Past Community-Based Research Projects

Fall 2020-Spring 2021

Where are the Girls? Youth Sports in Geneva - Parent input

Architectural studies (design studio) - Crystal Street Garden Development, Camille McGriff and Caroline Pustay

Architectural studies (design studio) - Crystal Street Sensory Garden, Emma Schafer, Amanda Kesler, Deying Chen

Architectural studies (design studio) - A Landscape for Discovery, Nourishment, and Play, Lucy Lynch, Zane Piedmonte-Lang, Hannah Taylor

Architectural studies (design studio) - Oasis, Thomas Hayes, Kristina Stein, Cade Cotter

Fall 2019-Spring 2020

Our City, Our Food: A Storybook for Geneva, New York
Written By: Madison Kaenzig De Denus, Aaron Hittman, Craig Talmage, Sarah Meyer, Kathleen Flowers
Interviews by: Kevin Collado, AmeriCorps VISTA 2018-2020

Fall 2018-Spring 2019

Community Outreach through St. Peter's Epicopal Church
During the Fall semester of 2018, Chloe Louthan-Green undertook an internship working with St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and the various programs that they house. More specifically, Chloe focused her work towards the Cooking Matters Program, the Neighbors Night Program, and the St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy whose overarching goals are to provide opportunity for children residing in and around the Geneva community. This is done so by creating a strong support system as well as through lessons on healthy nutrition, positive morals and values, as well as the arts of music and dance. Through this internship Chloe gained hands on experience by assisting with public relations and media outreach for engaging the community in the robust programming offered by St. Peter’s. She was also was able to part take in the excitement surrounding the recently initiated capital campaign with aims to improve and update the facilities in order to better accommodate and serve the Arts Academy, the Church’s congregation, and the various other volunteer programs it houses. Through St. Peter’s community partnership, Chloe gained familiarity with not-for-profit agencies and her own civic capacity.
Student Researcher: Chloe Louthan-Green '21
Community Partner: Sue Adams, Parish Administrator, Neighbors’ Night Director, and Academy Administrator
Faculty Adviser: Professor Donna Davenport, Dance Dept. and Katie Flowers, CCESL Director

Detrimental to Childhood: An Analysis of Correlations Between Kindergarten Children and GPACE Scores
How do Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE scores, impact a child’s upbringing? Do certain background aspects of a child’s life factor into or predict ACE scores? In order to gain a better understanding of ACE scores within Geneva, the aim of this re-search is to conduct a secondary data analysis of Geneva’s Parental Appraisal of Children’s Experiences (GPACE) survey data from 2017 and 2018, provided by Success for Geneva’s Children, to draw correlations between kindergarten children’s circumstances and ACE scores within Geneva, specifically focusing on the component of gender. The ACE survey looks to assess the experiences of a child, taking into consideration questions pertaining to abuse and neglect. The perception is that the higher the score of the child, the greater the risk for disadvantageous outcomes. ACE survey questions are planted within the PACE survey, which is essentially an expansion of the ACE survey. Drawing from the specific questions embedded in the Geneva PACE survey data, this research seeks to measure correlations between the scores reported by the parents of kindergarten children and specific demographics of Geneva. These patterns of ACE scores and demographics have been analyzed in various dimensions nationally and internationally. Although statistical relationships have been evaluated in multiple capacities, few correlations have been drawn from the GPACE survey data.
Student Researcher: Sally Dent '19
Community Partner: Success for Geneva’s Children
Faculty Advisor: Professor Wes Perkins, Sociology Department

Geneva Downtown Revitalization Initiative: Case Study of The Dove Block Project
“Geneva, a small town in upstate NY, is one example of a town undergoing revitalization, a common phenomenon across towns and cities over the decades of the post-industrial era. Sarah and Molly’s research consists of investigating Geneva business leaders’ and residents’ opinions of the current downtown revitalization efforts, using The Dove Block Project as a case study. This project is an effort to restore the Dove Block, a vacant three-story building that sits on one of Geneva’s most important commercial corners in downtown. The goal of their research is to identify what these local actors - residents and business leaders - would like to see constructed in the Dove Block, hopefully influencing its development to reflect the citizens’ wishes. They collected data from both business/community leaders and residents in order to compare the preferences and perspectives about the revitalization and The Dove Block Project.”
Student Researchers: Molly Englert '19 and Sarah Wiles '19
Community Partner: The Dove Block
Faculty Advisor: Professor Wes Perkins, Sociology Department

Breastfeeding and Social-Emotional Development of Kindergartners
Previous studies suggest that a relationship exists between breastfeeding and a child’s social and emotional development. However, it is difficult to claim that this relationship is direct due to confounding variables, such as the duration of breastfeeding, socio-economic status and family’s characteristic. This study analyzes the data from the Geneva Parent Appraisal of Children’s Experience (PACE) survey distributed to parents and guardians of incoming kindergarteners in 2017 to 2018. This study uses bivariate analyses to examine the correlation between breastfeeding and several aspects of a child’s social and emotional abilities, and between the parent with the highest education level and breastfeeding. I hope to find a relationship between breastfeeding and a child’s social and emotional development, especially when controlling for other cofounding variables. I hope to use these findings to develop solutions to support mothers nursing their child.
Student Researcher: Swellar Zhuo '19
Community Partner: Success for Geneva’s Children
Faculty Advisor: Professor Wes Perkins, Sociology Department

Food Access Research Project
For the past two semesters, I have assisted in the research of AmeriCorps VISTA and Hobart graduate, Kevin Collado '18, regarding an Asset Based Community Development assessment in Geneva. The goal of the project has been to develop qualitative research about the experiences and stories of Geneva community members about the food security issues of Wards 5 and 6 residents in the city. My job in the Fall of 2018 consisted of demographic research from the U.S. Census Bureau in order to determine what the population of these areas with low access to food looked like. After receiving IRB approval, Kevin began conducting interviews with local community members that had a large presence in the awareness of this issue. While transcribing and conducting some of these interviews, I developed new perspectives not only on the topic itself, but also on how to ethically conduct interviews for evidence in a research project. I am excited to see the project achieve its goal, as it is increasingly clear that this project’s success would change the lives of many. As of now, one ideal outcome of this project is to create a market on the corner of Exchange Street and North Street to provide healthy and affordable products as a feasible option for improving food security in the area.
Student Researcher: Ruby Verbitsky '20
Community Partner: City Manager, Sage Gerling
Faculty Advisor: Visiting Assistant Professor Craig Talmage, Entrepreneurship Department

