Our Mission

To understand and address the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality in ways that respect the dignity of every person

Our program features

Shepherd in Action

Our students do some amazing things - both inside and outside the classroom.


Academic Curiosity
Inclusive Community
Real Opportunity for All

Welcome to Shepherd

Career Paths

Although each student’s experience is unique, there are several common pathways through our program. Coordinated interdisciplinary coursework, summer internships, and community-based learning prepare students for careers in the following areas:


Students weave together poverty-related courses across campus (economics, education, law, philosophy, politics, sociology, and more) and hands-on service and internship experiences across the county, the country, and the world to supplement their major areas of study. Those pursuing a minor in poverty studies also undertake capstone research projects that connect their concerns about poverty and inequality with their future civic and professional lives.

Community Engagement

For over 20 years, Shepherd has supported student leadership and service opportunities in the local Rockbridge area and beyond. Understanding the causes, consequences, and most promising remedies of poverty and inequality requires direct collaboration with community partners. Students participate in and lead several Shepherd service initiatives.

Alumni & Career

There are as many paths through Shepherd as there are students. We prepare participating students-whatever their majors or future plans-for life-long collaboration with communities to address the causes and consequences of poverty. In coursework, community engagement, and one-on-one advising, students discover how they can best promote a world of real opportunity for all through their civic and professional lives. Come discover your path.

Program History

Shepherd Program News

Just Food: Food and Culture (Winter 2024)
Campus Kitchen’s annual event series continues with its Winter Term 2024 lineup, examining the ways in which food systems interact with issues of social justice.

Shepherd Alumni in the News

Helping Others and Building Change
Grace Anne Holladay '21 has a conversation with Dr. Kelli Jarrell ’12, who was recently named the national emergency fellow of the year
‘A Real Justice Issue’
Bridget Bartley '21 interviews Shiri Yadlin '12, director of Just Homes, a nonprofit that helps faith communities address homelessness in D.C.