Arts & Humanities

Peace Studies - Department News

Peace Studies & Alumni Relations in Montgomery, Alabama

For More Up to Date Departmental News, See Our Facebook Page:

Learn more

Facebook  Tumblr

Seniors participate in SHECP summer internships

With generous support from the Ernest and Cleona Barr Endowment for Peace Studies, three Manchester University students completed internships through the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) program over the summer. The following profiles were written by Chloe Leckrone (also a former peace studies SHECP participant) for the Manchester Newsletter.

 shayla-welchani-king  jade-gourley-small
 Shayla Welch Ani King Jade Gourley (on left)

Shayla Welch (Berne, Indiana) interned with the United Planning Organization (UPO) in Washington, D.C., the city’s community action agency. UPO is an organization that provides services ranging from early childhood education to job training. One of Welch’s major projects over the summer involved conducting research on emerging job fields and how they can be made more accessible to racial minorities and those in poverty.

Her biggest takeaway from her internship was learning how to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) program for her research. “I had never used a GIS program before, so I had to teach myself how to use it from scratch,” Welch said. “This proved challenging especially due to the lack of anyone who knew GIS on the staff of my company, but both the process of learning and the skill I gained are great assets.”

The most memorable experience Welch had in D.C. was attending demonstrations protesting the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision with her SHECP cohort. “That was definitely not a happy day, but it was refreshing to experience such collective grief and passion in the exact place decisions were being made,” Welch said.

She also developed friendships with the other two interns working at UPO. “Though we were all working on separate projects, we learned to work together and help each other out,” Welch said. “I loved our friendship, but also appreciated the chance to learn to support a colleague who is not working on the same task as you.”

Welch is majoring in mathematics, peace studies and educational studies.


Ani King of Fort Wayne, Indiana, interned with the Central Outreach and Advocacy Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The organization offers support services to help prevent and overcome homelessness.

 King worked directly with people experiencing homelessness, doing intake paperwork, assessing their needs, helping people secure necessary identifying documents, writing referral letters, filing mail and creating a new document storage system.

“I learned how I can be an advocate for people with limited access to resources,” King said. “For example, most states require an ID to obtain a birth certificate, which meant we had to get creative because 90 percent of people needed their birth certificate to get their state ID! I would send people to register to vote, help them sign up for SNAP benefits, help them obtain medical records, etc. – all things that would count as proof of identity.”

Living on her own in a big city while adhering to a budget of $1,000 over eight weeks was King’s most memorable SHECP experience. “Budgeting is the kind of thing that you learn about, but you can't really test your knowledge until you are actually doing it,” King said. “The best way to sum up that experience is ‘trial and error.’”

King is majoring in political science.


Jade Gourley of Evansville, Indiana, interned with Hopeworks in Camden, New Jersey. Hopeworks is a nonprofit organization that helps low-income young adults find and prepare for careers. Gourley’s role was to help analyze data for Hopeworks’ partnership with Coursera, a provider of online courses, certifications and degrees.

“This internship taught me the value of certification programs, especially for people that don't have college as an option for them currently,” Gourley said. “Also, I learned how much amazing history is in Philadelphia, right across the river from Camden.”

Gourley is majoring in accounting.

SHECP prepares students for a lifetime of community and poverty-related work through internships with agencies that support and serve those who are impoverished.