Homelessness and Social Isolation in Ontario County
In January of 2018, The Department of Housing and Urban De-velopment reported that approximately 553,000 individuals experienced homelessness on any given night in the United States. In Ontario County alone, our community partner, Family Promise of Ontario County, identified 345 homeless school-aged children in the last year. In conjunction with Family Promise of Ontario County, Saoirse and Kahiya are investigating the relationship between homelessness and social isolation. They will be using in-depth interviews to collect data on this relationship. Saoirse and Kahiya’s participants will be the heads of family units who were or are currently experiencing homelessness. They will use this methodology in order to garner a better understanding of which supports these families rely on and seek out before, during, and after periods of homelessness. Saoirse and Kahiya have broken this support into three types: Emotional (expressions of empathy, love, trust, and care), Instrumental (tangible aid and service), and Informational (advice, suggestions, and information). They will code these interviews to uncover common themes in individuals’ stories of how homelessness affected their family and ultimately their connection with their community. Once completed, Saoirse and Kahiya will give their analysis to Family Promise of Ontario County, an organization who works with homeless families in the area, so they can structure their services to best fit the needs of current and future families. The two William Smith students will be gathering quantitative data on eviction in Ontario County to support their qualitative research as well.
Student Researchers: Kahiya McDaniels '19 and Saoirse Scott '19
Community Partner: Family Promise of Ontario County
Faculty Advisor: Professor Wes Perkins, Sociology Department

Different, Not Deficient: Misrecognized Language Skills of Lower-Class Youth
The non-normative language skills of lower-income youth are often misrecognized and classified as deficient by mainstream school standards (Miller and Sperry 2012). However, these children’s language abilities may not be deficient, but are simply different than those of their higher-income peers. Indeed, certain narrative skills of low-income children have even been found to be more highly-developed than those of higher-class children (Miller and Sperry 2012). Nevertheless, higher-income children commonly experience greater academic success because their normative language skills translate well into mainstream learning settings. This research project sought to explore potential correlations between socioeconomic status and language abilities of children in Geneva, NY using data from the PACE (Parental Appraisal of Children’s Experiences) survey.

The researcher hypothesized that children from higher-income backgrounds would have increased measures of reading and writ-ing skills than their lower-income peers, while the latter would outperform the former in speaking and listening measures. While all of these skills are important for school success, graded assessments rely more heavily on the abilities to execute reading and writing tasks, which may explain current disparities in academic achievement. Hopefully by identifying language practices as dif-ferent but equally valuable, classrooms will become better suited to foster the educational success of all students.
Student Researcher: Jacqueline Bange '19
Faculty Advisor: Professor Wesley Perkins, Sociology Department

Parental Educational Background on Children’s Cognitive Development
The Geneva PACE (GPACE) survey is collected on behalf of Success for Geneva’s Children to track child wellbeing and academic markers of incoming kindergarten classes. The data from the 2017 and 2018 surveys were shared with the HWS Sociology Capstone as part of the Service Learning Course (SLC) program, on the condition that any findings that are reached using the data from the survey be shared. Students of the capstone have been using the data to measure various community trends, as well as attempt to reach some relevant recommendations for Success for Geneva’s Children. As part of the sociology capstone, Zach and Joshua have been studying the relationship between parental educational background and its influence on their children’s cognitive development by utilizing the GPACE data. Child’s cognitive development (defined as how a child expresses intellectual progress along developmental benchmarks) was correlated with parental education to measure the presence, trends, and overall reliability of said relationship. The data is being further analyzed for intervening variables that may impact the relationship the students have found. Zach and Joshua hope to use this data to aid Success for Geneva’s Children in their mission to assist families caring for kindergarten-aged children and recommendations for future development programs.
Student Researchers: Joshua Harper '19 and Zachary Karaul '19
Community Partner: Success for Geneva’s Children Faculty Advisor: Professor Wes Perkins, Sociology Department

Visualizing Active Participation, Facilitating Meaningful Dialogue, Developing Engaging Curricula: Presentation of Seneca 634 Mural Curriculum for Youth Engagement
During the 2019 spring semester, Kevin worked with Geneva Community Projects, Inc. (GCP) and with the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) to develop engaging, critical, and intersectional curricula surrounding the Seneca 634 Mural in downtown Geneva. The Seneca 634 Mural is a visual tool that critically engages Geneva youth to learn the complex histories of the Geneva community and is a conduit for thought provoking conversations about disenfranchisement. To be a successful standard-oriented educator, Kevin analyzed the New York State Learning Standard for the Arts and New York State Statewide Strategic Plan for the Arts: Dance, Music, Theater, Visual and Media Arts and ensured that lesson plans were achieving state standards for K-12 academic levels. To ensure that the curriculum being taught to students is inclusive, Kevin made sure that every perspective and history depicted in the mural is acknowledged. Moreover, the lesson plans use creative instructional approaches and use of arts materials, so the curricula is fun and engaging. Based in a historical and contextual approach, young Genevans will be asked to confront the his-tory of Geneva and the Finger Lakes, and their own identity as it relates to home and place.
Complete Seneca 634 Mural Curricula (PDF)
Student Researcher: Kevin Cervantes '21
Community Partner: Katharine Korona-Warner, Marketing Coordinator, Three Brothers Wineries & Estates (President of Geneva Community Projects)
Community Agency: Geneva Community Projects, Inc.
Staff Advisor: Katie Flowers, Director of the Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning

