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Capstone Spotlight: Shayna Rosenbloom

Over the next few weeks, we will have special blog posts focusing on Senior Capstone Projects. The Capstone cirriculum is unique in that the students design their own course of study. Developed as a way for Grade 12 students to delve deeper into a unit of study, these students go above and beyond what is expected of them in the classroom. They learn discipline, creative thinking, and strategic planning while they brainstorm a project idea, turn their idea into a concrete plan with deadlines and submissions, and execute the project in time for the Capstone Presentation.
Shayna Rosenbloom, an aspiring marine biologist, is using her capstone project to study the environmental impact that Ensworth has on the Little Harpeth river. Shayna knew that she wanted to do a biology-focused capstone, but wasn’t sure what she wanted to focus on. After meeting with Mr. Jackoboice, Dr. Miller, Mr. Thompson, and the Harpeth River Watershed Association, she decided to focus her capstone on Ensworth’s impact on the water in the Little Harpeth River.

To measure Ensworth’s impact on the river, Shayna measured chemical levels at different sections of the Little Harpeth River. She collected water samples from the river and creek before they hit the Ensworth campus, after they interacted with the Ensworth campus, and again when the creek merged into the Little Harpeth River. In all, she collected water samples from five different places in the body of water once a month for several months in the fall and summer.

With this data, she tested the ammonia, nitrate, phosphate, e-coli, and dissolved-oxygen levels. The results from those specific tests give a good view of how healthy the river is. She found an inverse relationship between the dissolved oxygen levels and the other chemical levels, with dissolved-oxygen levels being high and the chemical levels low. This means that the river is healthy and clean. Since her tests showed good water quality before and after the river runs through Ensworth’s campus, she concluded that Ensworth is doing a good job keeping pollutants out of the river -- even with a construction zone on campus.

“I really enjoyed going out to the river, collecting samples, and not knowing how the labs would turn out,” Shayna explains. “Being able to test the samples, see the results, and track them for a few months has been really fun. It is very different from labs (in the classroom) where you kind of know what results you will be getting.” Putting her biology and aquatic ecology knowledge to the test has been very worthwhile, as she has enjoyed her capstone and will be sharing her results with the Harpeth River Watershed Association. We can’t wait to see what Shayna decides to do next.

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