Experiential and Service Learning Partnerships



The mission of the Port Richmond Partnership is to encourage sustainable relationships among members of the Port Richmond and Wagner College communities to enhance student learning and raise civic awareness, while also supporting collaborations that address significant challenges and establish measurable impacts in five high need areas: arts, education, health, economic development and immigration.


The Port Richmond Partnership seeks to develop collaborative programs that contribute to school improvement, economic growth, health care enhancement, and immigration reform; play a significant role in advancing research and inquiry about pressing community issues; and build mutually beneficial curricular and co-curricular placements for Wagner College students to broaden their experiences and strengthen a wide variety of community-based services.

The Port Richmond Partnership offers the following opportunities:

  • Curricular and co-curricular based placements for Wagner College faculty, students, and staff
  • Professional development activities for area students, teachers, educational personnel, and organizational leaders
  • Cooperative programs to forward arts initiatives, school improvement, economic development, immigration reform and health promotion efforts
  • Research, data collection and dissemination

Each of the participating organizations brings special strengths and expertise to the collective body. Local schools such as Port Richmond High School, PS 19, and PS 20 open their classrooms and lend assessment strategies to supporting health and literacy programming and promoting college readiness. El Centro del Inmigrante, the North Shore’s leading immigrant settlement center, offers strong advocacy on behalf of immigrants and aids partnership members in understanding immigration reform from both the local and national perspective. Project Hospitality and Community Health Action provide expertise about the medical and social needs of the underserved, as well as disseminate statistics and other important information relevant to the community. The list of partners continues to grow steadily and totals nearly 30 organizations that are now activity collaborating with each other and Wagner College.


The Port Richmond Partnership was first broached by community leaders in 2008, as a way to augment Wagner’s highly successful Civic Innovations Program. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in the spring of 2009, officially establishing the Partnership. Based on an agreement between Wagner College and leading organizations and institutions in Port Richmond, the Partnership was designed to extend Wagner’s commitment to learning by doing and to rejuvenate an economically distressed community. Recently, Port Richmond has experienced a large growth in its immigrant population, especially from Mexico. This rapid influx has deeply influenced the social and economic fabric of Port Richmond and has created complex needs in the areas of health care, education, arts and culture, housing, and employment.
Since its inception, the number of partnership organizations has doubled, and through regularly scheduled meetings, partners have worked together closely to tap into existing community assets by continuing to build significant, sustainable, and increasingly ambitious partnerships. To date, 40% of Wagner College undergraduate students have at least one community experience in which they work with and learn from the residents of Port Richmond.

Student Nurse Clinical Externship Program at the Prestigious Johns Hopkins University Hospital:

Each year, four upper-level nursing students are selected to spend six to eight weeks in the summer at this distinguished Baltimore healthcare institution.  This extraordinary opportunity, which includes housing accommodations, is made available to the Wagner College Nursing students through the generosity of its’ supporters, Donald ’49 H’88 and Evelyn Lindfors Spiro ’49, H’92.  Since the program’s start in 2006, 32 Wagner College Nursing students have benefited from the Spiro family’s support.  This clinical internship provides the opportunity to master nursing skills, explore and experience different in-patient settings, and further develop caring nurse-patient relationships.   The Johns Hopkins nurse externship offers students the opportunity to successfully bridge from the educational to clinical setting.  During their time at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, the student externs work full-time on various units, under the supervision of an experienced nurse.  This allows the nurse extern to develop specific clinical skills through observation of nurse-experts and supervised hands-on experience.  Students are also given the opportunity to observe clinical, surgical, and specialized state-of-the-art procedures at John Hopkins University Hospital.  This is a paid externship.

To have had the opportunity to intern at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland was not only an honor and an amazing experience, but a blessing as well. Practicing all aspects of patient care, both technical and supportive has further validated our desire to become nurses. Wagner College is constantly looking for opportunities for its students and this is by far the best one we have ever been given. The Johns Hopkins Hospital was one of the most professional and evidence based institutions we have ever visited and we gained an immense amount of knowledge during our time there. The home we were provided with was beautiful and our experience was more than we could have ever imagined. We experienced Labor and Delivery, Med Surg, Psych and Surgical Oncology. Working alongside the best nurses and physicians in the country has truly shaped the graduate nurses that we are today and we will forever carry this experience in our hearts. We will be forever thankful to Wagner College and the Spiro family for providing us with this amazing learning experience.” Emily Adams, Jessica Conde, Kendall Kulper, Stephanie Onorato, Wagner College Class of 2016.


