Community-Based Research Highlighted – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Community-Based Research Highlighted

Each year, Hobart and William Smith students engage with Geneva and the surrounding communities through community-based research projects, volunteerism and civic engagement. The Community Engaged Scholarship Forum, which took place in the Vandervort Room on May 5, highlighted the reciprocal and mutually beneficial community-student partnerships and projects. Student projects are advised by both faculty sponsors and community agency leaders and occur independently or as part of a class.

Awards to recognize the HWS Community Partner of the Year, the Civically Engaged Faculty Member of the Year, the Frank Newman Civic Fellow award, and the Community Engaged Scholar of the Year were also presented at the Forum.

This year’s recipient of the HWS Community Parter of the Year award is the Hillside Family of Agencies. This award is presented annually to the person/agency who has consistently contributed to the civic development and leadership of Hobart and William Smith Colleges students. This award recognizes the inherent value of community collaborations and acknowledges with gratitude the time, energy and interest invested in the student service and learning experience.

Chair of the Writing and Rhetoric Program Margueritte Murphy was named the Civically Engaged Faculty Member of the Year. Campus Compact defines a civically engaged faculty member as one who has demonstrated “exemplary engaged scholarship, including leadership in advancing students’ civic learning, fostering reciprocal community partnerships, and building institutional commitments to service-learning and civic engagement.”  Murphy has served as the faculty liaison to the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning and has helped guide important conversations and assessment efforts that have advanced service-learning.  

Courtney Aquadro ’15 was named this year’s Frank Newman Civic Fellow for her work with the Geneva Boys & Girls Club.  This prestigious national honor is awarded to student leaders who have worked to find solutions for challenges facing their communities

The Community Engaged Scholar of the Year is presented to a Hobart or William Smith student who has excelled in either a community-based research project or a service-learning course. Simon Corson ’16 was presented the award for his work with the Geneva City Manager and Geneva Town Supervisor to further develop collaborative opportunities through shared services and decreased costs.  

The following projects were presented at the Forum:

South Lake Play Park and Community Garden – Feasibility Study

For children living in the South Lake Neighborhood of Geneva, New York, between Saint Clair Street and Jay Street, there is no public place for outdoor community use and play. This study evaluates, on a social and legal scale, the feasibility of a play-park and community garden for this neighborhood. This park could provide a foundation for creative interaction and development that transcends the lines of race and class permeating the landscape of Geneva neighborhoods. First, to determine legal feasibility, zoning codes were researched and liability concerns were explored. Additionally, to determine social feasibility, residents were surveyed and prior studies regarding the impacts of Geneva city parks on neighborhood life were examined. Best practices for the implementation of natural play parks and effective community gardens will be shared with stakeholders.

Student Researchers: Katherine Hill ’15, Abbe Lentz ’15, Aly McKnight ’15, Oddmund Nesbakk ’15, and Sami Prouty ‘15
Community Partner: South Lake Play Park and Community Garden Committee Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris, Sociology Department

Accommodating the Six Different Trajectories of Concussions

Approximately 3.9 million concussions happen annually because of sports (Toland, 2014). Student athletes (who have suffered from an injury) often have to find a way to continue their education while their brains are not functioning at their maximum capacity. There are six different types of concussions (vestibular, anxiety/mood trajectory, cognitive/fatigue, migraine trajectory, ocular motor trajectory, and cervical trajectory), all of which have different symptoms and require different treatments and accommodations (Mohr & Bullock, 2005). The student researcher experienced a concussion that required over a year and half recovery, which promoted this research opportunity and explored a range of accommodations and assistive technology.  A user-friendly “flipbook” was created to encourage a broader understanding of how best to help students who may have experienced a concussion.

Student Researcher: Kendra Napierala ‘15
Faculty Adviser: Professor Mary Kelly, Education Department 

Geneva’s Attendance Initiative and GIS Tracking

During the Spring semester of 2015 Catherine undertook an internship working with Success for Geneva’s Children on Geneva’s Attendance Initiative whose goal is to improve the attendance rate for Geneva children. Data was collected for the middle school and in the future, elementary and high school data will be used. The variables are then plotted on a map and analyzed to determine correlations with high attendance rates. As part of the internship, Catherine shadowed the Ontario County GIS specialist, Sheri Norton. Sheri and Catherine worked with data supplied from the Geneva Middle School and created multiple GIS maps to make the data more visual. Through their community partnership, Catherine learned the challenges that face many of Geneva’s children.

