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Applied Compassion Capstone Projects 

A defining component of the ACT program is the creation and delivery of an Applied Compassion Capstone Project. Each participant is supported, using the principles and practices of the training, to design and deliver a project that brings compassion into their unique real-world setting.  This could be a classroom, an office, a health care system, or a community of which they are a part. Here are some of the inspiring Capstone Projects from this year's ACT participants who are bringing compassion into the world in powerful ways.

ACT 2021 capstone projects | cohort 2 

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Practicing Mindfulness to Ease Difficult Conversations 

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"I have found my people. I took this step with both external and internal support, fostered by compassion practice. I have learned what I already suspected — that I am human, and that despite our individuality, we are all bound by our common desire to be at peace, to feel loved and to be seen." 
 Lakshmi Ganesan, MD MAS — Loma Linda, CA, USA

Compassion Restores
Self Care for Healthcare


"The capstone project helped me develop a compassion workshop specifically focused on self care for doctors who feel burned out, anxious or under pressure. ACT has encouraged me to keep generating experiments that apply compassion and notice the impact." 
- Sharee Johnson, Psychologist Coach, Meditation Teacher, Author — Victoria, Australia

Cultivating resilience and resourcefulness

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"The fact that ACT empowers participants to design their own workshops on compassion has been the most amazing part for me. While working on my Capstone, I was free to contemplate our deepest resources and design ways to cultivate them."
- Atul Veer, MD,  Founder, Universal Open Wellbeing Foundation — Pune, India

Generous Heart
Reviving the culture of compassion in Islam

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"Being a student of ACT gave me a natural driving force to cherish the presence of all people, reminding me of our interconnectedness and inspiring me to act in humility with every creature." 
- Elif Aldemir, Meditation and Compassion Teacher — Turkey / Izmir 

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Independent to Interdependent
Compassion As A Spiritual Care Practice

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"What a gift to be on a path of compassionate action and connect with such a diverse and energized group of people doing the same."
Whitney G. Wilkerson, NBC-HWC, Leadership Coach & Spiritual Care Provider — USA

mindfulness and Compassion Fun


"My Capstone Project enabled me to serve those in need by incorporating all the skills, knowledge, and wisdom gained through the valuable lessons of ACT." Michelle Ting jui Huang, MA, Mindfulness Instructor, Certified Hypnotherapist — San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

Compassion Cultivation for People with Hypospadias & Epispadias

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"My ACT Capstone Project allowed me to tap deeply into my own history and heart to understand the ways I’m uniquely situated to benefit my community. It required me to move beyond ideas about compassion to embodied, relational practice."
David Hlebain, MSW, Seattle, Washington, USA

Customizable Learning Program on Compassion for Different Audiences

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"From creating a leadership program for C-suite executives to facilitating webinars for tax professionals, my Capstone let the work flow through me in such a touching way.”Amaris Vicari, Esq., CEO, The Beneficial Element, Bay Area, California, USA

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Our Awakening to the Cultural Cultivation of Compassion


"Not only have I deepened my resolve to continue to cultivate compassion over my lifetime, but I have recommitted to supporting others in tapping into that inner space beyond our differences. To be able to share goals, dreams, and fears, and to receive feedback and support was what I needed to reach new — sometimes surprising — heights with my project." 
-  Lakiba Pittman, Educator and Creative Artist — Palo Alto, California

compassion based psychotherapy for depressed, cognitively impaired elderly


"ACT gave me the necessary structure to discipline myself in spite of my busy lifestyle, and my mentoring group provided exceptionally great theoretical and practical input and motivating feedback for my process." 
- Jana Hummel, Geriatrician, Psychotherapist, MD — Mannheim, Germany

The Exit Ticket
A Podcast for Educators during Pandemic-Teaching

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"My heart is open to ACT with greater courage to serve. In my humility, I can open the door to hope. In my own embodiment, I can help others reconnect with themselves. In my forgiveness, I can ease suffering for myself. The Capstone Project has magnified my eagerness to listen and share authentically."
- Rebeccah Amendola Kilian, Director of Secondary School Counseling — San Francisco, California, USA

