October 30, 2018

Panthers With a Purpose Lets Students Give Back While Opening Career Doors

by Choya Randolph, M.F.A. '18

In the nonprofit world, opportunities are knocking. And Adelphi is helping students answer—all year long.

The Jaggar Community Fellows Program is the Center for Career and Professional Development’s only donor-sponsored experiential learning program. The competitive, and often life-changing, paid summer internships offer students the opportunity to gain professional experience and give back to area nonprofits while earning a paycheck .

But Bernadine Waller, M.A. ’10, a Ph.D. candidate and associate director of experiential learning for the career center, has a similar program she’d like students, nonprofits and the entire Adelphi community to know more about: Panthers with a Purpose. Like the Jaggar program, she said it offers students the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with nonprofits. But, unlike the summer Jaggar program, Panthers with a Purpose is held during the school year, and only students eligible for work-study are provided with pay for their internships.

Waller, who also serves as program director of Panthers with a Purpose, explained that the program began in 2012 with seven nonprofit partners. That amount has increased to approximately 20 partners across Long Island and the New York metropolitan area, enabling her to match students with nonprofits, based on their interests, for a personalized experience. Students can also choose their own hours, although they must be available to work 10 to 15 hours per week and have reliable transportation.

“I really care about outcomes,” said Waller. “This program opens doors for our students. They form relationships and gain experience that increases their probability to get hired, secure a spot in some of the country’s top grad programs, as well as get into the Jaggar Community Fellows Program.”

As proof, she pointed out students like Marissa Lucci ’17, who joined Panthers with a Purpose in 2013 and interned at the Long Island Children’s Museum doing graphic design.

“She was so good, they hired her,” said Waller. Lucci worked at the museum for more than five years before moving to her current position as a marketing coordinator for retailer Zazen Bear.

Freddy Huitzil ’15 started interning via Panthers with a Purpose during his first year at Adelphi and was later selected as a Jaggar intern. For more than two years, through Panthers with a Purpose, he worked with Five Towns Community Chest, a charitable organization dedicated to helping organizations that serve the community. He still has his hand in nonprofit work as a parent-child practitioner at The Children’s Village.

“This program provided me with an opportunity to practice what I learned in class,” said Huitzil.

Sandy Bhagwant ’16 interned at Catholic Charities Diocese of Brooklyn & Queens and was offered a job when she graduated. Once she put her cap and gown aside, she put her degree in communications to use as the development and communications intern for the nonprofit organization.

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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

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