“I was honored to be selected as a Johns Hopkins Clinical Nurse Extern last summer (June-August 2023). I worked in the oncology/surgery pod, where I switched between an oncological surgical unit and a transplant unit. The faculty, staff, and patients were all so welcoming and I truly felt like part of the Johns Hopkins family. My nurse preceptors took me under their wings, fostering my confidence and wisdom in dealing with numerous unique situations and patients. Other nurses extended invitations to me to document my assessments, urinary catheter handling, suction/care for tracheostomies, draw labs, IV care, assist with tube feedings, and witness different medication administrations. I will hold each patient I cared for with me forever. Talking to them as people rather than the condition/disease was one of my favorite aspects of the externship. They had such interesting stories but not many people to tell, so being there for them warmed my heart.
I will never forget all of the skills and knowledge I gained from this wonderful experience.” Samantha Hughes, Wagner College Class of 2024




Students must meet the following criteria:

  • Junior-level Nursing Student
  • Good standing in all Nursing theory and clinical courses
  • A minimum GPA of 3.2

The following applications are to be submitted to Dr. Gasalberti by December 1st:

  • A letter of intent with resume
  • Letters of recommendation from two clinical faculty members

Johns Hopkins Externship Brochure

See the complete list of Spiro Scholars here

Contact Information:

Dr. Denise Gasalberti, Faculty Liaison: (718) 420-4508

Leonard Cami, Administrator: (718) 390-3436


October 2022, Second Degree Program Seniors at Senator Lanza’s Annual Senior Information Day

FNP students with Dr Edna Aurelus providing healthy nutrition education as part of the partnership with Project Hospitality

For over 30 years, Project Hospitality has provided Food and Nutrition services through Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries. It also provides Volunteer Services,  Help Center, Healthy Families Program, Senior Health & Wellness Services, Youth Programs, Disaster Recovery Services, Women’s Emergency Services and Domestic Violence Intervention.

Their Community Initiatives/Outreach programs have grown to include Outreach & Education, which created the perfect opportunity for a partnership with the Evelyn L Spiro School of Nursing. Each semester,  senior students create presentations geared towards providing education on various health concerns in the community. The community benefits from the presentations and the students learn more about interactions with clients in other, non-acute care settings. In the process a stronger trusting community relationship is built.



Eden II Little Miracles is a preschool for children on the autistic spectrum and other learning abilities.

Every spring, Junior nursing students rotate through Little Miracles. Learning objectives for this observational experience include growth and development assessment and exposure to different teaching techniques and modalities for this community.

November 2023, Senior Nursing students join Dr. Aurelus at El Centro in Port Richmond

The Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing has been collaborating  with El Centro since 2016.
“At El Centro, we take students to their settings to teach their clients about different health conditions such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Obesity and Mental Health issues in the community . We also provide certificates to all participants.” Dr. Edna Aurelus

In 2014, Staten Island Performing Provider System (SI PPS) formed an integrated network of medical, behavioral, and social services agencies under the New York State Department of Health Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP). Our founding goals included improving the quality of care, reducing costs and improving health outcomes for Staten Island’s Medicaid and uninsured populations. By the end of the DSRIP Program, we exceeded our goals and maintained our network to continue enhancing and refining the transformative work built in the Staten Island Community.

Today, we continue to work with our partners to improve population health outcomes, address social determinants of health, grow our network and reduce health disparities. We are dedicated to improving health equity by holding conversations with our community, creating educational and workforce opportunities for youth, and bridging connections with non-traditional service providers to meet people where they are in the community.

The Staten Island Partnership For Community Wellness provides backbone support to public health initiatives and focuses on the integration of behavioral and physical health across systems.

SIPCW seeks to create a healthier Staten Island by bringing together partner organizations and community members to address pressing wellness needs and give all Staten Islanders a chance to live their best lives. The focus of our efforts is in communities and populations with the greatest health inequities such as BIPOC and LGBTQ+ identifying.

Our vision is that our entire community has a shared understanding of the systemic conditions such as racism, classism, and heterosexism, contributing to wellness and the resources to ensure that all individuals and families have the knowledge and access to what they need to live their healthiest lives.


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