Colgate's Adirondack Upstate Fellows
As the end of my sophomore year at Colgate University approached, the pressure of capitalizing on my opportunities for this summer started to build. It seemed as though my decision of how to spend my time during the three months between semesters would play a defining role in the path that I take in the future. So, I realized it was essential to find a good fit.
Amid all this pressure, I decided to take a step back and evaluate the elements of life that are most important to me. Upon further reflection, the one theme that kept recurring was simple: helping people. As a result, I started exploring opportunities that would allow me to work towards this central goal.
Colgate’s Upstate Institute Summer Field School provided a perfect opportunity for me to apply my knowledge from majoring in mathematics and economics to help others. I was even more excited to find that, as a result of a recent donation, the Field School research opportunities had expanded to the Adirondack region.
As a child, I had visited Lake George and fell in love with the area, despite the presence of black flies and spiders, so the Field School could be the ideal way for me to perform meaningful work in a beautiful location. When I learned that I had been selected to work for the Adirondack Foundation this summer, I could not wait to begin the project.
Since my start in late May, I have learned a great deal about the Foundation and the nonprofit sector in general. It is clear that every employee here is incredibly passionate about and dedicated to the Foundation’s mission of strengthening communities through philanthropy.
My project this summer focuses on researching gaps and overlaps in funding for Adirondack nonprofit organizations to help identify ways that funders may collaborate to maximize their impact. I’ve connected with many nonprofits and hope to hear from more as I collect information for a final presentation and report.
I am one of seven Colgate students working as research fellows for various nonprofit organizations throughout the Adirondack Park. One of my peers, Diana Flores, is working with Mountain Lake PBS to develop a website with interviews and information about “Promised Land: An Adirondack Folk Opera.” When asked about her aspirations for the summer, Diana replied, “I really hope to give back to the community a tangible way in which they can express the Adirondack identity.” It’s clear that she is truly driven from a desire to help, like so many in the nonprofit sector.
Diana also shares an enthusiasm for the Adirondack Region and looks forward to spending the summer here: “This is an extremely welcoming and passionate community and I'm very excited to be exposed to it and become part of it. I'm excited to keep meeting people and keep exploring different locations in this region and learning more and more about it!”
As we continue our work here this summer, Colgate’s Adirondack Fellows are extremely grateful for the opportunity that we have received to join such a wonderful community and hope that, through our work, we are able to give something back.