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Comments from Agency Partners

“This program continues to change lives — the lives of the interns, the lives of the supervisors, and the lives of those we serve. Thank you!”

“The two interns we got this summer were fantastic! And their interests and backgrounds aligned perfectly with our program. I appreciate the time and effort you all put into screening, interviewing, and matching interns with the right program. I think that is key in ensuring their success in the position. Thank you!”

121 Interns volunteered in 18 cities/towns across the U.S. in June and July 2019

Interns come with a keen interest and academic background in issues related to poverty and human capabilities. The summer internship is a continuation of the undergraduate education, and thus, must be challenging, meaningful, and substantive.

Interns volunteer full-time for eight weeks of supervised work with agencies that serve impoverished communities. Students qualify for placements through a competitive process requiring a written application and campus interview.

Working 35-40 hours per week during June and July, students will need mature supervision to provide structure and mentoring. Agency supervisors provide meaningful tasks that allow students substantive interaction with the clients, the community and staff. Additionally, the tools necessary to do the work (such as a desk and computer) must be provided. When on-the-job driving is required or requested, the agency must reimburses expenses.  Students can work evening and weekends, if needed.  However, they must either receive a ride home or travel home prior to dark.

We cannot guarantee an intern every summer. Once a placement is made, the agency conducts a phone interview with the student and confirms a positive match. On the rare occasions the student or agency mentor determine it’s not a good match, SHECP assigns the student to an alternate placement.

At the conclusion of the internship, the supervisor and the student will be asked to offer an assessment of the volunteer arrangement.

First Steps to Offering an Internship

  • Consider the needs of your agency and the personnel who are best equipped to serve as a supervisor of a young and bright undergraduate student. Who would be a strong co-educator at your organization?
  • Contact SHECP – Amy DeHart, Internship Director 540-458-8164.

Background on the SHECP Internship Program

SHECP fosters collaboration among 25 member colleges for the purpose of advancing sustained education on poverty and human capability in order to prepare students for a lifetime of professional and civic engagement.  The program began as a partnership with Washington and Lee University, Berea College, and Spelman College in 1998 under the name “Shepherd Alliance.”  In 2012, the Alliance evolved into a non-profit organization, the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty.

The internships have a substantial short-term impact on both agency capacity, student learning and those whom agencies serve. The long-term impact is raising future professionals’ awareness and critically minded understanding of poverty in this country.

Four goals for participants:
(1) Engender student civic responsibility through service-learning work with impoverished individuals and communities;
(2) Provide substantive support to social service agencies so that they may provide a level of service that would not otherwise be met;
(3) Promote respect for differences through student engagement with diverse communities and fellow interns;
(4) Facilitate students’ poverty awareness and impel them to integrate anti-poverty action in their post-graduate vocations and personal lives.

We sponsor 130+ students from diverse liberal arts colleges. The experience is fortified by an opening orientation and a culminating conference, providing time for training and reflection as well as opportunity to form networks for future collaboration.

The internship is a vital component to an academic program employing an interdisciplinary approach to studying the definitions, causes and possible solutions to poverty. The program draws on the best practices of service-learning, a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.

We partner with more than 120 agencies that serve the educational, healthcare, legal, housing, psychological, social, and economic needs of underserved communities in urban and rural locations throughout the United States.

Each SHECP institution has a commitment to academic excellence and dedication to service, allowing participants from each school to bring a unique knowledge and experience base to their internship placement. The program brings together students, faculty and staff from the institutions.