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Colleen Donlan ’18 helps vulnerable populations access local foods

By Upstate Institute on September 25, 2018

-Written by Colleen Donlan ‘18

Colleen Donlan ’18 at the Farmacy in Keeseville, NY

This summer I worked with AdkAction in Keeseville, NY in the Adirondacks. AdkAction has been creating projects that address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities, and preserve the character of the Adirondacks since 2011. They serve seasonal and year-round residents of the Adirondack Park and work in diverse project areas such as: community revitalization, food access, environmental stewardship, arts and culture, and broadband internet access. My primary focus was on “The Farmacy” which began in 2017 and is a partnership between the Keeseville Pharmacy and AdkAction designed to make healthy food, sourced from local and organic farms whenever possible, physically and economically accessible to all Keeseville residents within the Pharmacy space. We partner with six local farms and a food hub to make high-quality produce, dairy, meat, eggs, and value-added products available in the Farmacy. Together with the Keeseville Pharmacy, we are trying to help vulnerable populations gain access to affordable, locally-produced food.

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Gabby Yates ’19 researches walkability in Hamilton

By Upstate Institute on September 21, 2018

-Written by Gabby Yates, ‘19

Gabby will present her research poster at the Walk/Bike/Places 2018 conference in New Orleans, LA. This conference is organized by the Project for Public Spaces, and is the premier conference in North America for walking, bicycling and placemaking professionals from the public and private sectors.

Gabby will present her research poster at the Walk/Bike/Places 2018 conference this fall.

This summer I had the opportunity to work with the Hamilton Partnership for Community Development. The Partnership (PCD) has served the Hamilton area since 1998 as an economic development non-profit. It works to promote sustainable economic opportunities and a sense of community through fostering community-based projects. More specifically, they help existing business and farms thrive, attract new community-minded businesses to the area, develop the downtown area all while preserving the small town character and fostering civic involvement through research and administer grants to serve these purposes.

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Mackenzie Carroll ’19 works to improve employee wellness in Madison County

By Upstate Institute on September 18, 2018

-Written by Mackenzie Carroll ‘19

Through the Upstate Institute Summer Field School, this summer I had the opportunity to work with the lovely people at the Madison County Department of Health (MCDOH) in Wampsville. During my time at the Health Department I worked mainly with the Preventative Health division. The Preventative Health division offers the following programs and services to aid the Madison Community: Community Disease Prevention and Control, Health Education and Promotion, Vaccination Program, Maternal and Child Health Program and Home Visitation, STI Program, Tuberculosis clinics, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, Car Seat Safety, and Cancer Services. The Health Department deals with all kinds of people throughout Madison County and works in partnership with many of the nonprofit organizations in Madison County in order to better meet the needs of the people. From doing home check-ups for premature babies, to flu clinics on college campuses, the staff is always running around to accommodate as many people as possible, and they still manage to think of new ideas all the time to further meet the needs of the community. Many of the health clinics on campus are run by them, so next time you hear about one I strongly suggest you attend because the nurses will keep you healthy and they are super friendly!

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Jolene Patrina ’19 creates exhibit on the first World War in Oneida County

By Upstate Institute on September 14, 2018

-Written by Jolene Patrina ’19

Jolene Patrina ’19 at the Oneida County History Center in Utica, New York

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work at the Oneida County History Center (OCHC) through the Upstate Institute Field School. OCHC works to collect, preserve and make available the history of Oneida County and the Upper Mohawk Valley. This nonprofit organization, located in an old Christian Science church, houses a research library, a 5,000 sq. ft. exhibit space, and thousands of collections including artifacts, manuscripts, artwork, and more. With many of these materials, I created an exhibit titled “World War I Centennial: Oneida County and New York in the Great War,” commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into the first World War by focusing on the American experience and local history of the war. Exhibits are usually up for two years or more; OCHC currently contains six exhibits of all different sizes on local history, all of which are open to the public.

