Service/Capstone Update #2 – Spring ’23

Service/Capstone Update #2 – Spring ’23

March 3, 2023 Stories from ACE 26

Please CHOOSE TWO of the questions below to respond to thoroughly.

  1. Please give a thorough update about the service you are completing this semester. What are some successes you are having? Some challenges?
  2. Please reflect on any service experiences or Bonner trainings you have attended over the past month. Describe what you learned, and what you would like to know more about as it pertains to the specific topic. (The service experiences can be through the Bonner program or a community/campus event)
  3. Free Write: You may write about any topic you’d like as long as it’s not profane or explicit.


26 Responses

  1. Brianna Rodriguez says:

    This semester, I will be working with the United Tenants of Albany to expand on their volunteer manual regarding the emotional labor it takes to work the Housing Crisis hotline. This will benefit those in the Capital Region by strengthening volunteer engagement and retention, informing the volunteers on burnout, and how to better work the hotline in order to gain and retain more volunteers, ultimately helping more tenants in need of housing assistance.

    Free Write: I’m currently excited about life. It is St. Patrick’s Day, and while this blog post is late, my love for you all isn’t. I am so appreciative of the time I have spent in this program. Bonner has allowed me to explore my career goals in a comfortable and safe setting. I often worry about the future and where I will be regarding my career when I graduate from Siena. But I know that because of Bonner, I will always have a support system that will show me that I always have options. Bonner has also taught me that I can always change my mind when I want to change my career goals. We are all capable of change. We are all amazing and capable of so much. I believe in every single one of you and I know that we will all thrive to our fullest potential.

    Bri <3

  2. Katharine Lindsay says:

    Service this semester has been going ok. I am continuing the work I was doing last semester and making more connections through meeting new people and improving on communication and collaboration. However, it’s been difficult figuring out how to grow my role with the organization and develop tasks that will challenge me as an individual and uniquely address the Boys and Girls Club objectives. My previous service schedule was not working well for me so I was able to change it, but need to make up hours. I also feel a disconnect with engagement in the training aspect of the program as I’m taking a night class, putting me further behind in hours and taking away from the experience this term. I will try to plan ahead with loggable events and service to get caught up for the rest of it, and reach out to my peers and admin more.

    I am discovering that I have great interest in studying environmental injustice. As an environmental major, I feel it is important that I educate myself and others on the issue more because it affects most people, but also find myself drawn to write on the topic often when given the opportunity in papers for classes, even non-environment ones. I believe I might take this area of focus into my future career, whatever it may be, or engage with it in some way through college and beyond. I think everyone should be aware of this concept and learn more about it to gain a better understanding of how different communities are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards and climate change and feel that there should be more justice by advocating for the public health of all and those more exposed to environmental and health dangers. I think that I might request to make a training guide later on about this for ACE members, and get involved that way if I can’t be there to facilitate.

  3. Kayla McKay says:

    Currently, my site is at the More House being a Program Associate for the Program. My specific responsibility within my role is to keep students accountable throughout the semester. Also, I am actively working on my capstone project with my partner Rachel. Our capstone proposal is centered around the idea of having a course being taught or offered to health science majors which would implement holistic medicine or complementary and alternative medicine. This course would stand out from other health science courses offered because we want to implement a more community-based involvement within the course as well. By doing this my next steps in the project are to actively work on an IRB and content analysis for the being steps of the course. For the IRB process, we are attempting to try and interview professors to see how they formulated their courses, analyze their syllabuses, and ask them if they are familiar with holistic medicine and if they include it in their courses. There is still so much to work on but with the collaboration of working with someone else on this project is helpful to bounce ideas off and ask questions. Also having the assistance of our faculty mentor is helpful because she has experience with the IRB process and can support us along the way. As our capstone progresses I have learned that it is important to ask questions and lean on support from other Bonners and faculty.

  4. Kimberly Lopez says:

    My current site is The Connect Center. Regarding my role, I am a marketing assistant and I’m currently the one working on the Connect Center newsletters, blog posts, and Instagram posts. I hope to create something consistent for this program alongside other bonners at the site. Something new that has been on my mind has been the approval of the Willow project, I wasn’t aware of what was happening until a few days back, and hearing that it could affect our environment really made me reflect on the issue. I encourage others to check out what’s happening to be more informed because this will affect the future of our environment.