Socio-Historical Assessment of Geneva’s Food Access
The purpose of Hayden and Morris' study was to assess food security in Geneva, NY. The USDA defines a food desert as lacking access to both affordable and healthy food options, like fresh fruit and vegetables. Geneva, NY experiences issues of food insecurity and food deserts, specifically in the impover-ished areas of the city. Having familiarity with Geneva’s food issues, they were curious as to how Geneva became a food desert. Using business directories from 1960, they tracked they depletion of food options in Geneva's downtown. Searching for a correlation between the number of food options in the city with population trends for demographics like race, income, housing, education, and employment. To asses Geneva's current food security they developed a socio-geographic map to represent the current reality for Geneva residents accessing and purchasing food. Hayden and Morris hope that the city and organizations dedicated to solving Geneva’s food insecurity will be able to utilize their findings to develop more effective models to alleviate food insecurity.
Student Researchers: Donovan Hayden '19 and Dylan Morris '19
Faculty Advisor: Professor Wes Perkins, Sociology Department

The Benefits and Challenges of Dual-Immersion Programs within Bilingual Education
Since the influx of immigrants have entered the United States, many from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Central America, the population of Spanish speakers within the United States has increased drastically. With this expanding demographic, individuals in the educational field are trying to establish ways to accommodate and integrate them within classrooms and schools. One model that has proven effective is a dual-immersion model, where a mixed group of native English speakers and native Spanish speakers are given instruction in both Spanish and English by two teachers during the regular school day. Usually, it is a 50-50 model, so half of the day is taught in English and the other half in Spanish. Molly aimed to explore the dual-immersion model, within general Bilingual Education, specifically through the Geneva Public Schools. Through researching and analyzing pre-published literature, alongside the data that Geneva Public Schools has collected since implementing a dual-immersion program, and her own involvement in a dual-immersion classroom, Molly hopes to capture the benefits and challenges in order to create a useful tool that Geneva Public Schools can use when advertising the program for fu-ture enrolled students.
Student Researcher: Molly Gorelick '19
Community Partner: Geneva City Schools
Staff Advisor: Assistant Professor Diana Baker, Education Department

The Mural Project
Art changes lives. Murals provide an avenue for community interactions through the collaboration of students, teachers and parents. Murals serve as a source of pride and empowerment for the Geneva community. Juniper and Katherine participated in and won this year’s Hackathon, run by the Centennial Center. Their idea was to create a mural promoting inclusivity and cultural awareness and they decided to turn the concept into a reality. By working with Dual immersion programs in Spanish and ESL students at North Street Elementary School, the goal was to weave culture into the curriculum by using art as a medium of expression. The mural that Katherine and Juniper created represented the learning that has taken place within the class-room/program and will help to address cultural barriers between teachers and students for years to come. The mural featured positive and encouraging messages, cultural flags, and depictions of material students had learned in class, such as the life cycle of a frog. The mural includes writing in both Spanish and English, reflecting the dual-language learning that is taking place in the classrooms at North Street Elementary School.
Student Researchers: Katherine Vangaever '21 and Juniper Asaro-Niederlitz '22
Community Partner: Katherine J Alvarez Malave and Megan Blackmer, North Street Elementary School
Faculty Advisor: Amy Forbes, Director of the Centennial Center

Assessing and Addressing Trauma through the Arts: A Program for Refugee Children
As part of Ryan’s senior independent capstone under the Peace Studies minor, he was tasked with the project of “enacting peace” in the community. Through research, Ryan found that youth edu-cation within refugee populations is often disrupted, leaving chil-dren behind in their academics and often ostracized in the class-room. In looking to enact peace in the greater Geneva and Finger Lakes community, Ryan wanted to create a program for refugee children that would expose them to the arts/performing arts as a mode of self-expression, identity building, and personal healing. Across the globe, art initiatives have been set up in refugee settlements as well as areas of relocation to help facilitate the healing of refugee communities in overcoming the many traumas they face. Assessing and Addressing Trauma through the Arts: A Program for Refugee Children will bring HWS faculty and students who focus in the arts/performing arts together with local refugee chil-dren from the Rochester area to engage in art activities. By col-laborating with local refugee organizations, such as “Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services,” “Mary’s Place,” and “Refugees Helping Refugees,” this project aims to gather between 7-15 chil-dren and include roughly 4-6 HWS facilitators from various art/performing art departments. It is the hope of this project to pro-vide an engaging and inclusive environment for all participants and to use the art program as a way to encourage self-expression, identity building, and personal healing.
Student Researcher: Ryan Montbleau '19
Faculty Advisor: Professor Steven Lee, Philosophy Department

“Waste Not, Want Not”: Cultivating the Zero Waste Movement In Geneva, New York through Entrepreneurship Senior Capstone Partnerships
The proverb, “If you use a commodity or resource carefully and without extravagance, you will never be in need” is well-known in sustainability and community development work. More recently, the rise of package-free and zero waste movements have inspired new kinds of enterprises and enterprise practices aimed towards decreasing waste and improving the local environment. In Geneva, New York, two budding local entrepreneurs ap-proached the Entrepreneurial Studies Department to conduct market and financial analyses to help them justify the viability of a waste free enterprise. As part of their first Spring 2019 capstone project, Entrepreneurial Studies Minors at HWS consulted with this enterprise across the span of seven weeks. Specifically, the students analyzed whether HWS faculty, staff, and students would be potential customers of the new enterprise’s products and services. This poster showcases the results of those efforts.
Student Researchers: HWS Entrepreneurial Studies Senior Capstone Students, Classes of 2019
Faculty Advisors: Visiting Assistant Professor Craig Talmage, Entrepreneurial Studies Department, Visiting Assistant Professor Drury Mackenzie, Entrepreneurial Studies Department Professor Tom Drennen, Economics Department

Fall 2017-Spring 2018

Fall 2017-spring 2018 Community Based Research projects were presented at the 10th annual Community Engaged Scholarship Forum.  To learn more about the community partners, students, and faculty members celebrated at the event, please click here.

