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Meet Our Student Ambassadors

Geneseo Student Ambassadors collaborate with community members in locations as close as the villages of Geneseo and Mt. Morris and as far away as Nicaragua, Nepal, and Ghana. Uniting their work is a spirit of inquiry, creative problem solving, and attention to advancing SUNY Geneseo’s commitment to the public good. Learn more about the application process.

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2021 Ambassadors


Community Advocates Ambassadorship in Community Engagement:

Benjamin Michalak (2021). Advancing the Arts: Creating an Archival Site for Perry, NY

Benjamin Michalak photo

For his project, Ben will create an online archival, art-focused resource site for the town of Perry, NY. The history of Perry’s commitment to the arts is rich, but unknown to many. In an effort to attract potential residents and visitors of Letchworth State Park, the Perry Main Street Association has worked to stimulate growth in the arts through community programs and initiatives.  With his ambassadorship, Ben will house in-depth research on Perry’s past and present artistic traditions on a site intended to promote the town’s current cultural efforts. Research and work done through this project will connect to SUNY Geneseo’s Fall 2020 Open Valley digital project (openvalley.org) and future courses, connecting students to the area’s history and future.


The Ambassadorship in Diversity

Margaux Carmel (2021), Identity and Education: Creating Opportunities for Western New York Teens

Margaux Carmel photo

Margaux’s ambassadorship focuses on the importance of social identity formation for teenagers in high school. They will lead a workshop series at LeRoy Junior/Senior High School that will touch on all aspects of the self-defining identities we hold in our society, but place an emphasis on gender and sexual identities. Margaux will also be researching teenagers’ understanding and grasp of feminist and queer theory for their senior capstone project. Overall, Margaux sees this ambassadorship project as a way to give other teenagers the resources for understanding social identities that they didn’t have when they were in high school.


The John A. '87 and Mary Grace '84 Gleason Ambassadorship in Student Affairs

Nima Sherpa (2021), CheerfulSmile: Literacy on Oral Health Care in Nepal

Nima Sherpa photo

Nima Sherpa’s project, CheerfulSmile, aims to promote the importance of dental hygiene in rural communities by providing preventive techniques to improve oral health. CheerfulSmile is a school-based dental prevention program that demonstrates the effectiveness of preventive oral care to rural communities who typically lack resources and adequate information due to their geographic isolation. Through this initiative, Nima will provide oral health care necessities and distribute illustrative educational books on oral hygiene in order to encourage students and residents of the village to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing teeth daily.


The James Houston '80 Ambassadorship in Innovation

Olivia Schoenfeld (2021), Preserving Cultures: Preservation and Conservation in SUNY Geneseo and Beyond

Olivia Schoenfeld photo

Olivia’s ambassadorship aims to implement and promote art conservation measures in art storage and gallery spaces on the SUNY Geneseo campus and in the wider Geneseo community. Olivia will analyze the temperature and humidity data in these spaces, identify solutions for areas with poor environmental, pest, and lighting controls, and assess the condition of permanent collection items. She will showcase her findings and art conservation to SUNY Geneseo students and the broader Geneseo community through a collaborative traveling exhibition that will be viewable on campus and the Livingston County Historical Society Museum. In so doing, she will help educate students and community members on the field of art conservation.


The Eddie Lee '76 Ambassadorship for First Generation Students

Tshering Sherpa (2021), Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM): a Pathway to Education and Equity in Nepal

Tshering Sherpa photo

Tshering’s project focuses on dismantling the deep-rooted tradition of “Chhaupadi Pratha,” a system where women barricade themselves in small cow sheds during their menstrual cycles. Her project has three elements: distributing low-cost menstrual hygiene kits; providing support for local enterprises that make reusable hygiene kits; holding virtual workshops that foster career development, entrepreneurship, and menstrual hygiene awareness and so challenge stigma in order to break the taboo surrounding menstruation and to celebrate womanhood. These activities will help women rise and thrive above gender disparities by intervening in the areas of health and education, improving social standing and encouraging not only women but the overall population to challenge the notion of menstruating women as impure.


The Frank Vafier '74 Ambassadorships in Leadership

Kara Burke (2021), The Geneseo Element: Bridging the Gap Between the Humanities and Science

Picture of Kara Burke

Kara’s project, The Geneseo Element, is a Science Communication magazine that brings students of all different backgrounds together to learn about science journalism. The Geneseo Element will showcase science research at Geneseo, as well as talk about current events in science of interest to students. Student-created, it will help train students of different disciplines to work together to write journalistic science pieces for web, digital, and even audio publication.



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