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The Culmination of the Academic Experience

End-of-program projects are a highlight for students

Toward the end of their program, most WCTC students must complete a capstone project – a portfolio, report or other assignment – as a final requirement to graduate. It allows them to demonstrate their learning, think critically and problem solve, and for many, it is a high point of their education.

Erica Brautigam ’19, Metal Fabrication/Welding – Advanced
Erica Brautigam teamed up with classmate Isabel Schueller ‘19 to create a stunning, one-of-a-kind conference room table.

Because the two women were enrolled in a nontraditional occupations program, they wanted to make something more feminine compared to what had been created in the past. They cut flowers and other natural elements from thick sheets of steel for the table frame and base, and they handled all aspects of design, purchasing, troubleshooting, fabricating and finishing.

"All the classes leading up to the capstone project gave me the confidence to make something I had never done before because I had learned the techniques I needed to accomplish my ideas," Brautigam said. "I loved working through the problems and finding new, inventive ways to complete the design."

Darsi Matyszczyk ’20, Health Information Technology
For Darsi Matyszczyk's capstone portfolio presentation, her written reflectionshighlighted the understanding and skills she acquired in the program along with how she would use them in her career.

Along with the capstone course, HIT students must simultaneously take Professional Practice Experience (PPE). The PPE involved site visits, hands-on projects and virtual demonstrations, as well as creating (with Information Technology students) an in-house electronic health record system for use by health students. Matyszczyk was able to incorporate elements from the PPE into her final presentation.

"This project required me to look back on each assignment and reflect on what I learned both technically and professionally as a student at WCTC," she said. "Upon completion, I was able to see, in my own words and experiences, that I was qualified and ready to transition from a student to a health information professional."

Melissa Lugo ’20, Business Management
Melissa Lugo knew she could apply her capstone project to her career, and it turned out to be sooner rather than later. Her project – to create a business plan – is something she has referred to often as she prepares to open her bakery storefront – Mama Ducky's Desserts – in downtown Waukesha in mid-April.

Baking had long been a hobby of Lugo's, and in recent years, she began renting commercial kitchen space and selling her desserts at community events and vendor fairs. Upon learning the entire storefront where she rented the small kitchen space would soon be available, she quickly moved ahead with her plan.

"Since I had a business that was more than just an idea, I was excited to be working on a business plan," Lugo said. "I knew that within the year, I would be needing a business plan for a few different business decisions, and the (Business Management Capstone) class made it less daunting. What I was learning in the program would help me to run a functioning, successful business."