Student Researcher: Catherine Price ‘15
Community Partner: Sheri Norton, GIS Coordinator, Ontario County
Faculty Adviser: Professor Feisal Khan from the Economics department

Making the L.E.A.P -Empowering Racial Minorities for Higher Academic Achievement

This semester we consulted for the L.E.A.P. Initiative at Geneva High School, an academic and social support program that addresses the underrepresentation of racial minorities in Advanced-Placement and college-credit courses.  Our project analyzed student responses from a School Climate Survey and responses from in-depth interviews that we conducted with a sample of faculty.  We then contextualized the data within social scientific theory in order to develop a narrative of the school environment and experiences of racial minorities.  Our report will be part of the conceptual foundation for further actions of L.E.A.P. to combat the disparity in academic achievement. 

Student Researchers: Briana Costello ’15, Marissa Bodnar ’15
Olivia Cinquegrana ’15, Natalie Singer ’15, Sara Clendenning ’15
Community Partner: Patrisha Blue, Geneva City School District
Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris, Sociology Department

Discover the Heart of the Finger Lakes:  A ‘Uniquely Urban’ Experience

For our Sociology Senior Research Practicum, Sociology 465, we have acted as consultants to the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. Our goal is to add value to tourism in Geneva and the operations of the visitor’s center. To do this we have collated multi-sourced, multi-mode publications that have been previously printed to produce a resource guide for the volunteers who will be acting as concierges to tourists.  Sociologically, we are working to create a stronger sense of place by looking at a social process, a process that will measure the degree to which people have knowledge of the Geneva community and guides to Geneva.   Due to the fact that our training resource guide will be accessible and easy to use, we hope that it will effectively allow volunteers to guide tourists through the heart of the Finger Lakes, enabling them to experience all that Geneva has to offer.

Student Researchers: Kathleen Kennedy ’15,  Isabelle Demartin ’15, Jennifer Renz ’15, Brenna Kincaid ’15 and Connor Rehbaum ’15
Community Partner: Geneva Chamber of Commerce
Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris, Sociology Department

Geneva High School Virtual Video Tour

With the 125th graduation coming up for Geneva High School the school district asked the Colleges for help with creating a video that would commemorate this celebration. I was picked for the project and with the help of Greg Baker (principal of Geneva High School) and Heather Swanson (Communications for GSCD) we decided upon creating a virtual tour of the school that would highlight all the amazing assets that Geneva High School had to offer. I selected a teacher from each department and interviewed them. I asked them to highlight their favorite things about their department and what made them unique. After many hours of interviewing, filming, and editing a virtual tour video was put together to post on the GCSD website for future students, current parents, and alumni to watch. 

Student Researchers: Megan Soule ’15
Community Partner: Heather Swanson, Public Information Officer, Geneva City School District
Faculty Adviser: Assistant Professor Leah Shafer, Media and Society Department  

The Right to the City in Geneva

The right to the city is a theory and movement that aims to democratize the city, making it inclusive of and accessible to all students. In this class we studied the state of the right to the city in Geneva by researching several different institutions and organizations in the city, including churches, community centers, schools, and activist organizations. We also looked at the city’s ongoing comprehensive planning process, which will serve as a guide for future development in the city. Through our interviews and research, we sought to increase input from city residents into the comprehensive plan.

Student Researchers: All students in SJSP 101
Community Partners: Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center, Geneva City School District, First Baptist Church, Geneva Community Lunch Program, St. Paul’s Full Gospel Church, Gas Free Seneca, Colleges for Seneca Lake
Faculty Adviser: Derek R. Ford, Instructor, Social Justice Studies

Geneva High School Alumni Video

With the 125th graduation coming up for Geneva High School the school district asked the Colleges for help on creating a video that would commemorate this celebration. I was selected for the project and with the help of Heather Swanson and Katie Flowers. We decided to create an alumni video, which include interviews with at least two alumni from every decade as far back as we can go. The alums would be encouraged to share some of their fonder memories of the school, maybe recall a favorite teacher, and talk about the paths their lives have taken since graduating. After the interview and filming, the video was put together to put on the GCSD website for current and future students, and also alumni to watch.

