As Winter term draws to a close, I wanted to take a few moments to look back on my team’s progress working on our capstone project, AgBiz Climate, over the course of the term. Here’s a few things I learned along the way, and some things I wish I could’ve done differently:
Who will use your project? Will it benefit them?
AgBiz Logic is an online suite of economic, financial, climate, and environmental tools created for use by agricultural producers. The AgBiz Climate tool is a farm-level assessment tool that allows researchers, farmers, and government agencies to realistically determine how climate change may impact regional agricultural sectors
What is the most interesting thing about your project and why?
Climate change will have a huge impact on agricultural production in the U.S., which will in turn have a massive impact on food security for millions of Americans. Our project seeks to use technology to mitigate these issues and provide potential solutions through research.
Why did you choose your project, and has it met your expectations thus far?
I chose my project because I am passionate about climate change, and I wanted to find a real-world application of my passion for problem solving through the use of technology. So far I have learned a lot about climate research and the methods for mitigation that are currently being pursued from an agricultural perspective.
What was the most difficult challenge, and how did you solve it?
The most difficult challenge was certainly adapting to a codebase that was created by multiple different capstone teams over the course of the last few years. The current AgBiz Logic repository contains many pieces of code that are in the process of being refactored by the full-time AgBiz team. Our team inherited a tech stack with which we were previously unfamiliar with, so it was only with extensive guidance from our project sponsor that we were able to overcome that initial hurdle and produce the results we set out to achieve.
Did you initially have doubts about your ability to complete the project? How do you feel now?
I definitely had doubts that I would be able to balance a full schedule of classes with a full work schedule, as well as make time for weekly meetings with both my team and our sponsor. In retrospect, it was the unknown factor of how long it would take to develop our functions that was the truly “scary” part of the process, but once development was underway the process was a lot simpler than I imagined.
What are some your own life hacks for handling school work, group work, and/or project work?
- Prioritize tasks: Make a to-do list or use a planner to prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance to help you stay organized and on top of your workload.
- Break down large tasks: If you have a large project or assignment, it’s important to break it down into smaller, manageable tasks to make the work feel less overwhelming and help you make progress towards your goal.
- Use technology to your advantage: There are many digital tools and apps that can help you stay organized and manage your time more effectively. Our team used Discord and Trello project management software to keep track of deadlines, assignments, and important information.
- Communicate with your group members: Make sure to communicate with your group members regularly. It is crucial to establish clear goals and deadlines, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Take breaks and practice self-care: I do my best to make sure I’m taking breaks regularly, getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and staying active. I have found these are the most important components to stay focused and productive in the long run.