Fellows

Since 2009, the High Road Fellowship Program has placed 165 Cornell students in the co-laboratory of Buffalo, N.Y. to learn, explore, and help revitalize the historic Rust Belt city. Take a look at the links below to learn more about previous High Road classes and their placements.

2018 Experience Report

Victor Rieman

BSILR '20

Working in nonprofit law is something I would like to do, and the people I worked with were helping in showing me how to get there.

Tiffany Gibson

Arts & Sciences '20

Buffalo is indeed on the up & up. It was wonderful seeing the revitalization of the city and feel the energy and optimism the people of Buffalo are carrying.

Shara Safer

Human Ecology '19

I learned that the “Buffalo Renaissance” is a real thing, as opposed to a propaganda tactic.

Richard Gan

BSILR '20

I learned that Buffalo has determined communities who care deeply about making their city better.

Melissa Gao

BSILR '20

The intimacy of the office invites transparency, which I believe inspired the easy collaboration and great relationships I see between my coworkers.

Marina Grais

BSILR '21

I absolutely loved working in a classroom each day.

Lorena Flores

CALS '21

Working at the Buffalo State Community Academic Center (CAC)  has revealed how worldly and interesting Buffalo actually is.

John Sullivan Baker

BSILR '20

I’m grateful that my High Road Fellowship has given me the opportunity to have meaningful conversations both with my interviewees and the community leaders who speak with us every Friday on subjects as diverse as education policy, workforce training, historical restoration, and economic development.

Jackson Booth

BSILR '21

By working on 43North’s competition operations, I helped find new companies that will make a positive impact in the Buffalo Niagara region through job creation and wealth generation.

Hannah Lorenc

BSILR '20

This experience of working on the labor project has been instrumental in guiding my career path. 

Hannah Bollinger

BSILR '19

Listening and engaging with others has showed me that everyone has something to add, it’s just a matter of recognizing that talent.

Genavieve Koyn

BSILR '21

The passion that these people bring to the table is what empowers our staff to be advocates for Buffalo students, allowing Say Yes to be successful, but also can cause a certain degree of friction between some individuals.

Gayathri Jai

BSILR '19

The immersive and intensive educational experience drew me to The High Road program. Buffalo has provided me that and more.

Emily Bramhall

Human Ecology '19

I feel this sense of community not just in my work, but in the city of Buffalo as a whole.

Elizabeth Kane

Human Ecology '20

And as someone who hopes to become a medical doctor and work in some capacity towards advancing public health, this has provided valuable food for thought for how, in the long term, I might be able to take my medical expertise and interactions with community members to the table to advance positive community changes.

Camilla Bacolod

BSILR '21

The most important thing I learned about community organizations and the social sector is the importance of collaboration.

Brian Lloyd

BSILR '20

Getting to know these business owners in the Bazaar and getting to see their businesses is the highlight of my summer on the High Road.

Ashni Verma

BSILR '21

Before coming to Buffalo I didn’t even know what the regenerative economy was.

2017 Experience Reports

Michelle Zhao

Michelle Zhao
BSILR '19

Buffalo is a promising city to live and work in, and there is certainly a strong culture of community activism I have not so readily encountered in other communities I’ve engaged with.

John Yoon

John Yoon
Arts & Sciences '20

I found such a smart and passionate group of friends who I am so lucky to have shared time, thoughts, struggles, and dreams with together.

Rachel Whalen

Rachel Whalen
Arts & Sciences '19

I have my sights set on working in communities as rich as this one, and though they may not always be in Buffalo nor in the public sector nor even in arts or education (though I am very closely attached to every one of those communities), I dearly hope they are all as enriching.

Hannah Sosenko

Hannah Sosenko
BSILR '19

I’ve learned taking the “high road” can be tough, but it’s extremely rewarding.

Audrey Sia-Asamoah

Audrey Sia-Asamoah
BSILR '20

I really loved how this kind of learning involves a hands on approach that is often not as common in traditional educational institutions.

Katherine Ryan

Kate Ryan
BSILR '19

This summer I have seen the highs and the lows of my city; booming revitalization directly contrasts the neighborhoods left behind, struggling to combat poverty and segregation.