OCHC serves the local community in preserving and exhibiting a wide variety of local history. It is often difficult to complete this mission as both archival and exhibit work is largely completed on a volunteer basis, and there is only one full-time employee, Brian Howard, who rarely has time to work on curation.

This summer I curated a large portion of the exhibit space with my World War I project, which will help OCHC in its goal of sharing local history and attracting visitors. Specifically, I looked through the OCHC’s manuscripts and artifacts pertaining to World War I, conceptualized an exhibit from these items, and designed and implemented the exhibit. This process involved working closely with artifacts, such as military uniforms, weapons, gear, and technology, all of which were over a century old and very delicate. Similarly, I worked with fragile documents such as posters, photographs, and newspapers, and often had to encapsulate (i.e. laminate by hand) many of these items. This work culminated in my exhibit that includes topics such as New York’s efforts to fund the war and conserve resources, technological innovation and its impacts, women in the war, and certain Uticans’ experiences during the war. Ultimately, this exhibit will help to preserve and present local history in an interesting and comprehensible way to the surrounding community, and hopefully attract more visitors to OCHC.

My first summer as a Field School Fellow has been both educational and exciting, as I was given the opportunity to create something substantial largely on my own, and was able to contribute to both preserving and making accessible local history. This project enabled me to work hands-on with fascinating materials and added a meaningful component to my studies as a History major. Furthermore, I was introduced to curation, work that I have never done before but am now extremely interested in pursuing as a career. In addition to my wonderful experience with curation, working in Utica allowed me to connect with a local community that I otherwise would not have encountered, and added depth to my understanding of and appreciation for Upstate New York and the local communities it fosters. Ultimately, I have gained invaluable experience in both history and curation, while also forming connections with and learning about the local community.


Sarah Allen ’20 helps the Utica Children’s Museum with programming

By Upstate Institute on September 11, 2018

-Written by Sarah Allen ’20

Sarah Allen ’20 at the Children’s Museum

This summer I worked at the Utica Children’s museum as an intern focused on developing new programming for the organization. The museum is a non-profit with a dedication to providing children with a place in which they can learn in a fun and hands on manner. Their mission statement explains this well, describing that the museum is meant, “to offer an environment that supports every child’s natural curiosity to learn through hands-on, play-based exploration.” In the past year, the museum entered a management contract with Kids Oneida, an organization dedicated to helping families in need. Their mission statement is, “to empower children, families and individuals who have high service needs and enabling them to live ways that are productive, healthy and meaningful.” This management agreement has helped the museum by allowing it grow more organized and to adopt a similar, community based mentality to that of Kids Oneida.

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Emmy Ritchey ’20 partners with refugee-friendly community center in Utica

By Upstate Institute on August 30, 2018

Written by Emmy Ritchey ’20

This summer, I had the opportunity to work as an intern at the Midtown Utica Community Center (MUCC) through the Upstate Institute Summer Field School. MUCC is a “multicultural and refugee-friendly place that serves all” that provides cultural and educational programming and assistance to the refugee and low-income communities in the city of Utica, New York. MUCC was founded in 2014 after Chris Sunderlin noticed a gap in the services provided to the refugee community of Utica. While many resources are available to help the refugees who call Utica their new home, MUCC gives refugees a place to gather and continue their cultural practices and helps the community connect with other agencies for further assistance.

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Kyle Bass named Burke Chair for 2018-2019 academic year

By Upstate Institute on August 28, 2018

Burke Chair Kyle Bass (photo by Brenna Merritt)