Cultivating Wellbeing among Men


"My Capstone Project was the justification I needed to put myself out there and do what I've always wanted to do: build a program focused on wellbeing among men. The relationships I built in the process with my team is what I valued most about ACT."  - Jamie Alonzo, Educator and Administrator — San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

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Designing Action with Applied Compassion

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"Doing this work has altered my way of relating to myself and others at a foundational level and the Capstone Project has transformed my perspective on what is non-negotiable in my life’s work. Even more, the community of practitioners that chose this commitment to compassion is like no other group I’ve encountered before."
Trudy Watt, RA NOMA, Assistant Professor of Architecture — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Values Course


"Because of ACT, I have not only gained new tools, I also have such a deeper understanding of how to live a life of compassion. I'm grateful for the level of depth and intimacy between all the individuals I met and I've made new friends from all over the world." - Lacey Morris, Psychologist — Pacific Grove, California, USA

Improving graduate student individualized development plans


"In my capstone project, I ran focus groups with graduate students about their experience of our mentoring program and discovered that the component of wellness was missing. Now, I'm working on ways of adding this type of mentoring to our program."
David Schneider, Professor and Advising Dean — Stanford, California, USA

Healing Trauma From Within Using The Power of Energy Medicine


"ACT has given me the tools and the push to go out of my own comfort zone and create a bigger vision for my life and humanity by offering an integrative program to help heal others with compassion and love and to unite with a community of healers. My Capstone Project fueled me as a visionary and facilitator of applied compassion."
Paula Sockolich, 
BSN, RN, Energy Healer — Woodside, California, USA

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and Autism


"Being a part of ACT provided the catalyst I needed to heal from self-doubts and criticisms that weighed heavy on me. The Capstone Project has shown me that I am enough the way I am to cultivate compassion in the world — all I needed were the seeds of an evidence-based approach that ACT provides."
Ashu Sharma, Systems Engineer — Bay Area, California, USA

Mindful Self-Compassion Based Practices for Parents


"My Capstone Project has given me a platform to share my own self-compassion practices with parents and caregivers. By actively modeling compassion practices and sharing my discoveries with my peers, I have stepped into my role as an ambassador of applied compassion.."
Rose (Hong) Xu, Homemaker — Beijing, China

Harvest Compassion
Exploring the Suffering of
the Environment

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"My Capstone Project helped me step into my own highest self by creating a safe space for me to explore the suffering of the environment and our true nature. This also had profound changes on my own mental state once I began having a better relationship with the world around me." - Misty Huckabey, Master's Candidate, Applied Cognition- Neuroscience and Founder C2C — Dallas, Texas, USA

Fostering Compassion in Corporate Cultures


"By completing my Capstone Project, I feel a lot stronger about my desire to take compassion into the world, and I know that I am not alone in this journey. Soon my group will leave the program, but I am certain that the program will never leave us."
Janaina Betteley, 
CEO & Co-Founder — United Kingdom and Brazil

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Being Jewish and White
A Compassionate Exploration


"For my Capstone Project, I facilitated guided a group of white people in exploring the complex, contradictory, often triggering terrain of their own whiteness, coupled with their own Jewishness. The tools and practices I learned through ACT helped our group look at the shared truth of our complicity with white supremacy."
Claudia L. Bernard, Mediator, Trainer, Consultant — Oakland, California, USA

Compassion & Culture
Finding Our North Star


"I work in an industry that is very analytical and sometimes lacking the skills that are truly needed in today's business world — especially in a business dominated by relationships. My Capstone Project required me to show more of my authentic self in the workplace and it gave me the skills I needed to meet my colleagues where they are and make progress from there."
- Suzy Conley, Senior Relationship Manager — Dallas, Texas, USA

