Capstone Project & Symposium


Every third-year CAE student is required 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, and along with the UW–Madison Leadership Framework as a guide, you will create a poster to share your story of learning and growth with other CAE students and guests from the campus community.

The 2023 CAE Capstone Symposium is
Thursday, April 6
4:30-6:30 pm
Varsity Hall, Union South

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

Dates for 2023 Capstone

  • January through March – Read the Capstone website, meet with your advisor, and start work on the project
  • By March 1 – Meet with your advisor to discuss the project
  • March 3Submit Capstone Project via the assignment on Canvas
  • April 6 – Attend Capstone Symposium at Varsity Hall – Union South from 4:30-6:30 pm

Get Started

Reflect on how your experiences in and out of the classroom at UW–Madison and beyond are shaping your journey. Specifically, think about how your experiences are helping you develop UW–Madison Leadership Framework competencies. Refer back to your semester goals and the goal matrix to identify which competencies connect. You don’t need to use every competency, but you should explain how you’ve developed in at least three areas.

  • Self-Awareness
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Supporting Learning and Development of Others
  • Honoring Context and Culture
  • Decision Making
  • Fostering Bridge Building and Collaboration
  • Moving Ideas into Action.

Create the Project

Option A: Design a digital poster (36 x 24 inches), and present it at the Capstone Symposium. 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.

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 in different leadership competencies?
  • 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.