Anthropology Senior Capstone Guidelines

What is a senior capstone and why is it important?

The Anthropology senior capstone is a two-semester research and writing project completed at the end of the your course of study under the guidance and mentorship of CSUCI faculty members. Involving active learning and the integration of materials within the major, the project centers on a topic chosen by you in consultation with Anthropology faculty members. It is an opportunity to engage with an issue of anthropological concern to produce a body of work that is reflective of core concepts and principles you have learned in classes as applied to an area that interests you. It represents the culmination of your undergraduate studies, the application of your knowledge to a specific anthropological topic, and the opportunity to gain firsthand experience as a practicing anthropologist.

A successful capstone project should demonstrate the following:

  1. Engaging in independent and original research
  2. Application of anthropological theory to frame research questions
  3. Application of quantitative and/or qualitative methods
  4. Critical thinking and reading
  5. Writing and presenting scholarship
  6. Ethical conduct and professionalism

Additional benefits of the capstone include authoring a paper that may be submitted to graduate schools or potential employers as a substantive sample of your writing; developing a manuscript for publication; or as a springboard for future research projects.

Who do I work with?

Effective fall 2015, you are required to enroll in two capstone-related courses: Professionalism in Anthropology (ANTH 489) in the fall semester and Capstone Project (ANTH 499) in spring semester of your senior year. You will work with the instructor(s) of those courses. In addition, you are encouraged to consult with other faculty members in Anthropology and other programs when relevant. You should plan on working with at least two faculty members, as your capstone will benefit from their different perspectives and experiences.

How do I choose a topic?

Many students choose to draw on interests, experiences, and/or research they have conducted during previous coursework (e.g. UNIV 498) or internships (e.g. ANTH 492), while studying abroad (e.g. UNIV 392), or as part of independent studies (e.g. ANTH 494). Examples of capstone projects include ethnographies, museum exhibits, films, archaeological reports, or a developed body of materials that can be used in elementary or secondary schools. It is important that you select a research project that is:

  1. Well-defined in its scope, being neither too general nor too specific
  2. Feasible with respect to time and resources
  3. Significant, having relevance and merit to others

Resources that can help you choose a topic include: reviewing academic journals to identify trends in research and scholarship; talking to former students and reading their capstone papers; and consulting with Anthropology faculty members.

What do I need to produce and what is the timeline?

Regardless of your particular interests, you are encouraged to conduct original research and use that as the basis of your capstone. In addition, whether a film, museum exhibit, or otherwise, each project needs an accompanying written paper that discusses how the project was researched and carried out and discusses the importance of the project in terms of anthropological theory.

By the end of the fall semester you are required to complete the following:

  1. Research design, which should include a discussion of your research question, working hypothesis and expectations, methods and theory, and significance.
  2. Paper outline, which should detail the major points of each chapter of your final paper.
  3. Literature review, which should include a summary of relevant academic sources of information relating to the particular topic, theoretical framework, and methods. The literature review is one chapter of your final paper.
  4. If you are conducting research involving human subjects (which will be the case for most sociocultural projects) and plan to use the data collected after CSUCI for other projects, you are legally required to obtain approval for your research from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at CSUCI. You must complete and submit an IRB application form. To do so, consult the information on the IRB webpage. You are also encouraged to read previously approved applications for Anthropology capstones.

By the end of the spring semester you are required to:

  1. Complete all data collection and analysis.
  2. Write a 40 to 60-page thesis (the length of the paper varies depending on the topic, but the absolute minimum is 40 pages). It is required that you submit the final paper in two formats: a) a bound hard copy and b) as a PDF file.
  3. Present the results in the form of a poster or oral presentation. In particular, you are required to present your work at the CI Student Research Conference held in May. You may also be encouraged to present at other professional conferences; in the past this has included the annual meetings of the Society for California Archaeology and the Society for American Archaeology.

