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2012 Fellows

Ini Inyang

Work Highlights

The summer fellow assisted with outreach and marketing to launch a new regional arts education initiative to increase arts education capacity in the region: Arts Partners for Learning. Work included contacting potential partners and gathering a portfolio of materials for internet and marketing purposes, including articles for blog posts, photography and video artifacts, and quotes from clients, artists and students.

Student Insights

I learned the capacity this city has for positive change and growth. Urban areas need a populace that has an investment in their surroundings.

Impact

I think that I helped the youth of the city. By working on programs that directly affect and help them, I feel as though, I made, if only a slight one, an impact.

Photo of Ini Inyang
Ini Inyang

Gregory Tonarelli

Work Highlights

In a structural reorganization of Business First’s outreach to align with the nine Buffalo Common Council districts, this fellow conducted research and design the structure and role for new District Directors, in collaboration with nonprofit partners, member businesses and the staff of Buffalo First.

 

Phot of Gregory Tonarelli
Gregory Tonarelli

Taylor Clarkson

Work Highlights

This summer fellow will work with MAP’s Market Director to expand their Growing Green Program, working with teens and volunteers on various enterprises including the Farm Stand, Mobile Market, food education programs, farm tours and field trips.

Student Insights

This summer I learned about the various cultural, political and social challenges that Buffalo faces. Specifically, after working with MAP, I realize the cultural struggles that arise at a simple farm stand. It is difficult for people to adapt their cultural food preferences in order to provide a healthy lifestyle for their families. Meanwhile, it is also economically challenging for these individuals to spend their miniscule wages on fresh food rather than purchase a more filling burger or snack at a corner store. I find that these challenges are faced in most all inner cities, however it is the first time I found myself fully engrossed in the situation.

Coming from a wealthy Northern Jersey region, I was never shown wide community-based organizations. It was an eye-opener to see the power and potential that these communities run organizations can acquire. I gained insight into how these community organizations arise, why they arise, and how they continue their development and expansion. However, I also see how some communities that may be great locations for development have not yet made the proper steps towards unionizing and sparking change. I believe the process starts through the people wanting to change and seeing that they are not alone in their vision. Some communities need that first catalyst in order to yield the results they imagine.

Impact

I believe my service was beneficial to the Greater Buffalo Community. Through my research, I have shown new location sites in which the fresh produce can be distributed. This will immediately impact the people near the location site, providing them with healthy living and fresh affordable food. Hopefully, if these location sites are able to foster new audiences, MAP can continue to expand, receive grant funding and continue to spread across Western NY. 

Photo of Taylor Clarkson
Taylor Clarkson

Arielle Kopell

Work Highlights

Working with CEJ staff, this fellow was responsible for producing a public forum on community benefit terms in project labor agreements (PLAs), in cooperation with building trades unions and Cornell extension faculty, authors of a recent report on national trends in incorporating community benefit conditions in PLAs. This project is integral to CEJ work on labor and community organizing for good jobs and sustainable economic development and will include research, materials development and utilization of traditional and social media.

 

Photo of Arielle Kopell
Arielle Kopell

Shivali Haribhakti

Work Highlights

WNYCOSH is creating a Workers’ Center in WNY to address the needs of immigrant/refugee workers, unemployed or underemployed youth, and low-wage workers in many sectors. This summer fellow worked on that project, conducting research on other workers’ centers, planning with collaborating organizations, and developing training materials on workers’ rights for the worker education component of the center.

Photo Shivali Haribhakti
Shivali Haribhakti

Micaela Lipman

Work Highlights

In partnership with Urban Roots Community Garden Center and Jericho Road, a refugee resettlement agency, this fellow worked to institutionalize sustainable community gardens and apply a model of a collaborative refugee community gardening by expanding access and technical assistance to refugees and their families for growing their traditional foods on cooperatively managed plots in Buffalo neighborhoods.

Student Insights

Buffalo is in a very unique position in that remnants of the past haven’t been destroyed and so renovation plays a much larger part in economic development than in other cities.  Arts and architecture are very deeply rooted that if Buffalo focuses on developing these assets while reevaluating its flawed infrastructure, the city can really have a second coming.  This potential is felt in all corners of the city leaving an air of excitement and a pension for positive change that’s really refreshing to live within.   

Impact

So many individuals I met have had extremely inspiring pasts from which I was able to learn a lot.  The relationships I developed with community members this summer really made the past 8 weeks ones I will never forget.

 

Photo of Micaela Lipman
Micaela Lipman

Pamela Amaechi

Work Highlights

This placement has an environmental focus: the fellow will examine the link between economic development programs and environmental sustainability in Western New York (for example, does the state subsidize a polluter with one hand while punishing it with the other?). This fellow will also further PPG’s work to raise the City of Buffalo’s recycling rate by working with stakeholders to determine barriers to recycling and possible solutions.

Student Insights

My work experience did provide me with a better understanding of public policy, politics, and civic participation. I got to see how public policy being advanced through a grassroots, community-based approach. The numerous interactions we had with local politicians really opened my eyes to the workings of politics in Buffalo, and how tight-knit things are between local nonprofits here.

Impact

The brief I constructed lends research on the companies that are polluting heavily in buffalo and helps open up the community’s eyes to the specific severity of the pollutants. The community, having this knowledge, can take appropriate actions against the offending companies.

Pamela Amaechi speaking with press
Pamela Amaechi

Shane Jones

Work Highlights

The summer fellow worked on business plan development at CAO’s Green Entrepreneurial Center, an urban farm on Buffalo’s East Side, conducting market analysis, cash flow projections, and feasibility studies for sustainable business growth.

