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Apply to the Summer Field School

Paid, full time research projects for Colgate students are available this summer in the Central New York region, as well as in the Adirondack Park.

Students interested in applying for one of the projects available in Central New York or in the Adirondack Park should complete the application below and return it to the Upstate Institute by February 5, 2019. As a part of the application process, students will identify which of the projects listed below are most appropriate for their skills and interests.

Application for Fellows 2019 (.doc file)

Central New York Projects

Abraham House

Project: Fundraising for Hospice Care

Abraham House is a comfort care home in Utica that provides end of life (hospice) care for terminally ill residents, free of charge. As a result, fundraisers are critical for the organization’s operations. A student will help Abraham House to organize and administer several fundraisers and fundraising activities, like bottle drives and donation boxes for the agency thrift store. In addition, the student will help with publicity and awareness through social media and other venues.

Full Project Description for Abraham House


Agriculture Economic Development Program for Madison County

Project: How do digital farm tours impact the interest of consumers in local foods?

The Agriculture Economic Development Specialist in Madison County maintains, develops and promotes a viable agricultural economy that benefits farmers and residents of the community. This summer, a student will help the program develop digital tours of some of Madison County’s farms, and will work with individual farmers who don’t currently use social media to push the tours on social media, and measure the impact of this type of storytelling on sales and consumer trust. Applicants should have strong video editing skills for this project.

Full Project Description for Agriculture Economic Development


ARC of Madison Cortland

Project: Internal and External Campaign Readiness Research and Assessment

The ARC of Madison Cortland advocates and provides support and services to people with developmental and other disabilities, emphasizing choice and full community engagement. The organization formed through grassroots advocacy, as founding parents realized their children needed, and deserved, a fair chance to succeed in life. They are interested in launching a large capital campaign, and need to assess their readiness and identify their ability to manage a large project and develop a plan. A student will gather data through interviews and historic donor records, and should have an interest in working with nonprofit organizations.

Full Project Description for ARC of Madison Cortland


BRiDGES: Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.

Project: How are local healthcare systems working to keep people from developing opioid addiction?

BRiDGES is engaged in service and advocacy for those affected by addiction and the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other substances. Their prevention strategies are designed to create environmental and community level change that will support healthy decision making. A student will work with the Central Regional Addiction Resource Center, housed at BRiDGES and serving a five county area, to learn what pharmacies are doing to prepare for a mandate that will allow patients to return unused medication for safe disposal, how hospitals and chronic pain providers educate their patients on opioid alternatives, and what the Center can to do to provide the community with information on access to substance use disorder services.

Full Project Description for BRiDGES


Cayuga County Health Department

A research project located in the Finger Lakes Region on assessment of a community's health status. A student will gather data through existing datasets and will administer surveys and hold one-on-one conversations with key community stakeholders, and the project will culminate in community-wide meetings that will allow the department to prioritize health needs and available resources.

Full Project Description for Cayuga County Health Department


Chenango United Way

Project: Utilizing Community Volunteers at a military medical mission in Chenango County

 The Greater Chenango Care Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) effort will bring 100 active duty and reserve service member to Norwich this summer to provide no-cost medical, dental, vision and veterinary care to 1,000 uninsured and underinsured adults and children as one of nine  “medical missions” happening across the country to benefit rural communities. Over 300 civilian volunteers will also help, and will be responsible for the functions necessary to ensure that the IRT event is a success. Before the IRT event (scheduled for July 9-19, 2019) a student will help to oversee planning and preparation for the event, and will help with recruitment and training of volunteers to assist the military with the medical mission.

Full Project Description for the IRT


Clear Path for Veterans

Project: Gauging communication and service to veterans in New York State

Clear Path for Veterans provides supportive programs and services to active service members, veterans and their families. To ensure they are reaching all of the state’s veterans, a student will help the organization learn how veterans receive news and information and then develop a communication plan for the organization.

Full Project Description for Clear Path for Veterans


Community Action Partnership

Project: Assessing the Impact of CAP’s Supportive Services Program

Community Action Partnership helps low income and vulnerable families in Madison County with a number of programs, including supportive services which connects clients to help with budgeting, housing, heating, transportation and referrals. A student will help CAP understand how these services have helped to improve their clients lives by developing and implementing an assessment plan that includes interviews and data analysis.

