Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty | College of Education and Social Services | The University of Vermont(title)

In partnership with member colleges and universities, the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) strives to promote citizens who are committed to understanding and diminishing poverty through meaningful civic engagement.

Student Summer Internships: Open to all UVM Undergraduates

Explore your professional and personal interests through the SHECP Summer Internship Program, a community-focused learning experience. SHECP’s rewarding, eight-week program pairs motivated students with nonprofit organizations that work to diminish poverty in communities across the country.

Internship opportunities are open to UVM students in all majors and career paths. There is no cost to participate. All expenses related to the internship experience are covered, including housing, travel, and modest living stipend. 

If accepted, you will be matched with an agency that best fits your interests. Located in urban and rural sites, interns focus on a wide variety of poverty-related areas, including: Community & Individual Services; Education & Youth Outreach; Health & Wellness; and Law & Business. Beyond gaining valuable work experience, you will live as a cohort with fellow interns who are working within the community you serve.

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.

Student Eligibility and Application


All applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Current undergraduate student during the following fall semester. Graduating seniors are not eligible unless they are proceeding to a graduate program at the same institution and can follow up their internship with academic study in the graduate program. First-year students are eligible if they have met the other eligibility requirements and demonstrate the level of maturity needed for the experience.
  2. Must be at least 18 years of age.
  3. Must be in good academic standing at their member institution (school).

If you have any questions about eligibility, please email

Application and Important Dates

Stay tuned for the 2025 summer internships application form.

Important dates for 2024 summer internships participants:

  • May 29-31, 2024: Internship Academy (Virtual)
  • June 2, 2024: Move-in
  • June 3 – July 26, 2024: Internship
  • July 26, 2024: Move-out
  • After July 26th – TBD 2024: Closing Annual Conference

Previous Student Interns

2020 Student Internship Stories

Micayla Nadeau-Williams, Sociology and Economics major, Music minor

This past summer, I worked as a remote intern for Together for Hope (TFH), which originated as a part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s outreach program to support lower-income communities across the United States.  It now functions as a coalition of diverse organizations that work together, alongside rural communities, to alleviate the effects of poverty and further develop existing community assets.  During the internship, I worked with TFH partners in the Delta region (states including Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas).

With this being a remote internship, much of my work was providing background support for relief projects that were being conducted by local non-profits within the TFH coalition.  Some of this support included assistance with community outreach by increasing technological presence, or serving as a resource to help fill out funding requests or design presentations.  One project that I found especially memorable was when I worked with my supervisor to create a virtual series where community partners could come together to find support and discuss the work of rural development coalitions.  The first of the series was focused on food insecurity, a serious issue that was only further exacerbated by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It was amazing to see so many inspiring leaders come together for such an important topic.  This internship was a wonderful opportunity to work with a dedicated team of passionate leaders in the non-profit world and to become further educated on poverty and its alleviation.

Ashlynn Ruleman, Anthropology major

This summer, I worked with the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers based in Camden, New Jersey. The Camden Coalition wears a number of different hats, but the project I focused on is the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Project. Sponsored by the Office for Medicare and Medicaid, the AHC seeks to understand the socioeconomic related issues that trigger health disparities.

Although the format was remote, it was easy to see that the public health work the coalition was doing was more important than ever. My primary role was to call patients that had recently visited primary care offices and emergency rooms to ask them about their housing situation, access to food, quality of housing, personal safety, transportation, and many other socioeconomic factors that impact overall health and wellbeing. Following conversations with patients, I would use MyResourcePal to connect them with organizations in that area that could help them meet their immediate needs. Patients that had a specific number of flags for needs would then be paired with another member of the organization, who would remain in communication with them until the Camden Coalition could help them achieve their personal goals for health and meet their social needs

Following my summer working with the Camden Coalition, I learned that poverty is not an isolated case for only a few individuals, particularly in the time of COVID-19. It is much more common than often perceived, leaving many individuals unable to access organizations that can help them meet their basic needs. The non-profit sector can easily become overwhelmed, and I was able to witness the first-hand impact of non-profit hyperspecialization on the overall community. There were many times that I could not find a resource for a patient because the organizations operating within their area only focused on a very specific subgroup of people living in poverty. I learned that there is a dire need for collaboration amongst healthcare providers and non-profit organizations to ensure that help is accessible to everyone, not just individuals that fit a social checklist. It was an honor to work with a group of individuals that are trying to fill in these social safety net gaps.

Ama Sika, Social Work major

As an intern at Career Collaborative, I developed the ability to become a respected representative, and learned how to adapt and be flexible in ensuring great hospitality and establishing relationships with clients. I also developed the skills to actively reflect on missteps by taking initiative to create programs to serve multicultural populations during the pandemic. The internship experiene allowed me to adapt the use of integrating intercultural education while combing language competency.

2019 Student Internship Stories

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

I worked with the Family Health Center Phoenix in Louisville, Kentucky, 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.

2018 Student Internship Stories

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 Internship Stories

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.




To learn more or ask questions, contact CESS Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives, Diversity and Engagement contact Tiffani Spencer at