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High Road Program Returns to New York City for Second Year

Following last year’s successful pilot, the High Road New York City (NYC) program kicked off its second summer on June 3 at Cornell ILR’s NYC Office.

The program, supported by a generous gift from Edwin “Ed” Baum ’81 and his wife, Holly Wallace, has matured into a fixture of Cornell’s NYC presence. It’s a new cohort, but the mission is the same: providing students with practical and applied experience in public service, business and community activism.

This year, participation has doubled to 24 fellows, matching the parent Buffalo High Road program. The number of sponsors has also expanded to 15 organizations, and the schedule of guest speakers is more robust than ever.

“Whether in Buffalo or New York City, this program represents a model for engaged learning,” said Ariel Avgar, senior associate dean for outreach and sponsored research. “We hope to offer you, our students, the ability to put your classroom knowledge to use, the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and tackle big, consequential and urgent societal challenges, and to create meaningful connections with your peers over the summer.”

Whereas last year’s fellows met for the first time at orientation, this year’s cohort arrived already bonded thanks to pre-program seminars in Ithaca. Today, they excitedly entered the classroom, chatting about settling into the 92NY the previous day and having already blundered onto the uptown 6 train instead of the downtown.

The fellows are in good hands. Avgar commended the tremendous efforts of Brigid Beachler and Claire Concepcion from the Office of Engaged and Experiential Programs and  Esta Bigler and Tomisha Hicks from the Labor and Employment Law program (LEL). 

It’ll be a busy summer guided by Bigler, director of LEL. The fellows will meet at the ILR NYC office twice weekly to hear from experts in everything from artificial intelligence and election protection to frontline care work and human rights.

The connections forged last year have held firm, with many organizations returning to sponsor the fellows: Assemblymember Alex Bores ‘13, the Horticulture Society of New York, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, the NYC Office of Design & Construction, the Mayor’s office, Hand in Hand, Open Doors and Café Joyeux. 

This year’s program also boasts new opportunities with Senator Zellnor Myrie, Adaptive Design, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the Waterfront Commission, Manhattan Community Board 10, Harlem Business Alliance and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

The fellows will spend the coming week at their work placements before reconvening on Friday to hear the first guest speaker.