Student Insights

One of the most valuable aspects of living and working with the other fellows this summer has been seeing how we all apply our ILR education in so many different ways, and in particular the many paths we plan to take and have taken despite our similar academic backgrounds.  

Impact

By planning the farm’s expansion, I will have had a direct hand in providing much needed and much demanded healthy, organic, and affordable produce and fish to local residents of Buffalo.

Photo of Shane Jones
Shane Jones

Cameron Walsh

Work Highlights

This High Road Fellow worked with law faculty and law students in a project to form a land bank (a mechanism to recycle vacant land and buildings) with the City of Buffalo. They researched successful urban land bank projects such as Flint, Michigan, and assist in identifying priority properties for the Buffalo land bank.

Student Insights

Having grown up on the outskirts of the city, I was not fully aware of the non-profit culture that is so alive and well in Buffalo. In addition to that, I was also not as cognizant of the community-based organizations that are thriving and expanding in the Buffalo region. Seeing organizations come together to sponsor community-based events such as Shakespearean Idol was extremely riveting and enlightening, affording all of the High Road fellows a chance to see how vested powerful individuals were in the community and turning it into a better place to live, work, and play.

 

Photo of Cameron Walsh
Cameron Walsh

Sarah Coderre

Work Highlights

In December 2011, PUSH Buffalo began work as a community outreach/workforce organizing contractor for NYSERDA’s new Green Jobs/Green NY energy efficiency retrofit program. This High Road Fellow worked in a team to identify residential customers, recruit potential workers into a new Laborers International Union local, work with local contractors to implement the retrofit program, and develop related social media outreach.

 

Photo of Sarah Coderre
Sarah Coderre

Carolyn Krupski

Work Highlights

This placement focused on issues related to poverty and inequality in Buffalo. The fellow researched funding for public transit and analyzed the budget challenges of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and how to solve them. The fellow also continued research and advocacy for reform of the Erie County Holding Center: a county jail that has been the subject of federal civil rights litigation for inhumane conditions and treatment. Lastly, this fellow supported PPG's work with the City of Buffalo’s Living Wage Commission to monitor and enforce the City's living wage ordinance.

Photo of Carolyn Krupski
Carolyn Krupski

Ruby Herrera

Work Highlights

This summer fellow will conduct research on arts funding and economic issues with Hallwalls Development Director, assist the Visual Arts Curator with the Annual Members Show, and assist with Hallwalls media arts archival project. Also under exploration is an outside summer public arts project for High Road Fellows.

Photo of Ruby Herrera
Ruby Herrera

Lucas Pittman

Work Highlights

This High Road fellow conducted a comprehensive study of foreclosures and mortgage defaults in Erie County, creating a database and map of foreclosure and pending foreclosure locations, and identifying clients in need of services for foreclosure prevention.

Student Insights

I learned that are more public interest organizations than I could have ever imagined. I also have learned that Buffalo is going through an immensely difficult transition economically but I definitively believe that in the next couple decades some stabilization and growth will occur especially within the fields of medicine with projects such as the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Impact

I helped Belmont Housing by putting together a study they would not have otherwise done. The study demonstrates how effective their services are which in turn helps them receive funding which ultimately helps more suffering people in the Greater Buffalo community.

Photo of Lucas Pittman
Lucas Pittman

Christopher Bain

Work Highlights

The summer fellow will work on a project to increase options and infrastructure for bicycle transportation in Greater Buffalo: adding bicycle racks, working with major businesses especially in the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and expanding the number of businesses in a program that gives discounts for customers who commute by bicycle.

Student Insights

My work experience definitely provided me with a better understanding public policy and civic participation. After speaking with the Department of Works and others from City Hall, I’ve realized that only having a good idea is not sufficient enough to get the city government on board. It takes more than a good idea, it takes persistence and a positive attitude. Working at GO Bike also understand how important civic participation. When an organization is consistently doing work in the community it causes the citizens to participate as well, and that’s something that I noticed this summer.

Impact

I think I really impacted the community with the Bicycle Lane Request Form. I was able to give the community a voice which is a great service to the Greater Buffalo community.

Phot of Christopher Bain
Christopher Bain

Jeffrey Joseph

Work Highlights

This summer project focused on Buffalo’s oldest neighborhood, Black Rock, now in resurgence on the city’s northwest side. The fellow worked with CAC staff and Black Rock residents to identify environmental health threats, research targets for clean-up, and develop related educational materials for residents.

 

Photo of Jeffrey Joseph
Jeffrey Joseph

Deanna Hall

Work Highlights

In the summer of 2012, Habitat for Humanity Buffalo will be constructing a Women Build house. The summer fellow will spend time on the actual construction of the house, will develop promotional materials for Women Build homes, and conduct research on a project to be determined in collaboration with the fellow to accommodate her/his interests regarding poverty and affordable housing in Buffalo.

Sudent insights

I learned how much character and potential the city has. I’ve learned to look at the utility every space could yield. In Buffalo in particular, space is not a constraint like most urban areas. This freedom to build almost anywhere has fostered the innovation that was so apparent in each of our fellowships this summer.

Impact

I am proud to say my work has had a direct effect on the Buffalo community. I had the privilege of actually building one of the homes that first time homeowners in Buffalo get to call their own. The building aspect really complimented my research and gave my work meaning. My fellowship embodied every aspect of “service learning and action research.”

Photo of Deanna Hall
Deanna Hall

Michelle Lim

Work Highlights

This summer fellow worked on the HSCS Career Exploration team, in conjunction with major health care institutions, to develop an inventory of employment opportunities available, salary range, and experience/education required. They also surveyed local employers’ personnel needs and interest/availability to provide HSCS students with internships, and help develop a mechanism to measure student and employer satisfaction.

Photo of Michelle Lim
Michelle Lim