build your professional portfolio through applied client work.
The best way to learn communication skills is to apply them in a real-world context.
The communication capstone project (ESM 449) represents a culmination of the applied skills that Communication focus students learn. This experience helps students build skills and a communication portfolio while working for an external client over ten weeks in spring quarter. Students may also develop their own communication products or expand upon their Master's Group Projects.
Past communication capstones have taken on a diversity of topics and tactics, such as branding and messaging strategy, short films, audience research, educational curricula, outreach strategies, infographics, and museum interactives.
Capstone Project Requirements
Students and potential clients are encouraged to propose communication capstone projects. Successful projects should focus on a clear goal, such as raising awareness, promoting engagement, creating educational opportunities, or compelling individuals to engage in pro-environmental behavior. They must also incorporate at least two of the following:
Narrative / Story development
Development of a communication skill or tool
The next RFP will be released in December 2021. If you'd like to develop a capstone project, please contact us!
If you have any questions about a potential capstone project, please contact communication program director, Lisa Leombruni.
Parks Are Essential Campaign
Open Spaces Education & Outreach Campaign
The Conejo Recreation & Parks Department hopes to reach residents to communicate benefits of local parks to spark increased use, interest, and support for future park initiatives. This multi-part, research-based campaign includes a survey, strategic messaging, video competitions, and calls to action.
Uprooting Environmental Injustice
Environmental managers need a foundational understanding of environmental justice to be effective, equitable, and inclusive problem solvers. This four-part workshop series is designed to help environmental managers gain critical skills and literacy in environmental justice and equity topics.
Nori Business to Consumer Development
Strategy & Audience Development
Nori is a growing carbon removal company looking to expand their audience and increase carbon removal purchases. This consulting-style project involves extensive audience research, audience profiles, competitive analyses, and strategic messaging.
Educational Outreach & Behavior Change Campaign
The Western Monarch’s population has dropped precipitously, with only 1,914 individuals observed in 2020. To help save this iconic species from extinction, this project is working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help nurseries, gardeners, and community-members to adopt monarch-friendly behaviors.
Water Balance in National Parks
The National Park Service wants its managers to incorporate ‘water balance’ into their park management practices—but it’s a challenging topic and not many are aware of how it works. This project includes an ArcGIS StoryMap to explain the topic and why it’s relevant to park managers.
Uniquely Sustainable Seafood
Urchin Cooking Video
The purple urchin is a delicacy that can help repopulate California’s kelp forests if fished. But Americans aren’t knowledgeable about the culinary uses and potential of ‘uni.’ To help curious foodies learn more, this cooking video will educate home cooks and share cooking and urchin sustainability tips.
engaging Communities in PUBLIC meetings
Community Engagement Plan
The CA Coastal Commission hopes to expand participation in its public comments. Since many young people and People of Color are underrepresented in this process, this team created a short film, instructional video, and web content to inspire participation and provide engagement tips.
The potential for seaweed aquaculture is real, though challenges remain in expanding its use. Created for UCSB’s Seaweed Working Group, this short film addresses the benefits of seaweed aquaculture and helps those who might be skeptical better understand its sustainability and broad applicability.
Gabriel de la Rosa
Watch the June 2020 capstone presentations!
Branding & Marketing Strategy
Looking to help Adopt-a-Cookstove find and communicate with its target audience, the team conducted interviews with industry experts and researched its competitors. With this information they designed infographics and a website for the organization.
Let's Talk About Sea Level Rise
The California Coastal Commission knows how important it is for Californians to prepare for a future that will include sea level rise. This project aimed to create digestible communication tools for the agency that highlight the importance of sea level rise planning and adaptation in coastal communities.
Get Hooked Seafood Market(ing)
Educational Outreach & Marketing
Marketing and educational outreach materials on the health and ecological benefits of eating local seafood! Created for Get Hooked, a community-supported fishery in Santa Barbara. Customer data analysis was also undertaken to inform materials and customer retention strategy.
Community for Climate Action
Local Climate Action Plan
The City of Santa Barbara has been at the forefront of advancing climate policy and taking effective climate actions. To help the City achieve community-wide climate targets with inclusive community engagement, the team created climate outreach strategies, including designing a series of themed workshops and a climate ambassador program.
Snowy Plover Conservation
Beach closures to protect the Western Snowy Plover in Lompoc, CA have generated negative community sentiments towards the threatened bird. But a new 2019 policy allows public access to Surf Beach. This project aims to understand community concerns surrounding beach access, and to foster environmental stewardship among Lompoc residents.
Chase Brewster | Renee Albrecht | Robert Heim
‘Greenhouse Sass’ Podcast
The ‘Greenhouse Sass’ podcast breaks down current environmental headlines, in an accessible and conversational way. With quirky humor, topical environmental issues are explained by reviewing relevant scientific studies. Three 20-minute episodes will be discussed, covering Microplastic Generation, Coral Bleaching, and the future of Renewable Energy.
Multimedia Outreach Campaign
Small-Scale Big Deal is a multimedia project to raise awareness of small-scale fisheries. Using short films and social media, the main objective is to illustrate who small scale fishers are, what they do, why they do it, and how consumer demand impacts their lives. @smallscaleBIGDEAL
A messaging campaign, in collaboration with IV Adopt-A-Block, to reduce litter in Isla Vista by targeting party culture to change wasteful behavior.
Interactive Energy Game
An interactive puzzle game for the California Academy of Sciences that helps players understand where their electricity comes from and empowers them to support a greener grid.
Communication & Branding Strategy
A communication strategy to help the California Grizzly Research Network craft a consistent message about their research on grizzly bear reintroduction in California.
Why Should I Care ABout...?
A YouTube series that teaches middle schoolers to be mindful consumers by exploring the environmental impacts of daily items.
Parks over Pollution
Press kit materials for the National Parks Conservation Association to raise awareness on the impacts of fracking on California National Parks and to encourage community engagement.
A short film for The Nature Conservancy exploring the impact of climate change on Eastern Sierra rivers, featuring local residents and managers.
2018 & Earlier
The salty generations
A short film looking at the unique challenges of shellfish farmers and their motivation to provide sustainable food for their communities despite these challenges.
After the fire,
After the rain
A short film examining the vulnerable populations, often minority or low income communities, whose lives are significantly impacted by the secondary effects of natural disasters.
Gokce Sencan, Alex Jamis
teaching sustainability with Museum interactives
Interactive activities for the California Academy of Sciences to encourage visitors to learn more about sustainability.
Shelling out solutions
A short film in collaboration with the Honda Marine Science Foundation, exploring ways to restore habitat and bring native California Olympia oyster back to our waterways.
Emily Read, Erik Martinez
high school Environmental Science Curriculum
High School Curricula
Environmental education curriculum for AP high school students in Santa Barbara, highlighting problem solving and critical thinking related to real world problems.
strategic communication for carbon neutrality
Campaign concepts pilot-tested with UC students to improve how the University of California Office of the President connects with the student body regarding its Carbon Neutrality Initiative. TomKat Foundation.