Hartwick College Entrepreneurial Fellows Help Nonprofits

This summer, the Baker-Simpson Entrepreneurial Leadership fellows took on a variety of internship projects, gaining valuable skills in connecting with their communities and exploring ways to engage in social entrepreneurship and innovation. These are their stories.

Portrait of Wesley Bruce

Wesley Bruce ’25

Major: Creative Writing/Sociology
BSEF Non-profit Project: 490 Farmers, Rochester, NY

This summer, I was part of the BSEF. My internship that I chose to be a part of was very intentional, as I wanted to do something that would help me become more engaged in my community of Rochester, NY. I worked with 490 Farmers, a non-profit group started with the intention of building community by addressing food insecurity and providing land access as a place of urban agriculture. This group is a solid step forward in the move for future environmental sustainability. In the garden, I completed tasks like weeding, planting seeds, watering, and tending to and harvesting produce. I also worked on helping with several other miscellaneous tasks that essentially kept the garden organized and in good shape. I was part of the Children’s Garden project, which helps kids who might not otherwise have access to a space like this with environmental education, social interaction, responsibility and empathy, and overall stress reduction. 490 Farmers has allowed me to palpably touch my community and environment in a way that brings me such joy and fulfillment. I love Courtney Klee, the 490 Farmers executive director, for bringing me on. We had an awesome team and an amazing summer together!

Kaitlyn Montgomery ’23

Major: Biology/ Spanish/ Chemistry

BSEF Non-profit Project: New York State Bureau of Emergency Medical Services/ Rural Ambulance Task Force

As an intern at the New York State Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and on Governor Hochul’s Rural Ambulance Task Force, I learned a lot about the complicated EMS system in New York State and the hardships faced by EMS agencies all over the state due to low staffing, low funding, and inadequate reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies. I learned that EMS is not legally an essential service, meaning if local EMS agencies shut down due to inadequate funds or insufficient staffing, no one legally has to provide an ambulance service to the community.

Through this internship, I met some amazing people and have sparked passionate discussions over the educational requirements for paramedics in New York State. I feel that I have a very real opportunity to positively impact emergency medical service availability and quality for underserved populations and rural areas of New York State and residents of New York State as a whole.

My internship at the NYS DOH BEMS has turned into a student assistant position (I am getting a Paramedic A.A.S. degree at SUNY OCC), meaning that I am now getting paid by the DOH to continue the work that I started over the summer.

Samantha Caceres ’24

Major: Nursing

BSEF Non-profits Project: All May See Foundation, San Francisco (Remote) and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at two institutions with the help of the Simon-Baker Entrepreneurship Fellowship, and I am extremely grateful for both opportunities.

My first internship was a remote position at the All May See Foundation. Working alongside President Deborah Chesky, I was able to learn the ins and outs of managing a nonprofit and the level of attention to detail it takes. I worked on several tasks, such as organizing award data, creating monthly health bulletins, compiling profiles of researchers, and more. As a nursing major, it was amazing to see the developments in healthcare and the improvements that All May See was making in their patients’ and future patients’ lives.

My second internship took place at Mount Sinai West, where I had the opportunity to be a student nurse intern thanks to Hartwick alumna and Board of Trustee member Maria Vezina. Through this experience, I was able to see different specialties, procedures, and patient interactions that not only helped me to better my patient interaction skills but also educated me on the gaps within our current healthcare practice. I was able to learn how our system supports those who are struggling, as well as what needs to be done to better support these at-risk individuals. I also had the opportunity to meet with several entrepreneurs aiming to have their newly developed medical devices or procedures implemented into the standard of care at Mount Sinai West. Learning about the products and their stories was fascinating and very inspiring.

I cannot thank Simon Baker, Hartwick College, Deborah Chesky, Maria Vezina and my other mentors enough for this opportunity.

Nicole Chaora ’24

Major: Physics/ Mathematics

BSEF Non-profit Project: The City of Beacon Conservation Advisory Committee, Beacon, NY

I spent the summer working for the City of Beacon Conservation Advisory Committee. As a sustainability fellow, I had two main projects:

  1. A feasibility report for a potential community garden – I visited different community gardens in the Hudson Valley area, collected and analyzed data about the Beacon community interests and engagement, the costs to set up similar community garden structures in Beacon, how to map and plan the layout of the garden, how to organize the workforce required to manage the garden, how to deal with waste and researched more about engineering practices that could be implemented in the garden.
  2. Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure planning – I reviewed and attended webinars discussing the management and implementation of charging stations across Beacon and the demand rises. I also looked into possible locations to set up those chargers and researched possible funding sources to fund expansion. Overall, it was a great experience. The committee and particularly my supervisor, Faye Leone, were all very committed to helping me learn more about sustainability and its administration on a city-wide scale. I learned so much, not just about the different innovative projects Beacon has implemented in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint but also about how having an interdisciplinary team is essential to the success of a workforce. I also learned about myself – how I integrate into the work environment and ways I can improve and increase my skill set to be a better team member. Thank you so much for the opportunity!