To review the projects, please see description and downloadable files below:

The State of the Workforce in the Finger Lakes
Katherine Campbell worked with Ontario Economic Development and the Workforce Investment Board to determine different characteristics of the workforce and growth and history of specific industries in four counties of the Finger Lakes region: Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates. Data was extracted and compiled to see what sectors in each county held the largest opportunities for growth, both in wages and employment. The results have been presented to the different economic development boards of each county and will be distributed to neighboring school systems in an effort to target the skills needed to fulfill   occupations in industries of growth.
Student Researcher: Katherine Campbell '18
Community Partner: Karen Springmeier, Executive Director of Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board, Ontario County

Between the Buildings
Between the Buildings reimagines the downtown Castle Street streetscape to improve accessibility for all citizens and users of the street.
Student Researcher: Zachary Feldman '18
Faculty Adviser: Jeffrey Blankenship , Assistant Professor of Architect Studies, Art and Architecture

The Collective Impact– Geneva 2020
Geneva 2020 is a collective impact initiative working in collaboration with, individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations to address the education of children in Geneva, NY from cradle to career. This initiative focuses on a number of indicators of student success including high school graduation rates, reading and math scores, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) skills, and kindergarten readiness and early childhood success. Kelsey Jones learned more about the community and what efforts might be utilized so that graduation rates in Geneva continue to improve for all students. Kelsey contributed to the community though interactions at Geneva community events and by volunteering at West and North Streets schools. Kelsey began to implement Ready Rosie, a mobile technology program intended to build partnerships between families & educators and to promote childhood success and school readiness with the Geneva 2020 program director, Amy Jackson Sellers.
Student Researchers: Kelsey Jones '18
Community Partners: Geneva City School District
Staff Advisor: Amy Jackson Sellers, Geneva 2020 Program Manager
Click here to learn more.

Envisioning a Geneva Respite Care Center
Sarita Sun developed an independent research-based project of envisioning a respite care center in Geneva in response to an inquiry posed by staff from Lifespan of Greater Rochester. “Lifespan helps older adults and caregivers take on the challenges and opportunities of longer life. Lifespan is a trusted source of unbiased information, guidance and more than 30 services and advocacy for  older adults and caregivers.”

Sarita engaged staff from Ontario County Office for the Aging to learn about the community need for and capacity of a volunteer based respite care center in Geneva. She gathered data from prospective HWS students volunteer and volunteered at Seneca Lake Terrace to learn more about the elders suffering from memory loss, the caregiver experience, and what a respite care should look like. Sarita also interviewed stakeholders from SUNY Geneseo, which hosts a successful community college partnership with a respite care program.

Student Researchers: Sarita (Ying Ying) Sun '19
Community Partners: Lifespan of Great Rochester
Faculty Advisor: John Krummel, Professor of Religious Studies

Trash Talks: Sustainability Practices and Perceptions of Geneva Residents
As concern for the changing environment grows, a myriad of practices and perceptions have evolved around sustainable living. Working with Jacob Fox from Organix Green Industries, the student researchers sought to discover how Geneva residents are working to, or not working to, conserve natural resources and why. In a diverse community such as Geneva, it is important to understand how practices and perceptions manifest across different groups of people. To create a community dialogue, the student researchers met with focus groups composed of individuals in neighborhood association groups of Geneva to ascertain their beliefs about sustainability and what they believe is possible to instill in the Geneva community. The student researchers distributed surveys, made predictions, and offered suggestions to Organix Green Industries.
Student Researchers: Katy Bjornson '18, Barbara Gutman '18, Emily O'Brien '18, Jordannah Schreiber '18, and Miranda Smith '18
Community Partners: Jacob Fox '17, from Organix Green Industries
Faculty Adviser: Jack Harris, Professor of Sociology

I Got 99 Problems and Poverty Is All of Them: The City of Geneva Anti-Poverty Initiative
Geneva’s socioeconomic demographics are changing, with most new businesses serving tourists and the college community, rather than city residents. There is a persistent generational poverty issue that has not yet been addressed. As more people are left behind, the community as a whole is experiencing social displacement.

Since the City of Geneva does not currently have an anti-poverty initiative in place, this student research group was invited to research various anti-poverty initiatives that have been successful in other communities. The student researchers looked at multiple theoretical models, including trauma-informed care and the collective impact model, as well as researching other existing models to see what might work for implementation in the City of Geneva. Along with this research, the student researchers conducted surveys with numerous service providers in the community to see how they can be a resource and play a role within our proposed model. The final deliverable was a comprehensive analysis of the three anti-poverty models researched. The analysis was presented to Sage Gerling to help advise her on which model would be best for implementation in the City of Geneva.
Student Researchers: Cameron Adams '18 Sarah Garrett '18, Jody Henkels '18, Allison Magnarelli '18 and Morgan Stevens '18
Community Partner: Sage Gerling, Interim Geneva City Manager
Faculty Adviser: Jack Harris, Professor Sociology of Sociology

Full Steam Ahead: Evaluating the Steam Employment Community in Wayne and Ontario Counties
Working with Geneva 2020 and Finger Lakes Community College, the student researchers looked at how to ensure that students are getting the necessary training for what local STEAM employers are seeking in their applicants. STEAM--Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math--are fields of study that are rising in popularity. Additionally, jobs in the STEAM field provide generous salaries as well as financial stability as compared to other fields. FLCC and Geneva 2020 wanted to know: Is the curriculum at FLCC and Geneva schools sufficient in producing qualified/hirable STEAM employees? As this is a very new project to Geneva, the research consisted of surveying a variety of major STEAM employers in Ontario and Wayne counties. Through survey data collected from 30 local employers, the research team is able to make recommendations to help Geneva and FLCC students become more prepared for the STEAM workforce and have more financial opportunities to better their futures.
Student Researchers: Ellie Cook '18, Davis Moffly '18, Lauren Proctor '18, Molly Bruce '18, and Sasha Carey '18
Community Partner: Amy Sellers, Geneva 2020 and Leigh Pitifier '84, Finger Lakes Community College
Faculty Adviser: Jack Harris, Professor of Sociology

In the context of rising minimum wage and an unchanging Federal Work Study budget, this project aims to increase work opportunities for students eligible for financial aid and equip them with professional learning opportunities. The objective is to bridge student workers, local organizations and HWS to create a “triple-win” outcome. The research students collected data and conducted an analysis that will be utilized to inform conversations with the Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, The Salisbury Center, The Business Office, and the Office of Financial Aid about a proposed work study pilot program during the 2018-2019 academic year.
Student Researchers: Yujun Jiang '18, Katherine Storch '18, Jennifer Sullivan '18, Megan Shenton '18
Community Partner: Prospective site placements for 2018-2019
Staff Advisers: Katie Flowers from The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning and Brandi Ferrari from Salisbury Center for Career, Professional, and Experiential Education.

