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Immigration and Refugees - Hamilton College

Page history last edited by Judy Owens-Manley 10 years, 12 months ago

Service  |  Academic Work  |  Education & Training  |  Capacity Building  |  Deliberative Democracy 



Types of Service   short-term  |  ongoing school year  |  summer

  • One of our Bonner Leaders, Emily Powell, is completing her fourth semester as a Bonner Leader and third year as a Bonner Leader working at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees.  Emily was recently awarded a Case Foundation grant in the amount of $1,000 to continue work with a group of Burmese refugee women that was begun in a Women Studies course Fall 2008.  Emily spent her first year working in Resettlement Services and then went abroad for a year.  This fall she came back and worked "upstairs" in the English for Speakers of Other Languages classrooms with the Burmese women who are engaged in this project.  The focus of the project will be to assist the women in forming a Weaver's Guild.  In a time of limited economic opportunity, especially for non-English speakers, the women will be doing their traditional weaving and working as a collective to produce and market their products. 
  • Fall '09:  Travis Mockler spent the summer interning with the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and working with the weaving project.  A Burmese man built five traditional looms and was paid through the grant, and a large quantity of thread arrived from Thailand after finally locating a source.  Women have been using the looms individually while MVRCR awaits word on a larger grant that would allow for the rental of dedicated space and a paid coordinator for the project.  Several Burmese/Karin women demonstrated their weaving and sold some products at "Utica Monday Nite," a local arts and culture fest that takes place weekly.  A student at Hamilton began taking video footage of the process, which Janet Simons, Instructional Technology Specialist, intends to continue for a final product.  Space has now been identified on the third floor of MVRCR that could function as a space for the weaving project and for a Mutual Assistance Association, which they did already receive a grant for.  We expect to begin the process of making that space available (negotiating rental from another non-profit) by the end of October. 


  • A new Bonner Leader, Isabelle Van Hook, worked as a Policy Intern over the summer, and in the process, she developed a new project for us -- working with 17-20 year-old refugees and immigrants who do not fit well into the traditional public school classes (too old or not sufficient in English language to move toward graduation) or into Adult Education classes (not funded til age 21.)  Approximately 30 students in two ESOL classes will be assisted by Hamilton College students in a service-learning course through one-on-one assistance in the classroom and arranging social events in the community and on the Hamilton campus. 
  • Project SHINE (Students Assisting in the Naturalization of Elders) continues with 48 students participating as coach-tutors in ESOL and citizenship classes this fall in Adult Education classes. 









Academic Work   courses  |  service-learning  |  CBR and policy research   |  departments and institutes


  • GOVT 202:  Immigrants & Refugees in the U.S.  
  • WMST   :  Global Feminism  
  • WMST 101: Intro to Women's Studies
  • ENCRW 215 & 305 Creative Writing
  • EDUC 301 Seminar: Teaching English to ESOL Students

FALL 2009           

  • EDUC 201 Methods in Tutoring ESOL Students
  • ANTHR 114 Cultural Anthropology
  • GOVT  202 Immigrants and Refugees in the US
  • ENGL 126 Children of the Empire
  • WMNST 101W-01, 02, 03 Introduction to Women's Studies



Education & Training   forums  |  workshops  |  reflection activities

  • Learner's Lives Curriculum: An ESOL Workshop - provided for ESOL teachers of adult refugees and immigrants and attended by teachers at the Adult Education Center run by the Utica City School District and located at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR); the Neighborhood Center providing "emergency English" to Somali refugees in an outreach program, and BOCES Adult Education ESOL classes.   June 2008 - Instructor, Professor Gail Weinstein, TESOL Program, San Fransciso State University.  
  • Movie Nite with Reflection Activity -- Burmese Film  Scheduled for Wed, Oct. 7, Thurs, Nov. 6  
  • Think Tank Lunchtime Discussion in the Levitt Center for all-campus   Oct. 23  The Path of the Refugee: New Communities, New Cultures  



Campus and Organizational Capacity-Building   training  |  fundraising  |  resource development

  •   Added Bonner Leader to work with Utica City School District in ESOL classes for 17-20 year-olds.



Research, Policy Analysis, Deliberative Democracy   evaluations  |  policy research  | issue forums  |  advocacy



  • A course this spring will pilot an ongoing project to focus on immigrants and refugees in the U.S.  GOVT 202, Immigrants and Refugees in the U.S. is the first course that will prepare issue briefs and interview key leaders in the refugee resettlement field. The interviews and issue briefs will become a part of a website by May, 2009 for public viewing.   

  • Hamilton's Information Technology Services (ITS) Dept. and Oral Communication Center are partnering in the development of the course and supporting the students with their final products. The syllabus for the course can be accessed here.

  • I am working with individual faculty members on campus to form a policy board or policy group focused on this issue and to create other courses that will do policy briefs as a part of the curriculum.  Edward Walker, Alan Cafruny in the Govt. Dept. and Paul Hagstrom and Emily Conover from the Economics Dept. are engaged in teaching or research related to refugee and/or immigrant movements in the world.

  • The Director of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees and I have made an agreement to form a policy group that would meet quarterly and began to establish membership.  We will have a forum at the Refugee Center as a part of an ongoing open forum series there in the spring to present the results of the student work, and we will probably have a forum on campus as well for faculty and students.  

  • FALL 2009

  • Work on policy options wiki continuing with new focus on adolescent refugees.  Plans in works to do community-based research project documenting demographics and future economic adaptation; also comparison to national database.


Contacts   staff  |  faculty  |  students  |  community partners (local, regional, national)

  • Judy Owens-Manley Ph.D. Associate Director for Community Research  315-859-4486,jowens@hamilton.edu

  • Namrata Idnani, AmeriCorps VISTA, Project SHINE Coordinator at Hamilton College, 315-859-4879, shine@hamilton.edu

    Betsy LaPorte, ESOL Director, Utica City School District, Betsy Laporte <BLAPORTE@uticaschools.org> 
  • Peter Vogelaar, Executive Director, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, 315-738-1083, peterv@mvrcr.org

  • Ralston Deffenbaugh, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service, cward@lirs.org (Connie Ward, secretary) 

  • Tom Hart, State Coordinator, Bureau of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance (BRIA), Office of Temporary Disability & Assistance, New York State, Hart.Tom@otda.state.ny.us 

  • Lavinia Limon, President, United States Committee on Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), 703-310-1140 (Alison Seiler, Sec.)   

  • Local and state information for Utica, New York 


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