Who We Are

R2G Fellows

R2G Civic Fellows are both grad and undergrad student researchers working during the semester, summer, or on thesis alongside faculty researchers and community partners, on short and long term projects unfolding in R2G NY's targeted cities such as Utica NY. R2G Civic Fellows have worked on park and streetscape design and restoration, communications, green infrastructure, ecological educational curricula, microfinance, food systems, urban wildlife and habitat, refugee issues, sustainable school gardens and sites and neighborhood and community development.

R2G NY Thesis Fellows

Benjamin Helmes, MLA 2013, is currently working with the Mohawk Valley Food Action Network on thesis-related work, which will contribute toward MVFAN’s food system assessment and future Food Policy Council.



Heather Blaikie, MPS 2013, is currently completing her Masters of Professional Studies Project in Landscape Architecture at Cornell and has done an assessment of Utica’s parks in terms of their ability to provide enhanced ecosystem services as related to water conservation and stormwater management. Her work is part of R2G NY’s larger goal and project of undertaking green infrastructure mapping, assessment and planning for Utica.

Gwendolyn Ellman, MLA 2013, is completing a Masters thesis in Cornell Landscape Architecture, studying the city of Utica’s parks, open spaces and vacant sites with the aim of understanding their existing and potential ability to provide and diversify habitat for wildlife. Her work is part of R2G NY’s larger goal and project of undertaking green infrastructure mapping, assessment and planning for Utica.

Catie Ferrara, Hamilton BA 2011, completed her senior project thesis overseen by Hamilton Professor Peter Cannavo and Cornell Professor Paula Horrigan. Her thesis, entitled Engaging the Community in Sustainable Urban Redevelopment: Observations and Recommendations for Rust-to-Green Utica, tracks the beginnings of Rust to Green and makes recommendations about engaging community participation and broadening and increasing the role of residential sense of place in the sustainable redevelopment planning process. Catie used her experience attending 2011 R2G Core Group meetings as well as interviews and survey data collected from the Utica Master Plan Process to undertake her project.

Sarah Hermes, Cornell BS 2012, completed a Senior Honors Thesis studying Community Gardens and Place Attachment in Utica’s Refugee Community. She worked with Professor Reed Coughlan at Empire College and Paula Horrigan at Cornell on this research using narrative interviews. Her work is contributing important knowledge related to the role of nature and gardens in the resettlement experience of refugees in Utica and is being used as part of a larger research effort being led by Professor Coughlan and supporting the design and implementation of Utica’s One World Garden.

R2G NY Civic Research Fellows

R2G Civic Fellows are student researchers working during the semester or summer alongside faculty researchers and community partners, on short and long term projects unfolding in R2G NY’s targeted cities such as Utica NY. R2G Civic Fellows have worked on park and streetscape design and restoration, communications, green infrastructure, ecological educational curricula, microfinance, food systems, urban wildlife and habitat, refugee issues, sustainable school gardens and sites and neighborhood and community development.

2012 R2G Summer Fellows

Benjamin Helmes, Landscape Architecture
Christina Twomey, Landscape Architecture
David Torrey de Fresheville, Landscape Architecture
Laura Durgerian, Landscape Architecture
Liz Kushner, Landscape Architecture
Nicole Deister, Landscape Architecture
Rudolph Uhlemann, Landscape Architecture
Ryan Shedd, City and Regional Planning

2011 R2G Summer Fellows

Abby Grimshaw, MWPratt
Aidan Chambliss, Landscape Architecture
Amy McLean, Landscape Architecture
Benjamin Helmes, Landscape Architecture
Bryan Richard Denig, Landscape Architecture
Carolyn Entelisano, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, CCE Summer Intern
Christina Twomey, Landscape Architecture
David Torrey de Frescheville, Landscape Architecture
Eammon Coughlin, Landscape Architecture
Emina Memisevic, Hamilton College
Erik Scott Jones, Landscape Architecture
Gwendolyn Ellman, Landscape Architecture
Hanzi Yang, Landscape Architecture
Heather Blaikie, Landscape Architecture
Jenna Antonino DiMare, Landscape Architecture
Juan Castellanos, Landscape Architecture
Julie Johnstone, Landscape Architecture
Kristen Morgan-Davie, Hamilton College
Kristin Claus, Landscape Architecture
Lin Xue, Landscape Architecture
Machaela Buckley,Utica College
Mihwa Demchak, City and Regional Planning
Rania Mirabueno, Landscape Architecture
Rashesh Shrestha,Colgate College
Rudolf Uhlemann, Landscape Architecture
Ryan Shedd, City and Regional Planning
Sarah Hermes, Landscape Architecture
Shirley Qian, City and Regional Planning
Sidney Talbott Beaty, City and Regional Planning
Todd Robinson, Landscape Architecture
Tracy Hudak, Landscape Architecture
Xinglu (Ashley) Ma, Landscape Architecture

2010 R2GNY Summer Fellows

Benjamin Hedstrom, Landscape Architecture
Chuijing Kong, Landscape Architecture
Daniel Bursuck, Landscape Architecture
Isabel Fernandez, Landscape Architecture
Lin Xue, Landscape Architecture
Matthew Gonser, Landscape Architecture
Kevin Alexander, Hamilton College, Levitt Center



In the summer of 2011 a team of R2G Civic Research fellows dug in and transformed Liberty Bell Park. The group installed paved seating areas, and beautiful plantings to bring life back to this public space on the corenr of Genesee and Lafayette St. adjacent to the historic Hotel Utica.



Civic Research Intern Benjamin Hedstrom with a Utica resident during a R2G public demonstation in 2011 that taught community members about water catchment and ur-use, and how to properly use rain catchemnt barrels ditributed by the city.



Civic Research Interns Rania Mirabueno, Juan Castellanos, Tracy Hudak, and Abby Grimshaw gather in the Genesee ally before a R2G Monday Nite event.



Civic Research Interns Dan Bursuck, Matthew Gonzer, and Kevin Alexander put together seedlings to hand out to community memebers as part of a R2G greening initiative.



After ten weeks of hard work the R2G Civic Research Interns who participated in the redesigning of Liberty Bell Park (2011) Gather on the steps in front of the parks fountain for a group photo.