The Central New York brain drain is as much a problem at Cornell University as it is at Syracuse and Colgate and every other school in the region. The best students come in, fully expecting to leave four years later, with little if any thought of staying. Nicole Castelli, for example, is a junior at Cornell majoring in fashion design, who says "I'll probably leave and go to a city, most likely New York City, because there's not much to do in Ithaca with that major."
Colgate graduate Kevin McAvey does not necessarily agree. "People don't believe there are jobs available in upstate New York", he says, "and that's simply not the case." McAvey was part of the brain drain, until he had a brainstorm. After graduating from Colgate and moving to Washington for a job on Capitol Hill, he's at Cornell now coordinating a systematic response to Central New York's brain drain. "What I'm proposing to do", McAvey says, "is develop an online database that would basically list all the employment opportunities in upstate New York and have universities connect to that so they can forward those opportunities, those relevant opportunities, down to their students, particularly graduating students."
Graduate student Elliott Holley says he would be open to that, "I don't really have any specific plans to leave", he says, "If there was a place around here that was hiring at the time I'd certainly consider. We like the area."
Kevin McAvey's plan also contains a cash incentive - $1,000 fellowships for 100 graduates a year who stay, to be paid partially by employers, partially by universities. McAvey is not wasting any time. His website will be up in a month. This coming fall, he'll start raising money for a target city test - probably in Syracuse, offering maybe 10-15 fellowships. He is anticipating positive results.