Vanessa Roga

Vanessa Roga
BSILR '20

This summer has been instrumental in learning about my interests and how I can turn them into a career.

Cuong Pham

Cuong Pham
BSILR '20

This summer, I got to see many sides of Buffalo as a city that is growing. On one hand, I got to see the many issues that it still faces, but on the other hand I also got to see and work closely with local movements and efforts fighting for change.

David Millar

David Millar
Human Ecology '20

I learned that for all its progress Buffalo has a lot more work to do. On the surface the city is starting to look better, but not everyone reaps those benefits.

Martha Mendy

Martha Mendy
BSILR '19

I have learned that Buffalo is still a growing city with a lot of untapped resources. Working in Buffalo this summer also convinced me that I’m in the right school, pursuing the right career.

Lev Lascu

Lev Lascu
BSILR '20

I can’t think of a better way to have spent my summer. I got to learn about my hometown through service work and field trips. I had great mentors at ASI and learned a lot from the other fellows as well.

Margaret Lee

Margaret Lee
BSILR '20

I learned that Buffalo is a unique city in every sense – it is a vibrant community with polar opposites that are seeking to come together as one under a common agenda of social innovation.

Aimee Le France

BSILR '20

I've learned a lot while being here. I have a better sense of what social justice truly means and how to be a successful advocate for my community.

Emily King

Emily King
BSILR '20

Created a report based on a survey analyzing of current agency capacity. The report projected potential increase of distribution and identified issues that inhibited the organization’s efforts to increase distribution to those in need in their communities

Girish Jayant

Girish Jayant
CALS '19

I would never have truly learned as much in a classroom. So even though grassroots level activism is an unpredictable and sometimes unreliable process, when it does get results, they can be quite beautiful.

Kaya Coleman

Kaya Coleman
Arts & Sciences '20

I have become stronger, more courageous, and more open-minded on the High Road, and I know that these skills will be useful not only in my future internships but for the rest of my life.

Nathanael Cheng

BSILR '20

Buffalo is a cool city.  I would be interested in going into this type of work in the future.

Jenny Chan

Jenny Chan
Human Ecology '19

This summer indisputably reaffirmed my interest in the domain of health – innumerable lead ordinances and their nuances emboldened in my mind throughout the weeks.

Aja Ceesay

Aja Ceesay
BSILR '19

I learned that Buffalo has a lot to offer. It has a unique social sector that I have not been exposed to anywhere else.

Maame Britwum

Maame Britwum
BSILR '20

Most importantly throughout the High Road I found my own strength.

Annabel Bacon

Annabel Bacon
Human Ecology '20

I was born and raised in Buffalo. I love this place, it’s my home, and I felt like I knew everything about Buffalo. How wrong I was.

2016 High Road Fellows

Julia Allen

Photo: Julia Allen
BSILR '19

Buffalo was a wonderful learning city. It introduced me to basic navigation and using public transit.

Grace Bogdanove

Photo: Grace Bogdanove
BSILR '19

My daily interactions with other fellows showed me how diverse community-based organizations are, yet how intertwined their organizational missions are.

Jenna Boland

Photo: Jenna Boland
BSILR ‘18

Service learning is very important - I do service work on campus - and I think this program just reinforced that.

Rachel Chen

Photo: Rachel Chen
BSILR ‘18

I was amazed by the collaborations between organizations in the social sector.

Jaylexia Clark

Photo: Jaylexia Clark
BSILR '19

I loved the fact that we all lived together and that we were allowed to plan trips/activities together.

Elizabeth Easter

Photo: Elizabeth Easter
BSILR ‘18

Even though I’ve lived in Buffalo my whole life, I’ve learned more about its struggles, and how to implement change in an equitable manner.

Angie Estevez Prada

Photo: Angie Estevez Prada
BSILR '17

Working in a community based organization helped me prepare myself for my future career because the skills learned at my organization are skills that can be applied almost anywhere.

Meaghan Gee

Photo: Meaghan Gee
BSILR '19

I very much enjoyed the community engaged service learning aspect because I could see the direct results and implications of my organization’s work.

