Virginia Military Institute (VMI) was founded in 1839 and is the oldest, state-supported military college in the United States. Unlike other U.S. military colleges—and in keeping with its founding principles—all VMI students are military cadets pursuing bachelor degrees. VMI offers cadets a spartan, physically and academically demanding environment facilitated by a unique system of military discipline. VMI offers a broad, four-year core curriculum and 14 nationally recognized majors in engineering, the sciences, the humanities and the social sciences. While all VMI cadets must participate in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), they are not required to serve in the military upon graduation. Instead, they may either accept a commission in any of the U.S. military branches or pursue civilian endeavors.

An interdisciplinary course in poverty and human capability was taught for the first time in the spring of 2012 and involved both economics and philosophy faculty. In addition to informing our students about poverty through academic study, VMI’s Shepherd Program fosters learning through service and reflection. VMI joined the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty in the fall of 2011, with two cadets participating in the Consortium’s internship program for the first time in 2012. Since then, VMI has continued to offer courses in poverty and human capability through the Institute Honors Program, revealing a new perspective to cadets from a variety of backgrounds and supporting the cadets who are selected to serve in the Consortium’s internship program.

VMI’s Shepherd Program promotes a structure for student leadership and volunteer service in the local Rockbridge community. VMI students have organized a Rotaract Club, and its officers have joined with W&L students in a consortium of joint leadership and participation in the W&L Campus Kitchen, which recovers unused food to prepare and serve to groups in the area, and the Nabors Service League that organizes student service in the local community. In addition, VMI has developed a faith-based NYC Urban Ministries spring break experience for approximately 10 to 15 cadets who participate in ministry to the needy and homeless in New York City. Also, VMI offered three international opportunities for cadets to serve the needy in two spring break programs, one in Haiti and the other in Guatemala, as well as a summer program in Bolivia sponsored by Engineers Without Borders.

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Program Director
Sabrina Laroussi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Cultures
Chair: VMI Civic Engagement Committee

Internship Director
Major Sara Blake
Assistant Director of Career Services

Academic Director
COL Tinni Sen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics & Business

SHECP Council
Major Sara Whipple, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology

SHECP Treasurer, ex. offico member of SHECP Governing Board
COL Atin Basu Choudhary, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics & Business

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