Eight Capstones Projects that Made an Impact

Projects from NYU Abu Dhabi’s four divisions shed light on undergraduate research and their relevance to our daily lives.

From designing a videogame to exploring the role of self-identity to analyzing the validity of NFT’s in an ever-evolving economy, a big part of the senior year experience, and a source of immense pride, for our graduating students is the completion of their Capstone Projects. 

The projects, which are presented at a year-end festival, serve as a culmination of the educational experience of every NYUAD student. Mentored by a faculty member, every student at NYUAD will conduct Capstone research in their fourth year, a demanding, year-long endeavor aiming at a significant piece of research or creative work; an historical narrative, musical composition, performance, invention, documented experiment, scholarly thesis, or other form appropriate to the student’s goals.

Here is a selection of eight projects from the four divisions that provide a glimpse into the amazing work students have completed as part of their curriculum. 

Arts and Humanities:

Capstone Project title: “21”

Student: Fatima Ahmed Almaazmi

“21” encapsulates twenty-one works that Almaazmi has developed during the last four years studying visual arts at NYUAD. The title of her capstone also corresponds with her age. The works revolve around three distinct themes that explore her identity and sense of self: national identity, familial, and personal identity, and translating these themes and ideas into different mediums. Her project is about using what is at her disposal to communicate her perception of self. It's about twenty-one pieces that she has made pursuit of self, and art. “It is a complex task to see myself, and to understand who I am, and so my approach has been to, almost ironically, simplify the task by using a flatness of paint, abstracted photographs, and a limited color palette,” she said. 

Capstone Project title: “The 12th woman”

Student: Leila Al Dzheref

This work is centered around exposing football beyond its constraints as a game. In an age where everything personal becomes political, this capstone is trying to navigate both sides of the discussion, including issues of gender, nationalism, and belonging. In this Capstone Project, Al Dzheref is writing about football to reflect on her personal experience and to show through the game her journey of exploring self-identity, deciding on opinions, and viewing her as an equal supporter, even without sufficient practical experience. 


Capstone Project title: “Artificial Defects for Improved Economy and Performance of a Fiber-Reinforced Concrete Mix Design with Limestone Calcined Clay Cement (LC3)|

Student:Najila Al Qubaisi ,Cornelius Otchere, Fatima Redha, and Hessa Alabbas

Concrete is used for a wide range of applications due to its strength and durability, as well as its monolithic characteristics. However, it has its drawbacks: low tensile strength, and low ductility. This limits the applications in which concrete could be used. The development of high-performance fiber-reinforced concrete with the use of Limestone Calcined Element requires a great understanding of the composite behavior of the material, including the interaction between the fibers and the interface properties. In this project, the students aimed to design and optimize a mix that will use fewer fibers but achieve a similar performance as conventional fiber reinforced concrete. This allows for high performance concrete to be achieved at a lower cost, paving the way for fiber reinforced concrete to become mainstream. 

Capstone Project title: “Design and Control of a Hybrid Drone/Car/Vessel”

Students: Adam Ali Hassan, Yara Massoud, Ahmad Almuhtadi, and Ziad Elkammah

With global warming posing a greater threat to humanity and on our Earth than ever, data collection, research, and development in this field has seen great advancements. However, when it comes to the topic of data collection, it often poses a risk to the people set out to collect the data. This project proposes a more efficient and safer alternative, which does not require people to be in the field. A vehicle was designed and created that helps in data collections of all kinds, namely sea floor level measurement or coral reef data collection. The report discusses and expands on the problem statement by analyzing the problem and visualizing it using black box modeling. The vehicle will be able to drive or fly to the shoreline, and float as well as move and propel on the water surface. This unmanned vehicle will be a hybrid drone, car, and vessel, and will eliminate the risk of human life while also being able to access a variety of locations.

Social Science:

Capstone Project title: "The Non-Fungible Token Market in the Context of the Art Market: Comparative Study"

Student: Victor Manuel Quinonez

Art is an ever-evolving market and has experienced a number of important shocks throughout history, yet the rise of the Non-Fungible Token, a blockchain-based digital asset, is redefining the way art is understood and consumed. Quinonez investigates the price determinants and performance of art and NFTs as investments and compares them as asset classes with consumption and financial value. The paper concludes that price fluctuations are much more volatile in the NFT market than the traditional artworks market in the year 2021. In addition, it shows that prices of traditional artworks rely more on their intrinsic hedonic characteristics, and thus contain a high social, historical, and cultural value, while NFTs rely less so on these characteristics, indicating important differences in the inherent value of the latter.

Capstone Project Title: "Life Goes On: How Black Women Fans of K-pop Negotiate their Identities amidst Racial Insensitivity in the K-pop Industry and Fandom"

Student: Furqan Mohamed 

Korean popular music has gained immense popularity in Western media over the past few years. K-pop  has been highly praised for its complicated choreography, flashy outfits, and catchy songs and this popularity was followed by increased academic interest in the industry, artists, and a powerful fanbase. Much of the academic work that explores K-pop as a music genre overlooks the genre’s ties to African American music traditions and does not problematise the use of African American cultural products. Additionally, little formal research has been conducted on how Black fans of K-pop relate to the music genre and interact with the global fandom. This study explores how Black women, a unique demographic whose positionality is informed by the intersection of a marginalized racial and gender identity – negotiate their support of a music industry and performers who engage in denigrating their identity as Black people. 


Capstone: “Ladanein-Coated Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (γ-Fe2O3 NPs) as a Potential Antiviral Against Coronaviruses”

Student: Sharon Lee

As of April 2022, there have been more than 500 million cases and 6 million deaths due to COVID-19. Despite significant research efforts, there is still no effective antiviral agent specifically targeting coronaviruses. The current strategy of testing existing broad-spectrum antiviral drugs has shown them to be inefficient and have limited targeting, which can lead to serious side effects. For this purpose, iron oxide nanoparticles coated with ladanein, a flavonoid with antiviral activity against lipid-enveloped viruses, are proposed as a promising solution. In this Capstone, Lee synthesizes this novel material, verifies its non-toxicity to liver and kidney cells, and explores its antiviral activity against coronaviruses. 


Capstone Project title: “Single cell RNA-seq profiling of in vivo Host Immune Response to Malaria”

Student: Odmaa Bayaraa

Malaria continues to cause more than 600,000 deaths annually and mostly in children under the age of 5. Interindividual differences in malaria susceptibility and symptomology are multifactorial and have a significant heritable component. Here Bayaraa uses sampling, single cell RNA profiling, and whole-genome sequencing data of malarial children before and after natural infection in Burkina Faso, West Africa. She generated approximately 80,000 single cell dataset to profile the changes and better understand the strands of malaria involved. Her results provide the first genome-wide picture of host in vivo regulatory variation events in malaria at the single cell level and highlight the implications of regulatory interaction effects in modulating host immune response.