2019 student interns

“Every time I listen to others speak, and keep an open mind, I am learning.” Kalinen Barrows ('19)

UVM and SHECP

The University of Vermont joined the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) in 2015. SHECP seeks to advance an interdisciplinary approach to poverty studies with the goal of promoting citizens who are committed to diminishing poverty through meaningful civic engagement. To do this, SHECP supports curricular and pedagogical innovations to enhance poverty studies at member colleges and universities.

Student Internships

The Consortium's signature Summer Internship Program provides UVM students with an opportunity to participate in an 8-week funded internship at various partner agencies across the country. In addition to the community-based internship, there is an opening conference and a closing convening, allowing students to share their experiences and engage in reflection activities.

Internships are available to UVM students at no cost. All expenses related to the internship experience are covered, including housing and a living stipend.

UVM's participation with SHECP is possible because of the generous support of foundations, individuals, and families interested in advancing meaningful, engaged learning experiences for students that advance the common good.

Below are a few stories about UVM students who've participated in SHECP internships previously.

2019 Student Interns

Shay Brunvand, Political Science major

I interned on the Education and Talent team at the Austin Chamber of Commerce in Austin, Texas. My work was focused on the chamber’s efforts to increase the rate of Austin area high schoolers attending some form of post-secondary education. During my time at the Chamber of Commerce, I did policy research for my supervisor about legislation that was being proposed in both the Texas legislature and the U.S. legislature. I also conducted interviews with guidance counselors in the area that were part of the efforts to reduce “summer melt” (the trend of college-bound students not actually enrolling). Then I created a blog post for the chamber based on what I learned.

The most impactful moment from my internship was when I was interviewing a counselor about her experience helping students and she told me how this past year she had helped four students struggling with housing insecurity to attend college. There were a lot of obstacles these students faced, and the counselor was emotional talking about it; in the end, all of the students ended up enrolling, in large part because of the work she did to help them.

I also helped connect Austin area students with what was called a “GenHERation Discovery Day” it allowed girls in high school and college to visit different businesses in Austin and learn about getting started on different career paths. All of the students who were able to attend really enjoyed it, and I was so glad that I could connect them with this opportunity.

This summer experience definitely helped me decide what I want to focus on after graduating from college. I enjoyed being able to look at the policy being passed in Texas regarding education while working for an organization that was a stakeholder in the matter. For example, there was a law proposed in Texas that would require high school students to apply for college financial aid before they were eligible to graduate.

Before interning at the Austin Chamber of Commerce, I probably would have been indifferent to a policy like this, but because of the work, I understood that this would increase the rate of students enrolling in college, specifically low-income students. I had a completely new perspective on matters like this and was able to see the strong positive impact a law like this could have. It made me realize that if I do end up working on policy in my career, I want to be able to see the positive impact, and that what I’m doing is helping the common good.

Oliver Munson: Psychological Science major, History minor

My internship experience at the Roanoke City Public Defender’s Office helped me to uncover a passion for public service and influenced what I want to do after graduation.

During the internship, I experienced every aspect of the work performed in a public defender’s office, from meeting clients to observing their trials while surrounded by a kind and welcoming office of great attorneys.

Amanda Grzywna: Secondary Education major, Education for Cultural and Linguistic Diversity minor

I worked as an academic enrichment intern this summer at CitySquash in the Bronx, New York. CitySquash is a non-profit after-school enrichment program that provides the opportunity and support for kids living in the Bronx and Brooklyn to “develop strong character, improve academic performance, become competitive squash players, attend high-quality high schools, and graduate from college.” During the internship, I worked directly with children in grades 3-12, providing individual tutoring, teaching classes, and planning trips.

Working with children, I was challenged to find new ways to engage them in critical thinking, which has taught me the necessity of flexibility and reflection. My favorite part of the day was when a student would ask me a question that I didn’t know the answer to because then they are the ones encouraging me to learn – a wonderful example of the dynamic relationship that working with kids provides.

Maeve Lyons: Health Science major, Spanish minor

This summer I worked with the Family Health Center Phoenix in Louisville, Kentucky, which is an organization that assists the homeless population in Louisville. I shadowed doctors and nurses in the Phoenix health clinic, but I mainly worked on the common assessment team.

The common assessment is a survey that asks people experiencing homelessness questions about their health and homelessness. The answers sum up to a score that determines their level of vulnerability. If they had a high score, they were considered vulnerable and qualified for the housing program we worked with.

This was an amazing experience working one on one with people and learning about homelessness and poverty first hand. I worked with an incredibly dedicated and compassionate team, and was fully exposed to the problems concerning poverty and homelessness in Louisville.

Ananda Sahihi: Social Work major, Political Science minor

My internship this summer was multifaceted. I spent half of the week with Judge David T. Matia’s Cuyahoga County Drug Court in Ohio, where he conducts two drug court dockets a week. The program aims to reduce mortality, recidivism, and jail population through the collaboration of case managers, public defenders, probation officers, and addiction treatment facilities. The other half of the week I spent with MetroHealth Hospital's Office of Opioid Safety.

Most of my time with MetroHealth was spent in the jail clinic with nurse practitioners and social workers doing intake assessments to identify who might be eligible for MAT (medication-assisted treatment), what medication might work best for their recovery, and what additional counseling and treatment will be necessary to promote full mental and emotional recovery.

Many of our clients had already detoxed from opioids while they were serving time and were eager to start treatment while they were clean and before they were released. I also helped with harm reduction efforts such as distributing Narcan kits, volunteering on a needle exchange van, assisting with HIV and Hepatitis C testing, and working on a public health outreach project about the growing presence of Fentanyl in street drugs and how to test your drugs.

