The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) integrates rigorous academic study and focused direct service to disadvantaged communities and persons, enriching the education of undergraduate and law students in all majors and career paths. The intent of this program is to prepare students for lives aimed at diminishing poverty and enhancing human capability through professional and civic efforts.


The Shepherd Internship Program (SIP) unites students from Consortium member institutions with agencies that work to benefit impoverished members of society. Students learn first-hand about the multiple dimensions of poverty in the United States by working for eight weeks to strengthen impoverished communities and working alongside individuals seeking to improve their communities. The agencies, located in various urban and rural sites in the United States, focus on education, healthcare, legal services, housing, hunger, social and economic needs, and community-building efforts. Students work with agencies that fit their intellectual interests in order to develop their experience and skills for future civic involvement and employment.
Washington and Lee administers the SIP in collaboration with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty internship director at each participating school. The SIP is competitive with an application and interview process at each institution. Once accepted, students work with their university contact and the SIP director at W&L in securing an internship. The internship begins with a two-day Opening Conference and ends with a Closing Conference. During the internship, students from different Consortium member institutions live and work together, creating new friendships.
SHECP Partner Schools
Baylor University, Waco, Texas; Berea College, Berea, Kentucky; Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, AL; Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA; Centre College, Danville, KY; College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio; Elon University, Elon, NC; Furman University, Greenville, SC; John Carroll University, University Heights, OH; Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA; Manchester University, North Manchester, IN; Marymount University, Arlington, VA; Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT; Millsaps College, Jackson, MS; Niagara University, Niagara, NY; Ohio University, Athens, OH; The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College, Cleveland, OH; University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR; University of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, VA; University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN; University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX; University of Vermont, Burlington, VT; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI; Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA; Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA

Dates & Program Phases

Participation in each program phase is mandatory. Prior to applying make sure your calendar is free.

Tentative Dates: June 6 - August 1, 2019 (Dates are tentative.)

Internship Details

Internships offered in:
Economic and Community Development • Teaching and Education • Financial Literacy • Healthcare • Homelessness • Food Insecurity and Nutrition • Legal Advocacy • Public Defender • Community Building • Women’s Advocacy • Youth Outreach
Locations include: Phillips County, Arkansas • Navajo Reservation, Arizona • Atlanta, Georgia • Boston, Massachusetts • Burlington, Vermont • Camden, New Jersey • New York City • Cleveland, Ohio • Louisville, Kentucky • Chester, Pennsylvania • Austin, Texas • Lexington, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia • Washington D.C. • Charleston, West Virginia
Research available internships, view timelines, read testimonials, and much more at the Shepherd Internship Program website.
Program Requirements
• Full attendance to the opening and closing conferences, as well as during the internship. (More than three days of absence is not acceptable, excluding national holidays.)
• Work 35-40 hours per week. Some placements require evenings and weekends.
• Participate in the “Poverty Budget Challenge”: Commit to abiding by the $14/day budget.
• Mid-internship meeting with Consortium faculty
• Closing Conference presentation (panel or individual)
• Program assessment
• Interns are strongly encouraged to keep a regular journal during the internship and to submit an essay about their experience for possible posting on the SHECP website.
• Students must have taken or commit to take at least one poverty-related course on Centre’s campus, preferably taken the spring before the internship is to take place. Students must sign up for either REL 340: Poverty & Homelessness or SOC 120: Social Structure.
• Participation in Centre College’s internship showcase (fall 2019)
Program Eligibility
• Applicant should be a rising sophomore, junior or senior and plan to return to Centre College in the fall.
• Minimum GPA: 2.5
• Situations in our program may be very stressful for some participants. Please review any ongoing medical or psychological needs you may have with your treating clinicians, carefully consider whether this is the right program for you, and discuss with us any appropriate accommodations you may require.


Our goal is to make this opportunity accessible and affordable to all students regardless of their financial status. At a minimum, the following expenses are provided by the Shepherd Internship Program:
• Summer housing
• Per Diem food and commuting costs, when needed
• Costs associated with the orientation and closing conference
We also encourage all students to apply for one of Centre College’s summer internship funding programs if eligible.

How to Apply

There are two steps to apply:
All applicants must complete an application form.  The deadline has not yet been set, but will be due in October. (Please note that you will need to have a completed resume in Word or PDF format to upload in the application.) In addition to the application, you will need to request a letter of recommendation from a professor, former supervisor, etc. to be submitted on your behalf by the deadline. Letters of recommendation should be emailed directly to Mindy Wilson and should be addressed to “Interview Committee Members.” Letters should address your level of maturity, an opinion regarding your readiness for a challenging, independent, professional learning experience, and academic competency and relevance.
Shepherd Internship Program Timeline
October 18, 2018: Student applications due.
Late October: Campus interviews conducted.
Early November: Students notified of acceptance.
January 17, 2019: Accepted students complete Shepherd Consortium application.
April 1: Interns will be notified about internship placements. Student immediately contacts the designated agency contact to set up a phone interview. Interns notify the SIP Office staff when the interview is complete.
April 4: Centre College deadlines for summer internship funding programs.
May 1: In conversation with the agency mentor, draft a Community Learning Agreement.
June 6 - August 1, 2019: Opening conference, work dates, and closing conference. (Dates are tentative.)
For any additional questions or information, contact Mindy Wilson, Assistant Director of the Center for Career & Professional Development at Centre College.