Kicking off the 2016 High Road

2016 High Road Fellows
June 20, 2016
Megan Connelly

20 Cornell undergraduates will spend their summers contributing to community and economic development with dynamic social sector organizations in Buffalo, NY. This June marks the eighth summer 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.

Since 2009, High Road Fellowships have attracted 124 Cornell students to Buffalo from 37 states to Buffalo’s living co-laboratory of urban revitalization.  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.

2016 High Road Fellows

  • Julia Allen (`19 ILR) Binghamton, NY The Foundry      
  • Grace Bogdanove (`18 ILR) Ithaca, NY WNY Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO  
  • Jenna Boland (`18 ILR) Fayetteville, NY Western New York Law Center
  • Rachel Chen (`18 ILR) Strongsville, OH Young Audiences of WNY 
  • Jaylexia Clark (`19 ILR) Brandon, FL Learning Disabilities Association of WNY
  • Elizabeth Easter (`18 ILR) Williamsville, NY Center for Employment Opportunities
  • Angie Estevez Prada (`17 ILR) Sanford, NC Open Buffalo
  • Meaghan Gee (`19 ILR) Manalapan, NJ Say Yes Buffalo
  • Andrew Grais (`19 ILR) Lindenhurst, NY John R. Oishei Foundation
  • Skye Hart (`19 URS) Baton Rouge, LA Partnership for the Public Good/PUSH Buffalo
  • Winnie Ho (`19 A&S) Syosset, NY Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology
  • Samir Jain (`19 ILR) Batavia, NY ACCESS of WNY  
  • Lillian Kahris (`19 ILR) Buffalo, NY Coalition for Economic Justice
  • Victoria Neenan (`17 URS) Quincy, MA PUSH Buffalo
  • Zachary Perkins (`18 ILR) Hamburg, NY Westminster Economic Development Initiative    
  • Heather Ross (`17 CALS) Burbank, CA Massachusetts Avenue Project  
  • Paul Russell (`19 ILR) Burleson, TX Partnership for the Public Good
  • Hal Schwimmer (`18 ILR) Pleasantville, NY Bak USA 
  • Harry Trabue (`18 ILR) New Vienna, OH Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo
  • Betzabel Vazquez (`19 ILR) Providence, RI Literacy NY Buffalo-Niagara

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.