Capstone Projects 2023‒24

Christopher BourneChristopher Bourne served as an infantry officer in the US Marine Corps for twenty-eight years. He received his bachelor’s degree from Boston University and master’s degrees from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College. He works as a business development and strategic planning consultant and serves on the board of the National Center for Healthy Veterans.

Networking Community to Break the Cycle of Generational Poverty

Challenge Addressed: The War on Poverty has not achieved its objectives. There are more than two hundred federal programs that aim to assist low-income families (alongside countless private-sector programs and services). However, the sheer number of programs and their lack of integration and accessibility create barriers for families to find, connect with, and utilize the services that best suit their needs. Bourne’s own experience at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development taught him that many programs and services created to improve opportunities for the poor are ineffective, and that evaluation of their performance is difficult and often too late to effect real change.

Capstone Goal: Demonstrate that a social networking app can help in-need individuals and households progress toward self-sufficiency through individually directed actions supported by their communities. This app will also generate data to enable timely assessment of the performance of public and private poverty-alleviation programs and the service providers that implement them. To be piloted in Charleston, South Carolina.


Matthew BrownMatthew Brown served in the US Navy for twelve years. He held various leadership and operational roles, culminating in command of USS Scout (MCM-8). He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and a former Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group fellow. He now leads the mental health care company Chimney Trail, which aims to eliminate pathological anxiety, depression, and suicide through preventive cognitive behavioral therapy.

Ensign Arun Madav Somasundaram Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Training Access Act

Challenge Addressed: One in ten children born in the United States will make an attempt on taking their own life before they graduate from high school. Depending on age, suicide is the second or third leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults. These figures are exacerbated in military and veteran communities—over four times as many troops and veterans have been lost to suicide than from our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. As outlined in the US Surgeon General’s 2021 Advisory on Mental Health, we are in the middle of a crisis and must act.

Capstone Goal: Diminish destructive anxiety, depression, and incidents of suicide and suicidal behavior in our military and veteran communities. Codify into law the Ensign Arun Madav Somasundaram CBT Training Access Act to establish a requirement for all military services to train new recruits in the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy.


Robert BruceRobert Bruce is managing counsel, product liability litigation at Tesla Motors. After thirty combined years of active duty and reserve service as an infantry and artillery officer, Bruce retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel. He has a degree in aerospace engineering from the US Naval Academy, is a graduate of the USC Gould School of Law, and was a deputy district attorney in San Diego for seventeen years.

Policy, Privacy, and Public Perception: Emerging Technologies in Support of Public Safety

Challenge Addressed: Small unmanned aircraft systems – drones – offer police, fire, and emergency services enhanced situational awareness, decreased response times, and more efficient resource allocation. While the small number of agencies that use drones describe them as “game changing,” legitimate concerns have been raised about the privacy, civil liberties, and data security implications of their use by public safety agencies. The number of public and private entities approved to operate drones is increasing exponentially, yet informed policy discussions of legal and regulatory means to address concerns about the use of drones have not kept pace.

Capstone Goal: Facilitate and inform the public debate and the development of policy related to the use of drones by public safety entities. Engage stakeholders in advocacy organizations, local government, law enforcement, and technology manufacturers to develop model policy language that enables the use of emerging technologies to enhance public safety while safeguarding civil liberties and security.


Greg EasonGreg Eason is a US Navy veteran with years of industry experience as a real estate investor and development manager. He currently serves as cofounder of Cascade Centennial, a real estate start-up whose mission is to build sustainable communities by developing multifamily residential projects in partnership with faith organizations, nonprofit institutions, and community stakeholders.

Faith-Based Communities of Belonging

Challenge Addressed: Improve community outcomes (e.g., lower crime and poverty) by using affordable housing as a conduit to give youth and adults access to safe living conditions and self-improvement programs from faith-based organizations. These organizations, often located in economically disadvantaged areas, frequently lack the financial resources to provide greater support to their community and could be empowered if greater economic opportunities existed.

Capstone Goal: Establish a programmatic process backed by the City of Atlanta to expedite rezoning and protect tax status to create economic opportunities for churches, nonprofits, and community stakeholders to leverage the land they already own to bolster community-focused economic empowerment. Since these faith-based organizations and nonprofits already have long-standing community ties, they are best suited to meet the needs of the people in their communities. The process created here can serve as a pilot for similar initiatives in other cities.


Claudia FloresClaudia Flores served as a naval cryptologist before earning her commission as a naval intelligence officer. Her tours of duty included an overseas assignment, combat deployments, and service on the Joint Staff. Following her military career, she began working in state government and is now a policy director focused on state legislative and budget development. She is pursuing a PhD in public administration.

