The Shepherd program was, by far, the most rewarding aspect of my career at W&L. I found amazing mentors, had the opportunity to participate in challenging internship and community services experiences, and pursued a number of research projects that tied all of my interests together. In many ways, my involvement in poverty studies (as well as my other minor, women's and gender studies) directed my major area of study, politics. As a result of my interest in poverty studies, I found myself selecting politics classes and research topics that related to my studies and experiences in the Shepherd program.
Through the Shepherd Poverty Program, my eyes were opened to the extent of the poverty issue in the United States. This issue has been particularly challenging for me. Knowing the severity of the problem makes it impossible for me to not want to do something. Leaving with the knowledge that the Shepherd Program has taught me is challenging, but, more importantly, motivational. I was especially awakened by the realization of the systemic barriers preventing low-income persons from escaping poverty, and that poverty can't just be explained through cultural or individual factors. After college, I plan to continue to use these lessons I have learned as I will be working on a daily basis with low-income families and students in a bilingual classroom in Milwaukee through the Teach for America Program. I hope my experience in the Shepherd Program will enable me to more effectively handle the challenges associated with my work.
Capstone Paper Title: No Way Out: The Effects of Welfare Reform on Domestic Violence Victims