List of Anthropology Senior Capstones

CSUCI Anthropology Capstone Papers (In reverse chronological order)


Cecilia Alonso

Against All Odds: The Exploration of Foster Youth’s Trajectories After Emancipation

Faith Alviso

Generational Outlook on Mental Health in Relation to Preventing Re-emerging Infectious Diseases

Kayla Doornbos

When we Die: An Observation on the Human Relationship with Death

Marilyn Elizabeth Nicole Estrada

Business Affecting Mental Health and Mental Health Affecting Business: Solutions to Both

Lauren Schneider

Murder and Unkindness: Evolution of the Depiction and Perception of the Raven

Daniela Valenzuela

Cultural Significance at CSU Channel Islands


Alva Bailey

Masculinity, Media, and the Middle Ages: Chivalry and Bushido in Popular Culture

Amy Bernhardt

Cultural Expectation on Caregiving of Aging Parents

Rosa Carmona Vera

Human Sacrifice: Rituals, Prosperity, and Social Cooperation

Amanda Corpeno

Living With Death: Understanding Death through Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Alyssa Lexis Emanuele

The Need for Medical Personnel at Research Stations and During Remote Field Work

Evelyn Michelle Garcia

Forensic and Anthropological Methods on Identification of Victims of Serial Killers

Matthew Jones

Exploration of the Concept of the Library

Adam Wilson King

Filemon Joseph Meza

Tattoos: A Trend in Time

Kathleen Preston

Hashtag Stewardship: Identifying and Enhancing Cultural Resource Awareness Knowledge at CSU Channel Islands

Daniel Rasnow

The Dark Arts of Horticulture: An Ethnographic Catalog of Plants in Popular Culture

Yaneth Renteria

Mountain Biking: Communitas in Mountain Biking Culture

Alyssa Smith

Daylight Savings: Outdated or Right on Time?

William D. Tolle

What Genes do We have in Common with and have We Gained through Interbreeding with Neanderthals that have Helped Us Adapt over Time?

Ruby Catalina Triguero

Surfing Around the Globe: Analyzing the Effects of Surf Tourism

Cadeya Wright

An Analysis on the Role of Ancient Egyptian Religion, Dynasties, and Mummification in Egypt


Gage Albertson

The Impact of Modernization on Health and Diet within Thailand

Nitza Arámbula

The Last Racebender: Experiences of BIPOC in Fandom

Marnol Arevalos

Fieldworkers and Fieldwork in Ventura County, CA: Effects of Immigration Policy and Climate Change

Yesenia Bautista

Marriage in India: A look into the unequal treatment of women

Josh DesLaurier

Minds in Materials: Revealing cognition through the archeological analysis of Acheulean Handaxes

Marcelino Gonzalez

Wildfires: Incorporating Traditional Fire Knowledge and Methods into the Fire Management Paradigm

Jonathan Housh

Denizens of Normal: A literary review of perspectives on Midwestern farming culture

Corrina Nichole Jacobitz

The Couch Researcher and the Power of Being Self-Informed

Aria James

Sacrifice in Sports: The Ancient Maya Ballgame

Chloe McCullen

A View into The Vampire Community: Sanguinarians, Spirituality and Psychic Vampirism

Lydia Rios

A Look Beyond the Coffee Cup: The culture of Latin American coffee farmers in the era of climate change

Antonio Sepulveda

The Boxing Culture in Oxnard California and Why Fighters Fight at All

James P. Tobin

Campus Fever: Managing School and Fear of COVID-19


Aren Antounian

Understanding the Economical and Nutritional Effects of Southern California Marine Protected Areas on Recreational Fishers of Ventura County

Summer Baldwin

K-pop: A Social Media Marketing Machine

Ricky Brockamp

Cultural Motivators and the Benefits of Attending Music Festivals

Spencer Christensen

“E-Waste: Developing Disposal Pathways & Examining the Human Factor”