Andrew Grais

Photo: Andrew Grais
BSILR '19

The knowledge and personal growth gained through the High Road Fellowship is indispensable.

Skye Hart

Photo: Skye Hart
AAP '18

This summer hit the point home that it is hard to do good work without engaging the community.

Winnie Ho

Photo: Winnie Ho
Arts and Sciences ‘19

I had never had much exposure to policy or policymakers so this was an excellent introduction!

Samir Jain

Photo: Samir Jain
BSILR '19

I think my interaction with the other fellows was one of the most important facets of my experience this summer.

Lillian Kahris

Photo: Lillian Kahris
BSILR '19

I learned a lot about smaller organizations in Buffalo that are doing great things.

Victoria Neenan

Photo: Victoria Neenan
AAP '18

Seeing knowledge gaps exposed in a community meeting gave context to issues discussed in the most recent planning class I took, which analyzed the role of the planner in varying contexts.

Zachary Perkins

Photo: Zachary Perkins
BSILR ‘18

Through service learning, I experienced that there is a lot of work to be done by a multitude of organizations to create systematic change.

Heather Ross

Photo: Heather Ross
CALS '17

I feel that living within the direct community I was working with was integral to my learning experience.

Paul Russell

Photo: Paul Russell
BSILR '19

When I first arrived I had heard that Buffalo was a struggling community so I had that in mind but then I went to places like Elmwood and CanalSide and it seemed like this was a city that was really developing.

Hal Schwimmer

Photo: Hal Schwimmer
BSILR ‘18

While working for a social enterprise, I did not get the full scope of community-based organizations but I certainly saw their value.

Betzabel Vazquez

Photo: Betzabel Vazquez
BSILR '19

Through my experience in Buffalo, I learned that I would like to pursue a career in education.

2014 Experience Reports

Joshua Yeh

Photo: Joshua Yeh
'16

There is a meaning to work that I do not think exists in the same way in private sector positions.

Zakiya Williams Wells

Photo: Zakiya Williams Wells
'17

 It was exhausting at times but the work I feel really and truly impacted the people around me.

Tonya Russell

Photo: Tonya Russell
'16

All of the people I interacted with are very passionate about their work and they have inspired me to find something that I am passionate about and work toward it as well. 

Breanna Ross

Photo: Breanna Ross
'17

Overall the fellowship was a great experience that help me grow and think about my future in a more informed way.

Emani Pollard

Photo: Emani Pollard
'17

I'm impressed at the optimism people seem to have when it comes to the revitalization of Buffalo. 

Damian O'Sullivan

Photo: Damian O'Sullivan
'17

The exposure to the economic development efforts of the city too has proven to be a positive experience.

Jessica Morris

Photo: Jessica Morris
'15

Considering mortgage foreclosure rates in Erie County are among the highest in the state, I find this work as practical as it is eye opening.

Marc Masson

Photo: Marc Masson
'17

 Economic development helps all of society if done right, in the high road economic development model for example, and it gives my work meaning. I’m excited for what comes next.

Kristen Green

Photo: Kristen Green
'17

Through my opportunity, I am able to experience work that I love every day in a workspace that encourages creativity, team building, and camaraderie.

Corben Green

Photo: Corben Green
'15

One does not have to spend very long working with PUSH to understand that the most important consideration in their decision making process is the wants and desires of the people.

Jonathan Goldstein

Photo: Johnathan Goldstein
'17

My work as a Fellow at the Learning Disabilities Association has been one of the most educational experiences I have ever engaged in.

Michael Gahlon

Photo: Michael Gahlon
'16

 Making people collaborate and advancing the organizations goals. The program was great. It was a packed summer, but an awesome one, and I learned a lot.

Allison Considine

Photo: Allison Considine
'17

One of the most valuable things from this program is the range of Cornellians I've become friends with who I otherwise would never have met.

Subin Chung

Photo: Subin Chung
'15

We visited museums and art galleries, stopped by small non-profits that worked with artists, took time to reflect on our dreams and what we could do to turn them into reality.

Alexander Chakrin

Alexander Chakrin
'17

In light of all that needs to be done, I have encountered optimism and interest among members of the community.