Care & Common Humanity
at a Community Breakfast


"Before ACT, I often wanted to contribute out in the world, but I felt limited, overwhelmed, or uncertain. The Capstone project encouraged me to try and try again, it challenged my preconceptions about “failure” and “mistakes,” and it offered me a solid foundation of support that helped me find my courage." - Lauren Slankard, Marketing — San Francisco, California, USA

Atelier Compassion Bienveillance


"Training a group of French therapists has shed a new light on the importance compassionate. Learning about triggers, common humanity, unconscious biases and resilience has been an eye-opener in my personal life, and being able to teach all of these concepts has been a life-changer for me." - Sophie Lartilleux Suberville, MS in Counseling Psychology — San Francisco, California, USA

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Art Museum-based Compassion & Resilience Training

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"For my Capstone Project, I created a psychologically safe haven in museum galleries, which enabled participants to slow down, open up, and discuss matters that might not otherwise have come up. I'm grateful for this transformative opportunity and the scope of international participation that highlighted our common humanity."
Jonathan S. Pincus, 
Macy Institute Fellow at Harvard University — Cooperstown, New York, USA

Trauma Integration 
through Self-Compassion and Mindfulness

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"Addressing the need to recognize and integrate trauma experienced by communities during the pandemic was the focus of my ACT Capstone Project. The journey of designing, developing and advancing my project has been very insightful and liberating."
- Swati Malaviya, Mindfulness and Compassion Educator/Facilitator — Bay Area, California, USA

Card Game

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"The Capstone Project helped develop my skills to implement the core principles of compassion in professional settings and in my everyday interactions. I appreciated our wonderful community, as well as the amazing teachers." 
- Tarja Wiklund, MScA, Pyschotherapist, Entrepreneur — Finland

Designing Your Way Forward in Work & Life


"The ACT program is skillfully designed to equip you with knowledge (i.e. the latest scientific findings on compassion), support your personal growth with experiential practices (i.e. integrate that knowledge into your daily life) and provide jet-fuel for your heart through compassionate conversations."
- Virginia Wilcox, Co-Creator and Founder of Illuminate — USA

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compassion Training for health professionals


"The Capstone Project framework's clear steps, timeline, excellent mentoring and group support constantly propelled me forward to design, deliver and analyze my project's impact. I had to be courageous, stretch my personal boundaries, and learn new skills, so I could present myself to my colleagues with credibility in a different role."
Robin Amerena, MD — Melbourne, Australia

Compassionate Interviewing for Qualitative Research


"Wow, my Capstone Project really pushed me to walk the walk. My own understanding of compassion has evolved, grown, and been enriched by the perspectives of my ACT colleagues. My project left me with a profound sense of purpose and I feel privileged to be able to bring this body of knowledge to my community."
- Daillen Culver, Co-Founder of BeDo — Edinburgh, Scotland

Compassion, The Overlooked Superpower


"My Capstone Project helped me to internalize the powerful lessons we learned and scale them to benefit a diverse global audience. ACT enhanced my self-awareness and emotional intelligence, connected me with a talented and supportive community, and enabled me to impact a large number of friends and colleagues." 
- Jeff Jacobs, Director, Organizational Effectiveness, Adobe — San Jose, California, USA

Compassionate Conversations


"My Capstone Project allowed me to move more deeply into my work helping clients bring their "best selves" to every presentation, conversation, or performance. I led workshops on triggers with technologists and brought compassion into my acting classes." - Jennie Moreau, Executive Speaking Coach, Communications Consultant, Actor — Chicago, Illinois, USA

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Climate Psychology In Therapeutic Practices

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"Through our compassion principles of empathy, humility, and common humanity, my Capstone Project followed a beautifully illuminated pathway from what seemed like a way-too-ambitious idea to completion. The ACT framework trained us to support one another in ways that highlighted the goodness of our projects."
Barbara Easterlin, PhD Psychologist — Jackson, Wyoming & Inverness, California, USA

Minding the Path
of Caring

Resilience for Caregivers

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"My Capstone Project prepared me to recognize, describe, and promote the health benefits of compassionate thinking, attitudes, and actions. I am ready to show caregivers how to use compassionate techniques to transform the stressors of caregiving into flexibility, strength, and insightful awareness."
- Diana Hull, PA-C, MPH — Santa Cruz, California, USA