Laura Ashley Coe

Traditional and Western Medicine: An Analysis of Two Practices Becoming One

Jon Fant

Joystick Generation: An Ethnographic Study of Video Game Culture

Ilis Geronimo-Anctil

Landscaping with Natives: Benefits for Homeowners and the Environment

Cristal Gonzalez

How Identity Influences Political Affiliations in the United States

Samantha Gonzalez

What Makes Disneyland the “Happiest Place on Earth”

Madison Harden

Puerto Rico and the United States: How One Culture Perceives Another

Paul Lerma

Exploration of Chumash Phenomenology: How the Land, Plants and Animals Teach Humans How to Live in Harmony Within the Ecosystem and to Communicate Knowledge Through Place Naming with a Focus on Ethnobotany

Diane Letulier

Alcoholics Anonymous Does it Work: Why all the Culture Controversy?

Omar Lopez

Understanding Housing Options Through Homelessness in Los Angeles

Sara Maldonado

The Nutritional Power of Traditional Native Californian Diet and How it Changed

Marin S. Matsune

As Seen on Tv? An Analysis of Fictional Dramatized Media Productions And Their Implications Regarding Forensic Knowledge And Its Application In Real Life Court Cases.

Alexis Oteri

Grief: How do we Cope with Death?

Jake Anthony Pacheco

Truth Behind the Infamous Cannabis

Shandee Rae

California’s Wine Industry: Consumer Culture and the Regional Viticulture

Blayke Reynoso

Harm reduction Strategies to Reduce the Risks of Opioid Use at CSU Channel Islands and in Ventura County?

Riley Richman

A Sociocultural Study of CSUCI Student Leaders

Amber Dawn Thomas

The Colors of Archaeology: What Paint can Tell us about the Archaeological Site WSMOP-3 at California State University Channel Islands

Jade Willard

Looking through the Glass: Using Glass Containers to Date a 20th century building at CSU Channel Islands

Emilio Zuniga

Perceptions of Unintended Ethnocentrism within a Health System


Oscar Arellano

The Academic Experience of Mexican Indigenous Youth in Ventura County

Imelda Barron

An Examination of Cognitive Liberty Rights: The Controversy of Psychoactive Drugs for Medical and Recreational Use in Western Society

Matthew Bozone

Recurring Themes in Oceanic Creation Mythology

Lauren Calas

Female Workplace Clothing: A Comparison of Victorian Era and Today

Danielle Frattali

A Study of the Opinions Surrounding the Death Industry in the Ventura County

Richard Guerre

The Significance of Limestone-Based Architectural Adhesives in Mesoamerica

Steven Hernandez

Minimalism and Social Media: A Content Analysis of a Microblogging Community

Taylor Katsumata

Cultural Identity and Expression: Perceptions of Body Modification within the Workforce

Jennifer Kause

Who Owns What? An Analysis of Repatriation Claims of Indigenous Artifacts in a Museum Setting

Daniel Klein

Voices from the Grave: Death, Burial, and Grave Markers in Three World Religions

Chloe L’Ecuyer

Women in Technology: An Anthropological Study of the Gender Gap

Tommee McMakin

Balancing Visibility, Education, and Protection: Creating Cultural Resource Educational Tools for the Santa Rosa Island Research Station

Janelle Pedrozo

Genocide disguised by the state and the narratives in between: A cross-cultural comparison between the United States and Rwanda

Cameron Pena

Nationalism: The Unofficial Rule of Soccer

Brianna Rotella

Applied Ethnobotany: Creating an Education Platform for Community Engagement

Danielle Seckler

Shantay You Stay: The Perceptions of Drag Queen Culture in American Society

Justine Thomas_Tomala

The Latino Education Crisis: a Study of Solutions

Alan Fantauzzo

How Do Motorcycles Create Community: An Ethnographic and Participant Observation Approach

McKenzee Frey

The Culture in Our Genes: An Examination of Chronic Diseases and Disorders through Cultural and Genetic Factors


