Student Capstone Projects

In their senior year, students in the Environmental Studies minor conduct research projects under the mentorship of faculty in the INDS 372 capstone course. These projects may be conducted in teams or independently and cover a wide range of current events and issues in the environment.

A Study of Eco-Racism in the United States of America: American Indians, African-American Slaves, Modern Citizens 
2015. Benjamin Gillis
This study reviews and analyzes the history of environmental justice and eco-racism throughout the colonization and history of the United States. Full Paper...

The Bright Future of Concentrated Solar Power
2015. Justin DeChirico
This paper examines the current capacity and technologies of concentrated solar power and its promise for delivering sustainable, renewable energy in the future. Full Paper...

Freshwater-Is It the Petroleum Problem of the 21st Century?
2013. Joseph Chambers, Nathaniel Cundy, Alexander Davidovich, Micah Keller, Cody Meadows &  Timothy O'Connor
This project examines the distribution and various uses of water resources in the United States, as well as the potential for and solutions to projected shortages.  Laws and regulations governing water rights and protection of resources are reviewed, and economic issues including privatization are discussed. Full Paper...

The Economics and Effects of the London Congestion Charge
2013. Aaron Arant
This paper details the implementation of a congestion charge during rush hour traffic in London and investigates the economic and social impacts of this program. Full Paper...

The Economic and Biological Impacts of the BP Oil Spill
2011. Nicholas Bowling & John Jefferson
This paper examines the economic and environmental impacts of the BP oil spill that occurred in April of 2010, which was the largest oil spill to date.  Full Paper...

"Climategate": An Evaluation of Recent Controversy in Climate Science
2010. Jay Howard, Scott Jefferson, Charles Macsherry, Ian Poole, Mark Powell & Peter Squire
In November 2009, over 1000 emails and 3000 documents were leaked from the Climatic Research Unit database (Washington Post). The targets of this cyber attack were scientists from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who have been collecting data on climate change since the late 1980s. This capstone project examines the leaked emails and the resurgence of skepticism in the science of climate change and how human activity relates to it. Full Paper...

Environmental and Health Impacts of Air Pollution in China
2009. Professor Kenneth Townsend, Benjamin Brown, Todd Magee, Ben Cherry & Joel Daves
The environmental and health impacts of China's air pollution are well researched and documented. However, the perception of Chinese citizens about severity of present consequences is less well-understood. This study was conducted to compare how Chinese students and American students at Hampden-Sydney College perceive the impacts of air pollution in China. This paper was presented at the 2009 Summer Alumni College, "After the Olympics: China's Place in the World." Other speakers at this event included a former Ambassador to China. Full Paper...

An Analysis of Pork Production in Virginia: Production vs. Protection
2007. Philip Agee, Benjamin Cabbell Barrow, Rollo Knight, Louis Nottingham & Dustin Zedaker
Americans have grown to crave the taste of pork products and other commercially-processed meats.  At the same time American society has reached a certain level of affluence and started to develop an appetite for environmental quality - demanding cleaner air and water.  Recently the American public's demands for pork and environmental quality have met in a showdown that establishes Smithfield Foods in one corner and environmentalists in the other.  Full Paper...

Phuntsho Norbu on Briery Creek

An Eye On Briery Creek
Ecological Study within our small County

Story By: Joe Prempeh '06
The Honors council, under the directorship of Professor Alexander J. Werth, Elliott Associate Professor of Biology, has successfully completed its summer research/internship program for the 2003/2004 academic year. Students worked with professors from the departments of chemistry, economics, history, physics, biology, political science, psychology, and religion. Inside the DuPont Room, FCCI of Eggleston Library, all of the students presented a speech report about their research. The Honors Council, over the years, has encouraged students to undertake research in fields that interest them most. Full Story...