Students showcase skills and solutions at annual Capstone gala event

Eager crowds gathered at the University of Washington HUB and online for a hybrid, two-night Capstone Gala for the Information School. Over 150 student teams presented their Capstone projects from iSchool’s Bachelor of Science in Informatics, Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) and Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) programs.

It was the largest Capstone event in the Information School’s history.

Dean Anind Dey said, “The annual Capstone Gala is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s incredibly exciting and inspiring to explore the projects, speak with the student teams, and learn about the impact they are having through their work."

Capstone 2023 award winners gathered at the UW HUB.
Capstone award winners at the UW HUB.

The hybrid event is designed to engage both residential and online students. On both nights, the event allowed attendees to navigate between multiple spaces to watch live presentations, participate in project Q&As with student teams, and connect with students, sponsors, faculty and alumni.

Project topics showcased a wide array of student interests, from access and safety assessments of LGBTQIA+ archives in Atlanta, Georgia, to an app for learning about the natural world, technological tools to reduce maternal mortality and a resource to help libraries and schools access funding.

Many students worked closely with sponsors on their Capstone projects, with the sponsors providing guidance and practical support as students brought the skills they have developed in their iSchool coursework to solve real-world problems. There was also an opportunity for students to develop their own projects.

The gala event culminated with attendees coming together in the HUB or via a livestream to celebrate this year’s award recipients.

Capstone Awards

Design Award:

This award goes to the project that addresses an information problem by leveraging user-centered design to meaningfully improve upon ease of use, enjoyment, functionality, or integration with existing tools and systems.

Design Award winner - Informatics: reflect: a full-length smart mirror for pregnant and postpartum individuals
Ha To, Hadar Dolev, Selina Dinh, Uyen Dao, Yaying Wang

Design Award winner - MLIS: Designing Digital Play-Based Misinformation Activities    
Pavel Batalov

Design Award winner - MSIM: Smartsheet Access Request Portal   
Aishwarya Pravin Shete, Drashti Turakhia, Miloni Jayesh Vasa, Tanvi Amit Rajadhyaksha

Design Award Finalists:


Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Sovereignty (IDEAS) Award

This award goes to the project that explores and engages themes of diversity and identity, power, privilege, equity and inclusion, or sovereignty.

IDEAS Award winner - Informatics: thread 4 thread: Trans+ Clothing Exchange Web Application
Gracie Gibbons, Jasper Maynard-Zhang, Marala Berdyeva, Sabrina Burka, Selina Hu

IDEAS Award winner - MLIS: The Black Panther Party Newspaper Digital Archive   
Dev Wilder, Mei Eyre

IDEAS Award winner - MSIM: Bridging Barriers: Enhancing Accessibility of EthnoMed's Digital Content for Providers & Patients    
Aamer Alam, Genela Cereno, Joy Gassama, Lukas Guericke

IDEAS Award Finalists:


Innovation Award

The Innovation Award goes to the project that addresses an information problem through demonstrating original solutions that advance or improve upon existing processes, systems, or modalities, while producing the same or better results. Innovation may be characterized as a recommendation or prototype that is faster, cheaper, more effective, or more inclusive.

Innovation Award winner - Informatics: Conzensus: Making Group Decisions Easy
Frederick Chan, Lisette Rinnen, Makenzie Edwards, Sean Sexton, Shiori Pathak

Innovation Award winner - MLIS: Hybrideation: Creative Solutions to Epic Problems
Connor Cantrell, Kari Orth, Madeline Carruthers, Sydney Peterson

Innovation Award winner - MSIM: Simplifying Lab Creation and Management for Educators
Aravind Ramesh, Gie Myung Lee, Harshavardhini Renganathan, Sumaiya Sathar

Innovation Award Finalists:


Research Award

The Research Award goes to the project that explores a significant research question related to people, information, and technology. Projects may involve original data collection, or analysis of an existing data set.

Research Award winner - Informatics: GardenSpace: Bridging the Information Gap for BIPOC Urban Gardeners in Seattle
Andrew Chen, Easha Dhillon, Efra Ahsan, Niha Gaddam, Pranav Shekar

Research Award winner - MLIS: Data-Driven Decision Making in Libraries
Hayley Park, Izak Hosmer-Dillard

Research Award winner - MSIM: Real-time Speech Emotion Detection   
Nayan Kaushal, Punya Shetty, Rakshitha K N, Walker Azam

Research Award Finalists:


Social Impact and Social Justice Award

The Social Impact and Social Justice Award goes to the project that addresses issues of exclusion, discrimination, or other barriers; or improves quality of life for marginalized or disenfranchised communities.

