Biology and environmental studies major Anna Bushong ’21 (Jacksonville, Florida) is interning at the Family Center, Inc. in Helena, Arkansas, as part of the Shepherd Internship Program. Her summer internship focuses on addressing such issues as community building, economic development, healthcare, homelessness, job placement and nutrition.
The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) integrates rigorous academic study and focused direct service to disadvantaged communities and persons, enriching the education of undergraduate and law students in all majors and career paths. The intent of this program is to prepare students for lives aimed at diminishing poverty and enhancing human capability through professional and civic efforts.
Specifically, Bushong has been gaining experience in grant writing, with a focus on funding a community kitchen; compiling an accessible cookbook and cooking technique book; working at the Food Bank of the Delta that the non-profit operates; and serving as an advocate for battered individuals at the Angels of Grace emergency shelter.
“Shepherd provides a unique opportunity to become immersed meaningfully in another community and be an agent of support to non-profits that deserve extra hands for the work they are doing,” Bushong said. “I am full of gratitude for the opportunity to perform my Bonner summer of service through Shepherd, especially working with a non-profit that focuses on domestic violence. I hold this issue close to my heart and have not had the opportunity to engage with it at a grassroots level until now.”
Bushong said that she will always be involved in service with a focus on domestic violence and food insecurity.
“I take these service experiences with me as I continue toward my goal of obtaining my Ph.D. after Centre to ensure I become a socially conscious scientist,” she added. “It does a disservice to the community scientists impact if they become disconnected from the broader problems and injustices in our society.”
Through this experience, Bushong said she’s gained a further understanding of the importance of serving out of compassion and not empathy.
“Empathy will eat away at your heart and make you an ineffective agent of support,” she explained. “Compassion allows you to maintain focus and the ability to provide dignified interactions to clients when they need you.
“As the summer draws to a close, I do not think I have a full grasp of the impact I will leave upon the Family Center, Inc., since I am a small part of it in the grand scheme of things,” she continued. “However, I will always be grateful for the time I’ve spent here and the mentorship received by the executive director, Gracie Gonner.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
July 25, 2019
Anna Bushong ’21 (second from left) interns at the Family Center, Inc. as part of the Shepherd Internship Program.