The Shepherd Program was partly what drew me to W&L my senior year in high school. Service has always been a large part of my life. I thought the chance to continue my participation in the community, while also connecting my service to my academic experience, was extremely enticing. I took Poverty 101 during the fall of my freshman year and automatically knew I wanted the Shepherd Program to play a large role in my W&L experience. I most enjoyed the opportunity to take action within the community. The relationships I built with local residents and agency leaders greatly impacted my experience at W&L. It was truly a unique experience to combine my studies with realistic and ongoing issues in the community.
I focused a majority of my poverty studies involvement on access to credit and personal finance issues for low-income families. This allowed me to apply what I learned in my business classes to my poverty studies. With the help of my business knowledge and experience, I started my own student organization dedicated to personal finance counseling and the promotion of savings for local residents-Community Financial Freedom. Following graduation, I interned in the audit department at Ernst & Young. I now am attending the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia to obtain a Masters in Accounting. Ultimately, I hope to become a certified public accountant and take a leadership role in a successful community development nonprofit.
My capstone project was definitely the culminating highlight of my Shepherd experience. I was able to combine both my interest in business and my interest in poverty studies to get involved within the Lexington community. I learned not only skills that benefit my academic experience, but also skills that will benefit me outside of the classroom, such as how to communicate effectively, how to build professional relationships and how to remain sensitive to controversial issues. When pursuing successful careers in everything including medicine, business, politics, psychology, policy, social work and much more, Shepherd students will be able to use what they have learned in the poverty program to act responsibly and understand how their actions can effect low-income individuals in the U.S. and around the world.
Capstone Paper Title:
Rockbridge Area Credit Study 2010: A broad assessment of financial issues facing low-income individuals in Rockbridge County and recommendations for new policies and practices
Community Financial Freedom