Area Students Participate In Shepherd Internship

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While most college students took a break from the books over the summer, Lexington residents Elizabeth Grist and Ullunda Veal spent eight weeks interning with programs focused on alleviating poverty. Both were among a select group of students selected for the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty’s (SHECP) 2019 Internship Program.

Students accepted for the program live and work with fellow interns in impoverished communities across the country. Beyond providing valuable support to their assigned agencies, SHECP interns gain a greater understanding of the root causes and consequences of poverty in a wide range of disciplines.

Grist worked with Bowery Residents’ Committee, a nonprofit in New York City that provides services such as outreach and housing to the city’s unsheltered homeless population.

“The SHECP internship was a unique opportunity to explore the underlying causes of homelessness and the systems in place that lead to increased opportunities for some and decreased opportunities for others” said Grist, who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and expects to graduate from Washington and Lee University in 2022.

Veal spent the summer at The Family Center Inc., a nonprofit in Helena, Ark., that seeks to integrate services and uses a coordinated community response to promote the prevention and treatment of domestic violence.

“The SHECP internship was a unique opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and help me learn more about the issues concerning rural poverty,” said Veal, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of Lynchburg and will graduate in 2022.

Both students are graduates of Rockbridge County High School.

The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty is a consortium of colleges and universities that are committed to the study of poverty as a complex social problem, by expanding and improving educational opportunities for college students in a wide range of disciplines and career trajectories.

To learn more about SHECP and its internship program, visit

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