The governance of the Upstate Institute includes an Executive Board of Colgate faculty, staff and administrators, and a Community Board of community and government leaders, local businesspeople, and school administrators.

Executive Board

The Executive Board includes representation from each division of the university. Board members work as community ambassadors to the Upstate Institute and participate in the institute's long-term strategic planning efforts.


Community Board

The members of the Community Board are from area non-profit organizations, local government, economic development organizations, and school districts. Community Board members offer input into new project development and help bring about community conversations that can be facilitated and supported by the Upstate Institute.


  • John Bailey, Hamilton Area Antiracism Coalition
  • Joanne Borfitz, Colgate University
  • Britty Buonocore, Flour and Salt Bakery
  • Maureen Campanie, BRiDGES
  • Suzanne Collins, Hamilton Food Cupboard
  • Michelle Connelly, Earlville Opera House
  • Theresa Davis, Liberty Resources
  • Mary Dinski, Fiver Foundation
  • Elizabeth Douglas, Arts at the Palace
  • William Dowsland, Hamilton Central School
  • Eric Faisst, Madison County Department of Health
  • Michael Fitzgerald, Madison County Department of Social Services
  • Wyatt Galusky, Morrisville State College
  • Mark Golden, Golden Artist Colors
  • Harvey Kliman, Southern Madison Heritage Trust
  • Jamie Kowalczk, Madison County Planning
  • Brian Latella, Madison Central School
  • RuthAnn Loveless, Village of Hamilton
  • Jennifer Marotto-Lutter, Partnership for Community Development
  • Samanthi Martinez, Mid York Senior Homes
  • Jeff McArn, Hamilton College
  • Antara Mitra, Community Action Partnership
  • Cassie Rose, City of Oneida
  • EveAnn Shwartz, Town of Hamilton
  • Simon Solomon, Rogers Environmental Education Center
  • Margaret Wehrer, Hamilton Area Antiracism Coalition
  • Dot Willsey, National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Leigh Yardley, visual artist and educator


Professor Biology and Environmental Studies; Director, Upstate Institute

Catherine Cardelús, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, began a three-year term as the Upstate Institute Faculty Director on July 1, 2021. Cardelús earned her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Connecticut. At Colgate, she teaches courses on biodiversity, evolution and ecology, tropical ecology with extended study to Costa Rica, ecosystem ecology, and conservation biology and practice.  Cardelús's research has focused primarily on tropical forest canopies, asking the essential questions: What are the patterns of biodiversity, and how will biodiversity respond to a changing environment? She has conducted research in the rainforest of Costa Rica, where she studies the factors that control species richness and distribution. Most recently (June and October 2020), she has researched and published widely on the vulnerabilities and conservation of the sacred church forests of Ethiopia. Cardelús has also focused significant research on the Upstate region, examining the effects of acid rain in the Adirondacks, climate change in our region, and, through quantifying the local deer population annually and working with local officials, she has evaluated ways to address deer overpopulation. Cardelús has a longstanding commitment to having students explore areas of Madison County to study the complexities of our local ecosystem, understand the biological impacts and governmental policy in place, and work with them to provide data and ideas for the benefit of the local community, supporting the mutually beneficial goals of the Upstate Institute.

Julie oversees our Field School and facilitates research by faculty and students on community-related projects. She also handles the institute's communications and online presence. In addition to her work with the Upstate Institute, Julie is an active participant in many local and county-wide initiatives, such as the Village of Hamilton Planning Board, the Southern Madison County Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SOMAC), the Hamilton Community Chest, and the Literacy Coalition of Madison County. She has a BA from Depauw University, an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame, and has previously worked for the Partnership for Community Development.

Project Consultants

Rachel works with students who are engaged in semester-long field school projects and oversees the Foreign Language Program. She also administers Colgate's Lifelong Learning Program. She has a B.S. degree in Natural Resource Management from Cornell University, and has worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Anchorage, Alaska.

Sara works with students and community partners in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. She has a B.S. degree in Accounting from LeMoyne College, and has many years of experience working as an accountant for New York and Connecticut based businesses.

Susan M. Conn, Esq. is a project consultant with the Upstate Law Project. She supervises the Consumer Bankruptcy Law Project and teaches SOSC 405: Social Security Benefits for Disabled Children. A member of the Colgate class of 1979, she joined the Upstate Institute in 2005 after 22 years as a staff and managing attorney at the Utica office of the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc.