my capstone experience

Molly Dunholter '08

Molly Dunholter '08, a Communications major from Peterborough, N.H., was a member of the Colby-Sawyer dance club all four years and the layout editor for the student-run newspaper, The Courier. Here, she discusses her senior Capstone project, which involved working with a non-profit therapeutic riding program called Horse Power. The Capstone project, which involves extensive research and presentation, is the culmination of each student's academic experience and part of the Liberal Education Program at Colby-Sawyer College. After graduation, Dunholter plans to go to graduate school for television production.

Describe the subject of your Capstone project and why you chose to focus on this subject.

For my Capstone project I worked with a non-profit organization called Horse Power in Temple, N.H. Horse Power is a therapeutic riding program that works with children and adults who have cognitive, emotional and physical challenges.

I created a promotional video that will be used as part of a presentation given by the founder of Horse Power. With this video, Horse Power hopes to generate awareness of their organization and encourage viewers to donate money or time.

I had seen firsthand the benefits of the program at Horse Power because the special-needs students at my middle and high schools took part. The program is not very well known, and I wanted to change that. Horse Power does so many wonderful things to help people face their challenges.

What research did you conduct for this project?

I researched similar organizations and read as much as I could about therapeutic riding. I watched other videos promoting therapeutic riding to get ideas for how I wanted mine to look. I also spent many days at Horse Power watching lessons and interacting with the staff and students to understand the daily routine of Horse Power.

What did you learn through your Capstone project, and in what ways is it a culmination of your learning experience at Colby-Sawyer?

This project gave me firsthand experience of what it is like to work with a client, and it let me put all the hard work and knowledge from my Colby-Sawyer experience into a product.

What was most fun and rewarding for you in the process of creating your Capstone?

I was able to meet two amazing families who gave me more than I ever could have asked for. They showed me that love conquers all, and to cherish the things in life I take for granted such as the ability to speak and walk.

What did you find most challenging and difficult about the project?

The biggest challenge I faced was the weather. Most of my filming took place during winter, and due to the disabilities the students face, the winter weather is hard on them and many take the session off.

What do you hope will be the lasting value of your Capstone project, both for you and others?

There are no words to explain the magic you feel when walking onto the fields of Horse Power, but I hope that with this video I am able to persuade at least some people to help keep this magic alive for the more than 3,000 individuals facing physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral and learning challenges in the United Stated as well as their friends and family who truly benefit from this wonderful type of therapy.