Social Impact and Social Justice Award winner - Informatics: P.A.C.K - Pathway to Academic Career Knowledge
Daniel Lee, Hanna Lee, John Nguyen, Noa Roth, Soneta Un

Social Impact and Social Justice Award winner - MLIS: The Application of Indigenous Knowledge to Decolonize Non-Native Cultural Museum Collections
Maile Chung

Social Impact and Social Justice Award winner - MSIM: An Interactive Data Visualization Initiative for Washington State Library
Aayushi Gandhi, Harshi Rajeev Thaker, Manthan Mehta

Social Impact and Social Justice Award Finalists:


The iSchool thanks all Capstone sponsors and iAffiliate partners; alumni, family and friends who attended the event in support of our students; and the event planning and support team.

Thank you to project sponsors: Abbey Arts, Alii Connect, Ballard High School, Bawbab, Biblio Lotus, Black Brilliance Research Project, Bridwell Library, Camp Pendleton Libraries, Carina, Celtic Arts Foundation, Data Afterlives, Digital Youth Lab, Don't Die, EcoDataLab, Epic Games, Estelita's Library, EthnoMed, Favor, Green Hill Academic School Library,, HEALWA, Humanalysts, Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation (IHME), iSchool Student Services, King County Information Technology, King County Public Health, King County Library System, Kitsap Regional Library, KPMG, Lafayette Group, Inc., Lakeside School, Lambert House, LangTime Studio, Marlina Yee-Hales, Mendocino College, Microsoft, Monrovia Public Library, Museum of Flight, National Museum of Korea, Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture, NetPrism, Network of the National Library of Medicine, Region 5, New Mexico State Library, NewImpact, Olympic College Libraries, Pallet Shelter, Pan Eros Foundation, Pend Oreille County Library District, Pierce County Library System, Pikes Peak Library District - Penrose Library, PitchBook, Public Library Association - Data and Research, Puget Sound Navy Museum, Puget Sound Regional Council, Puyallup Public Library, Reno Philharmonic, Sam Houston State University - Newton Gresham Library, Scarecrow Video,, Seattle Archdiocese Archives and Records Management, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Girls School (SGS), Seattle MESA, Seattle Public Library - Library Equal Access Program, Seattle Public Schools - Hamilton International Middle School, Shoreline Historical Museum, Smartsheet, Inc., Smash, Starfish Space, Svoboda Diaries Project, Swedish Medical Center, T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Tacoma Public Schools, Tall Ships of America, Texas Tech - University Libraries, The Labor Archives of Washington, The Ledding Library, The Montgomery School, The Snoqualmie Valley Museum, University of California, Berkeley - The Bancroft Library, University of Nevada, Reno - University Libraries, University of Pennsylvania - Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Washington, UW Earth & Space Sciences, UW HFS - Communications and Marketing, UW iSchool, UW iSchool - Game Research Group, UW iSchool - KidsTeam, UW iSchool - Technology and Social Change Group (TASCHA), UW Libraries, UW Medicine, UW Office of Global Affairs, UW Tech Policy Lab, Vinoly, Virufy, Washington Center for the Book, Washington State Library, Washington State Department of Licensing, Washington University in St. Louis, WaTech, West Campus Children's Center (WCCC), and the Whitman County Historical Society.

And a big thank you to this year’s panel of judges: 

Design Award judges: Dr. Jaime Snyder, Associate Professor, UW Information School; Dr. Joseph Janes, Associate Professor, UW Information School; Lyndsay Bailey-Smith, Program Manager, DEI & Early Career Talent, Extrahop. Thanks to the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Sovereignty (IDEAS) Award judges: Cynthia del Rosario, Diversity Programs Advisor, UW Information School; Simran Bhatia, Data Scientist, Apple; Katie Goulding, Program Manager, Meta. Thanks to the Innovation Award judges: Dr. Lucy Lu Wang, Assistant Professor, UW Information School; Cheryl Scott, Founder and President, Interactive Clarity, LLC; Ravi Modalavalasa, Principal Program Manager Lead, Microsoft. Thank you Research Award judges: Dr. Carole Palmer, Associate Dean for Research and Professor, UW Information School and Dr. Mike Teodorescu, Assistant Professor, UW Information School. We extend our gratitude to the Social Impact and Social Justice Award judges: Carla Wale, Director, MLIS Law Librarianship Specialization and Associate Teaching Professor, UW Information School; Nicole Gustine, Assistant General Counsel, Washington State Bar Association; Dr. Norah Abokhodair, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft.