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Field School Applications for summer 2018 now available

By Upstate Institute on February 12, 2018

The Upstate Institute is currently accepting applications from current Colgate students who are interested in conducting research with a local organization through the Upstate Institute Summer Field School. The Field School partners students with not-for-profit, community, or municipal organizations to conduct research projects that have a positive social, economic, cultural or environmental impact on the Upstate region. Through a Field School Fellowship, students strengthen their skills while building the capacity of the community organization with which they are working. The Field School allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing Upstate New York and a stronger appreciation for what the region has to offer. Applications for students interested in applying to be a Fellow for the summer of 2018, as well as for community organizations interested in proposing a research project, are available on the Field School page of our website.

Jessica Eldridge ’19 researches ways to increase retention rates at Pathfinder Village

By Upstate Institute on October 30, 2017
Three people pose in front of a building at Pathfinder Village

Jessica Eldridge ’19 (right) at Pathfinder Village

Pathfinder Village was founded as the first and only community established specifically for individuals with Down syndrome. The mission of Pathfinder Village is to promote a healthy, progressive environment that respects each individual, supporting a life of value and independence for children and adults with Down syndrome and related developmental disabilities.  Recognizing the gifts, talents and abilities of each person they support, the Pathfinder Village community enables individuals with disabilities and their families to envision and to create a “life with meaning.” This includes friendships, independence, community involvement, and the freedom to pursue individual interests and life goals. Read more

Zakaria Chakrani ’18 builds website for Abraham House, enhancing donation potential

By Upstate Institute on September 16, 2017
Zakaria Chakrani '18 posing next to Abraham House sign

Zakaria Chakrani ’18 at Abraham House

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with the Abraham House in Utica, New York. The organization’s mission is to offer the terminally ill a secure and loving home, free of charge, while providing them physical, emotional, and spiritual support. The Abraham House partners with Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc. to provide their guests a variety of services, including oversight, comprehensive medical care plans, social workers, and bereavement services. The organization continually strives to provide both  compassion and the comfort of a surrogate family to every individual in their care, as well as their families.

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Lindsey Johnson ‘20 and Dylann McLaughlin ‘18 work with Utica Children’s Museum to increase museum’s financial stability

By Upstate Institute on September 15, 2017
Dylann McLaughlin, '18 (left) and Lindsey Johnson, '20 (right) sitting and posing with small stuffed animals at the Utica Children's Museum

Dylann McLaughlin ’18 (left) and Lindsey Johnson ’20 (right) at the Utica Children’s Museum

The Utica Children’s Museum is a small non-profit in the heart of the Bagg’s Square district of Utica, devoted to supporting every child’s natural curiosity to learn through hands-on, play-based exploration. With a focus on STEAM education and tactile learning, the museum provides an enriching environment for young children from central New York to grow as independent and critical thinkers. Though the museum suffers from chronic funding issues, it remains a beloved institution in the Mohawk Valley and is making strives toward financial stability. Recently, it was chosen by the Class of 2017 members of the Konosioni Senior Honor Society at Colgate University to receive $2,500 from their Madison County Gives fund to put toward creating a new Sensory Zone on the first floor of the museum. This is one component of the museum’s initiative to incorporate STEAM programs into the learning experience of young visitors.

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Dylann McLaughlin ‘18 and Lindsey Johnson ‘20 help Young Scholars grow alumni network

By Upstate Institute on September 12, 2017

The Young Scholars Program gives high-achieving students in the Utica City School District the academic, cultural, and social-emotional support needed to reach their full potential as scholars and community members.  This program is designed and staffed by education professionals who motivate a diverse and talented pool of students to stay in school, earn a New York State Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation, and pursue post-secondary education. Since its inception in 1993, 93% of Young Scholars have graduated high school and 88% have entered college.

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Jeff Marr, ’18, prepares consumer cases for Legal Aid office in Utica

By Upstate Institute on August 2, 2017

Jeff Marr, ’18, at the Utica offices of the Legal Aid Society of Mid New York.

This summer I’m interning with the Legal Aid Society of Mid New York (LASMNY) through the Upstate Institute. LASMNY is a not-for-profit legal services group that provides civil (i.e. non-criminal) legal help to low-income residents of thirteen counties throughout upstate New York. They have a wide array of practice areas to serve the legal needs of their low-income clients, including consumer protection, housing, education, access to health care, and domestic violence. They deliver advice over a helpline, represent individual clients, conduct clinics and engage in impact litigation. Put together, these programs help thousands of people across upstate New York each year.

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Revee Needham, ’18, looks at septic systems with Madison County Department of Health

By Upstate Institute on August 1, 2017

Environmental Studies major Revee Needham works with the Madison County Department of Health this summer on water quality projects.

The Madison County Department of Public Health has a variety of programs aimed at protecting and enhancing the health of our community. I worked under the Environmental Health division, where we work towards a healthy environment for all. On any given day, workers may be collecting water samples, following up on a report of raw sewage, verifying safety plans at children’s camps, or responding to concerned residents’ calls regarding restaurants. My project was designed at the intersection of water quality and wastewater treatment.

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Colleen Donlan ’18 researches access to local food; careers in farming

By Upstate Institute on July 28, 2017

Colleen Donlan, ’18, at the Hamilton office of the Partnership for Community Development.

This summer, I am working at the Partnership for Community Development (PCD) as an Upstate Institute Fellow. PCD is an economic development nonprofit which serves the Hamilton area. They work closely with the Village of Hamilton, the Town of Hamilton, and Colgate University to ensure sustainable community-oriented change, success for our small businesses, and economic vitality. PCD brings Hamilton together through community-based projects in many different ways.


Food access is a concern in Madison County, as it is in many rural areas. Some residents participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). However, these participants cannot use their benefits everywhere. Residents cannot redeem them at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market or at almost any farms in the county, even though there is a process to make this happen. So while we are surrounded by farms, which sell meat, vegetables, dairy, and other produce, community members still struggle to access local food. On the producer side of this issue, trying to accept SNAP is not easy. That is why, among other barriers, it is difficult for farmers to go through the process of accepting SNAP.


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Kaitlin Abrams ’18 helps For the Good build community as they grow good food

By Upstate Institute on July 27, 2017

Kaitlin Abrams ‘18 with Summer Youth Employment Program workers at For the Good’s garden in Utica, NY

For the Good is a community organization based in the heart of Utica, NY. In 2002, C.E.O Cassandra Harris-Lockwood started the nonprofit with the intention of restoring Utica’s Community Action Agency. Since then the organization has grown to accommodate two community gardens opening in 2008, an independent newspaper, and various youth programming such as the Study Buddy Club.

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Erin Burke ’18 develops children’s programming at the Oneida Community Mansion House

By Upstate Institute on July 24, 2017

Erin Burke at the Oneida Community Mansion House

This summer I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work as an intern at the Oneida Community Mansion House. The Oneida Community Mansion House (OCMH) is a non-profit historic house museum that shares the history of the Oneida Community. The Oneida Community was a socialist Utopian group that was active from 1848-1881. They are known for their social practices, which differed greatly from their contemporaries: the Community shared all property in common, believed that women and men were of comparable standing, all men and women in the Community were spouses to one another, and that men were responsible for preventing conception. OCMH also strives to use the story of the Oneida Community as a platform to discuss pressing social issues that still face audiences today. To accomplish this dual mission of sharing history and questioning modernity, OCMH offers guided tours, educational programs, and special events to the public.

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