Where Compassion Blooms and Spreads


"As a physician and leader in the hospital, I noted that our resources on well-being were difficult to access. For my Capstone Project, I built an organizational center to connect these activities, which made these resources more accessible to our entire community and amplified their impact." 
- Cheryl O'Malley, MD — Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Teaching and Learning Compassion


"The implementation of the Capstone Project enriched and enlivened my vocation as a teacher. ACT gave me the opportunity to do research, formulate and design teaching and learning strategies. Ultimately, compassion as a subject of inquiry and study presented me with curricular opportunities for enriching my mission of education. " - Albert Celoza, 
Faculty, Liberal Arts — Phoenix, Arizona, USA

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Leading with Compassion in
Big Tech


"My Capstone Project enabled me to take what I learned back into my day-to-day life in a large tech company. I had the privilege to lead experiential workshops on how to embed compassion into leadership with hundreds of senior leaders. My hope is that those participants become more skillful at compassionate leadership and spread compassion to their reports, peers and beyond."
Kerri Jacobs, MS, California, USA

with UK Business Leaders


"My Capstone Project inspired me to start a conversation about compassion business leaders in the UK. Creating a podcast and a website psychologically and technically challenged my humility and patience. Now, I'm excited about increasing awareness of workplace compassion amongst business leaders and their colleagues."
Robert Tame, Founder Entrepreneur, Consultant, Podcaster — London, UK

As We Carry On
Using Words to Explore Our Grief 


"At a time when so many are hurting, the writing workshops I developed created space for people to feel less alone. When we’re given permission to be face our pain, we can soften and expand, despite our greatest losses. It is an honor to hold space while others discover the many words grief gives us." 
Katie Huey, Writer and Facilitator — Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Wholeness & Purpose
Women in Leadership


"I wanted to address the suffering of young women who have built a promising career in competitive settings in Europe and have to juggle family, work and other responsibilities. I designed my Capstone Project to bring compassion and self-compassion to their hearts, thus enhancing their life purpose. Growing compassion is now the light that connects the dots in my life."
- Pinuccia Contino, Manager and Regulator, European Commission – Brussels, Belgium

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A Movement of Connecting through Compassion 


"My Capstone Project combined a theoretical and an experiential platform to reveal that simple, compassionate connections be life-changing. We learned that by making connections and listening to each other’s stories, we learn about truths permeating our society. ACT offered me the ideal framework for cultivating compassion."
- Mollie Reinhart, Ed.M., Founder of Befriend – Richmond, Virginia, USA

Every Day Wellness
Pilot Program 

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"My Capstone Project allowed me to apply compassion to my former workplace through the implementation of a staff wellness training program. Now, I have a product I can bring to agencies, designed to meet their needs. The project also allowed me to deepen my mindfulness, applied compassion, and self-compassion practices so I embody what I am teaching." 
Helene Creager, LCSW, Community Corrections and Wellness Consultant — Southern California, USA

Creating a
Contemplative Space
in Schools


"I was in a work environment at a time when I and others were suffering, and my Capstone Project allowed me to create a space to contemplate our experience and embody the richness that compassion creates. My favorite part of being in ACT was our community — we immediately connected and melded over our shared purpose and intentionality."
Sarah Pearlz, School Psychologist — Nagoya, Japan and Portland, Oregon, USA

Applied Compassion
Going Beyond

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"For my Capstone Project, I conducted classes through our local Rotary Club on healing anguish in relationships and addressed seniors on using mindfulness and compassion to face challenges in aging. Next, I will work with high-tech audiences Silicon Valley, to promote compassionate design principles and help minimize suffering caused by user exploitation through social engineering."
Sunil S. Nethisinghe, Teacher & Coach: Mindfulness Meditation and Applied Compassion — Cupertino, California, USA

