Community Geography Student Opportunities
There are several ways for undergraduate and graduate students to get involved in Syracuse Community Geography, including:
Paid and unpaid internships,
Fulfilling community service and service learning requirements,
Independent studies for course credit,
Capstone, thesis and dissertation research projects.
GIS and Spatial Analysis
Community Geography generated GIS data and public GIS datasets are available to students for use in course-based and community service projects. Contact the Community Geographer if you are interested in gaining access to these files.
Student Community Geography Projects
Below are examples of how students use spatial analysis and GIS to address community issues. Please note that some student projects address actual Community Geography projects proposed by a community-based organization or community member. Other projects creatively use real data to address hypothetical community concerns. An asterisk (*) denotes projects that address community project requests.
Paying More, Getting Less? A Comparison of NYS School District Tax Rates and Expenditure per Pupil*
Eli Moore, a graduate Geography student, worked with The Midstate School Finance Consortium and the New York State School Boards Association to evaluate whether mid-state school districts are paying higher tax rates for education while receiving less back from the state per student. By mapping school districts with above and below average tax rates and above and below average expenditure per student, Eli was able to show that there is a geographic clustering of districts paying an above average tax rate, yet receiving less for per pupil expenditure.
Food Stamp Outreach in Westchester County, NY*
Jennifer Perrone, an undergraduate Geography student, worked with the Syracuse Hunger Project and the Hunger Action Network of New York State to spatially analyze food insecurity. Her Environmental GIS (GEO 583) class project identified Emergency Food Program (EFP) locations in Westchester County for food stamp outreach targeting immigrant populations. Jen mapped existing EFPs and libraries with internet access and overlaid them with socioeconomic data to determine which libraries would be ideal sites for accessing online food stamp enrollment information.
Expanding the Faith-based Emergency Food Network in Onondaga County*
During Phase I of the Syracuse Hunger Project mapping, pantries and soup kitchens were mapped for Syracuse and overlaid with a variety of sociodemographic characteristics for the city. Shad Pulverenti expanded this mapping to the county using pantry and soup kitchen information provided by the Food Bank of CNY and the InterReligious Food Consortium. He also mapped faith-based organizations affiliated with Interfaith Works of CNY to identify organizations located in areas of the county where food insecurity may exist, but where no or few pantries are currently operating.
The Place of Education—Historically Rooted, Class Based Social Construction: Is it Affecting Our Public Schools?
Dianna Squillace-Manno, Geography and Secondary Education major, chose to examine the issue of school success and failure through a geographic lens. Her GIS project explored the historically formative process of race and class based government sponsored 'Redlining', and its relationship to the success or failure of current Syracuse area schools. By using a place centered comparative analysis she hopes to shed light on the continuing inequalities that neighborhoods, and their residence are still experiencing as a result of 1930's government sponsored programs which effectively engineered the phenomena of 'White Flight' and the decay of America's urban centers.
A Youth Bus Route
Janna Newman, a Geography and Policy Studies student, proposed a youth-only bus route that could transport youth from low-income, high risk inner-city neighborhoods to youth service organizations throughout Syracuse. The proposed bus would transport youth to and from after school and summer programs. Inner-city youth were made the target population because low income urban residents are more likely to use public transportation, have limited access to a vehicle, and as a result, be less likely to participate in programs located outside of their immediate neighborhoods. Such a bus route would enable children to safely travel to and from programs and activities that may normally be inaccessible due to limited mobility.
Onondaga County Libraries and Social Service Delivery
Libraries often provide needed community services, such as volunteer income tax preparation. Using indicators of socioeconomic need, Katie Burns identified which Onondaga County Public Libraries are in areas where the local population might benefit from English translation, English as a second language courses, adult literacy programs, graduate equivalency diploma study preparation services, and youth reading programs. Katie recommends that a new library be erected in North Syracuse because there is a large population of young families, and that the libraries located within metro Syracuse could address several community needs by providing all of the above mentioned services. The Syracuse libraries fall within, or are close to, the census tracts that are most appropriate in terms of large school-age population, language spoken at home other than English, and/or low educational attainment.
Student-Teacher Ratios in Onondaga County
Joshua Gray, a Geography and Political Science dual major, was interested in examining the relationship, if any, between student-teacher ratios in public schools and unemployment, in suburban and rural Onondaga County. Using information gathered from internet databases for public schools, he mapped the locations and student-teacher ratios of public schools across the county. School information was then overlaid with a base unemployment map to analyze the relationships between public education and economics.