing crisis, the Company has announced that those voluntary employee salary cuts will be extended from June 30, 2020, to September 28, 2020.

"With over 70,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in California we continue to operate under our emergency Business Continuity Plan that is designed to keep employees safe, while allowing us to continue to support our critical aftermarket Factory Protection Plan (FPP) long-term service contracts and spare parts deliveries to our Essential Critical Infrastructure Customers, such as Energy, Health Care, Wastewater Treatment, Pharmaceuticals, Food Manufacturing, etc., as well as to sustain our key long-term business initiatives," said Darren Jamison, President and Chief Executive Officer of Capstone.

The Company provided the following updates to its Business Continuity Plan:

Beginning March 30th, Capstone furloughed approximately 52 employees, leaving behind only staff deemed essential for day-to-day administrative operations for a minimum period of 45 days. Several employees will now return to work June 1st, most with the same 15% voluntary salary cuts, with others scheduled to return in a staggered manner through to the end of September. However, as a result of the continued global economic slowdown due to COVID-19 and the associated decline in global crude oil prices, the Company will be eliminating the positions of 26 employees on June 1, 2020.

During this period (March 30th - June 1st), Capstone will continue to have a limited production capability of new microturbine products, but had recently pre-built approximately 5.9 megawatts (MW) of microturbine finished goods during March 2020, for shipment during this period of suspended production. The Company reports it shipped 18 microturbines for approximately 1.2 MW during the month of April.

Capstone continues to maintain a crew of essential operations employees to manufacture service engines, remanufacture spare parts and provide service spares in support of FPPs and global distributor spare parts orders. In March 2020, Capstone pre-built and shipped over $1.2 million of critical service parts to our global distributors to ensure continued operations of their microturbine fleets during this time of uncertainty.

Capstone reports that its critical vendor supply chain, although it has been impacted by the pandemic, continues to be operational as of today. However, the Company is looking to minimize incoming inventory receipts to less than $6 million between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020, in order to minimize cash burn, increase liquidity, and increase inventory turns with a goal of generating positive working capital during the quarter.

The Capstone COVID-19 Business Continuity Plan is providing the following benefits to employees, distribution partners, and Company shareholders:

Meeting the generally recommended safety environment for employees while still maintaining liquidity and business continuity

Supporting Essential Critical Infrastructure Customers globally with reliable energy to maintain operations at hospitals, clean water facilities, food manufacturing, and other critical services

Maintains all employees' health insurance during the period of business interruption

Continuing to support the critical aftermarket business and 60+ worldwide distributors

Continues to adhere to the LA County COVID-19 health restriction and the WARN Act both Federal and State (California)

Supports Management's goal of Q1 FY21 Positive Adjusted EBITDA

About Capstone Turbine Corporation

Capstone Turbine Corporation ( www.capstoneturbine.com ) ( CPST ) is the world's leading producer of highly efficient, low-emission, resilient microturbine energy systems. Capstone microturbines serve multiple vertical markets worldwide, including natural resources, energy efficiency, renewable energy, critical power supply, transportation and microgrids. Capstone offers a comprehensive product lineup, via our direct sales team, as well as our global distribution network. Capstone provides scalable solutions from 30 kWs to 10 MWs that operate on a variety of fuels and are the ideal solution for today's multi-technology distributed power generation projects.

For customers with limited capital or short-term needs, Capstone offers rental systems, for more information contact: [email protected] . To date, Capstone has shipped nearly 10,000 units to 73 countries and in FY19, saved customers an estimated $253 million in annual energy costs and 350,000 tons of carbon.

For more information about the company, please visit www.capstoneturbine.com . For information on sales contact: [email protected] or [email protected] . Follow Capstone Turbine on Twitter , LinkedIn , Instagram , and YouTube .

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking statements," as that term is used in the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as "expects," "believes," "objective," "intend," "targeted," "plan" and similar phrases. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties described in Capstone's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that may cause Capstone's actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied in such statements. Capstone cautions readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release. Capstone undertakes no obligation, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to release any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

"Capstone" and "Capstone Microturbine" are registered trademarks of Capstone Turbine Corporation. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

Capstone Turbine Corporation Investor and investment media inquiries: 818-407-3628 [email protected]

Integra Investor Relations Shawn M. Severson 415-226-7747 [email protected]

SOURCE: Capstone Turbine Corporation

View source version on accesswire.com: https://www.accesswire.com/589815/Capstone-Turbine-NASDAQCPST-Provides-Update-on-its-Business-Continuity-Plan-in-response-to-COVID-19-that-is-designed-to-keep-Employees-Safe-and-Support-Adjusted-EBITDA-Positive-Goal

capstone project comprehensive business continuity

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Rent From Capstone

  • Press Releases
  • Capstone Turbine (NASDAQ: CPST) Enacts...

Capstone Turbine (NASDAQ: CPST) Enacts Business Continuity Plan in Response to COVID-19 Designed to Keep Employees Safe and Support Adjusted EBITDA Positive Goal

Leadership Team and Top Executives Voluntarily Take Salary Reductions

VAN NUYS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / March 24, 2020 / Capstone Turbine Corporation ( www.capstoneturbine.com ) (Nasdaq: CPST), the world's leading clean technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, announced today that in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic it has enacted a new Business Continuity Plan designed to keep employees safe as well as support the company's stated goal of reaching Adjusted EBITDA positive in the upcoming June quarter. A critical part of the Business Continuity Plan is the Capstone Leadership Team volunteering to take a 25% temporary salary cut as well as the fiscal 2020 Executive Bonus in equity in lieu of cash if earned. In addition, approximately 25 other top company managers volunteered to take a similar 15% reduction in salary.

