Shepherd Internship Program: student perspectives

Posted by Centre News in Internships, News 12 Sep 2013

Earlier in the summer, as a part of the Shepherd Internship Program, several Centre students traveled across the country to a diverse array of locations and organizations. Despite their varying projects and passions, their main objective was the same: to fight poverty. Having now completed their internships and returned to campus, Paige Coomer ’14 and Kendra Montejos ’14 reflect on how their experiences have influenced not only their time at Centre but also the future ahead of them.

Paige Coomer ’14
coomer_paigePaige spent the summer with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC) in Berea, Ky., an organization dedicated to social, political and economic justice for Kentuckians. Coomer researched state voter disenfranchisement laws and participated in several Kentuckians for the Commonwealth events and rallies. In her words:

The crowd is still and silent, processing Berry’s hard-hitting, extreme, but warranted demand. In context, the above statement asks the poem’s audience (citizens, corporations and politicians who hold some stake in energy change) to consider the “ideas, ideals, or hopes, the energy sources, the kinds of security” for which we would “kill a child.” In light of my work with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and research on environmental justice, Berry’s demand forced me to reflect on Kentucky’s position in regards to coal, communities and the environment. I wonder, what line has to be crossed and what damage has to be done to make citizens, politicians and corporations cognizant of the systemic harm coal companies issue upon people and the earth? Read more…

Kendra Montejos ’14
montejos_kendraKendra worked with Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) in New York City, an organization focusing on fostering lifelong education in low-income communities by offering in-school, after school, social service and health and community-building programs for children from birth through high school and college. She writes:

On my first day with my students in Harlem I was told, “Can you please be quiet, I am not talking to you.” I had two students run out of my class and fight in the hallway. I had lost the respect and attention of my classroom that day. There was no way of getting them back to focus after the fight. I was not the only teacher in our classroom; we had a total of four teachers for 30 students, but at the point of the fight, yes, I was the only teacher in the room. I was, needless to say, overwhelmed. I did not know how to control this classroom. How was I going to get their attention? Read more…

By Mariel Smith