During SHECP Talks, we invite guests who are or have been part of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, to share valuable insights, experiences, and lessons they have learned throughout their time with SHECP.

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Tuesday May 21, 2024

On this episode of SHECP Talks, we continue to reflect on the links between resilience and childhood poverty. Jen was delighted to welcome Dr. Desiree Murray and Dr. Keadija Wiley to talk about the work of the UPSIDE Team at UNC-Chapel Hill and, specifically, their Be Calm Program.
The Understanding and Promoting Self-Regulation Intervention across Development Team or UPSIDE team for short — focuses on self-regulation interventions that promote resilience for children and youth. Their Be CALM program is a mindfulness-based intervention for middle and high school students that provides training and support for both students and educators.
During the podcast, Desiree and Keadija explain the origins of the program, their multidisciplinary approach, and the challenges and opportunities associated with community-based research. The initial program roll-out was focused in school districts in rural NC. We also discuss how the program might change for a less-rural environment.

Monday Apr 29, 2024

On this episode of SHECP Talks, Kailee Brickner-McDonald, Director of the Middlebury’s Center for Community Engagement, and Sarah Stroup, Professor of Political Science and the director of Middlebury’s Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation, joined us to talk about the work happening at the Davis Collaborative and, more broadly, about their vision to “to embed principles and practices of conflict transformation in the liberal arts from high school to graduate school.”
SHECP's work on Conflict Transformation is made possible by the Middlebury Conflict Transformation Collaborative. Middlebury College has “made a commitment to serve as an incubator for research, teaching, and student experiences to address divisiveness in society.”

Monday Mar 11, 2024

On this episode of SHECP Talks, Dr. Katy Gray Brown, Professor of Philosophy and Peace Studies and  Director of the Peace Studies Institute at Manchester University, joins us to delve into the dynamics of conflict transformation and its significance in education and community development.
In this episode, Dr. Gray Brown discusses conflict transformation and encourages us to think of conflict as a means for growth and positive change. The conversation addresses the opportunities of integrating conflict transformation education into various settings, such as the SHECP Summer Internship program. Dr. Gray Brown draws attention to the modest but important objectives of conflict transformation education: giving people the knowledge to resolve disputes courageously, empathetically, and effectively.
Programs like the Peace Studies Institute at Manchester University and initiatives like the conflict transformation curriculum in SHECP play a vital role in empowering individuals and communities to build a more just world.
To learn more about the Peace Studies Institute at Manchester University, visit their website here.

