my capstone experience

Angelina Tagliatela '08

Angelina Tagliatela '08, a Communications Studies major and Writing for Publication minor from Sunapee, N.H., discusses her senior Capstone project, which was creating a promotional video for the Upper Valley Music Center. 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. As a student, Angelina was a member of Lambda Pi Eta, the Honor Society of the National Communication Association.

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

For my Capstone project, I worked with Upper Valley Music Center, a nonprofit organization in Lebanon, N.H. UVMC offers a variety of musical programs to the community, and I thought they were a great organization. I have always been a supporter of the arts, especially music, so to work with an organization that promotes music education and musical performance to the community was a great opportunity for me. They were having trouble promoting all their many offerings, so I decided to create a video about the organization as a whole that they could use for promotional purposes. They love the final product and have decided to use it many different ways, including sending it to potential students, teachers, and donors as well as using it during their outreach programs. They are also planning to put it on their website.

What research did you conduct for this project?

I spent a lot of time hanging around their office in Lebanon, where they hold many rehearsals. I would be there for hours taping violin and cello lessons and conducting interviews, and then when that was over they would hold community orchestra rehearsal for adults or a chamber ensemble, so I would stay for that as well. I also traveled all over the Upper Valley, as far as Thetford, Vt., to visit schools and tape the performances that UVMC put on there. I met parents and music teachers and all sorts of musicians, and spoke with many different types of kids who all really loved playing their instrument or singing with their friends in the chorus. It made all the traveling worth it because all the personalities come out in the video.

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

It has always been my experience that people who have a career in what they love are generally happier than those who do not, so it was a real pleasure to work with those who are so passionate about their work. Being around people who got to teach and create music every day was an affirmation for me that I will also be able to make something I love a part of my career in the future. With a Communication Studies major, I have learned a variety of skills that will give me the ability to figure out what I really want to do in life.

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

It was very rewarding to accomplish a project so independently, and know that I have personally fulfilled a need for a business that needed help. I wouldn't have felt nearly as good about completing the project if my client decided not to use the video.

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

The most challenging aspect was trying to balance it with the rest of my school work. I hate to say that more than once my other work was put on the back burner for my Capstone project, but what else are you supposed to do when only one board member will agree to an interview and they can only meet the evening that you are supposed to be writing a paper for another class and you have to drive all the way to Vermont to meet with them? Obviously, you do the paper later! Within the project itself, it was difficult to balance all the different subjects and topics that I wanted to include because I didn't want to make some seem less or more important. I feel that I successfully represented all their programs in the end, though.

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

I am hoping that the UVMC will be able to use the video efficiently, and that it will bring community awareness to their programming. It really is a fantastic organization, and it deserves all the recognition it can get. I will be able to take away not only technical skills, but professional experience that I wouldn't have been able to get through any other type of project that will really help me in the future.