Adelphi Jagger Fellows pursue careers
Over the summer Alexus Haddad, a biology major and chemistry minor and member of Adelphi University’s Class of 2018, interned at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and worked with cutting-edge CRISPR/Cas9 technology for pancreatic cancer research. A few known tumor-suppressor genes cause pancreatic cancer but there are several more genes yet to be discovered, Haddad said. This hands-on study at Cold Spring Harbor will continue for another several months in pursuit of scientific findings. But midway through college Haddad’s jump into her career field and the enthusiastic starts of 69 others came as part of this year’s Jaggar Community Fellows Program at Adelphi University.
Having just completed its seventh year of enriching opportunities, the Jaggar Program provides students with paid summer internships at a variety of nonprofits on Long Island and New York City. With a reception held at its Garden City campus on Wednesday August 17, Adelphi celebrated the achievements and milestones of the summer 2016 round of internships.
Thomas Ward Jr. is the executive director of Adelphi’s Center for Career and Professional Development. He said lessons that student-fellows learned over the summer, through pathways they explored, “critical missions being served” and “relationships cultivated” were the latest piece in Adelphi’s greater mission to transform the lives of students and advance the region through deep community engagement.
Hardeep Kaur of Brompton Road in Garden City spent her summer with Northwell Health and its Institution for Nursing, exploring all facets in her chosen career field. Kaur graduates from Adelphi this December. She plans to be a nurse, but up until this summer she was indecisive about what type of nursing to go into.
“Through the internship I got exposure to a lot of opportunities and a lot of different areas of nursing. I went to an emergency helipad; there is a field of flight nursing that was really cool to learn about. I also went to the EICU (electronic ICU) and nurses monitor ICU patients behind computers, like a second eye – it’s technology I never knew about which is really crucial. Classroom teaching is mostly related to bedside nursing. Through this internship I realized that nursing has so much more that you can do than that. I had the privilege to visit a lot of different units – med-surgery, helipad, labor and delivery, surgical ICU, cardio-thorasic ICU. I realized what my strengths and weaknesses are and where my passion lies. I want to start off doing med-surge first and then choose a specialty,” Kaur said.
From her observations med-surge requires a strong heart and intense caring. A bit of shock came to her when a patient in the surgical ICU passed away during her shift, and it was the first time she saw death up close. That gave her a realization of what she can excel at and also what she’d have a hard time handling regularly. Kaur says all her classmates in the nursing program, especially those who have seen her presentation from this summer, have approached her to ask about taking a similar internship with Northwell Health.
“I’m so glad that I did it and they are asking me ‘how do I get involved.’ It’s a lot about giving back and educating other nursing students like freshmen and sophomores coming in. I tell them to apply to it because they’re going to learn a lot,” Kaur said.
Kendall Garrett grew up in Rosedale, Queens and is majoring in biology. She hopes to enter medical school when she finishes her bachelor’s at Adelphi next May. Her summer internship was spent at Northwell Health and Lions Eye Bank for Long Island in Great Neck. Working with the donated organ and tissue upon a person’s death gave her a different viewpoint and experience within the medical field, one that she never considered before.
“I knew I was going to be in a hospital setting and my goal was to learn the etiquette of the hospital workspace. I’ve worked in offices before and worked with kids, but the hospital is just different. I learned about the different positions within tissue and organ banking as a field. Also working with data and information was very interesting – all the different things that I did not know I would learn there,” Garrett explains.
To follow up on the summer experience Garrett found out about becoming an eye bank technician with six months of training. “If I wanted to do that it’s an opportunity for me and I have my foot in the door already and they would remember my face. I think especially in the medical field, having prior experience is very important. Even if I attend medical school I would love to work there for a while to get more clinical experience,” she said.
Moreover, Garrett wants to try out a few more areas in the medical field before graduating. “There’s being a doctor and there’s nursing but people don’t talk a lot about the in between. I would like to learn about other things,” she says.
