Members of the Class of 2019 spent the final weeks of their time as Oak Knoll students independently exploring the fields of medicines, finance, education, technology and much more for the annual Capstone Project.
During presentations to their fellow seniors, juniors and faculty on June 6, students spoke about their experiences, toughest challenges and favorite memories, as well as whether the Capstone affirmed their blossoming career aspirations and passions.
Here is a sampling of this year’s projects:
Ana Bui-Martinez ’19 created an app for attorney Terrence Smith, under the guidance of Upper School computer science teacher Camille Burke.
Bui-Martinez taught herself how to program for the iPhone, culminating a love for programming first found during a class on the subject during her freshman year.
“Doing this Capstone has solidified that passion,” she said. “I learned how to create an app for iPhones and how to use specific languages to do so. I’ve also learned a lot about what the life of an app developer might look like: working with clients, figuring out what they want and a lot of time behind a screen trying to make that vision come to life.”
Bui-Martinez, who is pursuing computer science at the collegiate level, acknowledged the project required a lot of problem-solving and patience, and a whole lot of time spent learning a new programming language.
Whitney Clark ’19 worked for CBS as she hopes of following in her mother’s footsteps and work in the television industry.
“I grew up with my mom working high up at CNN News for Lou Dobbs,” Clark said. “I’ve always been interested in current events and learning about important topics that affect society.”
Like many of her classmates, her aspirations were affirmed by her Capstone, and she intends on majoring in journalism at the University of Richmond.
“My experience was amazing, but slightly different than I expected,” she admitted. “I did not realize how many people it takes to air ‘CBS This Morning.’ There are producers, editors, graphic designers and of course, anchors. It takes a lot of diligence to make sure that each news segment is accurate and ready to be released to the millions of viewers.”
Maia Archer ’19, Annalise Cavaliere ’19, Amanda ’19 and Carmen Van Volkenburgh ’19 were a few of the many students who chose to work in the medical field. Each said they chose to work at Advanced Care Oncology and Hematology, Summit Medical Group, St. Michael’s Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center, respectfully, due to their shared desire to work in the medicine or related fields after Oak Knoll.
“Gaining this experience enlightened me on the social talent required for a job in oncology and hematology,” Archer said. “Being a good physician means more than merely being knowledgeable but also having a gift to connect with people and make them feel comfortable on their health journey.”
Van Volkenburgh, who has volunteered with Overlook since she was a freshman, said one of her favorite parts was attending a symposium where she met Dr. Sam Shem, author of “The House of God” – a book about the trials and tribulations of medical school.
“His speech inspired me in many ways because it helped me understand that I can pursue my passion for writing while simultaneously pursuing my passion for medicine,” she said.
Similarly, Cavaliere, who intends to explore the medical track of the explore program at Northeastern, said she enjoyed the challenge of adapting to the arduous schedules of doctors.
“From the moment I began in the morning – usually 9 a.m. – I would be on my feet running around, from office to office, with little to no time to sit down,” she said.
This mirrored the experience of Vera, who intends to study biomedical engineering next fall at Brown University.
“The greatest challenges I faced while at St. Michael’s were ironically either staying still or being on my feet,” Vera said. “During long surgeries, I had no other choice but to stay as still as possible, given how close I was to the doctor’s hands and the patient themselves.
“Conversely, while out of the operating room, I was constantly on my feet, up and down stairs, and on and off of neighboring floors, which began to tire me out, especially when nearing the end of my eight-hour shifts,” she added.