Amber Aspinall

Photo: Amber Aspinall
BSILR '17

My placement at CEO exceeded my expectations. Not only did I get to put together a report, I also got the chance to job develop directly with participants.

2013 High Road Fellows

Gabrielle Hickmon

Photo: Gabrielle Hickmon
'15

“The best part of the program was going through this experience as a group. Observing and learning from the other Fellows was very valuable to me. I did not know any of the Fellows before starting the program, and I know feel that I have 19 new friends in ILR.” 

Armin Behroozi

Photo: Armin Behroozi
'14

“I loved every part of the summer. I loved the Fridays we had where we toured different places in Buffalo, I loved the downtime with peers at the dorms, and I loved my coworkers and what I was doing.” 

Courtney Sokol

Photo: Courtney Sokol
'15

“This affected the way I saw nonprofits as a partnership and a community. Many organizations worked together, which fostered work and social relationships. I really appreciated that aspect. I felt as if I was able to see the direct impact by my organization throughout the greater Buffalo area.” 

Christopher McGinn

Photo: Christopher McGinn
'14

“I have thought more critically than ever about the labor movement, income inequality, and the oppression of the working class. I felt very immersed in the nonprofit community in Buffalo. It is very clear that these organizations are very collaborative, and it was a wonderful experience to interact with so many wonderful people who are so genuinely committed to good causes. Overall, I feel like I have further adopted the mentality of an activist and that will stick with me for the rest of my life.”

Manuela Monjimbo

Photo: Manuela Monjimbo
'14

“My goal for the summer was to do something that would be very beneficial to the Institute and the clients especially. With the resource library, it will be easy for the employment specialists and case managers at the Institute to make referrals based on the requirements of each vocational/educational program. I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Department of Labor and meet with the employment specialist there to get her insight on the vocational opportunities available to refugees and immigrants.” 

Zachary Benfanti

Photo: Zach Benfanti
'16

“The High Road Fellowship is, in every sense of the description, a ‘service learning and action research fellowship.’ By being a truly living laboratory where students can leverage their skills and prior experiences in a constructively defined atmosphere and timetable, change is undoubtedly due to spring.”

Di Wu

Photo: Di Wu
'16

“This is a great program. I feel like I learned so much about nonprofits, the economy, and Buffalo. I wish every city had a similar program. People always complain about how no one is engaged with politics, and I feel like programs like the High Road Fellowship would do so much to boost civic engagement by exposing citizens to the problems of their city, along with potential solutions.”

Abigail Frey

Photo: Abigail Frey
'16

“Many community-based organizations do more good than I realized. I’ve never really spent a lot of time in an area that needs nonprofits to ensure that kids have recess, the air is breathable and things like that. There are a lot of people who are willing to do good, it just takes a lot of time and effort to make a substantial change.” 

Luise Yang

Photo: Luise Yang
'15

“I think this fellowship did an excellent job of showing me the positive and negative aspects of working with a nonprofit. I am definitely interested in the social justice aspect of the experience and I wish to pursue it further in my academic studies in graduate school and in my career as well.”

Rebeka Tannenbaum

Rebeka Tannenbaum
'16

“Working at MAP provided me with a greater understanding of the economy and civic participation. At MAP, I watched “The Story of Stuff” and learned a lot about food systems and how a nonprofit interacts with the city and its economy. Some youth at MAP are involved in a youth food council, where they work firsthand on policy. This has really shown me that civic participation is possible and can in fact make a difference.”

Jacob Reichert

Photo: Jacob Reichert
'15

“As someone with a background working with for-profit companies, I gained a great deal of knowledge about how community-based organizations function. I assumed that merely dropping the “nonprofit” title would automatically lead to public and peer support and this was simply not the case. However, developing strong personal connections with other organizations and the people that run them, as my supervisor has done, makes the process much easier, and more fun!” 

Daniel Powers

Photo: Daniel Powers
'15

“My experience exceeded expectations. The internship provided me with more autonomy in my work and more interesting work than I expected. The social element of the program was fantastic. I hope that my research and meeting contributions are helpful to the community and nonprofit organizations that are trying to make changes around the subjects I researched.”

