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Jesse Chang ’12 is studying effectiveness in food programs and policy

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012

Jesse Chang '12Jesse Chang ’12 is working as a Field School Fellow with the Agency Relations department at the Food Bank of Central New York to optimize their emergency food network. The Food Bank conducted an internal assessment of the 273 member programs that comprise their network, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each and how essential they are in their immediate location, given the level of demand and proximity to other programs nearby. Jesse is helping the organization with the process by distributing a self-assessment tool that programs can use to identify best practices and areas for improvement in program operation. The goal of the assessment is to increase the effectiveness of food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters that often operate with very limited resources, and to use Food Bank resources to build capacity. The results of the project will help the Food Bank to understand the specific needs of member programs, better manage workflows, and guide funding and training opportunities to high need places that will make the most of them. Read more

Hannah Fitton ’14 creates local history exhibit

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012

Hannah Fitton '14Hannah Fitton, ’14, is working with the large collection of flags and banners that belong to the Oneida County Historical Society in Utica. The OCHS had over 100 flags in storage that had been donated by various individuals and organizations over the years. As a Field School Fellow, Hannah created a database that included information about the type (American or Local), size, fabric condition, and historical significance, which she determined through research within OCHS’ accession record and historical files. She has created a special exhibit that displays a selection of the flags and banners that range from a large Civil War era flag with a special star pattern to a rare silk flag, as well as the flag that was raised during the 1884 Oriskany Monument dedication. The exhibit leads the viewer through the development of the American flag from the colonial Grand Union to its modern day 50-star pattern. Several local banners are also in the collection, ranging from the original Oneida County flag to a Utica Citizen Corps Cadets banner used in parades. Overall, the exhibit demonstrates how flags and banners have become more than just a communication device: they are symbols that are instantly recognizable, and help tell the stories of past times. Read more

Augusta Gillespie ’13 makes recommendations to Madison County on Medicaid

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012
Augusta Gillespie, '13, meets with Madison County Department of Health Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald and Chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors John Becker

Augusta Gillespie ’13 meets with Madison County Department of Health Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald and Chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors John Becker

Augusta Gillespie ’13 conducted research this summer as a Field School Fellow for the Upstate Institute with the Madison County Department of Social Services. The office is preparing to make changes to the way the county implements New York’s Medicaid Plan, following the national passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). New York State Governor Cuomo selected a Medicaid Redesign Team, which suggested that the state assume Medicaid administrative duty from the counties by 2018. The state is now looking to the counties to help create a seamless transition for this process. Read more

Rita Van Kirk ’13 maps a community and her future

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012

Rita Van Kirk '13Rita Van Kirk ’13 is a geology major from South Dakota who wanted to stay in Hamilton this summer to learn a bit more about the Upstate New York region and to work on a project that would somehow help the community. She also wanted to improve her research skills, and possibly use some of the GIS skills she is developing at Colgate. GIS—geographic information systems—is a burgeoning field in which mapping and geographically referenced information are combined to allow data to be captured, managed, analyzed and displayed. There is a growing awareness in many sectors of the economic and strategic value of GIS in that it allows users to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways to reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, reports and charts. In short, GIS helps organizations answer questions and solve problems by looking at data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared. Read more

Joanne Jan ’13 is assessing and strengthening the Chenango United Way

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012
Joanne Jan '13 and Chenango United Way Executive Director Elizabeth Monaco

Joanne Jan ’13 and Chenango United Way Executive Director Elizabeth Monaco

Joanne Jan ’13 is thrilled to be participating in her second summer as an Upstate Institute Summer Field School Fellow. The Psychology and Classics major sees herself working in the non-profit field, which is why her placement at the Chenango United Way in Norwich this summer is a perfect fit. The Chenango United Way’s mission states that it “builds partnerships and maximizes resources to improve the quality of life for local residents.” Every year, the organization raises nearly $500,000 to allocate to a diverse array of county-wide agencies. Agencies that receive funding at the local level reflect the United Way of America’s national focus on income, health, and education. The two projects Joanne is working on aim to uphold this mission and ensure these allocations are being utilized properly. Read more

Emmie Dolfi ’13, is charting carbon emissions in Hamilton

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012
Emmie Dolfi '13 and Sean Graham from the Village of Hamilton

Emmie Dolfi ’13 and Sean Graham from the Village of Hamilton

As a Geography and Mathematics major, Emmie Dolfi’s ’13, summer placement with the Village and Town of Hamilton conducting the Greenhouse Gas Inventory suits her skills and interests perfectly. She is completing this survey for both the Village and the Town in order to identify areas in which each can lessen their carbon footprints. Emmie’s final product will be a written report that details the step-by-step process she underwent to carry out a credible inventory that can be used by future staff and interns on an annual basis.