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and yoga


"By facing a number of obstacles in designing my Capstone Project, I first and foremost practiced self-compassion in a way that I had rarely experienced before. Through ACT's learning-by-doing approach, I become more aware of the power of compassion, I have softened my attitude towards life and I've become more capable of acting compassionately in all aspects of my life."
Angela Gamba, Family Officer and Yoga Teacher — Milan, Italy

The Well-Being of All
Living Beings


I chose to focus on youth and expose them to the world of animal behavior, training, and well-being through cognitive, affective and psychomotor exercises to lead to an experience of compassion toward non-human animals. It is my hope that these experiences inspire a lifetime of choices and positive action to improve the lives of all living beings as well as the environment."
Jennifer Ott Cameron, Palo Alto, California, USA

One Dimensional Woman 


"The Capstone Project helped me see the fullness of my grandmother's life and the lives of all women. It allowed me to slow down, listen, receive and forgive. I was surprised that each ACT meeting was heart-opening and meaningful. Even during points of resistance, the resistance would unfold into an opening and a learning experience." 
Celeste Villalobos Tahamont, Group Facilitator — San Francisco, California, USA

Wellbeing Head Start
Compassion Training for Teachers


"My capstone project helped me to bring compassion to the participant teachers in my school. My hope is that through these teachers, the children in our early-years cohort will be raised as compassionate human beings capable of benefiting the lives of others. The ACT training has been such a deep learning journey and an inside-out experience for me."
Anupama Khatana — India

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Human Core
Developing Your Full


"I chose to work with teens to help them understand and develop compassion, self-compassion, character and awareness, so they can heal themselves and serve others. ACT helped me to design my Capstone Project in a rigorous yet candid manner, which is exactly what I needed for it to be a success."
José Luis, CEO – Spain

Embodying the Essence of Inner Resilience

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"To practice what you preach in real-time is an enriching experience. ACT provided the opportunity to practice being both a student and a teacher and it encouraged me to practice compassion for myself as I navigated all the unknowns and fears of doing something I've never done before. Plus, it helped having a team who were my biggest cheerleaders!" 
Nicole Villanueva Kershaw — San Diego, California, USA

Giving and Receiving Feedback with

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"The Capstone Project helped me reflect deeply on what compassion and self-compassion mean to me and become more mindful of them in my life and work. The best part of ACT for me was having the chance to interact and learn from my fellow participants. I've been so inspired and moved by the generosity, kindness and support of everyone."
Neha Agrawal, Researcher and Educator, University of Cambridge — UK

The Road Compass
Supporting Prisoners and Prison officers


"My Capstone Project empowered me to put into action my wishes to help prisoners and their families find a way forward. I was also able to share the educational resources with prison staff and probation officers. I enjoyed the compassionate and encouraging atmosphere of ACT, as well as the support from my teachers, mentors and colleagues."
Dr. Helena Patrícia Gaete, LRCP-MRCS, Eng, MSc in Mental Health Studies — Sussex, UK

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Cultivating Physician Wellness Through Compassion

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"ACT deepened my understanding and expanded my knowledge of the profound beauty and power of compassion to connect and heal humanity. Through collaborative efforts, I had the rich opportunity to explore how compassion can be cultivated in everyday experiences to transform the world." 
Maureen Dionysian, MPH — Southern California, USA

Sophie House
Serving Family through Community

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"My Capstone Project enabled me to provide selfless service to a family member who uses a power wheelchair. Our family built an accessible home to provide Sophie more independence and enable her caregiver parents to enjoy more free time with Sophie and her sister. The project energized a whole community or people."
Nancy Blair, Business Owner – USA

ReFrame for Life
Aligning Career through Compassionate Inquiry

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"I was able to practice self-compassion by adjusting my project to meet me where I was and I made the big decision to leave my corporate job. As a result of working on my Capstone Project, my chosen career no longer felt in alignment with who I am becoming. Now, I look forward to applying compassionate inquiry techniques as an Aligned Career Coach."
Emily Anderson, Aligned Career Coach— New York City, New York, USA

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