Veteran Workforce Development

Challenge Addressed: Obtaining and maintaining civilian employment is a critical challenge for service members transitioning back into civilian life. More than 200,000 military service members enter civilian life every year, but many civilian organizations overlook veterans as a talented resource, and veterans themselves face issues in the change from the structured military culture to a fluid civilian culture. What is currently missing is the social connection between veterans and their community to create a sense of belonging and restore their mission and purpose to drive success across diverse professional landscapes.

Capstone Goal: Empower veterans by connecting them in meaningful ways to their community so they are equipped with the network and resources needed to build new skills and propel their success in the civilian sector. By revitalizing veteran service organization spaces into bright, inviting coworking spaces and industry hubs, we can create a supportive community to welcome veterans and assist in their transition, leverage the valuable skills they acquired during service, and provide mentorship and camaraderie. Focusing on this crucial issue of veteran workforce development, we will help new generations of veterans build fulfilling, sustainable careers and continue their legacy of leadership and service.


Marcus LandersMarcus Landers served as an infantry officer in the US Marine Corps for six years. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is the founder of ResiLift Solutions, a climate adaptation start-up, and the vice president of business development for Payne Construction Services, a structural lifting contractor.

Incentivizing Property-Level Flood Mitigation through Insurance Policy Reform

Challenge Addressed: Over the next 30-year mortgage cycle, fifteen million American homes have a 26% chance of destruction due to flooding. Floods are America's most frequent and expensive disaster, and these expenses compound due to moral hazard. The National Flood Insurance Program’s new underwriting algorithm for insurance is deeply flawed: flood-proofing retrofits don’t earn meaningful premium reductions and thus do not incentivize property-level resilience and adaptation.

Capstone Goal: Develop a system of market-based policies that incentivize homeowners to undertake property-level flood mitigations funded by their own wealth, which will correct moral hazard and insolvency in the government’s flood insurance and emergency management programs, and fix pricing in private insurance and residential real estate markets.


John MosesJohn Moses served for twenty-three years as a senior enlisted soldier. Most recently, he volunteered as a case manager for the evacuation of Afghans through Kabul International Airport, and he continues to support their resettlement in the United States. He is currently a technology executive and an elected member of the school committee in his community.

Massachusetts Afghan Alliance

Challenge Addressed: Following the US exit from Afghanistan, nearly two thousand Afghan evacuees have resettled in Massachusetts—but they face legal, cultural, and immigration challenges. Navigating the information and support structures available to them is difficult, and reunification with family members remains an ongoing challenge.

Capstone Goal: Act as a liaison between resettlement agencies, governmental bodies, volunteers, and Afghan communities. We are establishing a value-driven organization that fosters meaningful relationships throughout the district and provides programs and partnerships to improve conditions for Afghan families and the volunteer groups supporting them. Focusing on the Massachusetts Third Congressional District, we offer procedural assistance to Afghan families seeking reunification and are elevating awareness of Afghan culture and traditions to make our district a welcoming destination for both volunteers and resettling families.


Trillitye PaullinTrillitye Paullin is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, currently serving her eighteenth year in the Army National Guard, and is the CEO and cofounder of Free to Feed. After her daughters suffered from reactions to proteins transferred from her diet to breast milk, she invented the first at-home test kit to detect allergens in human milk. She holds a doctorate in cellular and molecular biology.

Improving Outcomes for Food-Allergic Children

Challenge Addressed: There is a significant gap between the number of parental-reported food allergies and the diagnoses made by healthcare providers due to the lack of effective clinical identification and diagnostic tools. This can lead to serious consequences, including ongoing suffering and potentially life-threatening reactions in children.

Capstone Goal: Combine rigorous research with practical, evidence-based applications to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice in pediatric food allergy care and inform policy changes. Step one is peer-reviewed publication of a novel research study to better understand the challenges and experiences parents with food-allergic children face. Step two builds on that study and aims to establish a collaboration with Stanford researchers to launch an infant food-allergy-identification tool that directly engages medical practitioners and parents. The goal is to ensure that all pediatric medical providers are up to date with the latest food allergy research.


Adrian PerkinsAdrian Perkins served eight years in the US Army, where he achieved the rank of captain and earned a Bronze Star. He is a 2008 graduate and class president of the US Military Academy at West Point. Born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, he is the former mayor of the City of Shreveport and a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Using Tech to Mitigate America’s Police Manning Crisis

Challenge Addressed: Growing up in a high-crime neighborhood and then as mayor witnessing the disparate impact of crime on minority and low-income neighborhoods, Perkins personally understands how vital it is to have safer communities throughout America regardless of zip code or resources. Police departments across America are on average currently down 20% in personnel. This shortage has direct impacts on perception and retention of police officers, officer mental health, and public safety overall. In some of the largest and most resource-rich municipalities, technology is already assisting with this challenge—but it can be scaled to assist communities across all of America.

Capstone Goal: Raise civic awareness about how new technologies can help with the police manning crisis in America by publishing literature (including op-eds) and offering policy solutions for local stakeholders to address the issue.

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