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Institute Welcomes Two New Team Members

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 6/7/24 | 6/7/24

COBLESKILL — The Institute for Rural Vitality at SUNY Cobleskill recently welcomed two new members to the team, allowing the Institute to expand its reach and further extend the resources it offers.

Bennett Ashley joined the team in March as Program Administrator. Ashley is a Business Administration alumnus of SUNY Cobleskill and interned with the Institute in 2022, helping pioneer the Institute's "Small Business Workshop Series." He received his BBA from the College in the spring of 2023. Throughout college, Ashley pursued several extracurriculars, including creating an investment club, holding multiple officer roles in the Business Careers Club, contributing to the governing body of students, being part of the SUNY Student Assembly, and developing businesses.

Abigail Armstrong, Project Manager, joined the Institute in May. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Food Systems from SUNY Cobleskill in 2021, followed by her Master of Business Administration, specializing in food and agribusiness, from Delaware Valley University in 2022. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Philosophy in Business Management at Capella University.

As a student at SUNY Cobleskill, Armstrong was an active member of the Faculty-Student Conduct Board, Professional Agricultural Students/Collegiate Farm Bureau Club, Agribusiness Club, and National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Team. Armstrong shares a passion for the agricultural industry, food production, and helping small businesses achieve their goals. She has experience in operations, project administration, accounting, and tax preparation.

Since its inception in 2018, the Institute for Rural Vitality has served 699 farm and food businesses and has assisted 22 beginning farmers in entering the local and regional food market. Through this support, entrepreneurs have been assisted in the development of 50 unique business plans and 60 distinctive marketing plans.

The Institute for Rural Vitality addresses the region's most pressing issues to develop and enact sustainable solutions to enhance community and economic vitality in rural New York. The Institute supports research opportunities for faculty and students, internships, and applied learning opportunities. Participants can access SUNY Cobleskill campus' product development and co-working facilities through the Institute for Rural Vitality.

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