SBU Honors Program seniors present Capstone projects

Honors students meet on ZoomBOLIVAR, Mo. — Five students in Southwest Baptist University’s Gordon & Judy Dutile Honors Program recently presented their Senior Honors Capstone Experience projects in a variety of creative ways.

“Capstone students generally present their projects at the end of the semester at an open house. However, as that was not possible this year, students adapted,” said Dr. Jodi Meadows, director of the Dutile Honors Program. “Some students created PowerPoint presentations or posters for submission. Others organized and presented their projects via Zoom.”

Students are admitted to the Dutile Honors Program before their freshman year through a competitive process. The program includes nine honors-specific courses designed to provide scholastic enrichment and opportunities for practical application and professional development; honors colloquium for sophomores and juniors; and the Senior Honors Capstone Experience that allows students to complete a project or research in the student’s field of study, including the integration of faith and discipline.

“The purpose of the Honors Capstone is to provide the student with an opportunity for interest-driven, self-directed learning with a faculty member,” Meadows said. “This type of project is a qualitatively different experience for students than traditional classroom instruction. It requires significant self-management, curiosity and flexibility to adapt as the Capstone process unfolds. Honors students consistently list the Capstone experience as one of the most significant aspects of their honors curriculum.” 

Students who completed their spring 2020 projects are:

  • Emma Hale of Springfield, Mo., presented “CBT and Spirituality: An Integrative Approach to the Treatment of Amplified Pain Syndrome.” She is the daughter of Alan and Shayla Hale.
  • Mitchell Northern, Bolivar, Mo. – “When Machines Learn: Reinforcement Learning and Interactive Media.” He is the son of James and Jana Northern.
  • Blaise Torrence, Festus, Mo. – “COVID-19: Case studies for the accounting classroom.” He is the son of Daniel Torrence and Chastity Propst.
  • Hailey Trimmer, Lee’s Summit, Mo. – “Constructing Social Media.” She is the daughter of Craig and Ruth Trimmer.
  • Joel Walley, Bolivar, Mo. – “Self: A Narcissus Story.” He is the son of Paul and Jennifer Walley.

Meadows noted one particularly creative presentation by Joel Walley. With the help of his faculty supervisors, Dr. Bethany Wood and Dr. Renee Waters, Walley presented a reading of his original musical-in-progress, “Self: A Narcissus Story.” He selected students to produce the work and presented it to the entire theatre department, as well as other guests, via Zoom.

“These projects consistently exemplify the values of the Dutile Honors Program: fierce curiosity, intellectual humility, thriving community, and holistic growth and development,” Meadows said. 

The Dutile Honors Program started during the fall 2005 semester and now has 179 graduates.

For more information, contact Meadows at (417) 328-1460 or

PHOTO: Joel Walley presents a reading of his musical-in-progress, “Self: A Narcissus Story,” through a Zoom meeting.

*Published: 5-12-2020