Full Project Description for Community Action Partnership


Cornell Cooperative Extension

Project: Building Climate Resiliency in our Agricultural Community through Climate Smart Adaptations

The Agriculture Department of Cooperative Extension assists producers to adopt practices, technologies and improved farm business practices. With Madison County’s Cooperative Extension, a student will create a workbook for farmers to create a climate resilient plan for their farm. The student will gather significant input from local farmers, and will become familiar with the agricultural landscape in Upstate New York.

Full Project Description for Cornell Cooperative Extension


Farmers' Museum

Project: Making a 75 year old museum relevant to young people

The Farmers Museum in Cooperstown is an outdoor history museum that works to cultivate an understanding of the rural heritage that has shaped the land, communities and American culture. A student will work with the museum to use technology and social media to broaden their visual representations and experience amenities, and move the museum towards a greater openness to diversity among visitors.

Full Project Description for the Farmers Museum


Fenimore Art Museum

Project: How can a museum become a stronger resource in rural, economically depressed areas of Central New York?

The Fenimore is a Cooperstown art museum dedicated to fostering a deep appreciation of visual creativity and its cultural and historical context. A student will conduct education program research by assisting with on-site programs, interacting with the museum audience, and researching methods used successfully by other rural museums in order to build meaningful partnerships.

Full Project Description for Fenimore Art Museum


Fiver Children's Foundation

Project: Engaging local support for a youth empowerment organization
Camp Fiver, operated by the Fiver Children’s Foundation, is part of a 10 year commitment to children from underserved communities in New York City and Central New York. A fellow will work with the organization at their Poolville-based summer camp to coordinate and enhance engagement opportunities for supporters of the program in Upstate New York. This project is a good fit for someone with experience or interest in special events and nonprofit administration.

Full Project Description for Fiver Children's Foundation


For the Good, Inc.

Project: Will the cultivation of community gardens help Utica's youth avoid obesity and other diet-related illnesses?
For the Good is a community development agency that works to break the multigenerational cycle of poverty in Utica's historically poor and neglected neighborhoods. This project will have a student working with the agency's community gardens, and collecting data that examines how young members of an underserved community can reverse racial health disparities by accessing fresh food in a neighborhood garden.

Full Research Project with For the Good


Friends of Rogers Environmental Education Center

Project: Creating an archive of physical and digital photographs for a local nature center
Rogers Environmental Education Center is a regional resource located in Sherburne, NY that provides a better understanding of the natural environment of Central New York for an audience of all ages. A student will help the center collect and archive document and photographs to help them plan for the development of new museum exhibits.

Full Project Description for Friends of Rogers

*Please note that this is a part-time project and will be paired with the Kinne Center project described below.

Kinne Memorial Columbus Center

The Carol Kinne Memorial Columbus Center is a historic community center that is currently being restored for use as a showcase for the art of Carol Kinne, professor emerita at Colgate. A student will organize and catalog her collection and work with the community of Columbus to identify community uses for the property through public fora, interviews and surveys. This project will especially interesting to students in museum studies, art and art history, and those with an interest in the intersection of the arts and community development.

Full Project Description for the Kinne Center

*Please note that this is a part-time project and will be paired with the Friends of Rogers project described above.


Legal Aid Society for Mid New York, Inc.

The Legal Aid Society gives a student the chance to work as a paralegal in a long-standing partnership that helps low-income residents file bankruptcy; an ideal project for a student considering law school.

Project Description for Legal Aid Society for Mid New York


Madison County Department of Social Services

Project: Housing and Homelessness in Madison County

Full Project Description for Madison County DSS


Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees

The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees is the main provider for refugees in Utica and Central New York. In the last 35 years, the MVRCR has assisted over 16,000 refugees from 34 countries start new lives in Utica. Four students will work with the center this summer on the following research projects:

Human Rights Advocacy on a local level in Utica

Barriers to access for ESL learners in Utica

Citizenship Instruction and the Office of New Americans

Resettlement and Cultural Orientation for Secondary Migrants


National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum

Project: Measuring and Decreasing Racial Bias
A survey research on visitor perceptions to a museum on abolition that will be used at local, state and national exhibits for a student interested in history and activism.

Full Project Description for NAHOF


Oneida County History Center

An opportunity to research and develop a new exhibit at a history museum in Utica, which will provide an excellent experience for students interested in history and museum studies.

