Laura Mejia Mayorga
Senior Laura Mejia Mayorga worked for eight weeks over the summer with the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The internship helped her further develop leadership and translation skills.
Photo provided by Laura Mejia Mayorga

Laura Mejia Mayorga Discusses SHECP Summer Internship Experience

Joseph Powell

Senior Laura Mejia Mayorga interned at the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) for eight weeks, this summer, working remotely with the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). She set up her workspace in Manchester’ Intercultural Center for the entire eight weeks, needing access to a computer to communicate effectively with employees and supervisors.

SHECP is a non-profit organization that, according to its website, uses internships and partners to “encourage the study of poverty as a complex social problem.” The site further states that some 1,251 people have completed an internship through the SHECP program.

SHECP partners with colleges and businesses to provide internships across the country, and Manchester University is one of 23 colleges that belong to the consortium. Once a student expresses interest in joining the program by sending in an application, which is a detailed process, the student is matched with an internship that is suited best for the student’s needs and will help the student create networks with other interns and even professionals in that field.

Being selected for a SHECP internship is promising for a professional future and can help students get a first look at how to make an impact on society and what it takes to have a positive outlook on a negative situation.

During the first week of work, Mejia Mayorga met with employees over Zoom to go over current and future projects, while also getting to know the organization and the culture within the organization. The next three weeks consisted of translating nutrition documents from English to Spanish, working alongside the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Nutrition Resource team. During the last three weeks of the internship, she personally handled outreach calls to ACFB’s clients to gather demographic information.

After spending eight weeks at the internship Mejia Mayorga not only learned what the work environment inside a non-profit organization was like but also learned how to lead meetings and effectively keep the meeting on task. She also further developed her translation skills. “I practiced using plain language in Spanish,” she said.

In addition to this, she worked on spreading information that was clear and concise. Mejia Mayorga feels more confident now about going out in the workforce after college, as the internship really helped to bring out what she learned in the classroom to be successful in the workforce. She noted that Manchester’s classes and group teamwork as well as communication skills she developed here have all helped her succeed.

What was her favorite part of the internship? “I liked working with individuals who are passionate about the work that they do and engage in activities that challenge and expand their worldview,” she said.

Another meaningful part of the internship was being able to work with and do better for communities of color from Atlanta that Mejia Mayorga says are overlooked and aren’t getting the information that is required to live a better life.

She says that making an impact on people from across the country is one of the “coolest” things possible. And she did all this from her small workspace on campus.