Morgan Arthur

The “Perfect Body” in the Imperfect Market: An Anthropological Study on Southern Californian’s Perspectives of the Plus-Size Clothing Market

Tyler Carpenter

More than a Myth: Cultural Associations within Greek and Roman Mythology

Montrie Carrigan

Cross-Cultural Comparisons of the Practice of Trephination in Africa, Europe, and North America

Eve Clifford

The Significance of Historical Archaeology and Cultural Resource Protection on Santa Cruz Island

Ross Cloney

A New Song: The Socioeconomic Impacts of Digital Media on Music Culture

Lilyan Curtis

The Church of Scientology: An Anthropological Study of Cult Attractiveness and Recruitment

Nicole de la Cruz

Environmental Knowledge and Sustainable Fashion in Ventura County

James Esparza

Island Graffiti: A Historical Archaeological Study of the Inscriptions on Santa Cruz Island

Luis Espinoza

Exercise Perception: Stress Reliever or Stress Causer

Angelica Gilmore

Bilingualism in the United States

Amanda Gutierrez

Environmental Knowledge and Sustainable Fashion in Ventura County

Justin Hahn

Scuba Diving in the Channel Islands and the Importance of Diversity in Race, Gender and Socioeconomic Status

Samuel Hernandez

The Influences of Religion on Major and Course Selection at CSUCI

Daniel McGuire

Neopaganism and Politics: Origins of Ideological Thought

Colin Minekheim

American Cultural History, The National Parks, and Popular Culture

Alex Padilla

The National Park Service and the Importance of Diversity: A Case Study from the Northern Channel Islands National Park

Kirby Porter

The Sex and Culture of Papua New Guinea: intricacies surrounding HIV/AIDS epidemic in North Western Melanesia

Teresa Stevenson

I speak for this Child: CASA Volunteers and the Connections Between Language, Culture, and Access to Services for Latino Foster Youth

Kyle Terry

An Interpretive Guide to Channel Islands National Park

Jacqueline Torres

Meaning of Place: Celebrating/Connecting the Human Past to the Present


Patricia Armstrong

A Cross Cultural Analysis of Mummification Methods in Egypt, Chile, and the Torres Strait

Rachael Bowman

A Historic Analysis of Artifacts Found on Santa Rosa Island

James Tanner Brewer

Historic Archaeology of the Oxnard Plains and the Unheard Voices of America’s Agricultural Landscape: An Analysis of Rural Life during the Interwar Period

Frankay Andrea Campbell

Uncovering Emerging Trends in Entertainment Through Anthropological Methods

Jarrod Daniel Chudacoff

Chumash Rock Art and Datura

Tiffany A. Darden

Scare Tactics: Do Captive Gibbons Respond Appropriately to Potentially Dangerous Stimuli?

Rachael Duncan

An Anthropological Look at Ritual Shell Use among the Ancient Maya

Daisy Gomez

Citizen’s Perception of Law Enforcement

Vikram Johnson

Community Build through Music

Frances Klingenberger

Gender Roles in the Workplace: Women’s Changing Views

Scott Lang

Alternative Education and the Benefits of Experiential Learning

Brandon Lim

A Look at Multiculturalism on Santa Cruz Island During the Historic Period

Tatiana Mijailovic

Generational Variance in Slava Practices: A Cross Generational Analysis of the Practices of the Serbian Saints’ Day Slava

Tammany Braxton Olmos

Ceramic Apprenticeship in the Technological Age: Understanding the Link between Traditional Craft Knowledge and Cultural Identity

Rachel Smithers

Hanging Coffins: Is This a Taboo? Cemetery Distributions along Trade Routes

Amanda Wurtz

Saving the World One Festival at a Time: Harnessing Individualism and Solidarity within the Electronic Dance Music/Music Arts and Festival Countercultures


Molly Alderete
The Great Chin of Being: The Emergence of the Human Chin

Stephanie Bauer
Finding an Economical Way to Teach Cranial Gunshot Wound Replications: An Alternative Material for Human Bone

