Alex Marrone ’16 is majoring in molecular biology at Colgate and intends to go to medical school after graduation. Her education isn’t limited to what she is learning in the classroom, however, and in her two years at Colgate she has taken the opportunity to get involved in a variety of things, from doing taxes through the VITA program, to playing in the Wind Ensemble, to volunteering at an animal shelter. This summer, she wanted to learn even more about the surrounding community and about the organizations that are doing work in the community, so she applied to the Upstate Institute Summer Field School.
As a result, she is working with two community and business development organizations in Madison County. The Partnership for Community Development in Hamilton is planning the annual Great Chocolate Festival, a festival that honors the 1955 train wreck that sent chocolate bars all over the train tracks on the west side of the village. Alex is helping to organize the festival by working with chocolate vendors from the surrounding areas and planning children’s crafts, activities and live music during the event. She’s working with sponsors and exhibitors, and helping to promote the event on the PCD website.
Alex is also working with the Cazenovia Chamber of Commerce to assess the user experience of their website. She has streamlined their events calendar and improved their social media presence by creating accounts for the Chamber on sites like Pinterest and Flickr. Her goal is to help the organization turn their website into a hub of information for tourists and community members looking for information on the community and its businesses.
While neither project relates directly to her major, they are both providing her with valuable experiences about web development and its relationship to community development. She’s also developing skills in event planning through both projects, which will help her work with Colgate’s Residential Life programs in the fall. The fellowships are developing her ability to get things done quickly and efficiently, and teaching her about the skills that it takes to run a not-for-profit organization.