Abigail McCleary ’24

Major: Psychology/ Business Administration

BSEF Non-profit: Orange-Ulster BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) Goshen, NY

 I truly can’t express how grateful I am for the opportunity to intern with Orange-Ulster BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) in Goshen, NY, this summer. It has granted me insight into what it means to be a social worker counseling kids and adolescents in the middle school and high school Marguerite A. Flood program. BOCES offers various programs and services ranging from instructional support and training for teachers from different districts, educational assistance, satellite programs, community programs, career development assistance, Special Olympics and activities for students, etc. Within these programs and services, there are countless support systems for those who struggle with depression, anxiety, personality disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and many other mental illnesses. Specifically, the mission Orange-Ulster BOCES strives to uphold is to serve their community and fellow districts by developing learners to succeed in the present world and our future society. It is their goal to do this with the help of caring and educated staff in a cost-effective and safe manner. 

I had the pleasure of meeting not only the two social workers I was able to shadow over the summer but also the teachers, other counselors, crisis workers, principals, the school psychologist, and various other staff members. These professionals were kind enough to educate me on how they help these kids and adolescents through counseling and guidance. They shared how they all work together as a team to help the students succeed and how I can, too. I was able to sit in on staff meetings, intakes, intake review meetings, and counseling sessions. Meeting with the other counselors and the school psychologist gave me insight into the specific paths they took to be where they are today, in addition to the thorough conversations I had with the social workers I shadowed. I was able to weigh out my options on whether to pursue a master’s degree in social work or a master’s degree in psychology. I can confidently say that I have narrowed down the direction I want to take after graduating Hartwick College!

Although being a social worker seems like a dream come true due to the counseling aspect, I am also interested in the testing part of psychology. I was able to read IEPs (Individualized Educational Plans), social histories, and other tests and evaluations in students’ files, some of which were done by psychologists, which gave me a thorough understanding of the student’s trauma or medical concerns. I decided I want to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology and then get my PhD so that I am able to conduct some of this testing and research. However, I am also interested in the counseling aspect, which drew me to consider the social worker route. From what I’ve learned, I can become a clinical psychologist and depending on where I work, I can do both testing and counseling. I believe this would help me understand my patients rigorously and treat them based on the evaluations and testing I conducted. Further along, I would love to own my own private practice and counsel clients who are in need of help. I am passionate about solving the problems individuals experience in their daily lives that hinder them from developing their best selves mentally and physically. I believe freeing them from the distress they encounter or have previously encountered will allow them to develop true confidence. I wish to leave them with the ability to pursue personal excellence due to being freed from these prior constraints they came to me with. 

Although this internship was in a school setting, it still showed me an atmosphere where adolescents learned skills and strategies for managing their past trauma, illnesses, and disorders. It confirmed that I do not wish to work in a school setting, and I hope to do an internship this upcoming winter with the Dutchess County Department of Health to observe more of a clinical setting. I kept a thorough journal throughout the entirety of my internship, excluding all students’ names and any confidentiality concerns, that I believe will further assist me in remembering this incredible experience. I am so appreciative of the Baker Simpson Fellowship for making this internship possible and providing me with this rewarding opportunity.

Sarah Nasaka Kipruto ’24

Major: Economics/ Computer Science/ Mathematics

BSEF Non-profit Project: All May See Foundation, San Francisco (Remote)

My time at the All May See Foundation (AMS) provided me with invaluable insights into the world of medical innovation, research, and philanthropy. I had the opportunity to work on several exciting projects that showcase the ties between social innovation and scientific progress in ophthalmology.

A major part of my role involved creating spotlight brochures that highlight the ground-breaking work of UCSF physicians and researchers. This allowed me to learn about cutting-edge developments like stem cell transplants for the eye, smart contact lenses and virtual surgery simulators. It was inspiring to see how innovation plays a very important role in making all this happen. At the same time, I learned that bringing these ideas from the lab to reality takes extensive funding support. 

That’s where AMS comes in. The foundation works closely with donors, doctors, and researchers to move promising research forward. For example, I worked on a project that tracked the impact of AMS faculty awards going back to 1991. It was remarkable to see the ripple effect—how an initial $30k grant can pave the way for $60 million in Gates Foundation funding. Stories like this show how they are achieving their mission of accelerating eye health breakthroughs.

I also gained experience with the fundraising side of the work. Learning to use tools like ResearchPoint has shown me how foundations identify targets and employ confirmed wealth data to hone their fundraising strategies. Seeing the meticulous tracking of gifts, even small donations, made it clear that every contribution matters. 

Ultimately, I found that innovation thrives when people across disciplines—doctors, philanthropists, administrators—come together around a shared purpose. Working side-by-side with a grateful patient proved incredibly helpful in creating effective brochures. His perspective as a former beneficiary of UCSF’s work provided an invaluable human element to our outreach efforts.  At AMS, that purpose is preventing blindness and restoring vision. I feel lucky to have learned from this team about using social innovation to drive real progress. This experience has allowed me to develop valuable skills and reaffirmed my passion for improving lives through service.

September 28, 2023

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