Jazmine Cureno
Enriching The History of Santa Rosa Island Through Graffiti

Toni D'Ambrosia
The Symbolism of Burning Man: An Examination of Pilgrimage and Religious Expression

Brittany Glass
Environmental Concern and Student Product Purchases

Anahis Hagopian
Factors that Influence Emergency Room Experiences Including Race and Socioeconomic Status

Austin Palmer
Applying Anthropological Methods and Values to Evangelical Missions

Sara Perkins
Kenyan Luo Identities in Material Culture

Victoria Scotti
The Historical and Environmental Value of Shipwrecks on the California Channel Islands

Emily Smith
Dichelostemma capitatum's Significance in the Chumash Diet Based on Corm Variability with Respect to Nutritional Content, Morphology, and Collection Times

Tanner Weber
Guardian of the Mainland: The History and Archaeology of Military Presence on Santa Rosa Island

Brandi Ward
Experiential Learning and Cooperative Learning in K-12 Schools: The “Crossing the Channel” Program in Ventura County

Christa Wilson-Bradford
Re-Piecing Chumash Archaeological Sites after Decades of Disturbance


Rhakia Alcarez
Cultural Influences on Environmental Attitudes and National Park Visitation

Alexandra Alva-Black
Physical Activity at CSUCI

Marcela Barron
Examining Sociopolitical Boundaries and Identities using a Cross-Cultural Approach to Head Binding in the Andean Region from the Middle Horizon to the Late Intermediate Period

Stephanie Benedetti
The Cultural Identification of Women within the Subculture of Tattooing: An Anthropology Study of Tattoo Shops in Ventura County

Ashley Bullard
Paranormal Beliefs: A Study of Ghosts from an Anthropological Perspective

Catherine Coleman
Communitas and Spiritual Consciousness in the Electronic Dance Music Counterculture

Kimberly Esgate
Comparing the Mental Health and Well-Being of Atheists and Theists within the United States

Charles Fazzone
The Weight of the Land: A Pilot Study in Chumash Groundstone Bowls and Scales of Trade Analysis

Jelitsa Fonseca
Social Media’s Influence on Student Engagement in Residence Halls at CSU Channel Islands

Kevin Henry
Anthropology in the World of Urban Clothing

Lisa Kaye
Conserving Ethnobotanical Medicine and Ethnic Identity with Community Gardens in Latina/o Communities in Ventura County

Brittany Lucero
The Role of the Horse During the Ranching Era of the Channel Islands

Michael McGurk
Island Ranchers: A Historic Archaeological Examination of Identity Formation through the Importation of Goods, Interethnic Interactions, and Human Ecology on Santa Rosa Island

Michael Rapp
Tackling Activism from the Belly of the Beast: Exploring the Evolution of Activism

Daniella Riad
Relationship Between the Quality of Marriage and Religious Values among Coptic Egyptians in Los Angeles

Richard Schott
WoW, what am I thinking? A Thematic Exploration of Player Beliefs and Goals in the World of Warcraft

Brian Whalen-Crichton
Cultural Resource Management and Its Impact on the Santa Rosa Island Research Station and Channel Islands National Park


Melinda Berge
Meeting State Educational Standards through Experiential Learning: Mock Archaeological Excavation at Camarillo Heights Elementary School

Rolando Garcia
Perceptions of Regional Dialects

Brittany Holmes
The Who’s Who of Campus Participation: An Anthropological Examination of Student Driven Clubs and Organizations

Emily Largey
Anthropology in the Work Place: The Corporate World of California Pizza Kitchen

Kaylin Levi
Tea and Coffee Culture in America


Monica Dollison
Searching for Satwiwa: Stitching Together the Archaeology, History, and Ethnography of the Oxnard Plain

Gerardo Rodriguez
Storytelling and its Influence on Cooperative Behavior

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