Kyle Bass, Associate Artistic Director at Syracuse Stage and instructor in playwriting at Syracuse University, has been named Gretchen Hoadley Burke ’81 Endowed Chair for Regional Studies for the 2018-2019 academic year. Bass is a two-time recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (for fiction in 1998 and playwriting in 2010), a finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Award, a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Playwriting Conference, and Pushcart Prize nominee. His new play Possessing Harriet, commissioned by the Onondaga Historical Association, will have its world premiere at Syracuse Stage in October, directed by Tazewell Thompson. Bass is the co-author of the original screenplay for the film Day of Days, which stars award-winning veteran actor Tom Skerritt (Alien, Top Gun, Steel Magnolias, A River Runs Through It) and was released by Broad Green Pictures in 2017. He is currently writing the screenplay adaptation of the novel Milk by Darcy Steinke and has been commissioned by the Society for New Music to write the libretto for an opera based on the life and music of legendry folk singer and guitarist Libba Cotten. Bass is the co-author (with Ping Chong) of Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo, which had its world premiere at Syracuse Stage and was subsequently produced at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York City. He worked with acclaimed visual artist Carrie Mae Weems on her theatre piece Grace Notes: Reflections for Now, which had its world premiere at the 2016 Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, and was subsequently produced at Yale Rep and the Kennedy Center. Bass’s Separated, a piece of documentary theatre about the student military veterans at Syracuse University, was first presented at Syracuse Stage in 2017, directed by Robert Hupp. His prose and other writings have appeared in the journals Folio and Stone Canoe, among others, and in the anthology Alchemy of the Word: Writers Talk about Writing and he has appeared as a guest on National Public Radio’s “Tell Me More,” discussing race in American theatre. and is Drama Editor for the journal Stone Canoe. Bass has taught in the M.F.A. Creative Writing program at Goddard College since 2006. He also teaches theatre courses in Syracuse University’s Department of African American Studies, and in addition to teaching at Colgate University, Bass has taught playwriting at Hobart & William Smith College.

Bass holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Goddard College and is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild of America.


Alicia Violette ’19 provides data collection and analysis for BRiDGES

By Upstate Institute on August 21, 2018

Written by Alicia Violette ‘19

This summer I worked with BRiDGES: Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., whose mission is to provide advocacy and services to the local community, through the workplace, families, and individuals in order to improve the quality of life. They focus especially on those affected by addiction and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances. They do this by implementing prevention and intervention programming in the community in order to promote change and work toward building a healthier community. This summer I was assigned to work with them in order to assess what substance use looks like in adults as well as in youth in the community. I was also attempting to determine what gaps exist in the services related to substance use as well as suicide prevention and the LGBTQ community in this area.

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Ashlea Raemer ’18 is farming with the wild in the Adirondack Park

By Upstate Institute on July 31, 2018

-Written by Ashlea Raemer

Ashlea Raemer visits a farm that uses llamas as potential livestock guardian animals, which is a wildlife-friendly strategy for managing the wildlife conflict of livestock predation in the Adirondack park.

This summer I am working with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program in Saranac Lake, New York through the Upstate Institute Summer Field School to promote wildlife-friendly farming practices in the Adirondack Park. The Wildlife Conservation Society is an international non-profit originally founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society. Today they are perhaps most known for the Bronx Zoo, but their mission to protect wildlife and wild places is implemented in priority regions across the globe. In the Adirondacks, WCS uses applied science and community-based conservation to link wildlife, wilderness, and human well-being through an interdisciplinary approach. Read more


Claudia Buszta ’19 uses drones to map conservation properties

By Upstate Institute on July 30, 2018

Claudia Buszta ’19 at one of the properties protected by the Southern Madison Heritage Trust

-Written by Claudia Buszta ’19

This summer, I have the privilege of working with the Southern Madison Heritage Trust (SMHT). SMHT is the local land trust that serves the general area of Hamilton, NY. It is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that conserves land for the benefit of the overall community. These lands are preserved for the purposes of protecting valuable habitats, resources, scenic landscapes, and historic features. SMHT currently manages five properties within and around Hamilton, each of which has their own unique features. Members of the community who wish to see a certain piece of land conserved can contact the land trust and either donate or sell their land outright, meaning that SMHT will own and operate the property themselves, or set up a conservation easement on the property. In this way, SMHT is an important part of the community and allows for meaningful land to be preserved for generations to continue to enjoy and use.

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