October 30, 2018
Tagged: Center for Career and Professional Development

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.

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

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

Founded in Brooklyn in 1896, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. Today Adelphi serves nearly 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, and online.

More than 115,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, caring citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.


For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
e –

Tagged: Center for Career and Professional Development