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Summer 2012: Student field school projects

By Upstate Institute on August 15, 2012

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 2012.

Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York

Lindsey Edinger ’13, is working with the Legal Aid Society of Mid New York, Inc. on the Consumer Bankrutpcy Law Project, which is a partnership between Legal Aid and the Upstate Institute. Lindsey is completing the bankruptcy filing process for qualified low income individuals in order to refer their cases out to pro bono attorneys. She is working with project attorney Susan Conn to launch a website that models the project to Bar Associations and university campuses. Read more about Edinger’s experience.

Madison County Literacy Coalition

Jayne Tamboia ’13 is helping the Madison County Literacy Coalition work on various initiatives that will raise awareness about and inform the development of the MCLC. She is currently working with members of the Coalition on a two-year marketing plan. Jayne is also cultivating an online presence by establishing and maintaining social media websites and converting their current website to a WordPress format. On a daily basis, you may find Jayne meeting with various members of the Coalition, at the Edward R. Andrew Elementary School in Morrisville, or at the Oneida Public Library. She feels that one of the most important contributions she can make this summer is increasing the Coalition’s social media presence “as this will undoubtedly influence the growth and awareness of all the wonderful accomplishments and strides the Coalition makes on a regular basis.” Read more about Tamboia’s experience.

Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees

Gabriela Bezerra pictured in the hall of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees with national flags above.

Gabriela Bezerra ’13 worked with the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees.

Gabriela Bezerra ’13, is in the beginning days of a ten-week Field School Fellowship with the Upstate Institute and the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees this summer. Gabriela is from Brazil and is majoring in Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate. She also studies film and media and was matched to the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees to work with the center on their annual Unspoken film festival.

Unspoken is an annual human rights forum in Utica, New York that combines film, art, music and a conference to give a voice to human rights violations from around the globe and to offer practical solutions to give hope for the future. This year’s conference will take place on October 17-20 and will focus on gendered issues of forced migration.

Gabriela is working with the Center to increase awareness of this fall’s Unspoken event. She is working with many of the area colleges and universities to find ways to bring more students to the conference and film screenings in order to raise awareness about the refugee experience around the world and specifically about how women’s lives are affected by war and conflict. She looks forward to learning how an event like Unspoken is produced and marketed. She said, “Unspoken is an event with a very important message about refugee life, resettlement, community and dignity, and I want to learn how I can help it become bigger and more visible.” Read more about Bezerra’s experience.

Pathfinder Village

When Pablo Sasso ’14 discusses his work with the staff of the Kennedy-Willis Center on Down Syndrome and the residents of Pathfinder Village, his enthusiasm for and commitment to his Field School Fellowship is undeniable. Pablo is working on three projects on behalf of Pathfinder Village and the Kennedy-Willis Center. He is laying the groundwork for a running and exercise club for the residents, which he hopes will allow the participants to “gain a higher level of fitness as a result of running and a sense of camaraderie.” It will also allow Pablo to deepen his relationships with residents, which are already growing through shared dinners every evening. In addition, he is working with researchers from Utica College who are interviewing staff, leaders, residents, and the residents’ families about their perceptions of Pathfinder. This study aims to empirically demonstrate the impact of Pathfinder’s model and services on its residents. Finally, Pablo is working with his supervisor to host a group of researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who are collecting information to update growth charts for children who have Down Syndrome. Read more about Sasso’s experience.

Sculpture Space

Coco Vonnegut ’13 is a Field School Fellow at Sculpture Space this summer. Sculpture Space is an arts organization in Utica, New York that offers two-month residencies to visiting artists, in order to help advance their careers. At Sculpture Space, she is helping to develop the arts administrative part of the organization by working on their programs, outreach ventures, and public relations initiatives. Sculpture Space brings in artists from around the country and the world and creates a cohesive arts community with them in Utica. Coco anticipates learning more about how communities are built from and for a diverse group of people, and says she is “hoping to learn how artist communities function and interact with the larger community, and how Sculpture Space incorporates internationalism into its community building.” Read more about Vonnegut’s experience.


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