October 19, 2016 at 10:24 am

Ohio University Joins Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty

Ohio University has become the newest member of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty.

With initial support from the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Health Sciences and Professions, additional support has come in the form of an 1804 Fund Grant acquired by Dr. Stephen J. Scanlan (Sociology and Anthropology), Dr. Matthew Layton (Political Science), and Dr. Rachel Terman (Sociology and Anthropology) for the next two academic years.

Welath and Poverty theme logo“We know students from many disciplines across campus are interested in poverty, economic inequality, and social justice issues. The SHECP program, including the summer internship, is an excellent opportunity for our students to develop their understanding and build the skills they need to confront these issues.” said Terman, SHECP Internship Director for Ohio University.

SHECP was established in 2011 to foster collaboration across member institutions in poverty studies and the preparation of students “for a lifetime of professional, civic, and political activity that will diminish poverty, drawing on a multitude of perspectives and initiatives,” says the SHECP website. SHECP enhances college education on poverty and related issues through the integration of classroom study with summer internships and extra-curricular activities. The program does not seek to develop independent majors or departments but instead seeks to enrich students in any major across campus with the opportunity to explore an understanding of poverty as a complement their individual studies. The fundamental mission of the program is “creating engaged citizens now to make a difference for the future.”

One of the reasons Ohio University was accepted for membership is its established curriculum in poverty studies, which is the focus of the Wealth & Poverty Theme and its Wealth and Poverty Certificate. Like all SHECP institutions, Ohio University offers a poverty studies curriculum that includes a survey course on poverty and a capstone experience in which students develop an independent research project addressing some aspect of poverty.

Summer Internships Are Core Experience for Students

In between the classroom experiences, students apply for summer internships at community organizations that have established partnerships with member institutions. Internships take place across the country and in a variety of settings and fields of service that capture the interdisciplinary nature of the program including business and economic development; child services and education; community action; environmental issues; healthcare; homelessness and social services; hunger; and legal aid for both civil and criminal matters.

“I am really glad that OHIO students, particularly those interested in the Wealth and Poverty theme, can benefit from this internship experience while serving in communities where many people live in poverty and lack access to health care and other services. Wealth and Poverty faculty members will continue their efforts to foster student learning and engagement in internships, study abroad programs, and other field experiences,” said Dr. Yeong Kim, Associate Professor of Geography and Wealth and Poverty theme coordinator.

Stories from participants in the program reveal that the internship is the core SHECP experience for students. Interns are paid a subsistence wage, living with other interns to make for a collaborative learning experience in which students engage each other in the issue of poverty, reflecting on the work at their respective agencies and organizations. Students do internships in communities away from their home institutions. Interns gather prior to departure for preparation and training and then reconvene afterward for SHECP’s annual symposium that focuses on a specific poverty-related theme and features top scholars and practitioners working in the field.

The deadline for applications for the competitively-selected summer internships is Nov. 22, 2016. Interested students must complete the online application available at the SHECP website. In keeping with SHECP guidelines, preference will be given to applicants who have taken an approved poverty course prior to summer of 2017.  Finalists for the program will be notified over winter break so that interviews and the final decision regarding recipients can be made early in spring semester.

For more information visit the SHECP website. Anyone with questions or seeking additional information may also contact either Dr. Rachel Terman (, the internship director for Ohio Univeristy, or Dr. Stephen Scanlan (, the director of the SHECP program for OHIO. In addition, there will be two information sessions held in the coming weeks:

  • Monday, Oct. 24,  from 5-6 p.m. Baker Center 231
  • Thursday, Nov. 3, from 6-7 p.m. Baker Center 239

Those working in the Wealth & Poverty Theme are excited about the opportunities SHECP membership will create, not only for students but faculty members and Ohio University and the greater community as well. The program will help further institutionalize poverty studies at Ohio University and important community outreach initiatives to assist in addressing the issue across the country but in our own community as well.

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