Undergraduate Students


The Shepherd internship program is an 8-week, full-time summer internship program that satisfies the internship requirement for the Poverty minor. This 3-credit course, POV453, has assignments designed to support the internship experience. Students participating in a second Shepherd internship enroll in POV450.

Shepherd aims to provide opportunities for students to more deeply understand the causes and consequences of poverty and inequity in ways that respect the dignity of all people. While it is important for students to approach the experience with an eye toward professional development, it is equally important for students to understand learning also comes in ways they least expect.

Eligibility Requirements for POV453

  • Prerequisite courses: POV 101 or POV 103
  • Rising Sophomore, Junior, or Senior
  • Physician clearance for students who manage a physical or mental health condition

Application Process

The application process varies depending on which internship option you select. All applicants will complete the following steps. Additional application steps are detailed in 'Course Options.'

  • Complete the Shepherd application by the January 15 deadline
  • Upload a current resume
  • List a recommender
  • Interview with Shepherd at W&L

International Students

International students participate in a Shepherd internship through the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) program, which allows F-1 visa students to participate in paid or unpaid internship experiences that are directly related to the student's major or must be for academic credit or a major requirement. All declared students at W&L are eligible for CPT. The Practical Training guide provides an overview of CPT and how to obtain CPT authorization for undergraduate and law students.

Course Options

Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP)

SHECP is a non-profit serving a consortium of schools that coordinates and supports an eight-week Summer Internship Program where cohorts of interns live together and work full-time with community partners engaged in anti-poverty work. With placements available across various locations and sectors, the SHECP internship is curated to give students with an academic grounding in poverty the opportunity to deepen their understanding of poverty, including its definitions, causes, and potential solutions, while providing substantive support to agencies working in underserved communities.

Alongside the vital hands-on experience, interns engage in various academic and professional development programs throughout the summer to strengthen their connections with practitioners, local communities, and peers. SHECP aims to develop student civic responsibility through experiential learning, promote respect for diverse communities, and facilitate poverty awareness, leading students to intentionally integrate anti-poverty action in their post-graduate vocations and personal lives.

Supplemental Application: There is no supplemental application for Shepherd at W&L. Once accepted to POV453, your information will be shared with the SHECP office. You will then complete the SHECP registration material, and the internship matching process commences. 

Cost:  Shepherd at W&L pays the $3,500 participation fee.
Financial Aid: 1) You receive a $1125 stipend from SHECP to apply towards food and commuter expenses; 2) You may apply for travel funds through the Shepherd Program at W&L; 3) Students with high financial need will receive an additional grant of $500 or $1000 upon completing the course. The Financial Aid Office determines financial need. The Shepherd Office will contact you if you qualify. 

Stay Local

Local Shepherd internships are available to offer continuity of service to our agency partners and offer meaningful experiences to students. In past years, internships were offered at Boxerwood (youth program and grant development), Campus Kitchen at W&L (operations and programming), Habitat for Humanity (building, project management, administration), Rockbridge Area Relief Association (hotline & pantry), Project Horizon (domestic and intimate violence shelter and advocate center), and YMCA (youth program); and the Lexington City Office on Youth. Additionally, some opportunities through the Office of Community Engagement posted on Handshake are eligible for POV453.

Supplemental Application: No
Cost: None
Financial Aid:  Based on your eligibility, you will either enroll in the federal work-study program at W&L and be paid for your summer work. The pay rate for 2024 is $13.00/hour. If you do not qualify, you will receive a grant of $3,000 from the Shepherd Program to apply toward expenses. W&L offers affordable campus-based housing to mitigate lodging expenses. Visit the Residential Life webpage for details and dates. 

Students who receive an expense grant from the Shepherd Program and demonstrate high financial need will receive an additional $500 or $1000 upon completing the course. The Financial Aid Office determines the level of need.

Propose an internship

While Shepherd encourages students to apply to participate in SHECP, there are instances when the best course of action is to propose an internship for POV453, such as the program dates for SHECP do not align with your availability, there is an organization that fits your interests that is not otherwise offered, or you have geographic restrictions that restrict your location over the summer.

A proposed internship may be in the United States or abroad. All international internships must be secured in consultation with the Center for International Education. It is a University policy that students must use approved third-party vendors to access an internship. The list of approved vendors is available on the Terra Dotta platform. Some exceptions are available to international students who propose internships in their home community.

Supplemental Application: Supplemental material includes an internship proposal, estimated budget, and letter of support from the organization or third-party vendor. A completed proposal and budget are uploaded with your application. Download the template available on this page.

Cost:  The Shepherd Program will contribute to living expenses, travel, and program fees if using a third-party vendor.
Funding: 1) Shepherd offers expense grants not to exceed $3,000. The grant amount is informed by the expense budget submitted as part of the supplemental application; 2) Additional University funding is available by application; 3) Students with high financial need will receive an additional $500 or $1000 upon completing the course. The Financial Aid Office determines the level of need.

Law Students

Shepherd provides Federal Work-Study funding for selected Washington and Lee students engaged in a summer public interest position that provides legal services to indigent clients or low-income communities. Funding is awarded to a student with unpaid poverty law internships. Four students are selected annually. 2024, the pay rate will be $14.00 per hour based on Federal Work-Study Guidelines.

There is a  2-step application process:

(1) Apply on SCORE and sign up for a brief interview
(2) Submit a 
Shepherd application

Applications are due by 5 PM on March 12. Interviews for the internship program will be conducted. 

Questions? Email Fran Elrod.