  5. Mara Golden says:

    This semester I am serving at Albany Med. I have been having a lot of success with patients and their families. Most of my work is done independently ranging from direct care with patients to research needed for departments to thrive. I haven’t had challenges really. I ran into an issue when I felt like I failed a family even though I know I did everything I possibly could do to help them.

    Free Write: after graduation I am moving to Boston to get my MSW at Boston College. I am also in the process of interviewing for a job at MIT for Community Development work with undergrad students. I’m very excited but nervous to start this new chapter in my life but I know that it’ll be good!

  6. Anum Tehseen says:

    1.) Please give a thorough update about the service you are completing this semester. What are some successes you are having? Some challenges?

    This is my last semester working at the Next Site Food as Medicine, before it is transferred to another school. I have gained a lot of experience from this site: analyzing data, reading scientific articles, working collaboratively, and writing a literature review. Currently we are working on writing a Journal Article, and I’m in charge of writing the introduction. As compared to last semester the team work has definitely improved in terms of communication. We understand each other’s boundaries a little better which makes our working environment a lot more professional.

    2.) Please reflect on any service experiences or Bonner training you have attended over the past month. Describe what you learned, and what you would like to know more about as it pertains to the specific topic. (The service experiences can be through the Bonner program or a community/campus event)

    I recently attended the Next teams design clinic which was a very new experience for me and I truly enjoyed it. I got to hear what some of the other teams were working on and shared what I was working on. We gave feedback to each of the teams and the feedback that I received was also very helpful in aiding me to start assembling my introduction draft for our Journal Article. I also learned more about NCUR, and this is something that I would like to learn more about and hopefully get a chance to participate in with a project.

  7. Thomas Sherwin says:

    1. I began my membership in the Bonner Program this semester, so I was not really doing anything related to the program last semester. This put me in an interesting position, as I needed to get adjusted to Bonner Program work having not done it the first semester. So far, I have not done nearly as much service work as other Bonners, being new, and do not have a lot of hours. I work at the Connect Center on Fridays, which is going well, and I of course go to class on Wednesdays. I am meeting with Judy Dougherty on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of getting more service hours in. Therefore, as of right now, my progress has been getting started on the service and getting the gist of the program, with more to come.

    2. A Bonner service event I attended was the Cost of Poverty Experience on March 11. I knew beforehand that I was going to leave the event more aware of how difficult it can be to live in poverty and what specifically those living in poverty have to deal with. This is exactly what happened. I now know that those living in poverty need to sacrifice and budget both time and money to make ends meet or at least come close to making ends meet. Discrimination and mercilessness experienced by those living in poverty as well as housing insecurity can truly make life miserable to say the least. I think this was a great experience I attended and I think if everyone attended this, the world would be a better place. I would like to learn more about how people in different situations of poverty lived, as I only learned about one situation. I would also like to learn more about how successful efforts to help those in poverty have been. This also relates to a Bonner training I went to recently about empathy. Both of these helped me understand the importance of trying to see other people’s situations through their point of view.

  8. Asavari Gowda says:

    1. The My service sites are Free-food fridge and capital city rescue mission’s free clinic. At free food fridge, I pack at least 100 meals a week with my partner and at the clinic, I am a medical assistant (I do intakes, fill prescriptions, and help around the clinic). At the free food fridge, my partner and I have packed almost 2,000 meals just this school year and the free food fridge is up and running (currently located at the More House). At the clinic, I am learning a lot about the environment of clinical care and healthcare inequity for uninsured/undocumented individuals.

