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From Cambridge to NYC

From Cambridge to NYC

The Foundation supports community service in New York City. By providing over $100,000 of funding for community-service summer fellowships through the Graduate School of Design, the School of Public Health, and the Center for Public Interest, the Foundation has made tangible connections between Cambridge and New York City since 2011.

Reflecting on his summer serving at the Coalition for the Homeless, Andrew Chow ’14  said: “I have a bond with other New Yorkers and a duty to the city that raised me. I wanted to help those who grew up in the same city but under very different conditions.”

Each of the students chosen for summer fellowships has found their experiences rewarding and challenging. “This internship surpassed my expectations,” writes Jocelyn Blier ’13 of her time with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office’s Early Case Assessment Bureau (ECAB).

Please read about our fellowship recipients and their projects below.

Community Service Fellowship Summer Intern Program

Through the Foundation-funded Community Service Fellowship Summer Intern Program, graduate students serve the New York City community—meeting public needs and addressing local concerns.

Andrew Cantu, Ds, Class of 2015

Andrew is participating in efforts related to the City’s resiliency, flood reduction, and public housing needs with the Department of City Planning.

Jonathan Sandor Goldman, Ds, Class of 2015

Jonathan is interning with the NYC Department of City Planning, Waterfront & Open Space which continues to respond to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Zachary Lemel, Ds, Class of 2015

Zachary is helping to create the LowLine, the world’s first ever underground park which uses solar technology and design in a former Lower East side trolley terminal.

Connie Migliazzo, MLA, Class of 2013

Connie worked as a Landscape Architecture intern at the New York Botanical Garden, where she helped with the research, design and layout of the Native Plant Garden, cleared a forested area, and constructed a new water feature.

To see Connie’s work in action, please click here

Gavin Kroeber, MDesS in Art, Design & the Public Domain, Class of 2012

Gavin spent the summer working with the Queens Museum of Art (QMA) on two major redevelopment initiatives: the creation of a cultural corridor along Roosevelt Avenue and the redesign and programming of Corona Plaza. Gavin’s primary focus was to work with QMA staff to develop design, programming and planning strategies and prepare final proposals for these redevelopment initiatives.

Neelima Sashindran Panoli, MAUD, Class of 2012

Neelima’s focus was on the “Making Room” project for the Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC). CHPC is a is a non-profit research organization dedicated to improving housing and neighborhood conditions through the cooperative efforts of the public and private sectors. The internship allowed Neelima to continue to research the process of developing an inventory of the city’s existing housing and living conditions. During her time as an intern, Neelima helped build an advocacy campaign that promotes alternative housing types.

GSD Superstorm Planning and Prevention Fieldwork Course

In 2013, the Foundation provided a $25,000 grant to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design to continue a fieldwork course designed to explore planning and prevention around Superstorm Sandy. The course explores both the prophylactic measures available, and the impact of such a devastating storm on communities within New York City.

Summer Community Service Fellows

A Foundation grant of $8,000 to Harvard College’s Center for Public Interest Careers (CPIC) allows two undergraduate students to work as summer community service fellows in New York City.

Summer of 2014

Madeline Peskoe, Class of 2014

Madeline is participating in the LitWorld LitCamp program, which is focused on improving literacy in West Harlem.

Natalie Smith, Class of 2015

Natalie is supporting the efforts of JustLeadershipUSA, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce the prison population by providing advocacy and training.

Summer of 2013

Kieley O’Connor-Chapman, Class of 2014

Kieley performed health-related research in Spanish Harlem as part of the Mt. Sinai Pulmonary Function Lab. She continued her work on patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis, she sought to link, physiologically, obesity and asthma, and she performed a retrospective data review of asthmatic lung function data with the goal of determining a new parameter to help assess for the disease. Her fellowship built on her work in the community from the summer of 2012 and further solidified her interest in a career in medicine. In Kieley’s own words:

“Not only did my summer at Mount Sinai help me to solidify my desire to pursue medicine, it also illuminated for me the importance of integrating medical care into the local community. In my work with study patients from a variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds I saw first hand the tenuous interplay between these socioeconomic factors and physical outcomes. The summer taught me so much about this type of socio-physical interaction and aligns perfectly with my term-time work as a Medical Anthropology concentrator. I am committed to pursuing medicine through a bio-social approach because I have been convinced that the experience of illness is fundamentally linked to the social, cultural, political and economic factors that bind and shape an individual. In this way medicine itself can become an act of public service because it is no coincidence that groups who face political, economic or social marginalization also must contend with higher rates of sickness and general lack of well-being. By tackling both the underlying social factors that contribute to these inequalities and by committing to the expansion of quality health services to all demographics, doctors can contribute to public service efforts in a variety of ways. My experience this summer was highly indicative of this sentiment and I am hopeful that I will utilize the skills and knowledge that I gained this summer as the foundation for my senior thesis and future career. I am incredibly, incredibly grateful for the continued support of CPIC and the Harvard Club of New York City and I truly feel as though the past nine weeks have marked another defining chapter in my Harvard experience.”

