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Summer 2008: Student field school projects

By Upstate Institute on August 15, 2008

Each summer, Colgate students remain in the region to work as field school fellows with the Upstate Institute. The fellows work with a community, government, or non-profit partner to create and complete projects that will have a positive social, economic, cultural, or environmental impact on the upstate region.

Below are a few of the community partners and projects from the summer of 2008.

Abraham House:

Curry Knox ’09 worked with the Abraham House in Utica on a capital grant proposal that would allow the organization to renovate an office building. Abraham House offers residence and a staff of professionals and trained volunteer caregivers to persons who have reached the end of curative therapy options.

Chenango United Way

Allison Bush ’09 worked with Chenango United Way to conduct community partner site visits and create a mid-year outcome report. On these visits, she toured the program and examined the organizations’ program outcomes and mid-year budgets. The organizations were scored based on the visit, and the scores will be incorporated into their request for funds next year. Allison also updated an existing document, started by fellow Julia Heymans in the summer of 2006, detailing the transition to a “business model” of evaluating requests for funding.

Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties

Swetha Peteru '08 pictured with a community partner.

Swetha Peteru ’08 helped the Community Foundation and the United Way collaborate.

Swetha Peteru ’08 helped the Community Foundation pair with the United Way to create a capacity building program for regional non-profit organizations. She conducted research that would identify the best practices for approaching capacity building and make suggestions for short and long term goals for organizations interested in capacity building.

She conducted interviews with people involved in the local nonprofit community in various aspects, community foundations across the nation and nonprofit support centers that already support capacity building programs to identify a successful process for establishing capacity building programs. She also conducted a literature review of past capacity building efforts in the region in order to inform the program.

Her research showed that capacity building programs need to have certain characteristics to be effective, such as being timely, assessment-based, customized, contextualized, competence-based, comprehensive, and allow for networking opportunities with peer connections.

Community Memorial Hospital

Grace Baik ’10 worked on an orthopedic research project under the direction of Diane Bialczak, RN In-Service Coordinator for Community Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Ivan Gowan. This study will examine outcomes of approximately 1,000 total knee prostheses over a 20-year period. Grace reviewed medical records for each surgery performed and conducted follow-up interviews to determine which of the prostheses required the least number of revision surgeries. The final goal of the project is a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Hamilton Central Schools

Chris Glendening ’09 worked with several teachers at Hamilton Central School to integrate arts and communications technology into the traditional curriculum to create a broader, connected field of study for the students. He completed three projects while there: documenting past integrated arts projects; creating a short video documentary on the school itself; and running workshops for the school staff on communications software. He photographed and created notes on the past school projects that combined the arts with curriculum such as math or science, then organized the information into PowerPoint templates that will be used in grant applications.

House of the Good Shepherd

David Pokorny ’10 worked with the House of the Good Shepherd in Utica to research and report on better ways to evaluate program outcomes within the organization. He looked at the activities of similar organizations to find potential new outcome measures that HGS could employ. He also created a proposal for an investment in a new software program that would allow for web based tracking of client’s progress and outcomes.

Lorenzo State Historic Site

Kaitlin Tufts '10 in historic period attire

Kaitlin Tufts ’10 worked with the Lorenzo State Historic Site.

Kaitlin Tufts ’10 provided oversight of a day camp at Lorenzo State Historic Site that offers an immersion experience in turn-of-the-century life. She conducted research on the history of education and teaching in America, and incorporated the information into a format that can be used for training staff and volunteers.

The Neighborhood Center

Laura Simocko ’09 worked with the Somali Bantu Case Management Program at the Neighborhood Center in Utica. She performed outreach with interpreters and developed programming for future implementation. She researched and created life skills training materials for caseworkers and clients on transportation and home management. She also coordinated a community meeting between Somali Bantu leaders and representatives of local and state government hosted by the Neighborhood Center.

Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL)

Carly Turro ’09 worked on a quality study of the programs offered through the Resource Center for Independent Living, an organization in Utica that offers advocacy services to people with disabilities. She began by researching how RCIL programs work, who is being served, what is being provided, and how people benefit. She then identified what constitutes quality and how that can be measured, and applied the findings to six programs within the organization to determine how they could improve.


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