Progress Over Poverty: Four Juniata Students Participate in Shepherd Consortium Internships
(Posted August 7, 2020)
Huntingdon, Pa. – Four Juniata College students are participating in internships this summer with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), where they are learning about dimensions of poverty in the U.S. and assisting in the improvement of distressed communities.
Participants include Tra Bui, a senior from Hanoi, Vietnam; Priscilla Diamond, a junior from Harrisburg, Pa.; Marie Gonsar, a senior from New Castle, Pa.; and Zhorea McAnuff, a senior from Altoona, Pa.
Bui worked in two capacities this summer, with Total Action for Progress as a summer intern and with Resilient Georgia as a social media intern.
“As a social media intern, my mission is to build a social media campaign for Resilient Georgia. Since the company is new and hasn’t had any social media yet, my work started from scratch,” she said. “As a summer intern, I work with surveys and emails from clients. We have a team that sends out a satisfaction survey to our clients. Additionally, to make sure everyone fills out the survey, we will have a follow-up call to our clients.”
She was encouraged to apply by two friends who had completed SHECP internships previously.
“They said wonderful things about this program, so I went online to do some research,” said Bui. “I love their goal and mission for the program. They are not only offering us opportunities for the summer but also improve our knowledge about poverty.”
Diamond has worked remotely with Advantage Cleveland, a camp for kids ages 6-18 in Cleveland, Ohio, which focuses both on education and tennis. The camp became virtual due to COVID-19 and continued all summer long.
“I was granted this opportunity because I applied to be a SHECP intern in October 2019, where I was placed with an agency that matched my interests,” she said. “I became interested in this internship because, through my classes and my community at home, I have realized the disadvantages those living in poverty have and my passion for children to be given a chance to earn a well-rounded education despite where they come from and/or the support they may or may not have at home.”
In her work with Advantage Cleveland, Diamond served as a wellness instructor and taught children how to live an overall healthy lifestyle.
“I’ve been able to gain a lot through this placement because being a wellness teacher has given me the chance to put both interests in psychology and education into one job,” Diamond said. “It has been a very rewarding and fun experience.”
Gonsar is completing a remote internship with Family Service of Roanoke Valley in Roanoke, Va., where she serves as a youth development specialist.
“My work this summer has primarily consisted of research, readings, and trainings about the intersection of trauma, poverty, and three diagnoses including Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and sensory processing disorders,” she said. “I am also a pen pal with three of the kids ranging in age from 8-10, who are enrolled in the summer program at West End.”
As a youth development specialist, Gonsar also participates in community and staff meetings in which mental health and community responses to COVID-19 are discussed.
She applied to SHECP in the fall of her junior year at Juniata after learning about the program from a friend.
“I am so happy I did,” said Gonsar. “It has been such a great learning experience.”
McAnuff served as a clinic intern specializing in public health and literacy with Together for Hope Black Belt region, a branch of Sowing Seeds of Hope in Perry County, Alabama.
“I make calls to members of the diabetes and hypertension clinics to check in with them about their health, reading, COVID-19, and anything else they may need, whether it’s masks or prescription refills,” said she said. “I create STEM experiments for children of the local community to help them learn about science while having fun simultaneously.”
Her responsibilities include creating healthy meal plans and recipes and designing infographics to combat the spread of COVID-19.
McAnuff explored options for summer internships and was drawn to SHECP because of the opportunity for hands-on experience in a clinical setting.
“This internship is something that not only forces a person to gain knowledge of poverty and its immense impact on communities all across the United States, but it also creates a driving force within each person to help change a system that has created poverty in the first place,” McAnuff said. “I knew that this internship would provide me with more knowledge than I would learn in any classroom and I was absolutely correct.”
The SHECP is a non-profit organization, founded in 1998 as the Shepherd Poverty Alliance, that promotes poverty studies programs in undergraduate and professional schools, supports a summer internship program integrated with coursework throughout the academic year and enriches various areas of study to prepare students for many different professional and civic goals.
In addition to Juniata College, the organization is made of 24 other collegiate institutions: Baylor University, Berea College, Birmingham Southern University, Bucknell University, Centre College, College of Wooster, Elon University, Furman University, Hendrix College, John Carroll University, Lynchburg College, Manchester University, Marymount University, Middlebury College, Millsaps College, The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College, Niagara University, Ohio University, University of Arkansas-Little Rock University of Notre Dame, University of St. Thomas, University of Vermont, Virginia Military Institute, and Washington & Lee University.
SHECP partners with more than 130 nonprofit and governmental agencies to provide internship opportunities for students. The agencies, located in both urban and rural sites, focus on categories such as education, healthcare, legal services, housing, nutrition, social and economic needs, and community-building efforts. According to SHECP, “students work with agencies that fit their intellectual interests to develop professional experience and skills for future civic involvement and employment.”
To learn more about the internship opportunities via the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, visit https://www.shepherdconsortium.org/about-internships/.
Contact April Feagley at email@example.com or (814) 641-3131 for more information.