The 2023 SHECP Annual Conference was held July 27-30 on the campus of Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia and was co-hosted by Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. This was SHECP's first in-person conference since 2019. Over 100 people attended this year’s conference, including faculty and staff from member schools, community partners, program alumni and SHECP interns who had been working with agencies in 16 different cities.
The annual event is designed to place the individual experiences of the SHECP interns into broader anti-poverty policy, research and organizational efforts, and to situate it within their undergraduate education. The conference also provides professional development opportunities for the staff and faculty of member institutions and community partners.
“I want to thank our co-hosts at Georgia Tech and our supporters at the Frueauff Foundation for seeing the significance of this event and helping make it happen,” said Diette. “Also, I cannot say enough about how proud I am of our SHECP team. We were challenged with orchestrating a multi-day, off-site conference when none of us had attended the in-person version of a SHECP Conference in the past. The event this year confirmed the value of the in-person time together to reflect on the internship experience, to learn from experts in the field, and to create the space for SHECP stakeholders to connect.”
“The SHECP Conference has always been a critical component of the SHECP Internship Program,” said Fran Elrod, a member of the SHECP governing board. “It is a time for both reflecting on a specific internship experience and for situating that experience within a larger context. After three years of virtual conferences, it was great to be back in person where we could connect face-to-face. It gives me hope to witness dialogue between ground-breaking experts and the students - our future leaders."
This year, we heard research and policy presentations from Kaye Husbands Fealing, Shatakshee Dhongde, Taylor Melanson, Chris Burke, and David Edwards, and the inaugural SHECP Policy & Nonprofit Leadership Internship interns (Lissandro Alvarado, Jana Hulsey, Jalen Todd) discussed their work in DC.
In the afternoon, concurrent student panels provided a forum for interns to reflect on their own internship and hear from their peers. Students discussed the impact of their previous undergraduate coursework and how this experience informs their future paths.
“It was important to us that students did not view the conference as the closing of their internship but rather an opportunity to take their experience, reflect on it, and build it into their ongoing education when they return to their campus,” Diette noted. “In fact, this semester, there are students leading discussion groups and presenting at poster sessions on at least 10 different member school campuses.”
Through grant support, SHECP provides funding for all interns and for a representative from each Member School to participate in the Annual Conference. The conference is free and open to the larger community.