The Power of Dance
“Power of Dance” at the Boys and Girls Club, Geneva Community Center, 2017-18, Fridays at 3:00, sponsored by St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy (SPCAA). Various dance styles introduced to the children, grades 5th-12.
Student Researchers: Jackeline Matos '19, Shaahida Samuel '19, Kayla Malcolm '18, and Ellie Cherry '18
Community Partner: St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy (SPCAA)
Faculty Adviser: Professor of Dance Donna Davenport

The Geneva Community Center (GCC) is a “palace” that prides itself on youth development and community engagement, but is in trouble due to its lack of money. Financially strained communities cannot invest in social programming and organizations that facilitate youth development solely through public funding: businesses and other similar community partners must collaborate to ensure that spaces like GCC exist because of its impact on the community.

The student researchers sought to understand the role of GCC, what activities people would like to have, and how members of the community would take advantage of the large facility. The group conducted phone interviews with other community centers in cities comparable to Geneva to assess financial models that could be implemented here. Additionally, they surveyed various organizations in Geneva to gauge their mission and needs. The hope was to find ways that the GCC could better serve the community. The student researchers looked at organizations and/or businesses in the Geneva community that have a need that the GCC could satisfy, along with some of the strategies and ideas used to maintain financial stability at other community centers similar to the GCC.
Student Researchers: Gemyra Greggs '18, Melissa Moore '18, Niame Traore '18 and Divine Wing '18
Community Partner: Chris Lavin, Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Geneva Community Center
Faculty Adviser: Jack Harris, Professor of Sociology

“Monitor, Secure, Dispose” Method for Drug Safety - An Internship with the Partnership for Success
Throughout the fall semester, Alexa was tasked with the creation of a marketing effort to target the population where overdoses were happening increasingly frequently, and to try to increase prevention within the 14-25 year old range. The materials created were aimed to inform mostly about drug safety, which allows for the prevention of other individuals taking opioids or other prescription drugs that could lead to addiction or abuse. The major purpose of the marketing work was to advertise and educate about the MSD method, or “Monitor, Secure, Dispose” Method for Drug Safety. Additionally, marketing efforts also focused on the locations of multiple drop-boxes for medication located all throughout Ontario County. The purpose therefore became to increase prevention and education for the 14-25 year old age range, to advertise and spread awareness about the MSD method and drop-box locations all in order to decrease the prevalence of opioid use and abuse within Ontario County. Alexa also create resource guide for LGBTQ youth.
Student Researcher: Alexa Holmes '18
Community Partner: Petrea Rae, Coalition Coordinator, Partnership for Success, A Program of The Partnership for Ontario County, Inc.
College Pride Guide

Fall 2016-Spring 2017

  • Investigating the Impacts of Geneva Night Out on the Community/ies
    During the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semester, Allison Koch developed an independent research project to assess the impact(s) of Geneva Night Out, (GNO), on the surrounding Geneva community/ies, through an independent study in the Environmental Studies Program. Over the course of the academic year, (under the supervision of Professor Robin Lewis of the Environmental Studies department), Allison administered a community survey and conducted informal interviews, to collect feedback from Geneva community members, Geneva residents, business owners, and visitors. Specifically, she was interested in learning more about community members’ thoughts and perspectives on the impacts of GNO, and about the Geneva community/ies, more generally. Through her experiences, Allison channeled her excitement for sustainable community development work by interacting directly with Geneva community members and developing new relationships. After collecting a wide range of feedback regarding overall impressions of GNO, impacts GNO has on the community/ies and favorite/least favorite aspects of GNO, Allison hopes to provide the GNO organizers with constructive suggestions that will allow the event to grow and expand in the future.

    Student Researcher: Allison Koch '17
    Community Partner: The Geneva Community
    Faculty Adviser: Assistant Professor Robin Lewis, Environmental Studies and Sustainable Community Development
  • Student Feedback on the Campus Compact Civic Action Plan Principles
    During the spring 2017 semester, Allison Koch held a series of public forums, to gather HWS students’ feedback regarding the Campus Compact Civic Action Plan principles that HWS stands by. Campus Compact is an initiative in motion, in efforts to “advance[s] the public purposes of colleges and universities” by strengthening the ability of higher education to help shape a more just, equitable, and sustainable future (Campus Com- pact, 2017). In the next three months, the Colleges are tasked with developing a Civic bAction Plan to operationalize the campus community’s vision for the future of community engagement. Throughout the semester, Allison reached out to a total of 15 clubs and organizations, on campus, and collected a total of 77 student responses. Specifically, she inquired about students’ thoughts and perspectives on civic engagement on campus, and received a broad range of feedback. Through her experiences, Allison learned more about how much time, organization, and communication is necessary for conducting community outreach, as well as how to frame student feedback in a structured and comprehensible way. Allison’s has shared her student feedback and data with Katie Flowers, (CCESL’s Director), and Jeremy Wattles, (CCESL’s Associate Director), who have already used student’s suggestions to implement immediate changes on campus; more generally, they will use Allison’s data to develop HWS’s Civic Action Plan.

    Student Researcher: Allison Koch '17
    Community Partners: Civic Action Planning Committee (Geneva community members, and HWS faculty and staff members)
    Staff Adviser: Katie Flowers, Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning
  • Geneva 2020
    During the fall 2016 semester, Anna Hartnett and Hannah Nichols developed an independent research project to assess the implications and feasibility of moving Geneva 2020 into a downtown location. Anna and Hannah worked with community partners including Katie Flowers, Professor Jack Harris, City Manager Matt Horn, Director of Youth Services Ontatio County Marsha Foote, and Geneva 2020 coordinator Amy Jackson Sellers on this research project. Over the course of the semester Anna and Hannah studied collective impact theory and communities endeavoring to implement collective impact through the StriveTogether network. The students examined national and local poverty trends and read Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis in order to understand how trends of community engagement have shifted over time. Additionally, the students updated the Ontario County Services Directory. Anna and Hannah attended numerous meetings on the Downtown Revitalization Grant Project, met with city officials, and attended the ROC the Future conference. Through this experience Hannah and Anna were able to combine their interests in community engagement, education, and poverty trends into a meaningful project with real im- plications on both the HWS and Geneva community. Anna and Hannah presented their research to city officials including the Mayor of Geneva, City Manager, and Sage Gerling, the Directory of Neighborhood initiatives. Additionally, Anna and Hannah presented their findings at a spring meeting for members of the Geneva 2020 board.