Kevin Mollica

Photo: Kevin Mollica
'16

“Researching historical issues of business and labor in Buffalo and the results of progressive prerogatives at both local and national levels helped me better understand how economies and issues of public policy function in large cities. This experience was especially useful in framing how we perceive these issues present-day with the natural progression of these same issues throughout the city’s history – allowing me to grasp not only the modern economic and political condition of Buffalo, but how it arrived to that position.”

Renee Wall

'15

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Everywoman Opportunity Center. My favorite part was teaching the small business workshops because I got to draw from what I’ve learned in ILR classes. I was able to see my work have direct impact when I heard that some of the women that I helped to create resumes were able to get jobs because of our work at the Everywoman Opportunity Center.”

Kathleen Huffman

Photo: Kathleen Huffman
'16

“The interaction with other fellows is one of the biggest benefits of this program. It was valuable to have them with me to explore Buffalo and learn what their placement is doing. I think it was also beneficial to get to know other students with similar goals who are studying what I am studying and learn from their knowledge of ILR.”

William Larkin

Photo: William Larkin
'15

“When I graduated high school and left for college I planned on never moving back. I thought that Buffalo could never become the city it once was. But after being exposed to the tremendous effort made by nonprofit groups and the noticeable progress they have made, I see great potential for Buffalo the following decades and now I can see myself moving back.”

Frederick Turner

Photo: Frederick Turner
'16

“Belmont was dealing directly with the across the board cuts from the sequester as well. It was the first time in my life I saw direct impacts of public policy on the lives of everyday people. I loved my project. I talked directly with residents of Buffalo and they often talked to me about more than just my survey. I learned a lot too. And at the end I got to feel like I was truly helping Buffalo become a better place.” 

Justine Brennan

Photo: Justine Brennan
'16

“The High Road program is an excellent program for those interested in service learning, civic engagement or social justice. The program met my expectations in providing us valuable experiences where we could explore these areas of study and interact with others currently working in these fields. My favorite experience of the summer was being able to hear about all of the amazing things that other fellows where working on throughout the week and seeing the difference our program was making in Buffalo.”

Alexis Leonard

Photo: Alexis Leonard
'16

“My placement focuses on increasing the transparency and public participation of economic development. In this organization, I don’t feel like the stereotypical intern whose only job is to get coffee and make copies; I actually feel like I’m helping to make a difference.” 

Jacob Barnes

Photo: Jacob Barnes
'14

“Both my involvement with PPG and Open Buffalo have helped me to better understand policy development and citizen engagement. My work this summer has given me a deep understanding of the inner-workings of nonprofits and their role in both the community and local politics.”

High Road Fellows 2011

Tom Wasko

Photo: John Wasko
'14

Tom is interested in entrepreneurship and business development. Active in sports and community service, he also owns his own business. Tom is from Clarence, NY.

Andrea Thomas

Photo: Andrea Thomas
'12

Andrea is planning a career in public service for which she has a global experiential background, studying in Quebec and in Senegal. She is active in many campus organizations including Cornell’s Recreational Fencing Team. Andrea is from Detroit, MI.

Elizabeth Spivak

Photo: Elizabeth Spivak
'13

Elizabeth is especially interested in women’s rights and women in the workforce; she is active in the ILR Women’s Caucus and related campus organizations. She is also a member of the Cornell University Chorale. Elizabeth is from Vestal, NY. 

Lauren Schwarzenholzer

Photo: Lauren Schwarzenholzer
'13

Lauren is interested in government, law and policy, both global and local. She loves adventure and sports, including playing and coaching lacrosse. Lauren is from East Aurora, NY.

John Parker

Photo: John Parker
'12

John is interested in globalization, social inequity and organizational behavior. He has studied in Ireland, worked as a carpenter and as a wilderness camp counselor. John is from Brooklyn, NY.

Alyssa Murrett

Photo: Alyssa Murrett
'13

Alyssa is interested in public policy, law and public administration. The recipient of numerous leadership awards, she is also a member of Cornell Women’s Club Ice Hockey Team. Alyssa is from Buffalo, NY.