Michelle Suh, Class of 2014

Michelle, since accepted into Teach for America’s 2014 New York City corps, had a marketing and communications internship with Achievement First, a public charter school network, where she worked to promote achievement and to increase student interest in learning. She worked on three projects: creating a strategic plan for a web-based teacher recruitment module, making recommendations on how to improve and streamline the user experience of the organization’s website, and created a proposal for internal communications messaging. In Michelle’s own words:

“On a personal level, I was awakened to the significance of race in the identity of some individuals. Diversity & Inclusiveness (D&I) is an organizational priority of AF, and the staff was constantly engaged in a dialogue on how to create a culture that celebrates individual identities while ensuring that all participants receive the same chance of success. Although my personal identity does not reflect this, I realized that for some AF students, their race was a central part of their identity and source of strength in a society that has oppressed them by withholding educational and economic opportunities. I was highly encouraged by the honest, frank and brave conversations about race and other types of privilege, and the awareness that followed the discussions created a working culture that benefited everyone.”

Summer of 2012

Kieley O’Connor-Chapman, Class of 2014

Kieley spent the summer researching Sarcoidosis, a debilitating disease especially prevalent among 9/11 rescue workers. Under the direction of Dr. Gwen Skloot, a leading Mount Sinai pulmonologist, Kieley assisted with clinical testing of a tool for effectively diagnosing the disease. As a Medical Anthropology concentrator and prospective medical student, Kieley gained important experience working with patients, physicians, and clinical staff during this fellowship.

Shengxi Li, Class of 2015

Working for the King’s County Attorney General’s Office, Shengxi assisted Michelle Desir, the executive director of the Crime Prevention Bureau and of Legal Recruitment. Shengxi helped with case research, writing, community outreach, information dissemination, client interaction and reception. She was proud to do work that “help[ed] make the DA’s office run more smoothly.”

Summer of 2011

Andrew Chow, Class of 2014

Andrew interned at the Coalition for the Homeless, a New York-based advocacy and direct service non-profit organization working to end homelessness. While at the Coalition, his focus was in the area of crisis intervention. Specifically, he helped clients determine eligibility for public benefits and identify appropriate housing programs. He also assisted with the Bound for Success Summer Day Camp for children. Andrew found it tremendously fulfilling to work face-to-face with those in need.

To learn more about Andrew’s work with the Coalition, please click here

Jocelyn Blier, Class of 2013

Jocelyn interned at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office’s Early Case Assessment Bureau (ECAB). She was trained to review police paperwork and to draft accusatory instruments and other prosecution documents. As a part of her experience, she got to interview police officers and civilian witnesses. Jocelyn enjoyed using this internship to serve the people of Brooklyn and to help prepare for a career in law and public service.

Click here to read more about Jocelyn’s experience at ECAB.

New York City Public Health & Water Safety Field Education and Research Project

Across the summer of 2011 and summer of 2012, an $80,000 Foundation grant to Harvard’s School of Public Health supported an undergraduate student, a graduate student, and two faculty members who partnered with leading field experts on a New York water quality research project. In a direct effort to assess some of the waterborne health risks posed to New York City residents by their drinking water, students continued to conduct water-sampling trips to the Catskills and Upstate New York. They also interacted regularly with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The students’ field research findings have been presented to a cross section of environmental health professionals who are focused on water quality and public health.

The students, under the direction of the project’s lead investigators, Dr. James Shine and Dr. Rich Wildman, scientifically researched the waterborne contaminants, evaluated data, and ran simulations as a part of their fieldwork. Subsequently, the team synthesized the conclusive findings into a white paper and offered DEP officials, New York City environmental health experts, and New York City residents viable solutions to address problems and begin a corrective course of action.

During the summer of 2013, two Foundation Scholars participated in New York City based community service fellowships through Harvard College's Center for Public Interest Careers and were funded by the Foundations.

Kieley O'Connor-Chapman '15 performed health-related research on obesity and asthma in Spanish Harlem as part of the Mt. Sinai Pulmonary unit, and Michelle Suh '15 had a teaching fellowship at The East Harlem School.