Student Researcher: Bernard Abagali ’15
Community Partner: Heather Swanson, Public Information Officer, Geneva City School District
Faculty Adviser: Assistant Professor Leah Shafer, Media and Society Department

Dual Language Immersion in Geneva City School District: Seven Connected Studies

In the 2015-2016 school year the Geneva City School District (GCSD) created a dual immersion program. This program consists of four classes at the kindergarten, first, and fourth grade levels. Roughly 50 percent of the students in these classes are native Spanish speakers while the other half are native English speakers; instruction is split between the two langauges. The program aims to produce students who are bilingual, bi-literate, and bicultural.  This project, a group of seven connected studies, sought to examine various aspects of the program ranging from the implementation of differentiated instruction to the effect of the program on family involvement and the use of peer coaching to promote learning in both languages. Data collected for these studies included interviews (of family members, teachers, and students), questionnaires, and classroom observations.  Results will be shared with GCSD teachers and administrators. In addition, student researchers created an informational brochure for the program which will be shared with prospective families.

Student Researchers: The MAT ’16 cohort — Peter Budmen ’15, Alana Kilcullen ’15, Gabriella Mason ’15, Kendra Napierala ’15, Shannon Savard ’15, Ana Schavoir ’15, Devyn Workmen ’15
Community Partner: GCSD Dual Language Immersion Program
Faculty Adviser: Diana Baker, Education Department

Exploring Geneva’s Downtown

We are conducting a multipart project for our client, Julie Anderson Coleman at the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center to investigate what is working and not working in downtown, Geneva according to business owners.  After the completion of the “Payne Report” on downtown Geneva in 2008, the city implemented the Comprehensive Plan Process to jumpstart the development of the downtown, a strategy aimed at rejuvenating the city center of Geneva through collaborating with businesses in the district.  Our challenge is to use the issues analyzed in the “Payne Report” to administer a survey that we have developed to a sample of businesses in the downtown district. We will create a report of recommendations for improved collaboration between the city of Geneva and the downtown businesses. Although our client is the GNRC, the Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Commerce and Neighborhood Association leaders will also have access to and reap the benefits of our research and report.

Student Researchers:  Billy van der Wal ’15, Chloe Hayter ’15, Maddie Carens ’15, Cam Davis ’15, Eliza Orrick ’15
Community Partners: Julie Anderson Coleman, Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center
Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris, Sociology Department

City and Town of Geneva Proposed Collaborations

This study focused on how the Town of Geneva and City of Geneva could share services and further collaborate in the future. The research methods used were in-depth interviews, a 2015 budget comparison, and a job description analysis. Last fall, findings were presented at the inaugural meeting for the Town Board and the City Council. City Manger Matt Horn, Town Supervisor Mark Venuti and the student researcher prepared three resolutions which were passed and can be found on the City and Town’s websites. The suggestions outlined in the 50 page final paper include joint planning on topics of ranging from sewage, drainage, drinking water systems, transportation, fire and police public safety, equipment purchasing, economic development, housing, and recreation.

Community Partners: City of Geneva, Town of Geneva
Student Researcher: Simon Corson ’16
Faculty Adviser: Professor Alan Frishman 

How do we Access Tools for Social Change?                                        

Tools for Social Change developed and executed of a model of community education and organizing that draws on the power of intergroup dialogue to develop a collective movement for urban justice. Unlike traditional intergroup dialogue, our sessions began by framing the rights denied to poor Genevans.  We also recruited participants from a cross-section of privileged and oppressed lived realities. Participants also included college students whose encounters with city residents rarely involved collective work, and we utilized intergroup dialogue to help foster horizontal relationships where participants could voice, interrogate, and understand the content of each other’s’ conceived, perceived, and lived space, with an aim towards transforming deeply seeded ideas of individualism through collective trust-building.                                                                                              

Student Participants: Students enrolled in Tools for Social Change
Faculty Advisers: Professor Khuram Hussain, Professor Rodmon King, Professor Justin Rose, CCESL Associate Director Jeremy Wattles

Photo gallery:

Related Links