Determined to take her studies on the effects of poverty outside of the classroom, Stephanie Keller ‘20 (Louisville, Kentucky) had the opportunity to work this summer with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) in New York City.
SHECP is a non-profit organization whose mission is to transform poverty studies in the United States by immersing interns in unfamiliar environments. College interns, like Keller, are sent around the country in groups designed to support one another in the difficulties of adjusting to a new living situation.
“I wanted the opportunity to work with a non-profit organization that was extremely different from ones with which I have worked in the past,” explained Keller. “Shepherd offered a community of people who created a support system that was extremely valuable in moving to a new city.”
Stationed in upper Manhattan, Keller worked as a member of the “Writing Corps,” assisting members of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), a non-profit summer school program designed to teach children crucial educational skills in a way that incentivizes full participation.
“My experience in Harlem gave me a new perspective on education and its importance in the community, and it taught me the importance of having a group of dedicated and passionate people to care for it,” she said.
Keller spent her summer not only teaching students how to write but writing herself. In her article titled “Harlem Children’s Zone: A Summer Learning to Ask,” recently published on the SHECP website, Stephanie reflects on her summer experience: “I had entered the summer terrified of not making an impact, but Harlem Children’s Zone taught me that, to do so, you have to have a longing to learn and a propensity to ask.”
The junior international studies and religion major says that her summer internship encouraged her to find new ways to step out of her comfort zone and that she is thankful for the passionate people of HCZ. She also expressed gratitude that Centre College has given her the chance to accomplish this, on and off campus.
She credits Rick Axtel, H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion, and Mindy Wilson, associate director of the Center for Career & Professional Development, with helping her succeed in the competitive process of becoming a SHECP intern, as well as Centre for giving her the tools to adapt to a new opportunity.
“I think that Centre is an incredible environment for growing and learning, and the encouragement they offer to step out of one’s comfort zone, through things like Shepherd, is unparalleled,” Keller concluded.
by Ben Bennett ’20
September 14, 2018
Pictured above: Stephanie Keller ‘20 (center) with fellow interns working in New York City with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty