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Benton Bio- Augusta Gillespie

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013

Augusta Gillespie ‘13
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Madison, Connecticut
High School: Daniel Hand High School

With six weeks left to my college career, I find myself reflecting on the numerous activities and projects I have taken on during my four years at Colgate. It was not until this year, that I realized how related all of my activities have been, and how much they link back to my experiences with the Benton Scholars Program.
The summer after my junior year, under the urging of my advisor at Career Services, I applied for and received the Colgate University Upstate Institute Fellowship. Upstate Fellows are paired with community partners to help non-profit organizations carry out projects relevant to the culture of Central New York. My assignment this summer, was to work with the Department of Social Services in Madison County and develop a report discussing the State-wide Medicaid Redesign and the ways in which Madison County could most effectively execute the systemic changes in Medicaid. My work this summer was incredibly rewarding as I not only got to learn about the County which I have called my home for the past four years, but also I was able to give back to the county, in ways I never would have imagined. While the focus of the Benton Scholars Program is international issues, we also value the importance of recognizing needs in our own communities locally. This summer I was able to live the mission of the Benton Scholars Program, at a local level.
New_augusta picDuring my time working with the Upstate Institute, I was introduced to Professor Ellen Kraly of the Environmental Studies Program at Colgate. Over the summer, Professor Kraly needed help inputting data for a survey on public health from a hospital in Uganda. It was not long before I learned that the hospital I was now working with was the same hospital that the 2015 Bentons had visited just two months prior! My work with professor Kraly continued through the year. I have now created numerous reports for a non-profit, Sustain for Life, which works with the hospital as well as funds numerous other development projects throughout Uganda. This semester, I am helping Sustain for Life register as a government acknowledged non-profit operating in the United States. Thanks to my introduction to Professor Kraly, I have now also been able to espouse the Benton Mission with programs abroad as well as local.
When I joined the Benton Scholars Program, I expected to go abroad, to learn about other cultures, and to learn through various on campus programs about how to affect the world post-grad. I never expected that I would be able to make an impact that aligns with the Benton mission, however small, while an undergraduate.

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