Capstone Project & Symposium


Every third-year CAE student is expected to complete a Capstone Project and present at the Symposium.

Was there a time you failed, had success, or learned to look at the world differently while at UW–Madison? The CAE Capstone Project challenges you to reflect on and make sense of these experiences. Working with CAE staff and your advisor you will create a project to share your story of learning and growth with other CAE students and guests from the campus community.

The 2024 CAE Capstone Symposium is
Thursday, April 4
4:00-7:00 pm
Varsity Hall, Union South

First-, Second-, and Third-year students are expected to attend/participate in this event. All CAE students are welcome!

Dates for 2024 Capstone

  • December through March – Read the Capstone website, meet with your advisor, and start work on the project
  • By February 18 – Submit the alternative project survey if you expect to do a non-poster project
  • By March 1 – Meet with your advisor to discuss the project
  • By March 4Submit Capstone Project via the assignment on Canvas (we will print it for you!)
  • April 4 – Attend Capstone Symposium at Varsity Hall – Union South from 4:00-7:00 pm

Get Started

Reflect on how your experiences at UW–Madison and beyond are shaping your journey. Think about how you have been developing your self-awareness, interpersonal communication, decision-making, and other Leadership Competencies. Pick two or more of the following questions that resonate with your experience to guide your project.

  • What have been the most meaningful or impactful experiences in college?
  • What advice would you like to give to your freshman or sophomore self? Or, what are some things that you’ve learned?
  • How has CAE been important to your college experience?
  • In what ways have you been involved in the UW community?
  • In what ways have you been involved in communities outside of UW?
  • Describe your journey to choosing your current path/major/career.
    • What resources have helped you?
    • If you changed your major, how was that experience?
  • What are your future aspirations and goals?

Create the Project

Option A: Design a digital poster (36 x 24 inches) and present it at the Capstone Symposium (we will print it for you!). Be sure to include your name on your poster! See more poster design resources below.

Option B: If you would like to create a different type of project, please talk with your CAE advisor and submit the alternative project survey by the end of the day on Sunday, February 11.

Designing your poster

36 x 24 inches template for PowerPoint

Remember, this is a poster, not a slide show! You will only be displaying a single page, so make sure the dimensions are correct. Small posters will be hard to see for guests when you share. Be sure to include your name on your poster!

PowerPoint is sometimes used to create a poster, but there are many programs you can use. The DesignLab  provides free digital design help for UW–Madison students. You can even schedule appointments with their consultants to get help with digital projects.

How to talk about your project

All students are expected to present their project at the symposium. Here are some concrete ideas to help you prepare for these conversations:

  • Introduction: My name is ______ , I’m a ________ major in my ____ year. I’m interested in a career in _______ upon graduation or I’m interested in the _______ field or I’m interested in going to _______ school.
  • Talk about your experience in and out of the classroom using your poster. What experiences (both within and outside of CAE) have been most meaningful to you? How did they contribute to your growth?
  • What did you learn about yourself during your college journey? How are these lessons already shaping your present and future?
  • Ask the audience if they have any questions about your project.