Tuesday Oct 31, 2023

In today’s SHECP Talks episode, Dora Kreitzer talks with two other Bucknell University students, Lissandro Alvarado and Da’Mirah Vinson to discuss their SHECP Internships in Austin, Texas with Foundation Communities and Lisandro's second summer with SHECP as a Policy and Nonprofit Leadership intern. Foundation Communities provides affordable homes and free on-site support services for thousands of families, veterans, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. They offer community resources, like college application assistance, tax advice, healthcare, and housing.
During the episode, both Lissandro and Da'Mirah underline how their internships provided them with hands-on experience and a deeper comprehension of poverty-related issues. Da'Mirah recounts her time at Foundation Communities, where she engaged in community work and gained an appreciation for the significance of approaching social issues with empathy and a community-centric mindset. She reflects, "We work together to figure out solutions...I'm not here to fix anything. I'm just being in a community." Da'Mirah and Lissandro both expressed that their experiences have offered valuable insights into the kind of work they wish to pursue after graduation. Da'Mirah noted, "The internship showed me the mechanisms of a nonprofit and determined what I want and what I don’t want to do as my first career."
After gaining experience at Foundation Communities, Lissandro was a part of the Policy and Non-Profit Leadership Internship, spending this past summer in D.C. as an economic security analyst with the United Planning Organization (UPO). UPO supports Washington D.C.’s low-income residents on their journey to self-sufficiency. UPO currently offers more than 30 programs and services in such areas as early childhood education, youth development, job training and placement, health and wellness, housing, and volunteering. As an intern, Lissandro focused on the economic security for low-wage workers in the D.C. area. One important piece for Lissandro was being able to use his quantitative skills to understand poverty, merging data analytics major with his passion for poverty research. For Lissandro, being a part of SHECP again meant doing real policy work, “gaining the opportunity to present at the SHECP closing conference, and helping others interns who may be interested in the PNPL internship experience."
Dora also participated in the SHECP Internship Program last summer and worked with staff at Intersection of Change. "Intersection of Change is a community-based non-profit in Baltimore, MD founded in 1996 to address poverty-related challenges." During the episode, Dora reflects on how IOC's work really illustrated the difference between working for a community and working with a community. A community based model is one of the agency's top values --"We are an organization of and for our west Baltimore community that strives to affirm the dignity of all our residents by empowering them as participants, partners, and fellow leaders. We value the differences and commonalities that bring us together in our community." (
Austin, Washington D.C., and Baltimore all offered a lot of takeaways for both interns, and they hope that future SHECP interns try to get the most from this opportunity. Lissandro hopes future interns will remember – “Be meaningful during the internship: ask questions, be curious. There is always something to learn and be intentional in the work.”
Stay tuned for more engaging conversations on SHECP Talks as we explore the variety of experiences SHECP interns have, and the positive impact they create in their communities.
Want to know more about some of the agencies mentioned in the talk?
Foundation Communities:
United Planning Organization:
Intersection of Change:
Interested in the Policy and Non-Profit Leadership internship?
Visit to learn more. The 2024 PNPL application will be available in late 2023. The internship is open to any rising-juniors and rising-seniors who have completed the traditional SHECP Internship. These internships will run concurrently with the traditional SHECP Internship. This new program has been made possible by funding from the Middlebury Conflict Transformation Collaborative.

Wednesday Oct 04, 2023

On this episode of SHECP Talks, Mansi Tripathi, a 2022 graduate of Washington and Lee University talks about her 2019 internship with the Gateway Center in Atlanta and her postgraduate Fulbright experience in Colombia.
The Gateway Center works "to connect people experiencing homelessness with the support necessary to become self-sufficient and find a permanent home.” Although the Gateway Center’s mission is pretty focused, the agency takes a more holistic approach to their programming. With efforts related to everything from housing to health to job readiness to education, they work to address the underlying barriers that prevent individuals and families from transitioning out of homelessness, such as unemployment, behavioral health, housing affordability, and medical conditions.
During her time in Atlanta, Mansi was able to work in several of these programs, including the clothes closet and resume development. One of Mansi’s primary roles was to work with outside volunteer groups to provide services to Gateway Center clients. Each outside volunteer group went through a guided orientation before their service and had a time to debrief after the work. Mansi and the others working with the volunteers were able to educate volunteers about the complexities of homelessness and challenge any preconceptions.
When reflecting on how her internship impacted the rest of her undergraduate career, Mansi describes how she realized her interest in criminal justice because of the ways in which homelessness is often criminalized. This motivated her to take classes about things that “make [her] the most productively angry.” She researched topics such as the language surrounding homelessness and pre-arrest diversion during her time at Washington and Lee. As part of the Bonner Program, she spent several years working with Project Horizon, an organization dedicated to reducing dating, sexual, and domestic violence in Rockbridge County, VA that runs an emergency shelter for victims of domestic or sexual violence.
Mansi encourages students interested in a SHECP internship to be open-minded and journal during the internship to unpack the experience. ”Go into it thinking, ‘Regardless I am going to learn something about this issue, the local area, and something about myself.’”
While at Washington and Lee University, Mansi majored in politics and sociology and minored in Poverty and Human Capability Studies. After graduating, she taught English to college students in Colombia as part of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program. Now, she currently works in Washington, DC for the DC Public Defender Service as an Investigative Specialist.