    3. I am very happy about the small community I have joined at the CCRM free clinic. I speak Spanish with a lot of the patients and I even run into them when I am in Albany. The staff are my friends now and I learn something new about the medications we are prescribing every time I’m at the clinic. It is always a highlight of my week:)

  9. Nora Diede says:

    My service is going fairly well. I am working with Wildwood to make a Siena/Wildwood collaboration on a few thursdays during April! Wildwood clients are going to be able to come to campus and engage in activities with Siena students. The biggest problem I am facing is with getting people to participate. So far I have one volunteer, however many people are unable to volunteer due to the timeline of these events. The events can only be held during the day on Thursdays, due to Wildwoods schedule. However, I am having a lot of success in planning events. I meet with different people on campus to gather ideas about the events, and I think that it is going to be a great experience for all those involved. I am also working on tracking the progress of this, and have found that google sheets is going to work the best for feedback of this program.
    A Bonner meeting that I thought was really interesting was the empathy training with Tamara. We evaluated the empathy that we ourselves need, and how we can help ourselves throughout our lives. This includes identifying what we hear said around us, what we say, how we act and what we need. Being able to also identify our obstacles and goals was also helpful in the process. Although, the aspect of the training that was most influential for me was the second half. During this we did an empathy evaluation for the people that we serve at our sites. This was very eye opening and showed me that there are a lot of things I need to learn about this communities needs. I have realized that the lack of inperson service has made me unable to recognize what the communities I serve is exposed to. I do not know what they hear, and how this impacts them. I realized from this training that I would benefit from this information so that I can better serve at Wildwood.

  10. Stephanie Da Fonseca says:

    1. Please give a thorough update about the service you are completing this semester. What are some successes you are having? Some challenges?
    I am completing an auto-ethnography this semester for my Capstone, I am currently in the process of completing my writing. I feel like Dr. Kassel (my advisor) and I found a good groove in our working together and she is helping me generate good writing. Some challenges for me is simply writing, it can be difficult to begin but once I start it is pretty okay

    2.Free Write: You may write about any topic you’d like as long as it’s not profane or explicit.
    One thing that is concerning to me right now is the financial situation of the country, given that I am a senior and after graduate school I will be entering the workforce, this is a topic that pertains to all college students who will soon have a career. The Silicon Valley bank collapse has caused major repercussions for the financial situation of our country, we have now hit our debt-ceiling and a myriad of other concerns. I think this would be an interesting topic for our Wednesday night meetings because so may of us are still somewhat inexperienced with these topics. This just makes me wonder what the future looks for our generation.

  11. Rachel+Gifford says:

    I am currently working on P.A. and capstone for service this semester. As a P.A. I am researching and working on formulating plans on how to move forward as a program. Some of these are looking at restructuring leadership roles and creating new ones because our eventual goal is to have a larger P.A. team. Additionally, I’m pushing people to sign up for Bonner Connect so that they can have greater access to what’s going on at the Foundation and connect with alumni. I think some of the successes I have had have been looking at other schools’ models because they are easily accessible and many of the other programs have really great ideas on how we can better our program. Some challenges have been not limiting myself and what I think the program could be as well as identifying which things to prioritize first. For the capstone, Kayla and I have been moving forward on completing the IRB, but it is definitely difficult because it requires a lot of work and time to complete. I think the biggest challenge has been finding the time in our busy schedules to work on our capstone as well as figure out how best to combine our capstone with the needs of our community partner. We are hoping to meet with our partner on Friday to discuss how to work together!
    I really liked Asavari and Abby’s training on Health inequality in maternal mortality and FGM. This conversation especially interested me because of the discussion of culture (regarding FGM) and how the inclusion of the culture makes it hard for us to say that it is wrong even though we believe it is. I also learned a lot about how high our maternal mortality rate is and the factors that have caused it to be so high including medical racism. I would like to learn more about maternal mortality because I think it is a topic we don’t often talk about because many people assume that our healthcare system is great when in reality there are a lot of issues.

  12. This semester, I was given a new supervisor. I love to research, so I wanted to work in the education and training realm of FOR-NY. Switching supervisors was almost like I was at a new site. The stuff Theresa does is vastly different from what I did at YVM, and it was a challenge because Theresa and I did not really interact so we did not know how each one of us worked and learned best. It took a few weeks for me to feel comfortable, but now that we’ve gotten to know each other, we have been able to run meetings and create trainings together. It’s also a large benefit that Theresa specializes in the science of recovery and that’s an area that I want to study in graduate school. So, in addition to working with her, she has trained me a little on her specialty and some advice for graduate school.