    Student Researchers: Anna Hartnett '17, MAT'18, Hannah Nichols '17
    Faculty Adviser: Director of Community Engagement and Service Learning, Katie Flowers, and Professor of Sociology, Jack Harris
  • The Dual Immersion Program in the Geneva School District
    The dual immersion program began in the Geneva School District in 2014 and therefore the district is continuously looking to enhance its implementation. The students presented their educational research to the district as well as provided suggestions for improvements. The researchers were guided by questions “What is the relationship between students’ bilingual development and their reported self-esteem/ participation patterns in the 2nd grade classroom? (and) How are teachers andor the district taking into account bilingualism and culture when assessing students?

    Masters’ of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Cohort 2018: Julianna Hartnett, Jessica Nelson, Kevin Teel, Maria Arias, Allison Flaherty and Amy Feda
    Faculty Adviser: Assistant Professor of Education Audrey Roberson
  • Reach into Your Wallets: Reconnecting the United Way of Ontario County and HWS
    The United Way’s mission is to raise awareness and outreach to increase community resources to help confront demanding issues in categories relating to financial stability, education, and health. United Way aims for a 30% participation rate, but only 2% of HWS faculty, administration, and staff donate to the United Way (K. Buch, personal communication, March 6, 2017). Why is this happening? Talia, Andrew, Kendra and Jake focused their research on reconnecting Hobart and William Smith Colleges with the United Way of Ontario County.

    Through interviews with Human Resource departments of private colleges/universities in New York State and the affiliated United Way county coordinators, they aimed to discover how to achieve higher participation rates. They also surveyed faculty, staff, and administrators at Hobart and William Smith Colleges to help understand why our participation rates are so low.

    The United Way benefits over 40,000 people in Ontario County every year. If more Hobart and William Smith Colleges faculty, staff, and administrators donate to United Way, the agency will be better able to carry out its mission and help the community solve its most pressing issues.

    Student Researchers: Talia Alon '17, Andrew Feinberg '17, Kendra Manning '17, and Jake Shapiro '17
    Community Partners: United Way of Ontario County
    Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris
  • Can we Promise Housing in Geneva? Evaluating Obstacles Homeless Families Face when Finding Permanent Housing
    There are high levels of homelessness in Ontario County, particularly in the city of Geneva, yet Ontario County lacks an emergency shelter. Family Promise provides year-long support and resources such as a day center with centralized professional resources and temporary housing to homeless families.

    Working in tandem with Family Promise of Ontario County, this research aimed to support Family Promise’s mission to help find permanent housing for homeless families in Geneva. Through in-depth interviews with Geneva based landlords, professionals in various social services organizations, and city government officials, they focused to identify re- sources available to homeless families and compile an inventory of permanent, affordable housing options. The goal of this research was to create a source to assist homeless families in their transition from temporary to permanent housing after they leave the Family Promise program.

    Student Researchers: Hannah Brooks '17, Molly Dietrich '17, John Hillenbrand '17, and Kayla Jones '17
    Community Partner: Family Promise
    Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris
  • Detour or Destination: Alternative Education Programs for Geneva Schools
    Geneva’s graduation rate has slowly been increasing, but 13% of its senior students still fail to graduate on time.

    Those who do not graduate on time tend to live in poverty, have shorter life-spans, and have children who do not graduate high school as well. Alternative education programs are models of educating students with diverse learning needs. Benny, Kim, Lucie and Lesly’s research was aimed at exploring different alternative education programs (AEP) that could address the needs of at-risk students and are appropriate for the Geneva School District.

    As such, their goal was to propose programs that will help students meet the standards of success: decreasing the dropout rate, increasing academic achievement scores, improving attendance, and increasing engagement. By evaluating models of alternative education programs in different school districts, they developed a recommendation of possible AEPs that are viable and feasible for the Geneva School District to implement. Their research methods included surveying teachers and students, observing classrooms, and interviewing school staff in order to further understand the needs of the school community.

    Student Researchers: Benny Calderon '17, Kim Gutierrez '17, Lucie Mendelson '17, and Lesly Rivero '17
    Community Partner: Geneva City School District
    Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris
  • Putting your Numbers where your Math is: An Assessment of America Counts
    Because many students struggle with math, it is important to determine which programs and policies best address academic success. Matt, Allie, Paige and Karley evaluated the effectiveness of the America Counts program at Geneva Middle School. The America Counts program is a federally funded intervention service founded in 2006 that provides homework help and aide to GMS students in mathematics and English Language Arts proficiency from HWS tutors.

    Using secondary data analysis of NYS testing scores and interviews with HWS and GMS administration, they were attempting to gain an understanding of whether or not the program is worthwhile in its current condition and ways in which this pro- gram could be improved. The focus of their research was to create strategies and recommendations to assure that the program is as effective as possible in boosting math proficiency and confidence in Geneva’s students.

    Student Researchers: Matt Cragg '17, Allie Flaherty '17, Paige McKenna '17, and Karley Reuscher '17
    Community Partner: Geneva Middle School
    Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris
  • Geneva’s Multi-Million Dollar Man: Celebrating Arthur Dove
    Arthur Dove’s painting, “Boat Going Through Inlet” recently sold at Christies for $5.43 million. Highly influential in the world of art, with a profound effect on the works of artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Dove has been largely forgotten and neglected in his hometown of Geneva, New York. The Dove Block Restoration Group plans to open a museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of Dove. The focus of the Dove Block Project is to determine the best ways to create interest and drive traffic to a museum dedicated to the first American abstract expressionist painter. Through researching existing literature and interviewing regional museum staff and local enterprises, including wineries and small businesses, this group strived to understand how niche museums succeed in attaining popularity and notoriety. This project is essential to recognizing a world-renowned artist and helping to revitalize downtown Geneva.

