Digital Media Studies Seniors Present Capstone Projects: News Center

May 18, 2021

Examples of digital papers created by undergraduate students for their digital media studies capstone projects. Top left: close-up of a poster designed by the Cracker Box Palace team; close up of posters for the Just Sing Out project; and details of the MEDIA project website. (Illustration by the University of Rochester)

Rochester students show how digital media can help solve real-world problems.

Each year, seniors majoring in Digital Media Studies at University of Rochester spend their final semester working in teams to complete capstone projects. Projects demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge of media history, theory, design, and technology in a digital media project that addresses real-world problems or needs.

The pandemic has posed an additional hurdle this year, forcing students to find new ways to engage and work with each other virtually, and in some cases, collaborate across time zones.

“Organizing six people in different locations was a challenge for us,” says Sofia Hennessey, part of a team that created a digital destination for students looking for a basic tech education.

“Our students’ ability to continue to create meaningful work while dealing with a global pandemic and amid our nation’s reckoning with racism is a testament to their sense of community,” said Stephanie Ashenfelderacting director of Undergraduate Program in Digital Media Studies.

And it’s a successful group. “These graduates already have big plans and many are heading to graduate school in various programs all over the world, including Amsterdam, Southern California and New York,” she adds.

The projects are very varied, as a sample of this year’s flagship projects shows.

Share the digital toolbox

Project title: MEDIA

Members of the team: Alex Chase, Jennifer Ngene, Dominique Dorvil, Kun Fang, Sofia Hennessey, Henry Vargas

The cornerstone was born out of the shared experience of the group – a feeling that they could benefit from a more technical education that was not necessarily included as part of the major. Their project complements the Digital Media Studies major with new opportunities in technical education and provides a framework for creative students to work on their portfolios with a view to entering the workforce.

  • Visit the MEDIA project websitewhere team members share their process and what they learned along the way, from ideation to iteration to launch.

Help an association on its digital brand

Project title: cookie jar palace

Members of the team: Fiona Chen, Carolina Lion He, Harry Ma, Yujie Zhous

The team worked with an existing community partner, cookie jar palace, a farm and wildlife rescue organization in Alton, New York. The nonprofit had a list of things they wanted students to tackle, from creating an app to creating a new website.

“Their problem was that they had a lot of problems,” says Carolina Lion He ’21. “It’s kind of a tough incentive. It’s very open yet very expansive and perfectly designed for a cornerstone of digital media.

The team worked with the nonprofit’s board of directors, learning about the group’s need to build a brand identity, through regular online communications.

  • Check Cracker Box Palace Project Sitewhere team members share their approach to this open-ended project and learn about the set of identity-building assets they’ve created.

Help others sing out loud, in an unknown language

Project title: just sing
Members of the team: Juliette Ding, Jingxuan Fang, Noah Honickman, Lingling Li, Keyuan Qin

“Language barriers have become the biggest obstacle for people to sing a song in a foreign language,” the team notes on its project site. But that hurdle shouldn’t stop friends from sharing an interest or appreciation for those songs.

The team provides a platform for anyone who loves a song in an unfamiliar language and really wants to sing it. The platform, which currently focuses on East Asian pop songs, provides phonetic versions of the lyrics. Team members built and built a website with front-end and back-end applications, in addition to producing an animated promotional video for the site.

The project “encourages people not only to get their transliteration lyrics, but also to upload their lyrics, so there is an exchange between a fan and the fan group,” says Lingling Li.

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Category: Campus life