Cornell student completes internship at Seneca Meadows in Seneca Falls

Seneca Meadows landfill in Seneca Falls recently hosted Apoorva Kumar, a graduate student at Cornell University in the department of City and Regional Planning for a 10 week summer internship. The internship was arranged as a part of the CALS NYS Internship Program, an initiative of the Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI) in partnership with the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences at Cornell University. The CALS NYS Internship Program provides students with career-related work experience by pairing with them with a business, agency, or organization in upstate NY. In addition, the internship program comprises a community engagement component which includes identifying local strategies and plans to supporting youth retention & attraction – part of the broader workforce development issue that many communities are faced with.

Apoorva was born and brought up in Bhopal, a city in central India. She went to the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi for her undergraduate studies, and graduated first class in urban and regional planning. At Cornell, Apoorva focuses on community and economic development, and international planning. Her interests include, but are not limited to, issues of land tenure security and administration in developing countries, the role of the private sector in community development, and how policies at the grassroots help resolve local issues.

Apoorva with Mark Benjamin and Kyle Black during her final presentation to Seneca Meadows, Inc.

Apoorva’s summer internship comprised of two components: a project with Seneca Meadows landfill as an Economic Analyst intern, and the community engagement piece. In her role as an Economic Analyst intern, Apoorva assessed the economic impact of the landfill facility on Seneca County. She used input-output analysis and IMPLAN software to reach her conclusions. Apoorva notes that industries in the waste-management sector are often only talked about in terms of their perceived environmental issues. ‘Regional economic impact analysis’ provides a broader picture of comprehensive activities that includes effects on the regional economy through employment generation. Details of the economic impact analysis will be released in the coming months.

For the community engagement component of the internship, Apoorva interviewed over 20 community leaders in the Town of Seneca Falls and Waterloo, talking with them about strategies for youth retention and attraction in upstate New York. Through these conversations, Apoorva found out that there is a perceived mismatch between jobs and skillsets in the county. From the perspective of the community members she spoke with, there is a need to 1. promote vocational training for workforce development, and 2. improve public transport systems to increase access to job training centers and workplaces.

Apoorva in discussion with Adriene Emmo at the Seneca Falls Community Center

The internship program culminated with two presentations:

1. In her presentation to Seneca Meadows officials, Apoorva presented her findings on the regional economic impact analysis of the Seneca Meadows landfill on Seneca County.

2. Apoorva presented the findings of her community engagement project on the Cornell University campus with other CALS NYS interns and hosts, Cornell professors, community members and others.

Apoorva offers, “I was able to accomplish the various goals of the internship and was able to contribute to the overall goals of the CALS NYS Program. I most value the connections that I made and the warmth of the communities of Seneca Falls and Waterloo. I look forward to opportunities in Seneca Falls and Waterloo, and would love to work here in the future.”

Also on FingerLakes1.com