    Student Researchers: Nicolette Kombouras '17, Katie Meyer '17, Sam Solomon '17, and Meredith Surette '17
    Community Partners: Professor Emeritus, Jim Makinster
    Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris
  • Taking Care of Business: Alternative Funding Models for the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva
    Molly, Steven and Laurie’s research centered on alternative funding models for the Boys& Girls Club of Geneva. The program currently serves approximately 400 families in need of afterschool childcare, many of which are under significant financial stress. The Boys and Girls Club is seeking to raise funding without increasing the financial burden on families. Through administration of surveys to current families and interviews with directors of similar organizations, they hoped to discover a way to maximize funding options and minimize harm to participation. Their research aimed to help the Geneva Boys and Girls Club’s community program create a sustainable funding model and allow the program to continue to provide important afterschool care for Geneva residents.

    Student Researchers: Molly Bell '17, Steven Thai '17, and Laurie VanBenschoten '17
    Community Partner: Boys and Girls Club of Geneva
    Faculty Adviser: Professor Jack Harris

Spring 2017 MAT Projects

Fall 2015-Spring 2016

  • Out with the Old, In with the New: Vere Sandal Company, Sustainability, and Social Innovation, Michael Conte '16
    During the spring semester of 2016, Michael worked as a sales and marketing intern for Vere Sandal Company in Geneva, New York in order to better understand how sustainability and social innovation intersect, while also raising capital for a new innovative medical technology Vere is developing and assisting the company as it transitions into a benefit corporation.
  • Community Re-entry and Criminal Justice Reform, Morgan Stevens '18
    During the spring semester of 2016 Morgan participated in an internship with Legal Assistance of Western New York (LawNY) and the Ontario County Jail, focusing on the topic of community re-entry. She studied this topic in various ways, including research, organization of several community meetings, and data collection through a survey she created. The survey was given to inmates at the Ontario County Jail and asked about aspects of re-entry and rehabilitation.
  • “You Can’t Say No with Your Legs Open”: Understanding the Knowledge of Consent Among the Youth of the Inner-City of Rochester, Scarlyn Gutierrez '16, Afrika Owes '16, Dana Williams '16
    Scarlyn Gutierrez, Afrika Owes and Dana Williams conducted research during spring 2016 to gain understandings of consent for youth in the inner city of Rochester. Specifically, the group focused on the presence and magnitude of understandings of consent amongst high school adolescents, partnering with Planned Parenthood of Central & Western NY and expanding upon their research about what students in the area have learned about sex education through their education in schools or through other contacts.
  • Pan to Plate: HWS Food Recovery Pilot Project, Maggie O'Reilly '16
    Pan to Plate is a food recovery pilot project created by Maggie O'Reilly '16 with support and guidance provided by the Finger Lakes Institute, HWS Office of Sustainability, Sodexo and Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. During the fall 2015 and spring 2016, Maggie O'Reilly researched the potential donation of overproduced food from HWS Sodexo’s Saga dining hall and the current community need for increased food security in Geneva.
  • Race Dialogues After School, Lesly Rivero '17, Christopher Melendez '16
    During the Spring Semester of 2016 Lesly and Christopher decided to partner up and work on their Social Justice Studies Capstone by creating an independent study. They became interested in a new course being offered in the education department called Race Dialogues, taught by Professor Khuram Hussain, because it centered on the idea of creating a community between HWS students and Geneva High School students.
  • Looking Back, Moving Forward: Success for Geneva’s Children Data, Erica McLaughlin WS’ 16, Danielle Mueller WS’ 16, Ryan Mullaney H’16
    The mission of Success for Geneva’s Children is to “mobilize the community to improve the health and well-being of all our children and their families.” The research team explored various demographic differences between Geneva, NY, the rest of Ontario County, and New York State.
  • HWS Real Food Challenge, Eric Bushnell '16 and Alyssa Kelly '19
    In fall 2015, HWS Real Food Challenge Food Policy Intern Eric Bushnell ‘16 researched sustainable food policies adopted by institutions of higher learning across the country to determine how to best foster more sustainable purchasing at HWS. Bushnell ‘16 compiled his findings and an overview of the status of food purchasing at HWS in the report Hobart and William Smith Colleges Sustainable Food Purchasing Goals (2015).
  • Beesearch: From Novice to Apiculture Expert in 15 Weeks (or Less), Marion Marsh '17
    During the spring 2016 semester, Marion completed an independent study concerning bees, the practice of beekeeping, and the legalization of beekeeping in Geneva.
  • Measuring Preparedness for School of Children Aged 0-5 in Geneva, Randy Regner '16 and Michael Rahling '16
    Literature demonstrates that children develop their key non-cognitive skills in the early years of 3 to 5. Michael and Randy’s project aims at examining surveys collected by Success for Geneva’s Children, a community group with a desire to produce favorable outcomes for the local youth, ages 0-5, in the Geneva area. The researchers hope to reveal patterns in their data that support conclusions as to why young students could be better prepared for their schooling.
  • Oh the Places They Will Go! Surveying the Post Graduate Plans of High School Seniors, Steph Aliquo, '16, Sarah Friedman '16, Joy Gitter '16
    Within a developing focus on increasing college readiness and attendance across the country and in Geneva, Steph Aliquo, Sarah Friedman, and Joy Gitter were interested in the college preparatory activities and post-graduation plans of Geneva High School seniors.
  • Community Outreach Through the Greens Growing Project, Kalley Matthews '16
    During the spring 2016 semester, Kalley worked with the Finger Lakes Institute and the Environmental Studies program to conduct research for the Greens Growing Project (GGP).
  • Geneva Crime Statistics, Ian Pattison '16
    This a research study that focuses on the sources of the discrepancy between crime reports submitted to the FBI by the Geneva Police Department, and the national online data in the Uniform Crime Reporting database (UCR) that draws from these original local reports.
  • Social Integration of International Students at HWS Colleges, Talia Azour '16
    This research explores the social integration of international students with the larger student population at HWS. It explores how international students identify their place on campus, what their habits are, and where they make connections with American students on.
  • A Voice for Justice: Studying the Holocaust in the Rochester Community, Soren Anders-Macleod '18, Susannah Berry '16, Guadalupe Mendoza '18, Anna Philibert '16
    During the fall semester of 2015, Anna, Guadalupe, Soren, and Susannah attended a seminar at Nazareth College led by Father Desbois who is involved with Yahad In Unum. They learned how to prevent violence in the future, the value of the spoken word, the importance of unbiased analysis in interactions, and many interview techniques during the two day seminar. The goal of Yahad is to learn from the past to prevent future genocide and mass killings.
  • Impact of Early Childhood Education, Carmen Sorrentino '16, Olivia Hoden '16, Morgan Drake '16
    Early childhood education and its effects on development is an extremely significant area of concern. We are interested in exploring the effects that exposure to early childhood education has on children’s mental and physical development.
  • Mapping Patrons in Downtown Geneva, Douglas Silverman '16
    Store owners in downtown Geneva cater to two disparate socio-economic groups; locals and non-resident “tourists”. I have previously argued elsewhere, based on ethnographic research, census reviews, a 37-year historic analysis of commercial stores downtown, and interviews with downtown storeowners, that an atypical form of gentrification is taking place whereby affluent summertime tourists have created a demand for consuming high-end experiences.
  • Entrepreneurial Development in Las Piedras Gordas, Panama, Madeline Boles '17, Merritt Cook '18, Sophie Halter '16, Danielle Mueller '16, Emily Ott '17, Afrika Owes '16, Craig Phillips '18, Sam Solomon '17, Jenny Sullivan '18
    From December 2015 to early January 2016, HWS students traveled to Las Piedras Gordas, located in the Coclé region of Pánama, to work with ©Think Impact, an organization focused on identifying community assets and collaborating with community members to reinvent or improve those assets.
  • Community-Focused Sustainable Agriculture through Aquaponics, Rachael Best '18, Katie Rogan '17, Jeff Rizza '16
    During the spring 2016 semester, Rachael, Katie, and Jeff constructed an educational-scale aquaponics system through an independent study in the Environmental Studies Program. The project, funded by grants from the Carver and Delaney Family Environmental Studies Endowment and Kloman Fellowship Fund, aims to inform members of the HWS community and greater Geneva community about the myriad benefits of aquaponic food production methods and sustainable agriculture more broadly.
  • AMST 360: Art, Memory and the Power of Place, Sean Barry '17, Franklin Brown '17, Michael Doeblin '17, Tim Griffin '16, Keegan Balk '17, Kayla Jones '17, Phoebe Moore '16, Michael Potvin '17, Sarah Savitz '18, Jenny Sullivan '18, Mat Sylvan '17, Justin Burke '16
    What stories do communities tell? How do stories help youth imagine a place of their own? How do cultural expression in the arts help youth articulate their visions of the future? Over the past eight weeks, teens from the art program at the GGBC and students enrolled in American Studies 365: Art, Memory and the Power of Place have been working together to research community issues and concerns.
  • SJSP101: Community-based Research Methods
    Sixteen HWS students participated in the Spring 2016 Course, SJSP 101: Community-Based Research Methods, a gateway course in the Social Justice Studies minor. As part of this course, students were introduced to historical and modern information about Geneva, information on the Geneva Boys and Girls Club, and the theoretical groundings of Community-based Research. In addition, they built skills in ArcGIS Analysis and presentation of information in the web-based format, Story Map. Finally, they gained experience in the Geneva community by attending community meetings and events such as Tools for Social Change, Geneva Schoolboard meetings, Neighborhood Coalition meetings, and volunteering at the Community Lunch Program.