Elizabeth Li

Photo: Elizabeth Li
'13

Liz is exploring a variety of career interests, especially those related to human resources. She is fluent in Chinese and has a strong record of seeking out community service opportunities. Liz is from Doylestown, PA.

Sahil Jain

Photo: Sahil Jain
'14

Sahil is interested broadly in human rights and applied economics. He is conversational in Hindi and enjoys philosophy and music. Born in Buffalo, Sahil is from Batavia, NY. 

David Huang

Photo: David Huang
'13

David has wide academic interests and is considering a legal career. He is a member of the Cornell Glee Club. David grew up in Taiwan, is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and is now from Davis, CA.

Abhishek Gupta

Photo: Abishek Gupta
MILR '12

Abhi is interested in applying his international experiences to conflict resolution and human resource management. Before coming to ILR, he studied fashion in NYC. Abhi is from India. 

Susanne Donovan

Photo: Susanne Donovan
'13

Susanne is interested in public policy and human and labor rights. She is active in Cornell Organization for Labor Action and Students Against Sweatshops. Susanne is from Aurora, NY.

Daniel Cooper

Photo: Daniel Cooper
'13

Dan is interested in entrepreneurship and leadership. A youth lacrosse coach, he is active in a variety of community services. Dan is from Amherst, NY.

Jeffrey Baker

Photo: Jeffrey Baker
'14

Jeff is interested in business development and public policy. He is active in his community and enjoys sports and working with children. Jeff is from Orchard Park, NY. 

Derya Akbaba

Photo: Derya Akbaba
'13

Derya is interested in international and domestic grassroots community development. Fluent in Turkish, she also enjoys photography. She is from Westford, MA.

High Road Fellows 2010

Thom Barnes

Photo: Thom Barnes
'12

CEJ’s fellow will be involved, to varying degrees, in CEJ’s primary campaigns.

Zach Smith

Photo: Zach Smith
'13

The products of the students’ work will be policy briefs on targeted local economic development policies, print and electronic information packets on the work of the PPG, and communications and outreach to partners, public officials and the media.

Aaron Klein

Photo: Aaron Klein
'12

A positive experience for our volunteers that fosters a continued relationship for future events, programs and needs at UR will also be crucial.  Urban Roots as a business would acquire new customers and additional sales through interest in related workshops/events and merchandising.  

Samarth Bordia

Photo: Sam Bordia
'11

People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo is a grassroots, non-profit community organizations working to rebuild the West Side of Buffalo.

Kwan Park

Photo: Kwan Park
'10

Since 1918, the International Institute of Buffalo has assisted immigrants, refugees, and others who face linguistic and cultural barriers to become self-sufficient, active members of our community.

JC Tretter

Photo: JC Tretter
'13

Preparing a marketing plan to showcase the HUB Pre-Employment Program as well as the candidates for placements to employers

Elaina Mule

Photo: Elaina Mule
'10

Communications and outreach to partners, public officials and the media

Julia Burgdorf

photo: julia burgdorf
'13

The student’s work will be used to inform the Coalition’s future campaigns

Mary Anne Finn

Photo: Mary Anne Finn
'12

Worked with the refugee Resettlement Department at IIB with tasks like setting up apartments for incoming refugees.

High Road Fellows 2009

Robert Chudy

'10

Research property ownership and property conditions of neighborhoods on Buffalo’s West Side to identify those burdened by a variety of liens that prevent them from being sold

Nathan Horrell

'10

The Partnership for the Public Good uses research, advocacy, and communication to promote better public policy for the Buffalo region.

Matthew Scherer

'11

Our mission is to: Promote the growth and development of community-based business; Encourage local purchasing by consumers and businesses; Create opportunities for business leaders to network and share best practices; Devise strategies to help underemployed individuals become more actively engaged in the economy; Advocate for public policies that strengthen independent local businesses, promote economic equity, and protect the environment.

Neresa DeBiasi

'11

The Homeless Alliance of Western New York was created in 1992 by the Erie County Legislature to find ways to reduce homelessness

Michael Dolce

Photo: Mike Dolce
'11

Research and campaign design on accountable development policies for Buffalo’s waterfront development