    I recently made the decision to take a gap year and apply to graduate school the following December. I feel more pressure and imposture syndrome because of the low acceptance rate and the fact that after sixteen years of education, I will be on my last step before beginning my career.

  13. Isabella Ferragine says:

    1. I am currently working with Unity House in Troy as a volunteer liaison to Siena college. When they need volunteers I will be connecting them to clubs on campus that they may choose to work with. I am still working on getting acclimated and I have a meeting to further discuss the position with them. I also am working with the marketing committee in the ACE office. I have just started and I am still getting used to using basecamp. I hope to further my skills in this area as I am fairly new.
    2. I have not been able to attend the Wednesday night meetings as I have a 6-9 class this semester. I miss being able to come to the meetings! I have been trying to do other things to make up for the time. Over spring break I attended the Habitat for Humanity trip. It was so much fun and I really enjoyed being able to work with new people. I picked up a ton of new skills and I was really impressed at the attention to detail. I hope we get some sort of update when the house is completely finished!

  14. Liz MacMurray says:

    So this semester I am continuing my role as a Program Associate and specifying in recruitment. This semester is a little different since we are now looking through applicants who applied to Siena and also showed an interest in the Bonner program. So far we are still building a plan in order to create a sustainable recruitment outline but it has been fun to build it all out. It definitely has been challenging since there have been many changes but I think we finally have a solid plan and I can’t wait to see it play out!
    A Bonner training I recently attended was faculty presentations for our capstones. I have been having a hard time with my capstone but seeing and hearing about other projects going on has been helpful. It has encouraged me to step up my game and try to spend more time focusing on getting some stuff done with my capstone. I am excited for me idea so I just need to spend some more time establishing it and doing some more research.

  15. Ava Bibisi says:

    This semester I am serving at the Spina Bifida Association, as a PA, and working to get my capstone started with the Schuyler Center. At the Spina Bifida Association, this is my third year working with my supervisor and I am very comfortable with her and the work that I do because it is familiar to me. One challenge I have been having with my service this year is getting motivated to do the work at the Schuyler Center. I have to review one of their old studies and find new articles to support their information. Because this is so new for me, I have a hard time getting motivated and fully devoting a select amount of hours to this work. Also, since I am working with a few different partners it is easier for me to fill my time with work from other sites because it is not as much of a challenge. One training from this semester that I really enjoyed was by Asavari and Abby. I think although this was a difficult topic to talk about, they presented themselves well and were able to conduct a very mature and insightful training for all the Bonners.

  16. Marina Barsoum says:

    1) the service I am at currently is the Watervliet senior Center. Some successes are that we are trying to come up with several new programs at the senior center that are affordable and many of the people will enjoy, and we seen that there are new programs that help them understand the importance of health, we’ve added more activities such as book clubs and writing classes which they seem to really enjoy. Some challenges we are facing is trying to have more sponsors to help with fundraising at the center and we’ve noticed that many people don’t know about the Watervliet senior center so we are trying to find ways into sharing more information about the senior center.
    3) I want to incorporate ideas of health policy into the senior center as well, I want to find ways into creating a healthier lifestyle in a area which may not get a lot of support.

  17. Isabella Banks says:

    I currently do not have a service site, but I did go on a trip with Habitat for Humanity over spring break. during spring break, we worked from 8 to 3 Monday through Friday and learned a bunch of new constructive skills. I have never done anything for house work besides painting, so this was a great opportunity for me to broaden my skills. I met a lot of great people while I was attending this trip and I built new relationships. We displayed great teamwork, and worked very hard to reach our goals of each day. While on this trip, I learned that teamwork is essential and you don’t have to do everything on your own. I’m not able to go into detail much about question one and I have respond to question two and three pretty much from this writing, so I’m going to leave it there.

