Award-Winning Capstone Projects: Overexposure to Screens

in News and Events
May 3rd, 2019

Members of Team S with CGS faculty Kari Lavalli, Robert Wexelblatt, and R.S. Deese

The Team

Sofia Chavez, Sydney Christianson, Grace Golder, Jeanne Ilano, Yiyuan Li, Junfeng Liu, Yingjie Zhang, Yichen Zhou

The Problem

How can we address young people’s overexposure to computers, the Internet, and screens in general? The team crafted their Capstone project in the form of two sides facing off at a Congressional joint committee hearing about legislation to address the problem of screentime overexposure: the STEM Act (Screen Time Exposure and Mitigation Act). The teammates compared Chinese and American approaches to the issue of screen overexposure.

Praise from Professors

An exemplary report … The STEM Act is an imaginary—and imaginative—bill which aims to limit screen time for the young but to do so in accord with American constitutional and cultural norms.

How They Succeeded

  • Jeanne Ilano (CGS’18, CAS’20): I think our Capstone succeeded because of the sheer diversity of the group. Half my Capstone group members were international students from China, and the other half were native U.S. students. Because half my group were international students from China, they were able to locate and translate information that reflected Chinese viewpoints about our topic and that had actually come from Chinese academic sources. These viewpoints were often so different from the Western perspective, and it really resulted in a richer Capstone project because we were able to critically examine our topic from different angles. 

What They Learned

  • Jeanne: I think, for me, the most important thing I learned was to just be considerate. Having everyone be honest about what they were capable of doing in terms of the workload and the type of work for the project turned out to be extremely important, at least within the dynamic of my group. Being considerate and having an open mind also facilitated the range of information we presented in our project. 

Any Tips?

  • Jeanne: I personally really strongly believe that honesty and consideration are the best qualities to come into the Capstone Project with. It might be a bit awkward or even uncomfortable at first, but initiating the conversation and being honest about any perceived issues in the group work really helps the group dynamic. At any rate, I think it’s important to always be mindful that everyone has different schedules and different life demands.

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