How can students intern when many companies and nonprofit organizations cancel their internship programs and organizations cancel field placements for students in nursing, education, psychology and social work? Such was the dilemma facing the Center for Career and Professional Development.
How can students intern when many companies and nonprofit organizations cancel their internship programs and organizations cancel field placements for students in nursing, education, psychology and social work? Such was the dilemma facing the Center for Career and Professional Development. The newest cohort of the Jaggar Community Fellows Program had been chosen, and summer was around the corner.
The solution? To keep going and not cancel the 2020 Jaggar program. Now in its 11th year, the program provides students with valuable career and life experience working in paid internships with local nonprofit organizations.
“We were determined to make this program happen for our students,” said Bernadine Waller, MA ’10, associate director of experiential learning at the center. “This is an unprecedented time. And unprecedented times call for unprecedented commitment.”
“Service is the hallmark of the Jaggar Community Fellows Program,” said Thomas J. Ward Jr. ’93, executive director of the Center for Career and Professional Development. “This year’s fellows are proudly committed to helping the world heal one community-based project at a time.”
“We understand the value that this program would have on helping the community that we serve to heal,” said Waller, who shared that, in just three weeks, she lost more than 30 members of her personal circle and that other center team members were managing their own grief from losing longtime friends, classmates, colleagues and community members. “It was a tough decision, but we decided to persist. Our students come first. We have students who are counting on the Jaggar Community Fellows Program to give them the experience they need to succeed after Adelphi, so we were determined to keep the program going.”
The Jaggar team plans for the summer program six to eight months prior, Waller said. “At the same time we’re vetting and interviewing students, we’re also vetting and interviewing nonprofit organizations, prospective on-site liaisons, conducting site visits to ensure locations are safe for our interns, training nonprofit partners on how to host and manage our students—all the while, securing legal and risk management paperwork in preparation for the students’ arrival at their placement.”
This year, she explained, “The center shifted gears in the midst of so many uncertainties: What nonprofits were prepared to host students? What types of positions would students secure? How can we make this program happen while remaining true to our institutional value of relentless student success while prioritizing our students’ safety?”
With safety as a priority, the center decided to move the internships to a virtual environment and partnered with Adelphi’s Innovation Center to vet nearly 20 nonprofit organizations in six weeks, a process that typically takes six to eight months.
This year, 40 students are participating in the program: 31 undergraduates and nine graduate students. Students will be working in small-group interdisciplinary teams completing team-based projects with weekly deliverables. At the end of the summer, interns will present their projects in a virtual environment to the program’s benefactor, Trustee Angela M. Jaggar ’62, MA ’65, PhD, along with Executive Leadership, faculty, administrators and staff.
“We have an amazing team that was able to pull off an amazing feat,” Waller said. “It’s been tremendous…when you have a team that starts working as early as 5:00 a.m. and ending as late as one o’clock the next morning? Now, that is commitment.”
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