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:

  • Strategy

  • Narrative / Story development

  • Audience research

  • Development of a communication skill or tool

Spring 2021 capstone projects will run 10 weeks from March 29 - June 4, 2021.

If you have any questions about a potential capstone project, please contact communication program director, Lisa Leombruni.

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2020 Capstones

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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.  


Eamon Devlin

Tyanna Bui

Max Russer

Let's Talk About Sea Level Rise

Public Outreach

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.


Adrienne Hewitt

Shellby Johnson

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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.


Corinna Hong

Sidney Gerst

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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.


Tess Hooper

Geoff Cook

Yirui Zhang

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Snowy Plover Conservation 

Community-Based Campaign

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.  


Hope Cupples

Tara Jagadeesh

Chase Brewster | Renee Albrecht | Robert Heim

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‘Greenhouse Sass’ Podcast

Environmental 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. 


Sandro Lallas

Karan Shetty

James Fuller

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Big Deal

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


Ilayda Dinc

Gracie White

Nelson Gould

BR Hoover

Watch now

Current students can access the full

archive of capstone projects here

See the full Comm

Capstone video archive

Watch the June 2020 capstone presentations!

2019 Capstones

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Rage Sustainably

Community-Based Campaign

A messaging campaign, in collaboration with IV Adopt-A-Block, to reduce litter in Isla Vista by targeting party culture to change wasteful behavior. 


Danny Elkin

Giovanna Davila

Eric Tarantino

Kynan Witters-Hicks


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. 


Hanna Buechi

Danny Ettelson

Valeria Tamayo


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.


Cheyenne Coxon

Caitlin Swalec

Lauren Krohmer

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Why Should I Care ABout...?

YouTube Series

A YouTube series that teaches middle schoolers to be mindful consumers by exploring the environmental impacts of daily items. 


Taylor Heisley-Cook

Bri Winkler

Parks over Pollution

Advocacy Campaign

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. 


Meghan Cook

Casey Moorhead

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Living Rivers

Short Film

A short film for The Nature Conservancy exploring the impact of climate change on Eastern Sierra rivers, featuring local residents and managers. 



Marina Lindsay

Eric Holmes

2018 Capstones

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The salty generations

Short Film

A short film looking at the unique challenges of shellfish farmers and their motivation to provide sustainable food for their communities despite these challenges.


Shaun Wolfe

Shelby Oliver

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After the fire,
After the rain 

Short Film

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.


Sarah Salem

Alex McCutcheon

Gokce Sencan, Alex Jamis

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teaching sustainability with Museum interactives

Educational Game

Interactive activities for the California Academy of Sciences to encourage visitors to learn more about sustainability. 


Cheryl Bube

Christin Palmstrom

Past Capstones

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Shelling out solutions

Short Film

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.


Desmond Ho

Erin O'Reilly

Emily Read, Erik Martinez

Classroom Lecture
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. 


Bella Marill

Cora Kammeyer

strategic communication for carbon neutrality

Campaign Strategy

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.


Ilan MacAdam-Somer

Brian Jones

Heather Martin