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Summer 2007: Student field school projects

By Upstate Institute on August 15, 2007

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 2007.

The Adult Learning Center

Sarah Lee ’08 designed and implemented a literacy directory for Oneida, Madison, and Herkimer counties while working with the Adult Learning Center this summer. She contacted literacy providers in the area and compiled their information in a user-friendly format. The directory will allow literacy providers in the area to find appropriate and available literacy programs for clients. She also prepared a presentation that enabled ALC staff to teach their students how to use digital cameras to record and communicate their experiences in adjusting to life in Utica.

Town of Cazenovia

David McKenzie '08 presenting a poster.

David McKenzie ’08 created digital maps of the Town of Cazenovia.

David McKenzie ’08 created digital maps of theTown of Cazenovia, a Madison County community of 6,500 residents. The town was in the process of creating a new comprehensive plan that will define zoning laws and areas that must be protected from development. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, he inventoried these notable properties, assigned geographic coordinates, and created visual representations of them in the form of digital maps.

His work will be used as a reference for persons and organizations interested in identifying a certain tax parcel, property, or scenic viewpoint in the town. The inventories will provide a reference for decisions about land use, development projects, environmental protection, as well as the promotion of development without sacrificing valuable views and resources. “This project has allowed me to make great strides in my understanding of GIS software and digital analysis,” said David. “I have improved my ability to make poster and PowerPoint presentations of my data and explain my findings.”

New York State Department of Labor, Division of Employment Services

Ben Callaway ’07 assisted the Division of Employment Services at the New York State Department of Labor to explore ways to reach customers and staff within a 10-county region via videoconferencing, webcasts, podcasts, and other means using technology. He helped to develop job search related presentations suitable for webcasting. He also created template Powerpoint presentations with live video panes and a user guide which will enable the department to create similar presentations in the future. The goal of the project is to present effective, interactive employment-related workshops to clients at many of the Department’s One-Stop Career Centers from one location.

This will allow the Department to provide necessary services to customers in the face of staffing reductions and budget constraints. It will also allow the Department’s most effective communicators and presenters to have regional impact as opposed to affecting only one local office at a time.

Opportunities for Chenango, Inc.

Robert Lucas ’09 helped the Opportunities for Chenango, Inc. with an evaluation of the Buy Local presentations for Bullthistle Products, which provides economic opportunities for all microentrepreneurs within the Chenango region. The Buy Local campaign works with local retail outlets to carry products produced in Chenango County and provides a public education program to the residents of the county about how buying locally produced products supports the local economy.

Nancy Morey, Bullthistle Products Director for Opportunities for Chenango, said, “OFC, Inc is a strength-based organization; Robert’s strengths and his willingness to help others were apparent from the first day. He became an integral part of the program and program (and agency) promotion. By the end of his time with us, we came to rely on Robert’s assistance with all aspects of the program, especially his computer skills. He helped not only our program area, but other individuals in the organization who needed assistance with whatever they were doing.”

Stop NYRI, Inc.

Tom Blonkowski ’07 researched local zoning laws, conservation easements, Native American heritage sites and historic districts to further the organization’s mission. He coordinated the GIS work being done at Colgate University with work conducted at Columbia University with regard to the NYRI proposal. His research will be used to inform the organization’s constituency and will be used by the Stop NYRI, Inc. and CARI (Communities Against Regional Interconnect) legal teams.

Upstate Cerebral Palsy

Cara Delaney ’08 developed and implemented a database in the Upstate Cerebral Palsy’s four-county service delivery area to identify the family support needs of families in Madison, Oneida, Herkimer and Lewis counties. The collected data will help UCP maximize their limited funding resources by planning for future services according to clients’ county of residence.

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