Shepherd Internship Program

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.

SHECP Summer Internships unite students with agencies that work in distressed communities. Students learn first-hand about the multiple dimensions of poverty in the United States by working for eight weeks to strengthen impoverished communities and working alongside individuals seeking to improve their communities. The agencies, located in both urban and rural sites, focus on a wide variety of areas, including: education, healthcare, legal services, housing, nutrition, social and economic needs, and community-building efforts. Students work with agencies that fit their intellectual interests in order to develop professional experience for future civic involvement and employment.
This is a competitive application process available to students attending a member institution. An online application and personal interview at Centre must be completed.  Once accepted, students work with Centre College's SHECP internship director (Sharon Duncan) and the SHECP internship coordinator in securing an internship.

The internship begins with a two-day opening conference and ends with a two-day closing conference.  During the internship students live together in modest and safe housing, sharing meals and building new colleagues and friends.

Program Dates

May 30 - July 29, 2024
Participation in each program phase is mandatory. Prior to applying, make sure your calendar is free.

Internship Details

Internships offered in
Economic and Community Development • Teaching and Education • Financial Literacy • Healthcare • Homelessness • Food Insecurity and Nutrition • Legal Advocacy • Public Defender • Community Building • Women’s Advocacy • Youth Outreach
Locations include
Phillips County, Arkansas • Navajo Reservation, Arizona • Atlanta, Georgia • Boston, Massachusetts • Burlington, Vermont • Camden, New Jersey • New York City • Cleveland, Ohio • Louisville, Kentucky • Chester, Pennsylvania • Austin, Texas • Lexington, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia • Washington D.C. • Charleston, West Virginia
Research available internships, view timelines, read testimonials, and much more at the Shepherd Internship Program website.

Program Requirements

• Full attendance to the opening and closing conferences, as well as during the internship. (More than three days of absence is not acceptable, excluding national holidays.)
• Work 35-40 hours per week. Some placements require evenings and weekends.
• Mid-internship meeting with Consortium faculty
• Closing Conference presentation (panel or individual)
• Program assessment
• Interns are strongly encouraged to keep a regular journal during the internship and to submit an essay about their experience for possible posting on the SHECP website.
• Students must have taken or commit to take at least one poverty-related course on Centre’s campus, preferably taken the spring before the internship is to take place. Students must sign up for one of the following: SLJ 210: Introduction to Social Justice, REL 340: Poverty & Homelessness, or SOC 120: Social Structure.
• Participation in Centre College’s internship showcase (fall 2023)

Program Eligibility

• Applicant should be a rising sophomore, junior or senior and plan to return to Centre College as a full-time student in the fall.
• Minimum GPA: 2.5
• Situations in our program may be very stressful for some participants. Please review any ongoing medical or psychological needs you may have with your treating clinicians, carefully consider whether this is the right program for you, and discuss with us any appropriate accommodations you may require.


Our goal is to make this opportunity accessible and affordable to all students regardless of their financial status. At a minimum, the following expenses are provided by the Shepherd Internship Program:
• Summer housing
• Per Diem food and commuting costs
• Costs associated with the orientation and closing conference
We also encourage all students to apply for one of Centre College’s summer internship funding programs if eligible. You may be able to use summer funding through your scholarship (Summer of Service Bonner funds, Brown Scholar summer funds, etc.) to help offset the costs associated with this internship.

How To Apply

Complete the application. This application, along with an interview, resume, and reference check will determine initial acceptance to the program. Once confirmed with SHECP, official registration materials will be sent to the student.

Internship Program Timeline

• October 31, 2023: Student applications due.
• November 15 -17: Campus interviews conducted.  Virtual interviews are offered to students studying abroad.
• November 30: Students notified of acceptance.
• December 10: Student deadline for accepting position.
• April 1, 2024: Interns will be notified about internship matches. Student immediately contacts the designated agency contact to set up a phone interview. Interns notify the SIP Office staff when the interview is complete.
• April 10: Centre College deadlines for summer internship funding programs.
• April 10: In conversation with the agency mentor, draft a Community Learning Agreement and submit it to SHECP.
• May: SHECP will email housing, travel, and cohort information to interns.
• May 30 - July 29: Opening conference, work dates, and closing conference. 

Contact and Questions