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Nezar Mehanna ’18 works with SOMAC this year

By Upstate Institute on March 29, 2017

Below is a guest post from Nezar Mehanna, one of the five students working with local community organizations this year as a part of the Upstate Institute and COVE Community-Based Work Study program:

Nezar Mehanna helps a student in front of an ambulance

Nezar Mehanna ’18 is working with SOMAC in Hamilton this year on a variety of projects.

Currently at SOMAC I am working with the director of operations, Kyle Sylvester, and members of the board to implement a new policy manual to replace the current version. Working through each section and policy gave me great insight into what it means to run an ambulance organization. Flipping through New York State Department of Health laws and reading about the current standards in emergency medicine, such as the controlled substances in each vehicle or proper procedure when attempting rescue operations made me appreciate the responsibilities paramedics in the community take on. My other projects for SOMAC include updating the company’s website, designing the decals that were placed on the new paramedic fly car unit 511, and researching and submitting grant proposals as a part of SOMAC’s capital improvement plan as the organization is working to get the newest life-saving medical equipment for the Hamilton Community.

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Deadline Extended for Student Field School Applications

By Upstate Institute on March 10, 2017

The Upstate Institute has extended the deadline for applications for the 2017 Summer Field School from Colgate students. Students now have until Friday, March 24 to submit an application for this summer’s fellowships. Applications are available here, along with a list of the projects that will be funded this summer.

Chelsea Mohr ’17 and Prof Janel Benson Host Workshop on Effective Mentoring

By Chris Henke on March 9, 2017

Chelsea Mohr, a senior sociology major, and Professor Janel Benson recently co-facilitated a brownbag on effective mentoring at the Max Shacknai COVE. Several campus volunteer organizations attended the workshop, which asked participants to explore their volunteer group’s assumptions about the role of a mentor and how they could improve their outreach and effectiveness. The session was informed by Upstate Institute supported research projects on effective mentoring conducted last year in Professor Benson’s Community-Based Participatory Research Course and Chelsea Mohr’s student-initiated summer research.

Professor Janel Benson (left) and Chelsea Mohr ’17 at the COVE.

Two student research projects receive funding

By Upstate Institute on February 1, 2017

The Upstate Institute is funding two student research projects this spring through the Student Research Funding program. This program enables students engaged in research that is of a high quality and benefits or informs the Upstate community in some way to apply for funding to cover the directs costs of the research project. Research projects funded by the Upstate Institute must be conducted within a department or interdisciplinary program, and sponsored by a faculty member in the sponsoring department or program. This funding will normally be used to support research during a student’s senior year (as part of a senior thesis or honors project), and can be used for any costs associated with the project.

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Marlowe named Burke Chair for 2017-2018 academic year

By Upstate Institute on January 30, 2017

Elizabeth Marlowe, Associate Professor of Art and Art History, has been named the Gretchen Hoadley Burke ’81 Endowed Chair in Regional Studies, for one year, beginning July 1, 2017.

Elizabeth Marlowe holds a PhD in Art History from Columbia University. At Colgate she teaches courses on Roman Art and Medieval Art History and on Museum Studies. Her research and publications on classical art offer new readings of key monuments from late antique Rome. Early in her career Liz’s article “Framing the Sun: The Arch of Constantine and the Appropriation of the Roman Cityscape” earned her the College Art Association’s Arthur Kingsley Porter prize for the best article by an emerging scholar in the history of art and architecture, and since then she has published widely in a range of prestigious journals. Her recent work has focused on ancient art historiography’s largely uncritical reliance upon a small canon of archaeologically undocumented artworks. Shaky Ground: Context, Connoisseurship and the History of Roman Art(2013) calls for greater epistemological consciousness in the writing of Roman art history. The book advocates shifting the focus of the field away from long-famous artworks in museum collections (many of which have been heavily restored to live up to modern aesthetic ideals; others may even be forgeries) to more recently-discovered works whose archaeological contexts are better documented. At Colgate Liz was instrumental in creating the new Museum Studies minor, which she directs.  Her current teaching and research explore issues central to Museum Studies through a close examination of a range of important museums in New York’s Upstate region.


Political Leaders for Hamilton, Madison County, and Beyond

By Chris Henke on December 6, 2016

This post includes a list of the political leadership for the Village and Town of Hamilton, Madison County, and our State and Federal representatives, all the way up to the President.  We hope that this will serve as a useful reference for students, staff, faculty, and community members who wish to contact their elected officials.  Our thanks to Bruce Moseley, Colgate’s Associate Director of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Relations, for his help compiling this list. (Last revised December 2016.)

Want to keep up with news from the different levels of government listed here?  The list includes links to the websites for each office, with news, meeting information, policy proposals, and other information.  In addition you can reference the Federal Congressional Quarterly Roll Call for news at the national level and the New York State of Politics blog for the state.  Want to contact one of your elected officials?  We include contact information for many of them, below, and you can also consult this wiki for tips on how to call, write to, email, or visit an elected leader.


  • Mayor

Robert McVaugh (no party)

  • Board of Trustees

Ruthann Loveless (D)

Russ Lura (no party)

Jen Servedio (D)

Sean Nevison (D)



  • Town Supervisor (budget officer, chair of the town council and representative to the County Board of Supervisors)

Eve Ann Shwartz (D)

Suzanne Collins (D)

Peter Darby (D)

David Holcomb (R)

Chris Rossi (D)



John M. Becker (R), Chair



Andrew M. Cuomo (D)

David Valesky (D), 53rd District

William “Bill” Magee (D), 121st District



Barack Obama (D) until 1/20/17

Donald Trump (R) starting 1/20/17

Charles Schumer (D)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

Richard Hanna (R), through 12/31/16

Claudia Tenney (R), as of 1/1/17

ENST 390 students release data on village deer population

By Upstate Institute on November 17, 2016

Students in the Environmental Studies 390 course, entitled “Community Based Studies of Environmental Issues” taught by Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Catherine Cardelús, have shared the results of surveys they conducted about the perspective of community members and students on the culling of deer in the village of Hamilton.


“The Status of White-Tailed Deer in Hamilton” presentation, held at the Hamilton Public Library on November 16, included updated data on the deer population in and around the Village of Hamilton. Data was shared through a powerpoint presentation, and through the brochures, available below.

ENST 390 Research Page 1

ENST 390 Research Page 2


Sociology Course evaluates local mentoring program

By Upstate Institute on August 31, 2016
The students in Janel Benson's Community-Based Research course present their work to staff members of Community Action.

The students in Janel Benson’s Community-Based Research course present their work to staff members of Community Action.

Colgate students in Professor Janel Benson’s Community-Based Participatory Research course partnered with Community Action Partnership (CAP) in spring 2016 to evaluate their now 10-year youth mentoring program. This important program provides Madison County youth who face adversity with up-to 18 months of weekly mentoring with an experienced adult. Before beginning the evaluation, students did an onsite visit at CAP to talk with program coordinators about their goals. Students then worked as a team to construct a detailed electronic database from nearly 10 years of program records containing student outcome information collected at several time points throughout the mentoring experience.They then analyzed these data using statistical software and presented their results to CAP program coordinators.  The results of the evaluation reveal that youth who participated in the mentoring program showed positive growth in resiliency, planfulness, and aspirations toward the future, with these patterns most pronounced for youth who developed a strong relationship with their mentor.

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Holly Mascolo ’17 addresses the issue of food insecurity in Morrisville, NY

By ramann on August 16, 2016

Written by Holly Mascolo ’17

Holly Mascolo '17 enjoying a peanut butter and jelly lunch party

Holly Mascolo ’17 enjoying a peanut butter and jelly lunch party with co-workers

Growing up in a suburban community on Long Island, I never had to think twice about grocery shopping. I would wake up to a refrigerator full of fresh vegetables, meat, and milk. If we ever needed any more food, or to pick up something quickly, my parents would drive less than five minutes away to one of the three grocery stores within a five-minute drive from our house. I never stopped to consider a scenario different from this or to think about how fortunate I really was.

The first time I heard the phrase “food security” was my sophomore year at Colgate. Lots of communities– and in particular, low-income communities– lack access to fresh grocery items in their area. This often leaves individuals with no choice but to shop at nearby convenience stores for the quick items that they need, or to travel far distances out of their communities to shop. However, leaving the immediate area is not always a viable option for individuals, especially the elderly or those who do not have access to a car or other means of transportation. These communities where individuals lack access to fresh food and a variety of groceries are thus considered food insecure. According to the USDA (2015), food deserts are typically defined as communities that are low-income and have low-access to fresh foods, normally located one mile away from a supermarket in urban areas and ten miles in rural areas. ¹ Living in a food secure area my entire life left me fairly oblivious to this issue until I began to learn about it in my environmental studies classes at Colgate.

The issue of food insecurity can be found right in Madison County. In May of last year, the only grocery store in Morrisville closed its doors, leaving residents in the area to travel seven or more miles to the nearest grocery store in Hamilton, or further to other neighboring grocery stores. While Morrisville is not technically considered a food desert, this lack of a grocery store is seen as a problem within the community. It is especially a challenge for individuals who lack access to transportation, which means mainly the elderly, students at the nearby college, or those who struggle to travel far in the winter weather. There is a certain irony to the fact that Morrisville is nearly classified as a food desert, as there are so many farms in the local area and so many opportunities for fresh food to be purchased during the growing season in Upstate NY. However, without the retail infrastructure in place to bring food to individuals in Morrisville, it is difficult for people to access the foods that they need to lead a healthy lifestyle without leaving the community. Read more

Erin Burke ’18 curates new exhibit at the Oneida County Historical Society

By ramann on August 16, 2016

Written by Erin Burke, ’18

Erin Burke '18 with part of her finished exhibit at the society

Erin Burke ’18 with part of her finished exhibit at the Society

When you walk into a museum, the exhibits are neatly finished, cleanly executed, and seem almost timeless. The narrative presented to you speaks with the authority of fact. Blockaded behind glass cases and signs that say, “Please do not touch,” the artifacts take on a certain mysticism that often accompanies things that are “forbidden.” So how do those objects get there? Who chooses them? This summer, Erin Burke ’18 got to explore what happens behind-the-scenes at the Oneida County Historical Society. Read more