Advanced Seminar Capstone Projects | Professional Decision Reports

In their final semester of study, students work with a client to analyze and present solutions to real-world issues faced by practitioners and produce a professional decision report or PDR (What is a Professional Decision Report?).

Capstone Projects 2019-2020

Best Professional Decision Report Award 2019-2020

Educational Enrichment for All: Addressing Inequities in New York City Gifted and Talented Programs Through Schoolwide Enrichment | By Elizabeth A. Herr

Read about all the Fall 2019-Spring 2020 Professional Decision Reports

Capstone Projects 2018-2019 

Best Professional Decision Report Award 2018-2019

Designing Equitable and Sustainable Models for Microgrids | By Emily Jane Oppenheimer ClientWE ACT for Environmental Justice
WE ACT is an environmental justice organization with offices in Harlem, NY, and Washington, D.C. that organizes and advocates for low-income communities and communities of color to participate meaningfully in crafting policy around the health and environmental issues that disproportionately impact them. One of WE ACT’s current campaigns, Solar Uptown Now!, organizes residents of Northern Manhattan to purchase solar energy as a group, enabling them to invest in clean, local energy and earn savings on their electricity bills. Because of the existing network of distributed renewable energy projects in Northern Manhattan, the neighborhood is a promising site for microgrid development and is undergoing feasibility studies by the city. Microgrids can disconnect and function apart from the central grid system, allowing them to serve as back up energy sources when the central grid has failed due to infrastructural weakness, peak energy demand, or inclement weather. Together with community-owned electricity generation enabled by rooftop wind and solar projects, microgrids offer greater integration of renewable resources in addition to climate resiliency and increased capacity for local decision-making about energy use. This poses a threat to utilities’ monopoly ownership model, which does not incentivize utilities to interconnect with microgrids because they empower residents to make energy use decisions without them. In this report, I look at how restructuring of the energy market in New York to accommodate greater use of renewables impacts the relationship between utilities and customers and evaluate the effects of this changing relationship on the way that energy is valued and monetized. Then, I make recommendations for WE ACT to protect the economic interests of low-income communities and communities of color who are considering microgrid development in their neighborhoods by analyzing how different microgrid ownership and service structures enable different methods of rate-setting.

Vacant Property Speculation and Vacant Property Registration in New York City | By Nicholas Bohan Martin | Client: Picture the Homeless
Founded in 1999, Picture the Homeless (PTH) is a citywide grassroots organization that advocates for the rights and dignity of homeless people in New York, driven by the leadership and membership of homeless and formerly homeless New Yorkers. For over ten years, Picture the Homeless has advocated for policies to prevent speculative property warehousing and instead utilize vacant property as a key tool for ending the housing and homelessness crisis in New York City. This report, building on PTH’s past advocacy and research, evaluates the previous and current legislative efforts to create a vacant property registry to discourage property warehousing in New York City, as well as the two alternative strategies of a vacant property tax surcharge and pied-à-terre tax.

Read about all the Fall 2018-Spring 2019 Professional Decision Reports

Capstone Projects 2017-2018

Best Professional Decision Report Award 2017-2018

Supporting Small Businesses & Keeping Them Open | By Nicole Lau
Small businesses are the backbone of local economies and the engine of the American dream. Local leaders often emphasize the importance of a strong, growing small business community because small businesses create the majority of new net jobs_, employ local residents, and enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods. There are over 230,000 small businesses across New York City’s five boroughs providing over one million people with quality jobs, jobs that offer benefits including paid sick leave, time off, and subsidized healthcare. While there is a surge in the number of new small businesses, they face an array of barriers that prevent them from achieving sustained growth.

The report, “Supporting Small Businesses and Keeping them Open,” identifies the range of services currently offered to small businesses and recommends three novel, high potential programs the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce can undertake to help small businesses access the resources they need to achieve growth. A database comprising of 250 services was created, initiatives offered by the Chambers of Commerce in other major cities were identified, reports published by research institutions and foundations were reviewed, and an informational interview was conducted with the Greater Rochester Enterprise over the course of three months.

Read about all the Fall 2017-Spring 2018 Professional Decision Reports

Capstone Projects 2016-2017

Best Professional Decision Report Award 2016-2017
Creating Safe and Supportive School Environments Through School Policing Reform | By Shanell Lockhart | Client: Urban Youth Collaborative

Professional Decision Reports Fall 2016—Spring 2017
Stability and Self-Determination in Reentry Employment Programs, by Julia Bowling

Parking Management Strategies for Co-op City, by Edward Braxton

Effective Structures in Advocacy Coalitions: A template for NWF’s Initiative to pass the “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act”, by Jesse Brooks

Farm to Early Care: Opportunities for Expansion, by Meg Davidson

Gaps in Long-term Care Services and Supports, by Maria Diaz

How a Family Resource Center in Community School District 1 can support the goals of a socioeconomic integration pilot program, by Charis Durrance

New Strategies for Affordable Housing Preservation: Restructuring financial incentives & regulatory requirements to maximize multifamily housing preservation in NYC, by Joseph Frewer

Building an organizational infrastructure for training external stakeholders, by Nakechia Gay

Enhancing Patient and Community Engagement in East Harlem to Improve Access to Comprehensive Healthcare, by Rumbidzai Joyline Gotosa

Facilitating Community Collaboration Anchored in Housing, by Stephanie Guzman

Pathway to Successful Reentry for Youthful Offenders, by Kerry Hayes

Public Policy and Machine Learning, by Daniel Herrera

Global Learning Collaborative: Implementation & Dissemination of the Principles of Practice, by Kobi Loehr

Inwood Rezoning and Affordable Housing Preservation, by Flavia Martins Ferreira Ribeiro Leite

Housing Gridlock: New York City, by Moira McComas

Caring Across Generations: Alliance with Alzheimer’s, by Lateefah Morse

Expanding Affordable Housing Options for Refugees in New York City, by Grant Nagaki

Creating Pathways to Postsecondary Success, by Oluremi Olufemi

Reconceptualizing Newark’s approach to Economic Development, by Juan O’Neill

Vertical Farm To Michelin Table: Improving Awareness of Verticle Farms, by Alec Pomnichowski

Strategies to Promote Minority Entrepreneurs in the City of Long Beach, California, by Rebecca Roberts

Construction Workforce Development Programs for Small Businesses, by Luisa Rodriguez

New Strategies for Membership Policy, by Emily Singer

GreenThumb: Expanding the Possibilities of GreenThumb’s Outreach, by Chohnny Sousa

Increasing Rescued Food Donations at NY Common Pantry, by Talia Jane Thomson

Organizational, Operational & Management Strategies for the North Brooklyn Boat Club, by Joshua Vogel

Reforming the Process of Indicating Child Abuse Cases in NYS, by Chelsea Wilson