Transitioning military personnel
MBA student and Armed Forces veteran Timothy Shauvo interned at Northwell Health, but he focused on an endeavor in line with his own path at Adelphi. The former Marine Corps small firearms repair technician worked on a program to help transitioning military personnel find and explore employment opportunities in the healthcare field. He says he stumbled across the Jaggar Community Fellows Program one day on campus and spoke with the Center for Career Development. That initiative – with pursuing higher education after the military, finishing his undergraduate program and entering the Willumstad School of Business have signified a perfect “transition” for him taking place at Adelphi.
“Some of the challenges that veterans face when they apply for positions with firms are translating their military skills in terms civilians and businesspeople can understand, as well as resumes and interview skills. As a result of these challenges some veterans feel at a loss – they feel the skills and experience they acquired while in the military are not easily transferable into the civilian workforce. That simply isn’t true. Prior to their break from service a lot of veterans already receive a significant amount of training before they transition out of the service. However I believe that when they do transition they should receive more thorough training -- most important is resume writing as that is the only real tool you have to market your skills, and to showcase how you are really qualified for a position,” Shauvo said during his August 17 Jaggar Fellows presentation.
Shauvo says his mindset going in before the Community Fellows program started was, as members of his cohort Kaur and Garrett both attest to, “experience and exposure.” All three noted that cultural and social norms of their environment (different facets of Northwell Health) expanded their views beyond college. In an interview after he presented, Shauvo looked at his process and personal growth.
“I come from a military background where business is conducted, and in the Marines I was involved in logistics and facilitating plans. With that approach, I looked into the Community Fellows program and researched it online, then I attended one of their information sessions. After that I came prepared with my resume and I genuinely wanted to do this over the summer – they admitted me into the Jaggar program although it’s very competitive with the number of undergraduate and graduate students applying,” Shauvo recounted.
He credits his mentor/ supervisor Antonio Silvera with coaching and encouragement over the two- month-long internship and “keeping me on path.” Shauvo’s experiences this summer and within a few years at the Garden City campus have more than filled a void, they’ve steered him to a better future.
“I had intentions of going to work right when I came out of the service. But I ended up going to school as there’s always a Plan A, B, C, or D. The goal now and going forward is to expand my leadership role, and hopefully being a voice for veterans,” he explained.
Jonathan Ivanoff, Adelphi’s associate director for internships at the CCPD, commented for the News on the broad range of summer experiences showcased by students on August 17.
“On the one hand a lot of the employers participating don’t know what to expect because they have students coming as regular interns and making coffee or other mundane tasks. But the average GPA of every Jaggar Fellows class we have had over the last couple of years has been 3.6 – so the employers are getting somebody not just capable of making coffee but they get interns capable of doing entire marketing plans, HR training modules and measuring groundwater contamination and presenting results of a scientific survey to the Town Board. The students are doing things, we are told, that would not normally be done by people that are hired full-time. They step in the office and know what needs to be done. The program’s reputation for providing a high quality level of intern keeps rising. We keep trying to match that and find the employers great talent,” he said.
Every year Adelphi has 150 students compete for half that number of premier slots (70-75) in the Jaggar program. Elimination filters including a high GPA and a one-credit internship preparation seminar, taught by Ivanoff, has ensured job skills as part of the incentive for the employer.
In 2010 the inaugural Jaggar Community Fellows Program included 18 students working at 16 nonprofits. At the August 17 event, Ward said this year’s class of fellows included 70 students interning at 40 nonprofits. He credited the support from all partners -- donors to the Jaggar program, the nonprofit employers, students, Adelphi University’s executive leadership, and deans, faculty, alumni and family members.
The network and profile of the Jaggar Fellows program has expanded just as Adelphi University has in the past several years. Ivanoff commented that the university used to make calls to large corporations and the like to find places for students to participate in internships, and employers would ask “where is Adelphi?” He says the shift has taken the university and its student body into the drivers’ seat, as companies call and say they want to host interns from Adelphi.
“That’s exciting when people start recognizing the brand and what comes with the brand. The students put internships down on their resumes that looks very substantive,” said Ivanoff.
For students like Haddad, Shauvo, Kaur, Garrett and others, experience and exposure started with the Garden City campus and has multiplied as they’ve progressed.