Emmie began her project by researching quality assurance to figure out the necessary steps to complete the inventory. She then requested specific data from her supervisor, Mayor Margaret Miller, and other stakeholders regarding electricity consumption for each building and facility operated by the government, as well as the amount and type of fuel used by each government owned vehicle. Emmie entered these numbers into a large software database that calculates carbon emissions. In addition to the how-to steps of conducting a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, her guide will also include charts and graphs highlighting her findings. If the footprint is low, Emmie says the Village and/or Town may be eligible for grants.

Prior to her work with the local government, Emmie was unaware of resources present in Hamilton. She didn’t know that Hamilton had a wastewater treatment plant and substation, and was unaware of the general work the government does on a daily basis to ensure residents’ needs are met. Emmie respects the “structure and responsibility” the government possesses, as well as the people with whom she has worked. She describes her colleagues as people who are “immensely proud of the independence that this government has” and is amazed by the lengths they will go to perform their tasks in the best possible manner.

Emmie’s curiosity in the Upstate Institute grew from her roommate, Joanne Jan, who is a second-year fellow this summer. Relatively unaware of the region surrounding Colgate and interested in pursuing nonprofit work, Emmie applied for a fellowship. Now nearing the end of her fellowship, she claims that she is “much more conscious about my actions” and feels that she is “making “greener” choices.” Emmie is also more knowledgeable about how various sectors contribute to a village, town, or city’s overall carbon footprint. She is extremely grateful for the experience she has had and hopes her final guide will serve those conducting greenhouse gas emissions surveys for years to come.

Caroline Lee ’13 is looking for healthy kids’ menus in Madison County

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012

Caroline LeeCaroline Lee ‘13 is working with the Madison County Department of Health to conduct research on healthy options at county restaurants. She is gathering and analyzing children’s menus from independently owned restaurants across Madison County to assess the health of the options on the menu. She is comparing these menus to those offered from chain restaurants, and will then conduct interviews with the owners of independent restaurants to better understand the barriers to adding healthy options to the menus. Read more

Albert Boateng ’14 assesses community needs in Madison County

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012
Albert Boateng '14 and Diane Ryan at Community Action Partnership in Madison County

Albert Boateng ’14 and Diane Ryan at Community Action Partnership in Madison County

As an international student from Ghana, spending the summer learning about and contributing to “the region that plays host to my second home” is both meaningful and rewarding to Albert Boateng ’14. Albert is working with Community Action Partnership (CAP) primarily on a needs assessment of Madison County. This assessment will lay the foundation for a larger project that CAP intends to pursue. He is also working with the staff on overall development efforts, such as appeals and grant applications. Thus far, Albert has not only observed the complexities of poverty in Madison County, but also gained a richer understanding of social work in the United States (U.S.). Read more

Utica native David Butler ’13 sees hometown from new perspective

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012

David ButlerAs a native of Utica, David Butler ’13 thought he “knew the city like the back of my hand.” His summer fellowship with the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR), however, has both shifted and deepened his perception of the city he calls home. It has allowed the International Relations major and Studio Art minor to become immersed in Utica’s growing cultural and linguistic diversity and to “explore localization in a very concrete manner.” Read more

Molly Emmett ’12 is supporting Madison County farmers

By Upstate Institute on July 1, 2012
Molly Emmett, '12, with Lindsey McDonnell and Beth McKellips

Molly Emmett, ’12, with Lindsey McDonnell and Beth McKellips

Molly Emmett ’12 has been involved in food systems and agricultural security throughout her time at Colgate. As a Peace and Conflict Studies major, she researched and worked directly with communities in Africa and South America on international food security. This background shaped her belief in the importance of becoming immersed in and committed to the community in which she lived and worked, and prompted her to apply for a fellowship through the Upstate Institute. Her placement at the Agricultural Economic Development Program of Madison County (AEDP) has suited her passions and skills and allowed her to immerse herself in Central New York after studying abroad for a year while at Colgate. Read more