    Students and their research proposals
    • Andrea Uhl '19, Lindsay Brown '19, Adam Enxing '19, Emily Wilkinson '19
      Does the Office of Justice Program at the Boys and Girls Club help reduce students’ likelihood reduce absenteeism of these students in high school?
    • Koko Avedisian '19, Olivia Milne '18, Therese Kowalczak '19, Harrison DeMaira '19
      Would relocating the center of activities for the Boys and Girls Club increase the ability of Geneva students to participate in programming?
    • Alyssa Kelly '19, Cameron Kohs '19, Maryum Raheem '16, Liam Cassidy '19
      Would providing bus service from the Boys and Girls Clubs to student homes after evening programming increase the number of students who could participate in Club programming, and would it be economically viable?
    • Simon Corson '16, Rachael Barry '19, Bryan Archino '19, Liam Ford '19
      Can improving connections between Geneva Head Start Program and the Boys and Girls Club improve long-term student success?
  • Who is most likely to support a Geneva Public Library tax increase?, Dimitri Kaye '16
    In the spring semester of 2016, Dimitri assisted the local Geneva Public Library in order to better understand the socio-economic characteristics of the people most likely to support the Geneva Public Library tax increase. Working with the director of the Library, the two are also using this opportunity to increase awareness of the vote on May 17, 2016.

Fall 2014-Spring 2015

Spring 2014

Spring 2013

Fall 2012-Spring 2013

Fall 2011 - Spring 2012

Spring 2011

  • Recycling in Seneca County - Jessica Becker, WS’11, Marissa Biondolillo,WS’11, Anna Giangregorio, WS’11 and Andrew Schettine, H’11

Spring 2010

Fall 2009

Collete Gregoire
Daisy Bird
Jalisa Whitley
Laura Valdmanis
Luke Esselen
Kelsey Lagana

Spring 2009

Cecilia Teye-Ampomah
Leslie Hopke
Christina Kinnevey
Emma Daley
Jaquelyn Sands

Fall 2008

Austin Kana
Sarah Holland

Kayla Shoemaker

Casey Marshall

Susan Kridler

Research projects

Fall 2020-Spring 2021

Fall 2019-Spring 2020

Fall 2018-Spring 2019

Fall 2017-Spring 2018

Spring 2017 MAT Projects

Fall 2016-Spring 2017

Fall 2015-Spring 2016

Fall 2014-Spring 2015

Spring 2014

Spring 2013

Fall 2012 - Spring 2013

Fall 2011 - Spring 2012

Spring 2011

Spring 2010

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.