Thursday Apr 27, 2023

A conversation about the power of language to improve programming, alter narratives, and support dignity in the food assistance network
Listen in as Tyler Herman and Robin Swecker from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank (BRAFB) discuss the power of language to improve programming, alter public and internal narratives, and support dignity in the food assistance network. Tyler is the Director of Partner Engagement for BRAFB and Robin is the Partner Engagement Manager for the Shenandoah Valley.
Last November, SHECP hosted a Springboard series event to discuss how the language surrounding poverty influences and complicates our daily work and is addressed in various fields of study. Click here to watch the recording and learn more about the panelists. This podcast extends this discussion from the classroom to discussion happening with community partners and individuals these partners are hoping to reach.
During the podcast, Tyler and Robin focus on how changes in the language used at BRAFB (and by their many partner agencies) have impacted which individuals choose to participate in services and how agencies like BRAFB communicate with a wide array of audiences, including community members, individuals in need of assistance, government agencies, funders, and researchers.

Monday Oct 10, 2022

In this episode of SHECP Talks, Noah Cady, a first-class (or Senior to the rest of us) at the Virginia Military Institute, discusses his 2022 internship with the Food Bank of South Jersey.
The Food Bank of South Jersey is a massive operation with over 200 agency partners, programs of their own and a relatively large advocacy and education arm. Noah talks about his work with the agency’s health and nutrition programming, bringing in his “outsider” perspective, and his deepened understanding of the importance of strong, respectful relationships for impactful community programming.
Later in the episode, Noah talks about waking up to the email telling him that his summer internship was going to be with the Food Bank of South Jersey and being a little confused. Although he thought he would be in a medical clinic, he went into his placement with an open mind. Looking back, he reflected that it was the perfect internship to prepare him to be a creative physician and strong patient advocate down the road - “You aren’t here to totally learn about your career. You are here to learn about the people you are going to serve, and you are going to learn about people in general...It is a skill you’ve got to learn.”
His advice for students considering a SHECP Internship: “Just go for it! I don’t think you can get a better experience of where you get dropped into a community and [gain friends for life].”
For more information about topics Noah discusses:
Food Bank of South Jersey – The Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) exists to provide an immediate solution to the urgent problem of hunger by providing food to people in need, teaching them to eat nutritiously, and helping them to find sustainable ways to improve their lives. FBSJ services Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County and Salem County. We remain the urgent solution these residents turn to when they are hungry and can’t afford to buy food. Through innovation and smart hunger-relief programming, the Food Bank has distributed over 150 million pounds of food, served more than one million fresh, nutritious meals to vulnerable children and provided tens of thousands of food boxes filled with healthy groceries to seniors.
Professional Insights event with Dr. Kelli Jarrell – Dr. Kelli Jarrell, a SHECP alum, talks about her work as a Social Emergency Medicine fellow, her development of the Social Emergency Medicine/Public Health Interest Group, and how her experience as a SHECP Intern impacted her professional life. Watch it here:

Tuesday Aug 30, 2022

A conversation about working at the intersection of poverty and justice
Gerald “Bo” King, Federal Public Defender and Chief of the Fourth Circuit Capital Habeas Unit, he discusses fighting for justice within the realities of our court system. Bo previously worked for the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama and Atlanta Legal Aid Society and will talk about how he saw both poverty and place play a role in his work.

Monday Jun 27, 2022

A conversation about teaching with a course with a strong sense of place with Dr. Rachel Terman from Ohio University
Dr. Terman joins us to talk about her current class, “Sociology of Appalachia,” the strong history and sense of community in the area, cultural assumptions about the area, and looking at region with an asset mindset.

Sunday Apr 10, 2022

A conversation about innovative course design with Dr. Ellen Prusinski from Centre College
Dr. Ellen Prusinski joins us to talk about her current class, “Education Policy and Social Change,” why she values incorporating community-based learning into your coursework, and some of her current research that has roots in a previous class project.   


The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, encourages 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.

Through its programs, SHECP and its member institutions prepare students for a lifetime of professional and civic efforts to diminish poverty and enhance human capability, while also supporting connections among students, faculty, staff, and alumni engaged in the study of poverty.

Learn more at

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