  18. Amanda Molloy says:

    1. So far this semester with the Spina Bifida Association I have been doing a lot of work to prepare for one of their two big fundraising events of the year called the Walk N Roll. Some of this preparation has included creating marketing materials like flyers, reaching out to local community calendars around the Capital Region to promote the event, and creating t-shirt designs. The Bonners working with SBANYS have also been working on contacting bridges and buildings all over the state who light up for different causes to see if we can get them to light up teal on Oct. 25th, 2023 for World Spina Bifida Day. We have gotten responses from a few of them so far. I have also done a little preliminary work with my capstone project, which has included reading some books and case studies, as well as meeting with my faculty advisor. I have not found too many difficulties with service this semester except occasionally struggling to balance my time and overall feel very successful in what I have been doing. With SBANYS as well, we welcomed another Bonner to our team and that team dynamic has been going really great.
    2. One Bonner training from the past month that really stood out to me was the one about Maternal Mortality and FGM. I think these are two extremely important issues that need to be talked about more. Personally, I had knowledge about the issues with maternal mortality and how this issue predominantly affects low-income women and women of color but I had never even heard of FGM so it was a great learning opportunity for me to attend this training and I think Abby and Asavari did a great job presenting this to us.

  19. Raenell Holder says:

    This semester I am privileged to be placed at the connect center for youth in Cohoes. This semester we are focusing our efforts towards recruitment for several of our programs. Our main objective is to have more students to tutor and likewise more tutors for our homework help program. Things have been a little slow so far but conscious efforts are being put into making the success of the program less of a dream and more of a reality. I also participate in the backpack program at my service site. This runs every Friday morning at 7 am to about 8:30 or 9:00 am. This is a very rewarding program that directly combats the issue of food insecurity. People participating in this program would come in and pack bags of groceries full of dry goods and produce and then deliver them to a select list of addresses for children in households that could use such provisions.

    One of the bonner trainings that sat really well with me over these last couple of weeks has been the training that Abby and Asavari led about FGM and Maternal Mortality. This was a very enlightening training which I enjoyed participating in so much. I was able to recognize how different cultures have very different practices and how those practices affect the people or a select group of people in that culture. I was also able to recognize the privileges I hold being a part of my culture. However, with the topic of maternal mortality, I was able to realize my lack of privilege as a black person with the ability of giving birth. In this training, we defined what maternal mortality is and discussed how it affects different subgroups of our population. We also acknowledged that this issue affects black women disproportionately compared to any other race of women/birthing people.

  20. Abby James-Vickery says:

    Question 1:This semester I have been working to spread the word about the Connect Center’s after school program and the need for homework help. I have been working closely with Kim to find ways to connect to people. Some success has included working with Kim and some of our brainstorming sessions have been great. Some challenges are that I am not enjoying all of the changes that have been made at the connect center, because I do not think that they are fully fair and beneficial for the kids. Even with that being said, I enjoy going to the center and talking with the staff and trying to find solutions to various issues the center faces.
    Free Write: I hope everyone had a fabulous spring break! For spring break I went to Charleston, South Carolina on a Habitat for Humanity Trip. It was so fun and I had a great time being there. I loved the warm weather and my return to Albany was devastating. It is so cold here and I am in desperate need of warm weather. Anyways, 10/10 trip and I hope y’all are living your best lives!

  21. Jaden Simpson says:

    1. The service I am completing is at the connect center. I’ve only gone through only one week so far but it seems like a positive environment overall so far. They are a welcoming community and I have success fitting in very well. I do not think there are challenges I have as of yet.

    2. Bonner training that I attended was FGM and Maternal Mortality. I learned the topics of what women especially black women go through in the United States with Maternal Mortality and also what happens to women in other countries with FGM. Both are very cruel and there are people taking stands on it by the day and grow even more.

  22. Samantha Lunt says:

    This semester I am completing my capstone project. My capstone has expanded a bit this semester and I am working on creating a guide/ volunteer manual as well as helping with the discussion around how to get tutors, what are the best practices, and how to engage and retain volunteers. Along with this I am writing an autoethnography about “how to be real with kids”and what it means to be “real”. Success I am having is I have finally narrowed down my topic and also brought in new aspects that have made me more passionate about the work I am doing and I have been able to connect it more to my interests. A challenge as just been managing my time and setting aside time each week to specifically work on capstone.