Full Project Description for Oneida County History Center


Pathfinder Village

Project: Improving health outcomes for those living in a rural food desert through mobile markets
Pathfinder Village is the first community established specifically for individuals with Down syndrome. Located in Edmeston, New York, Pathfinder provides residential homes, health services, and educational and vocational programs for children and adults with Down syndrome and related developmental disabilities. The village has received grant funding to establish a mobile produce market that will provide fresh produce to a rural at-risk population. A student will work with Pathfinder to collect data that will help determine whether this intervention results in improved health outcomes.

Full Project Description for Pathfinder Village


Town & Village of Hamilton

Data collection project for the Town and Village of Hamilton to help them attain Climate Smart Community status, which will give a student experience in climate resiliency projects.

Full Project Description for Town & Village of Hamilton


Village of Hamilton Airport Commission

Research project that will have a student conduct an economic impact study for the Village of Hamilton on the Hamilton Municipal Airport.

Full Project Description for the Village of Hamilton Airport Commission


Young Scholars Liberty Partnership Program

The Young Scholars program is a multi-year program that motivates at-risk students in Utica to stay in school and earn a high school diploma, graduating college and career ready. A student will work with them this summer on a family engagement initiative.

Full Project Description for Young Scholars


Adirondack Park Projects

Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation

Project: Artificial Nest Rafts: How Useful are they for Adirondack loons?

The Adirodack Center for Loon Conservation conducts research on loon health and population dynamics and provides education about the Common Loon to residents and visitors of the Adirondack Park. This summer, the Center is seeking to determine the effectiveness of placing artificial nest rafts for loons on Adirondack area lakes. A student will help with this project by identifying those lakes with artificial loon rafts, conducting a survey about raft construction, lake characteristics and utilization, and developing a database and guidelines for the deployment of loon nest rafts in New York’s waterbodies.

Full Project Description for Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation


Adirondack Council

Project: Understanding and Strengthening Climate Resilience for Adirondack Farms

The Adirondack Council works to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack park using science and citizen action. They are interested in learning how climate change impacts Adirondack farms and how best to prepare farmers to measure those impacts and learn from similar regions how to become more climate resilient. A student will work with local farmers to better understand local insights, and will conduct a literature review to identify resiliency technologies, methods and practices being implemented in other regions.

Full Project Description for Adirondack Council


Adirondack Foundation

Project: Measuring Effectiveness in Grantmaking, Fundraising and Community Leadership

As the community foundation serving the Adirondack region, the Adirondack Foundation makes grants to nonprofits in order to achieve their vision of a strong, just and inclusive Adirondack community where family wellbeing is supported through quality healthcare and education, environmental resources are protected, and economic and cultural opportunities abound. The foundation’s commitment to improving the way it measures, evaluates and communicates its effectiveness will allow a student this summer to evaluate grant processes, revise internal documents and prepare impact reports based on existing grant programs. This is an excellent project for a student interested in going into the nonprofit sector.

Full Project Description for Adirondack Foundation



Project: The Adirondack Pollinator Project

AdkAction is a nonprofit that creates projects to address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities and preserve the character of the Adirondack. One of their largest initiatives, the Adirondack Pollinator Project (APP) aims to increase awareness of native and agriculturally managed pollinator species, encourage citizen science efforts, and enable habitat creation in the region. Since 2016, the APP has distributed 30,000 free wildflower seed packets and hosted dozens of free lectures about pollinator conservation. A student will help to conduct citizen science montoring and plant pollinator sites around the Adirondacks. This project requires a love of science and gardening!

Full Project Description for Adkaction


Ausable River Association

Project: River Stewardship in the Ausable Watershed

The Ausable River Association (AsRA) helps the community protect their streams and lakes. Each summer, a river steward program provides education and outreach to the public on a variety of issues, such as invasive species spread prevention, stream restoration, dam removal, and culvert replacement projects.  A student will help AsRA’s river steward with riparian plant surveys, monitoring of past planting sites, and co-organizing a paddling river clean up and community tree planting events. The Fellow will also produce multimedia outreach about road salt and assist with stream and lake water quality sampling missions, and will assist with biological monitoring of fish and other aquatic species.

Full Project Description for Ausable River


Hudson Headwaters Health Network

Full Project Description for HHHN


Mountain Lake PBS

A multimedia and interview project on digital storytelling and inclusivity in the Adirondack Park

Full Project Description for Mountain Lake PBS


Sagamore Institute

A survey and market research project for an historic Adirondack institution using social media to reach a new audience that will appeal to students with skills and interests in marketing and graphic design.

Full Project Description for Sagamore