2016 High Road Fellows

2016 High Road Fellows with Market Arcade Developer Nick Sinatra

20 Cornell undergraduates will spent their summers contributing to community and economic development with dynamic social sector organizations in Buffalo, NY. This is the eighth cohort of the High Road Fellowships, an engaged learning program providing students with hands-on experience through community service, civic participation, urban immersion and applied research.

The program continues to grow and attract more students from across the country. This year’s cohort represents 10 states and a wealth of skills, expertise and interest in promoting the public good.  

Students' projects are coordinated through the Partnership for the Public Good (PPG), a community-based think tank with over 200 richly networked partners. This year’s placements are a diverse array of organizations including Bak USA, Say Yes Buffalo, Center for Employment Opportunities, PUSH Buffalo, the John R. Oishei Foundation and Young Audiences of WNY.  

High Road Fellows get hands-on experience in grassroots economic development through June and July, each working on a specific project with their placement Monday through Thursday.  Every Friday the students as a group are immersed in the city life of Buffalo, with neighborhood walking tours, field trips and cultural experiences; meetings with guest experts and civic leaders; and sharing their weekly journals, project experiences and research.  This year’s distinguished guests include Buffalo Niagara Partnership president and CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, Empire State Development regional president Sam Hoyt and New York State Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes.

This university-community partnership has earned the support of Engaged Cornell, a groundbreaking, $150 million, 10-year initiative to establish community engagement and real-world learning experiences as the hallmark of the Cornell undergraduate experience. The High Road Fellowships are a flagship program of the initiative providing a real-world co-laboratory for promoting Cornell’s land grant mission to integrate service learning with the university's academic mission, reaffirming the transformative connection of education and social needs. The Engaged Cornell grant funded curriculum development to support the applied learning experience in Buffalo and also student stipends to broaden academic diversity. An additional Engaged Cornell grant will support community-driven research projects where business, nonprofits and scholarship can most intersect to provide effective solutions for key social issues.

2016 High Road Fellows

Julia Allen

Photo: Julia Allen

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

Grace Bogdanove

Photo: Grace Bogdanove

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

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

Rachel Chen

Photo: Rachel Chen

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

Jaylexia Clark

Photo: Jaylexia Clark

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

Elizabeth Easter

Photo: Elizabeth Easter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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