    Free write: I am feeling very anxious as we have now come back from spring break which means we have got like half of the semester left. I am nervous about what is to come after graduation and figuring out the plan. I am currently applying to City Year which is an Americorps program. I am feeling better now that I have a bit of a plan for what might be coming next, but there are still a lot of unknowns which makes everything a little scary. With all of this change coming I am trying to just focus on what I can control, doing what I can to be prepared and also just enjoying the rest of my last semester!

  23. Chandler H. Edbauer says:

    Please give a thorough update about the service you are completing this semester. What are some successes you are having? Some challenges?
    I am currently completing my Capstone project as a service this semester. We have had large success lately as we have been selected to attend a conference in Scotland for the project. We have also recently discovered how to use fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis for the collected data. Some challenges are still getting a grasp on the analysis and understanding how it works completely. Another challenge has been finding good methodology papers to cite for our paper.

    In my Bonner training within the last month, I have learned a lot. One training that I left that was particularly informational was Female Genital Mutilation within some areas of Africa. I was unaware of the issue within Somalia and Somaliland. I learned about the cultural reasons that this is done and the unhealthy effects this has. I also learned that many fathers have the final say in whether or not this is done. This is good information to know as it is a way to combat FGM. I would like to know how FGM affects other places around the world and if this is a larger issue than I am aware.

  24. Elizabeth Holden says:

    This semester I am working with Girls on the Run. We are preparing for our Spring 5k and are working to expand our social media presence. We have been planning for our coach training and going through inventory. I have helped create social media posts and create questionnaires for new potential coaches. I have had a lot of success in finding new volunteers and making posts to boost engagement. One challenge we have faced was having to create a new Facebook page and starting from scratch with no followers. While it was difficult at first we were able to spread the word and gain back many followers.

    While service has been going well with Girls on the Run, over spring break I got the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Charleston South Carolina. We drove down and stayed in a retreat center for the week. Every morning we went to the site and helped finish up a house for a single mom with 3 kids. It was very fun and I learned a lot about construction as well as Habitat for Humanities goals. We painted, worked on siding, building stairs, caulking, and even did some tiling. It was overall a great experience and I look forward to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity more in the future.

  25. Hannah Lawlor says:

    Currently I am juggling a few projects that I am excited about! My main site at the moment is Spina Bifida. Right now I am working on tasks for Walk in Roll which is an event that is thrown to support the organization. A fun thing that Ava and Amanda are doing is getting different places such as Siena’s light, bridges, and towers to turn their lights teal for Spina Bifida day. I am also working with the Unity House on their new medical van project. We have had an initial meeting and I am excited to do more research and get the project rolling. After our meeting the Siena’s health professions and nursing disciplines are going to partner with Unity house to make this project happen. I am very excited to move forward to see what is in store! The last project I am working on is the new letter for Bonner! This is so exciting and I am hoping the new letter will be successful. Some challenges I am having with this project is getting meetings with people and figuring out my next steps. I am hoping within the next coming weeks I can have meetings and pan out all bumps!

    This spring break I went on one of the four Habitat for Humanity trips to Charleston, SC. This week was packed with new experiences and challenges. I learned many new skills including siding a house, using a circular saw, tiling/black splash + grout, and becoming a caulking master, as well as helping with other minor tasks. This experience will allow me to help others in the future and with my own repairs down the line. The people we worked with were so nice and made the work week fun! When we weren’t working hard we were sharing jokes and stories, trying new places to eat, going to the beach, and playing games. It was a week that will last in my memories forever seeing it was all new to me and I got to meet and bond with a group of fantastic people! This week filled my heart with the joy of service and I hope to be able to help another family soon!

  26. Isabella Banks says:

    I do not have a service site currently, but I did attend a habitat trip to build a home for someone in need. During the week I worked in and out of the house and performed a bunch of different tasks. I ended up using a circular saw on the first day to cut out covers for windows in case of a hurricane. The following day i started painting inside the house and I also learned how to caulk. That was actually really fun and i think it was great to learn a bunch of new skills that I can apply to my own life. We would build team skills and work together to create something beautiful. It was such a wonderful experience and I’m so thankful for all the people I worked with and the memories I’ve made.

Comments are closed.