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Fall 2009 marks the beginning of Social, Health, Economic, and Education Policymakers' (SHEP) third year at the LBJ School. The organization considers itself a "home" for students interested in investigating social, health, and economic policy issues beyond the classroom.
"I had a growing interest in health and social policy," says Julie Montgomery (M.P.Aff. ?09), SHEP founder, "I started talking with others who shared my interests and we thought, 'why not an organization?'" A few meetings later, SHEP was born.
First conceived as a listserv where students could, share interesting articles, jobs, and academic work, SHEP has evolved into a large member organization that hosts expert speakers; gathers monthly to debate policy; builds UT campus awareness of courses in the social and economic policy; and engages in Austin community service. In 2008, Steering Committee Members included Melissa King (M.P.Aff ?09), Garrett Groves (M.P.Aff ?09), Holly Prosser (M.P.Aff ?09) and current students Melissa Shannon, Rachel Veron, Danielle Garrett, Erica Meade, Sarah Hutt Chen, and Martina Mai Li.
An ideal student counterpart organization to the school's Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP), SHEP has co-hosted events and activities with CHASP. Dr. Cynthia Osborne, who is the faculty advisor for SHEP and on the CHASP executive committee, believes that such collaboration benefits both organizations. "This is a win-win situation. CHASP was looking for opportunities to connect more with students." Students will benefit from the connections CHASP maintains with LBJ alumni in health and social policy fields.
"Students who choose to specialize in social, education or economic policy are a natural match for SHEP and CHASP," notes Osborne.
Now comprised of more than 30 students, SHEP has already teamed up with CHASP to host a several networking opportunities for students, bringing students and alumni together. In the future, SHEP and CHASP will collaborate to host colloquia and other events. For additional information, contact Robin Pearson.
For additional information about Social, Health and Economic Policymakers, and upcoming SHEP events, contact SHEP Steering Committee member Rachel Veron.