Essay Contest Winner Earns Summer Internship in Utica Mayor’s Office

A panel of judges has selected Jared Bedell, a New Hartford High School junior, as the winner of the annual Give Back to Utica essay contest, earning him a paid summer internship in City of Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri’s office.

The internship is funded through the Give Back to Utica Fund, a donor-advised fund of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties. The fund was created by Steven H. Oram, a former Utica resident and attorney with Oram & Moss Chartered in Washington, DC.

Bedell was chosen among 90 other essay submissions. Essay writers were asked to describe how growing up in Utica has shaped their world view, what their vision for Utica is and how they could give back to the community to make this vision a reality.

“The greater Utica area has been a truly wonderful community in which I feel completely at home,” Bedell wrote in his winning essay. “Never once have I felt out of place or like I did not belong. This is partly due to the immense diversity which Utica houses. We are a community that is not focused on fitting stereotypes, but breaking them,” Bedell wrote.

Bedell’s vision for Utica includes creating opportunities for greater diversity, encouraging a vibrant community with a positive mindset and supporting prosperous new business ventures made by possible through nanotechnology. In his essay, Bedell talks of a new way of thinking to address his peers’ tendency to lose sight of the beauty in the community.

“[My peers] say that they cannot wait to leave this area and go on to ‘bigger and better things.’ What they fail to realize is that ‘bigger and better things’ do not have to be hundreds of miles away. They can be right here in Utica. If we hold that mindset and return after college, Utica will be that dream,” Bedell wrote.

Bedell hopes to attend Georgetown University in Washington, DC, to major in political science.

The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, through the Give Back to Utica Fund, is also offering four additional paid summer internships to Herkimer and Oneida county students at Smith Packing Company, Utica Children’s Museum, Utica Coffee Roasting Company and the Utica Zoo.