After my experience this summer, I better understand addiction as the non-discriminatory disease that it is and the stigma around opioid addiction that prevents many people from getting the help that they need. I also understand the importance of collaboration between the justice system and healthcare providers to combat the hugely destructive opioid crisis in our country.

2018 Student Interns

Kalinen Barrows, a junior social work major from Rutland, VT, recognizes the importance of listening to others: “Every time I listen to others speak, and keep an open mind, I am learning.” This attentiveness to listening stems from working the elderly for over eight years and is indicative of her appreciation for community-based learning experiences. Her program work and her personal ambition are focused on the empowerment of self and others with a particular passion for 1) changing sentencing laws and 2) practices within women’s correctional facilities.

Catherine Burgess, a sophomore sociology major from Manchester, VT, is interested in social justice and the criminal justice system. As UVM, she has worked as a TA in the department of sociology, and she volunteers with the Liberal Arts in Prison Program (LAPP). She is particularly interested in mechanisms of change to advance social change and justice. She has a fascination with how public policy can modify structures, particularly oppressive structures.

Isabelle Kingsley, a sophomore business administration student at the Grossman School of Business from Pittsford, VT, has participated in several service-based opportunities. At UVM, she actively engages in programming offered by the Dewey House for Community Engagement because she values service-based experiences and enjoys participating in programming that offer students a chance to “develop their strengths and passion for building stronger communities.”

Meghan Letizia, a junior social work major from Brookfield, CT, has been involved with several research projects, including assisting Felicia Kornbluh for her forthcoming book on abortion politics in New York in the 1970s. To support this work, she was awarded an undergraduate research fellowship from UVM’s Office of Undergraduate Research. She regularly participates in Alternative Spring Break/Service Trek programs often as a trip leader.

Mariel Morel, a sophomore psychology major from Manchester, NH, is active in InterVarsity, a Christian fellowship that is centered around ideas of multiculturalism, inquisitiveness, and acceptance. With InterVarsity, she is a student leader who is part of the “CORE” group which leads all of the activities. In the community, she has worked to support ESL activities for disabled Latino seniors. She is a strong advocate for amplifying student voice. Among other goals, she hopes that this internship will provide her with a “newly fortified love for community and service.”

2017 Student Interns

Phoebe Paron, a student in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, worked as a youth program coordinator at the Center for New North Carolinians in Greensboro, North Carolina.  The center offers a variety of services to immigrants and refugees in the greater Greensboro area. As program coordinator, she worked with colleagues to plan and implement various activities for children, including a crafts program that allowed her to spend an hour a day fostering relationships with youth while teaching them the skills and dispositions related to crafts. The experience in Greensboro affirmed Phoebe's desire to be an educator, and also strengthened her understanding of the value of preparation, flexibility, and patience as essential to meaningful learning experiences.

Brenna Bedard, a Social Work major from the College of Education and Social Services, worked with the Saint Bernard Project in New Orleans, Louisiana, an organization founded in 2008 to help rebuild homes in the area. The mission has now expanded to include disaster preparedness and advocating on behalf of the communities it serves. Brenna worked with her supervisor to put together a disaster preparedness training that incorporated resilience traits. The project focused on providing a framework for preparedness and recovery. Attentiveness to wellbeing was central to Brenna's experience as an intern, because in addition to managing her professional commitments, she successfully navigated some personal challenges as well. In the future, Brenna intends to work on criminal justice reform with attention to treatment rather than incarceration.

Emily Klloft, a Political Science major in the College of Arts and Sciences, joined the Quality Assurance Team at the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, an organization that provides programming for over 20,000 youth and adults. As a member of the Quality Assurance Team, Emily worked on several projects, including assisting with trainings. She also produced a video that showcased how attentiveness to assessment improves program quality. When framing her proudest accomplishment, Emily identified her work to find and create better technology and systems to assess the afterschool programs of the Harlem Children's Zone, aligned with the Zone's goal of cultivating an "organizational culture of success rooted in passion, accountability, leadership, and teamwork." Since her internship, Emily, an Honors College student, began research related to youth mentorship and reducing the number of youth of color in the criminal justice system.

Jenna Alessandro, an Elementary Education major in the College of Education and Social Services, taught at a summer camp in Baltimore as part of the Parks & People Foundation's SuperKids Camp, which has a mission of improving "the quality of life for residents of Baltimore by ensuring that everyone is connected to nature through vibrant parks and green spaces." Not only did the internship allow Jenna to use her developing expertise in elementary education, but buy the internship also affirmed the importance of meaningful summer learning opportunities for kids. In particular, Jenna appreciated the chance to improve youth environmental literacy. 

For her summer internship, Maeve McDermott, a junior Statistics major in the College of Arts and Sciences, joined the work of N Street Village, a community of empowerment and recovery for homeless and low-income women in Washington, DC. When reflecting on the experience, Maeve shared that the experience challenged her to ask herself: "What am I willing to do to see the change I wish to see in this world?" She felt that a highlight of her work was creating friendships and connecting with people. While at N Street Village, Maeve supported various aspects of the programming, including preparing meals, running the bi-weekly clothing close, and spending time with women participating in programming at the village. Looking ahead to her future, Maeve has interest in working for a non-profit, as she loves to crunch numbers, and she understands the power of statistics to tell the stories of people who often don't have their stories told.

UVM's participation in the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty is possible because of the generous support of foundations, individuals, and families interested in advancing meaningful, engaged learning experiences for students that advance the common good. Because of this support, all of the expenses related to the internship experience are covered, including housing and a living stipend. Therefore, the internships are available to UVM students at no cost.

Application Information

The application deadline for the Summer Internship Program is generally January 15th.

APPLY

Questions?

To learn more or ask questions, please contact Tiffanie Spencer, CESS Director for Diversity and Community Engagement.