Essay Winner Earns Summer Internship in Utica Mayor’s Office

A panel of independent judges has selected Mario Mannella, a Proctor 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.

Mannella was chosen among 70 essay applicants. Essay writers were asked to describe how growing up in the Utica area has shaped their worldview, what their vision for Utica is and how they could give back to the community to make this vision a reality.

“My home city of Utica has been improving, expanding and modernizing in these past few years, and that has brought about incredible changes in how I see the world,” Mannella wrote in his winning essay. “Utica has the momentum of a city that is on the upswing. The expansion of economic opportunities as well as the development of new and unique cultural centers, has shown that we are growing stronger together as a city.”

Manella’s vision for Utica includes improving the city’s environmental policies, organizing local recycling efforts, and creating opportunities for economic growth while respecting and conserving our natural resources. In his essay, Mannella talks about the impact of local progress and how the region can contribute to solving much larger issues.

“The best way that we, as students, citizens, and community members can help Utica is by working to make it more environmentally responsible,” said Mannella. “The global issue of environmental degradation can be corrected, in some small part, here in Utica. If every city in the world took the initiative like I know that Utica will, the planet’s environmental problems would be solved.”

Mannella hopes to attend Harvard University to major in history. The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, through the Give Back to Utica Fund, is also offering five additional paid summer internships to Herkimer and Oneida county students at Midtown Utica Community Center, The Root Farm, Utica Public Library, Utica Coffee Roasting Company and the Utica Zoo.

Photo Caption: Give Back to Utica essay contest winner, Mario Mannella, a junior at Proctor High School.