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Tess Christiansen creates exhibit for Oneida County Historical Society

By Upstate Institute on August 21, 2013

Tess Christiansen ’14 has completed an exhibit for the Oneida County Historical Society as an Upstate Institute Field School Fellow this summer. Her exhibit, which will open in late August and will be on display for the next several months, focuses on Utica at the time of the society’s founding in 1876. Oneida County was greatly influenced by its long military history and the society’s many objects from the Civil War served as a basis for its first collection. Tess’ exhibit presents this history in conjunction with an overview of life in Utica at the time. It looks at the impact of the Erie Canal in bringing industries and people to the region, Utica as a textile capital, and forms of public entertainment such as miniature railroads, bowling, and dance pavilions.

Tess Christianson and Brian Howard with one of the many objects from the exhibit on the history of the Oneida County Historical Society.

Tess Christiansen and Brian Howard with one of the many objects from the exhibit on the history of the Oneida County Historical Society.

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Jenny Bergman, ’14, studies Awesome Summer Days Camp with Kelberman Center

By Upstate Institute on August 15, 2013

Jenny Bergman, ’14, is working with the Kelberman Center, an organization in Utica that provides autism services across the lifespan, as they operate the Awesome Summer Days camp. The day camp is for children between the ages of five and thirteen with Autism Spectrum Disorders or related learning challenges. Activities at the camp are designed to develop social and interaction skills in fun and engaging ways.

Jenny Bergman, '14 and Tammy Thomas at the Kelberman Center.

Jenny Bergman, ’14 and Tammy Thomas at the Kelberman Center.

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Hannah Sosland ‘15 supports student success at Pathfinder Village

By Upstate Institute on August 13, 2013

Pathfinder Village, located near Edmeston, New York, is a residential community that provides educational opportunities for folks with Down syndrome.  Founded in 1980, Pathfinder offers an independent living setting that “encourages family participation as it provides services to individuals.”  Hannah Sosland, a rising junior at Colgate, is working with Pathfinder staff, and residents, during her Upstate Institute Field School Fellowship.

Hannah Sosland, Upstate Field School Fellow, with Helen Stepowany of Pathfinder Village

Hannah Sosland, Upstate Field School Fellow, with Helen Stepowany of Pathfinder Village

Working with supervisor Helen Stepowany, Hannah is contributing to the curriculum of a post-secondary vocational education program for students who have graduated from high school, but need additional training to enter the workplace. “Pathfinder is hoping to prepare students for successful and sustained employment following their completion of the program. My role in this process has been to research different aspects to better support the program design.” Read more

Ewa Protasiuk, ’15, helps refugees navigate the health care system

By Upstate Institute on August 8, 2013

Ewa Protasiuk ’15, is working at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR) in Utica this summer. MVRCR has been resettling refugees in the community since 1979, and has welcomed refugees from 31 countries and helped them to become self-sufficient. They also work with immigrants and with the community at large to create a culture of diversity and acceptance. Since nearly one in four Utica residents are refugees or immigrants, the MVRCR has touched many lives during its history.

Ewa Protasiuk, '15, participates in World Refugee Day at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees

Ewa Protasiuk, ’15, participates in World Refugee Day at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees

Ewa’s work with the center is focusing on a new health navigators program. The center knows that most refugees have difficulty navigating the American health system and they are working to create a system that will provide assistance to them. Ewa is working with Peter Donnelly from Union College to research existing models of health navigation, and is acting as a navigator this summer, assisting the center’s clients with scheduling medical appointments and filling out paperwork. She is also supporting the center as it works on a maternal/child health initiative with Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, a major hospital and provider of perinatal services in Utica. She is doing some of the foundational work for a program that the organizations will implement jointly.

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Laura Arboleda ’14 promotes community health programs for Madison County

By Upstate Institute on August 7, 2013

In New York State, county-based Departments of Health have a broad range of responsibilities, ranging from environmental health to disease outbreak management. Here in Madison County, improvement of family nutrition is a very important component of community health.  While the area is a rich agricultural region, access to fresh wholesome foods is a problem  for many families.  Laura Arboleda, a rising senior at Colgate,  and Upstate Institute Summer Field School Fellow at the Madison County Department of Health, has taken on the challenges of improving family nutrition in the region.

One of Laura’s projects involves developing promotional materials and programs for the Oneida Farmer’s Market to increase public awareness about the availability of fresh local produce.” We aimed to increase traffic in the market and Oneida’s downtown area during market hours as well as provide the public with a series of nutritional messages, food demos, and activities that were used to expose the public to healthy life styles.”  Closely related to the Farmer’s Market project, Laura developed an educational campaign related to family nutrition, designed to empower parents to make better choices relative to their children’s nutrition.  She developed a card game “….. which encourages kids and parents to learn about fruits and vegetables together. This game was developed not only for the health department to keep at hand using during nutrition bases events, but it will be also distributed to other partner agencies in the area such as WIC, YMCA, and CAP.”

Chrystal Johnson of the Madison County Department of Health with Laura Arboleda '14.

Chrystal Johnson of the Madison County Department of Health with Upstate Institute Summer Field School Fellow Laura Arboleda ’14.

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Albert Boateng ’14 surveys community residency needs to support Opportunities for Chenango

By Upstate Institute on August 1, 2013

Opportunities for Chenango  is a Community Action Agency (CAA) that supports community residents to “help people to help themselves in achieving self-sufficiency”. CAAs were established in 1964 under the federal Economic Opportunity Act, and have grown nationally to number over 1000 public and private organizations that serve the nation’s poorest citizens.  Opportunities for Chenango manages programs  in adult literacy, child and family development,  employment support, First Time Homebuyers Program and other housing programs, energy and weatherization assistance , and family health and nutrition

A key goal for all CAAs is to insure that residents have access to adequate, quality housing. Opportunities for Chenango supports a subsidiary organization, Quaranta Housing Services, to manage community services in the housing and energy areas.  As an Upstate Institute Summer Field School fellow, Albert Boateng, ’14 is working closely with staff in Quaranta to assess the effectiveness of its programs, as seen from the resident’s perspective.  “The main project that I am working on for Opportunities for Chenango is a Residential Community Satisfaction Survey. This is basically putting together and administering a survey tool to find out Resident experience in Chenango County with respect to housing.” In addition, Albert does site visits to community residential areas in the City of Norwich to assess neighborhood conditions.  Read more

Jessica Staley ’14 promotes literacy for Madison County residents

By Upstate Institute on August 1, 2013
Jessica Staley

Jessica Staley ’14 (right) with the interactive game and display she created for the Madison County Fair. Jay Dunn, the Executive Director of the MCLC, and his wife, Linda Dunn, are also pictured.

Hailing from Whitesboro, New York, Jessica Staley ’14 was “eager to learn more about the area that I am from” when she became a Field School Fellow for the first time this summer.  Through her fellowship with the Madison County Literacy Coalition (MCLC), she has channeled her growing marketing and public relations skills into the promotion of the coalition’s new early childhood literacy initiative, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which is an international effort to ensure all children have access to books regardless of their family’s income.  Jessica hopes that her creation of posters, games, and school reports will “help more people understand what the coalition does for the county,” as well as “what programs are available to its citizens who may not already be aware of them.” Read more