Spring 2021 Virtual Capstone Competition
For the third semester in a row, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Whitman School hosted a virtual “capstone competition,” the final component of the three-credit Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management course taken by all undergraduate Whitman seniors. On May 7, 2021, 36 student teams comprised of four to five students, each guided and advised by their professor, pitched an original business plan to a panel of judges. The following day, five finalist teams competed for the top places in the competition.
Special recognition goes to all “Capstoners” and their professors, including Adjunct Professor Tamara Demeree ’89, ’96 MBA, Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice Alexandra Kostakis ’91 (WHIT/NEW), Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice and Deputy Department Chair for EEE John Torrens G’93 (A&S) and Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice Ken Walsleben ’83 (MAX) for a job well done this past semester guiding the teams.
The results from the final round are:
In first place, day.i team members:
Devon Canora ’21
Bruno Gonzalez Hauger ’21 (WHIT/NEW), ’22 M.S.
Andrea Lan ’21
Camryn Lawyea ’21
Patrick Penfield ’21
Under the guidance of faculty advisor Walsleben, day.i created a mobile application that uses artificial intelligence (machine learning) to automate scheduling. Created for tasks that do not require strict times, day.i schedules them for the user at the best times possible. Over time, it learns to best suit each user’s work-life balance preference and is designed to improve productivity and mental health. Initially, day.i will be sold to colleges and high schools to increase student performance and student retention.
day.i team member Bruno Gonzalez Hauger says, “This capstone experience was fantastic, and that’s all because of my team. We all worked hard, we were all open-minded and receptive of one another’s feedback, and we all had a common goal—to win.
The second-place team, under the faculty direction of Tamara Demeree, created Leaf It, fully compostable take-out packaging that incorporates a dehumidifying agent to maintain the quality of the food throughout the transportation process.
Team members included:
Austin Grace ’21 (WHIT/MAX)
Max Hubley ’21 (WHIT/ iSchool)
Eliza Lunt ’21 (WHIT/MAX)
Grant Murphy ’21
Jack Tillotso ’21
The third-place team, American Oral Group (AOG) was advised by professor Walsleben and included team members:
Daniel Adediran ’21
Michael Bright ’21
Rachel Li ’21 (WHIT/A&S)
Ben Salley ’21
Garrett Szczucki ’21 (WHIT/iSchool)
AOG has created a personalized dental mouth guard impregnated with minerals and vitamins intended to protect teeth and protect enamel. Additionally, they market a spray (on a subscription basis) to renew the mouth guard’s efficacy.
“Capstone makes you take a majority of what you have learned here at Whitman and apply it. It’s the culmination of what you can create with the knowledge base you have built in your four years,” says Gonzalez Hauger. “Anyone can memorize terms or formulas and take a test, but a lot of the time that stuff is forgotten as fast as it is learned. Applying what you have learned to create something special—that’s what really teaches you. That’s what gives you a deeper understanding of business concepts and makes them stick.”
Learn more about past capstone winners and their topics.