Media Advisory: Buffalo, Southern Tier to serve as learning lab for UB students committed to staying in the region

Aerial view of downtown Buffalo, including City Hall.

Weeklong seminar includes tours and meetings with entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and other change-makers in WNY

Release Date: January 22, 2018

“Our hope is that these students will become leaders in our community, and to do that, they need to have an understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the region.”
Hadar Borden, director
Prosperity Fellowship Program and Blackstone LaunchPad at UB

BUFFALO, N.Y. — When University at Buffalo students are selected as Western New York Prosperity Fellows, they must demonstrate a commitment to the area, promising to work here for at least two years within 10 years of graduation.

A seminar this week will help these students develop a deeper understanding of the region. The course turns Buffalo and the Southern Tier into a learning lab.

From touring the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor to getting an inside look at companies that are part of Western New York’s thriving startup scene, students will attend dozens of events where they’ll see and learn about the region from people working to make change in the area.

“When these students become Prosperity Fellows, they promise to contribute to the economic development and sustainability of Western New York,” says Hadar Borden, director of the fellowship program and of the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, which supports fellows through programs that cultivate entrepreneurship at UB. “Our hope is that these students will become leaders in our community, and to do that, they need to have an understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the region.”

WHAT: Western New York Prosperity Fellowship Program Winter Seminar

WHO: This year’s class of 25 Prosperity Fellows, including UB undergraduate and graduate students, will meet with entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and other change-makers over the course of one week.

The Western New York Prosperity Fellowship Program, funded by the Prentice Family Foundation, supports students who are committed to the region’s economic vitality by awarding each fellow up to $25,000 in scholarship and internship support for an academic year.

Alumni of the program who are now employed in Western New York helped to plan this year’s seminar. These include Nathan Aldrich, a community economic development specialist with the Northern Chautauqua Local Economic Development Initiative; Kari Anastasia, an engineer with Integer; Enjoli Hall, a planner with the UB Regional Institute; and Ryan Hubbell, a budget analyst with Circuit Clinical.

WHEN: The seminar takes place the week of Jan. 22, with each day featuring a range of activities. Media are invited to attend the highlights below.

To RSVP, contact Hadar Borden at Borden's cell phone number is available through Charlotte Hsu in UB Media Relations at, 716-645-4655.

Monday, Jan. 22:

  • 1 p.m. tour of Circuit Clinical at 599 Delaware Ave., Suite 100, Buffalo. The company — a Buffalo startup — brings leading-edge clinical study opportunities to health care providers and their patients. Students will meet with Circuit Clinical founder Irfan Khan, MD, and Hubbell, the Circuit Clinical budget analyst and Prosperity Fellowship alumnus.

Tuesday, Jan. 23:

  • 3 p.m. panel discussion at the Fredonia Technology Incubator on economic development at 214 Central Ave., Dunkirk. To cap off a day in the Southern Tier, students will hear from stakeholders involved in the region’s economic development, including representatives of area companies and local economic development officials. The panel was co-organized by Prosperity Fellowship alumnus Aldrich, the community economic development specialist with the Northern Chautauqua Local Economic Development Initiative.

Wednesday, Jan. 24:

  • 10:30 a.m. sustainable business roundtable at Wendel, 375 Essjay Road, Suite 200, Amherst. The roundtable, a discussion on building purposeful businesses that are invested in the environment, will include representatives of companies including Wendel, an architecture and engineering firm with a sustainable focus.

Thursday, Jan. 25:

  • 8:30 a.m. panel discussion on diversity and inclusion at the Colored Musicians Club, 145 Broadway, Buffalo. Students will hear from leaders of local nonprofits that are engaged in empowering Buffalo’s diverse communities, and from a representative of UB’s Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center). The conversation will be facilitated by Hall, the UB Regional Institute planner and Prosperity Fellowship alumnus.

  • 10:30 a.m. tour of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, including the Nash House Museum and Michigan Street Baptist Church — an Underground Railroad station. The tour will be led by Explore Buffalo founder Brad Hahn, a UB political science, English and geography alumnus, as part of Explore Buffalo’s partnership with the fellowship program.

Friday, Jan. 26:

  • 9 a.m. tour of the University District neighborhood, starting at the University Heights Tool Library at 5 W. Northrup Place in Buffalo. This innovative, community-based tool-lending library was founded by UB urban planning alumnus Darren Cotton, director of community development and planning at the University District Community Development Association. Cotton will lead the tour. Later in the day, students will use what they learned about the neighborhood to develop business concepts for a large, vacant storefront on Main Street.

Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu
News Content Manager
Sciences, Economic Development
Tel: 716-645-4655
Twitter: @UBScience
Pinterest: UB Science