"With over 1000 confirmed cases in California and a "Shelter-in-Place" order for all of California, we enacted an emergency Business Continuity Plan designed to keep employees safe, continue to support our critical Aftermarket Factory Protection Plan (FPP) long-term service contracts and spare parts deliveries to our Essential Critical Infrastructure Customers, such as Energy, Health Care, Wastewater Treatment, etc. as well as to sustain our key long-term business initiatives," said Darren Jamison, President and Chief Executive Officer of Capstone. "In these unprecedented and uncertain times, the health and safety of our Capstone and distributor employees, their families, and our communities are of the highest importance as well as doing everything possible to still deliver on our stated goal of positive EBITDA by reducing operating expenses and leveraging our high margin reoccurring revenue streams," added Mr. Jamison.

As part of the comprehensive Business Continuity Plan, Capstone is taking the following steps:

  • Beginning March 30th, Capstone is furloughing approximately 70% of its direct workforce, leaving behind only staff deemed essential for day-to-day administrative operations for a minimum period of 45 days. This will ensure those who remain can more easily practice safe and proper social distancing.
  • During this period (March 30th - May 18th), Capstone will have a limited production capability of new microturbine products, but has recently pre-built approximately 5MW of microturbine finished goods for shipment during this period of suspended production.
  • Capstone will maintain a crew of essential operations employees to manufacture service engines, remanufacture spare parts and provide service spares in support of FPPs and global distributor spare parts orders and is pre-building and shipping immediately to sustain our critical customer sites during this time of uncertainty.

The proposed Capstone COVID-19 Business Continuity Plan provides the following benefits to employees, distribution partners, and company shareholders:

  • Provides the generally recommended safety environment for our employees while still maintaining liquidity and business continuity
  • Supports our Essential Critical Infrastructure Customers globally with reliable energy to maintain operations at hospitals, clean water facilities, and other critical services
  • Maintains all employees' health insurance during the period of business interruption
  • Continues to support the critical aftermarket business and 60+ worldwide distributors
  • Complies with the LA County "Shelter-at-Home" restriction and the WARN Act both Federal and State (California)
  • Provides the flexibility to bring back employees sooner if conditions improve
  • Provides operating expense reduction with the lowest risk of employee turnover
  • Best supports Management's goal of Q1 FY21 Positive Adjusted EBITDA

"I was overwhelmed by how quickly the executive leadership of the company volunteered to reduce their salaries to support our ability to provide medical benefits for all furloughed employees as well as to reduce operating expenses to offset the impact of lower revenues as a result of COVID-19," concluded Mr. Jamison.

Capstone expects the ongoing, global economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic to have an adverse impact on its revenue and adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2020 and also may have an adverse impact on its financial condition and results of operations for the first quarter of Fiscal 2021. Although Capstone is currently attempting to take all reasonable steps to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively impact its net income and adjusted EBITDA in Fiscal 2020, which includes losses related to new product order delays for ongoing projects, backlog pushouts in the oil and gas markets, witness test cancellations due to travel restrictions, supply chain shortages caused by vendor manufacturing plant shutdowns, increased logistics costs caused by flight cancellations, border shutdowns and lack of personnel to move freight, and anticipated order cancellations, among other challenges. Capstone may also be unable to comply with the financial and other material covenants under its debt and other material agreements, and may not be able to negotiate waivers or amendments to such material agreements in order to maintain ongoing compliance. In addition, if Capstone experiences any additional unexpected delays in the resumption of its full production capacity or incurs additional unanticipated costs and expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, such production delays and unanticipated costs and expenses will have a further adverse impact on Capstone's business, financial condition and results of operations in Fiscal 2020 and 2021.

About Capstone Turbine Corporation

Capstone Turbine Corporation ( www.capstoneturbine.com ) (NASDAQ: CPST) is the world's leading producer of highly efficient, low-emission, resilient microturbine energy systems. Capstone microturbines serve multiple vertical markets worldwide, including natural resources, energy efficiency, renewable energy, critical power supply, transportation and microgrids. Capstone offers a comprehensive product lineup, providing scalable systems focusing on 30 kWs to 10 MWs that operate on a variety of gaseous or liquid fuels and are the ideal solution for today's distributed power generation needs. To date, Capstone has shipped over 9,000 units to 73 countries and in FY19, saved customers an estimated $253 million in annual energy costs and 350,000 tons of carbon.

For more information about the company, please visit www.capstoneturbine.com . Follow Capstone Turbine on Twitter , LinkedIn , Instagram , and YouTube .

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking statements," as that term is used in the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as "expects," "believes," "objective," "intend," "targeted," "plan" and similar phrases. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties described in Capstone's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that may cause Capstone's actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied in such statements. Capstone cautions readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release. Capstone undertakes no obligation, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to release any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

"Capstone" and "Capstone Microturbine" are registered trademarks of Capstone Turbine Corporation. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Capstone Turbine Corporation Investor and investment media inquiries: 818-407-3628 [email protected]

Integra Investor Relations Shawn M. Severson 415-226-7747 [email protected]

capstone project comprehensive business continuity

Released March 24, 2020

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