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Miller Downer ’21 helps Hamilton achieve Climate Smart Community certification

By Upstate Institute on June 29, 2018

Written by Miller Downer ’21

Miller Downer ’21 in front of the Village of Hamilton office.

This summer, I am working alongside the Town and Village of Hamilton to achieve Climate Smart Community Certification for both municipalities. Along with their usual governmental operations, the Town and Village aim to operate in a sustainable manner that can dissipate throughout the community, adopting green practices that ultimately aid the population at large. CSC Certification would only prove the lengths that the Town and Village are willing to go to create a sustainable community in cooperation with Colgate University, and by completing tasks that would aid Hamilton at large (and to an extent, its neighboring villages), the municipalities would become recognized in New York for their actions and endeavors to work towards a greener future as well as to become eligible for competitive funding to further their sustainability goals. Overall, the municipalities serve the people of Hamilton and neighboring communities, improving quality of life through eco-friendly practices.

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Kayla Logar ’20 looks at gaps and overlaps in philanthropy in the Adirondacks

By Upstate Institute on June 28, 2018

Written by Kayla Logar ’20

Kayla at the Adirondack Foundation in Lake Placid, New York

This summer, I am conducting research with the Adirondack Foundation on the different forms of funding for Adirondack-area nonprofits in order to help the foundation better understand where gaps and overlaps exist. There are myriad nonprofit organizations in the Adirondack Park, ranging from those that protect the beautiful environmental resources of the region so that they may flourish, to those that promote the cultivation of arts and culture. One common denominator among every nonprofit that I have encountered is the wealth of passion driving those who lead the organizations.

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Berkowitz ’20 works with Legal Aid clients filing for bankruptcy

By Upstate Institute on June 21, 2018

Louis Berkowitz ’20 works with Attorney Susan Conn at the Legal Aid Society for Mid New York office in Utica.

This summer I am a Field School Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of Mid-York. The organization is a not for profit law office that provides legal advice and representation for civil cases to individuals that cannot afford attorneys in 13 counties surrounding the Central New York region. The staff attorneys assist clients in legal matters that can include: elder law, domestic violence, sexual assault, disability advocacy, foreclosure help, divorce, evictions, public benefit cases and unemployment disputes. Specifically, I am working on the Consumer Bankruptcy Law Project, which is a cooperative effort between the Legal Society of Mid-New York and the Upstate Institute. This project attempts to help individuals who have accrued significant debt because of domestic violence, medical expenses or unemployment. Once clients call the Legal Aid hotline about their debt, they are referred to my supervisor Susan Conn ‘79 who then screens the client to make sure they are appropriate for this specific project. Once a client is identified, I function as a paralegal to prepare various forms and schedules with the client. This paperwork is then forwarded to the Legal Aid Society’s network of lawyers that take bankruptcy cases on a pro bono basis.

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Katrina Judicke ’20 looks at employment opportunities for residents of Pathfinder Village

By Upstate Institute on June 15, 2018

Katrina Judicke at Pathfinder Village

I have been fortunate enough this summer to work as a Fellow with Pathfinder Village, located in Edmeston, NY. Pathfinder Village is a residential community of individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and is beautifully designed to have the feel of a historic New England town. The grounds and buildings are perfectly maintained, and convey a sense of peace and belonging. The homes, chapel, and offices all center around two large greens, which residents often walk around, listening to music, chatting with others, and enjoying the sunshine. As is part of their mission, Pathfinder strives to improve quality of life for the intellectual and/or developmental disability community, so “…that each life may find meaning.”

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Diana Flores ’20 works with Mountain Lake PBS to explore the stories behind an Adirondack folk opera

By Upstate Institute on June 13, 2018

Diana Flores ’20 participates in the Adirondack Nonprofit Network meeting at Blue Mountain Center in the Adirondacks.

Through the Upstate Institute Summer Field School, I am working with Mountain Lake PBS to conduct interviews for a website that will be created for “A Promised Land: An Adirondack Folk Opera.” Mountain Lake PBS is the PBS network covering the Adirondack region, Champlain Valley, Quebec and Ontario. PBS has long been a non-profit television channel serving people with enriching media. The television network is meant to entertain, educate and inspire and ranges in its media from children’s shows to Emmy award winning documentaries to local productions. Through the power of media, Mountain Lake PBS sets out to encourage public engagement, and ensure a quality television outlet for all through the power of media. I hope that my work will help them to stretch their reach even further, and to do more with the Promised Land project than they had originally intended. Read more

Summer Field School goes to the Adirondacks

By Upstate Institute on June 4, 2018

Field School Fellows conducting research in the Adirondacks this summer include Diana Flores, Madison Perez, Kayla Logar, Mackenzie Murphy, Revee Needham and Colleen Donlan.

The 2018 Summer Field School is well underway, and reaching further afield than ever before. This summer, in addition to the 20 projects being completed in the Madison, Chenango, Herkimer and Oneida county region, eight Colgate students will be conducting research in the Adirondack Park as a part of the Summer Field School.

As Field School Fellows do locally, these students will be conducting research that allows not-for-profit organizations to build capacity in some way. A recent gift to the Upstate Institute made possible the expansion of these Fellowships to the Adirondack region this summer.


Madison Perez ’19 will be conducting an assessment on visitor experiences at the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, a wildlife ecology and conservation agency based in Saranac Lake. This assessment will determine if visitors to new educational exhibits are obtaining a better understanding and awareness of loon ecology, and of conservation concerns affecting Adirondack ecosystems and wildlife.

Revee Needham ’18 will be working with the Adirondack Council in Elizabethtown on a project that will examine stewardship of the lands and waters in the Adirondack Park. By conducting surveys and collecting data on usage, Revee will help the agency to identify and articulate challenges of stewardship in a way that resonates with natural resource experts, recreational users, local citizens and government officials. She will also be researching best management practices currently in use in other large landscape protected areas like the Adirondack Park.

Kayla Logar ’20 will work with the Adirondack Foundation in Lake Placid and the Adirondack Funders’ Collaborative to explore areas where funders can collaborate for greater impact in the region. By conducting surveys, Kayla will help the collaborative understand the gaps and overlaps in philanthropic funding for nonprofit organizations (including schools and municipalities) that provide essential and enriching services to the residents of the Adirondack region.

Colleen Donlan ’18 will work with ADK Action on an innovative local foods project in Keeseville called the “Farmacy.” ADK Action has worked with the downtown Keeseville Pharmacy to transform a portion of the pharmacy space into a small grocery store in order to provide residents with access to fresh local foods. Colleen will be working with local recipients of SNAP benefits to learn how to best help them access and include local foods in their diet, and with ADK Action to help the Pharmacy become a viable model for doing so.

Mackenzie Murphy ’18 will work with the Hudson Headwaters Health Network’s Palliative Care team in Queensbury. Mackenzie is developing a survey to gauge patient and family satisfaction with palliative care services at the network’s clinics.

Diana Flores ’20 will work with Mountain Lake PBS to research the impact of a community-based historical opera called “Promised Land: An Adirondack Folk Opera” which tells the story of Lyman Epps, who brought his wife and children to the Adirondack settlement “Timbuctoo” in 1848.

Ashlea Raemer ’18 will work with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Saranac Lake on a project that will look at wildlife friendly farming practices in the Adirondack region, and throughout New York state.

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