Making Meaningful Impact Eric Bazile '25 is interning with the Austin Greater Chamber of Commerce through the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP).
“While I am an intern and my impact may be small, I am still happy to contribute to something meaningful.”
~Eric Bazile ’25
Name: Eric Bazile
Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia
Major: Business Administration
Minors: Classics; Poverty and Human Capabilities Studies
Q: What factors led you to choose W&L?
I chose to attend W&L because I want my college experience to contribute to something greater than myself. W&L has various issues with diversity and inclusion for minority students, and change is needed on our campus. Rather than seeing this as a deterrent, I viewed it as an opportunity to advocate for the small yet powerful African American community on campus. Being such a small demographic on campus has allowed us to foster a close-knit and compassionate community. I want to graduate from this campus knowing that I contributed to expanding the safe space for minority students here on campus.
Q: Why did you choose your course of study?
I did not intend to minor in poverty and human capabilities studies until I met Professor Howard Pickett. He is a passionate and caring teacher who has inspired me to study the causes and consequences of poverty within the Shepherd Poverty Program. I had a class with him every semester last year and I loved every moment of them. His complex philosophical rebuttals to my statements only sharpened my opinions and values. I also did not intend to minor in classics but was placed into elementary Latin my first semester. I had no prior experience in Latin or the ancient world before college, but the professors in the department are very engaging.
Q: How did you find out about this opportunity? Did anyone at W&L help?
The Shepherd Program is great in that it offers internship experiences to students who are interested in the effects of poverty. Students are required to complete an application and attend an interview to be placed with an internship that aligns with their interests. I first heard about this opportunity through Professor Pickett, who encouraged us to attend a poster session with interns from the previous summer. I completed the application process and was placed in Austin, Texas, with the Austin Greater Chamber of Commerce.
Q: What kind of work are you doing?
I have worked on a wide variety of projects so far. My work has been primarily focused on local policy but I have also dealt with climate change and education policy. The chamber has been planning a D.C. trip for their clients and I have contributed to that project. I am currently assisting the marketing team with sending emails to their thousands of clients.
Q: What do you like most about it, and what has been most challenging so far?
My favorite part of this internship is that I am given the opportunity to help others. Even though I am an intern, I have been able to help the chamber analyze crucial policies that could greatly impact the community. It is great to know that families and businesses can benefit from the work I am doing this summer. The most challenging part of this internship has been the professional development aspect of it. I have met very important people within the first weeks of this internship and they can be intimidating, especially for someone who has only completed one year at college. Every day you have to present yourself well because you are a representative of the chamber. You never know who will come into the office.
Q: What aspect of the work has surprised you the most so far?
I did not know that advocacy and policy would be such a large component of this internship. I have spent more time analyzing policy and examining committee meetings than I anticipated. However, I enjoy doing that and I simply want to do work that is beneficial to the community.
Q: How do you think your current summer experience will impact your future career path?
I am grateful to not only be around great mentors and for such a diverse workload. So far, I have contributed to the marketing, advocacy and communications. While I am an intern and my impact may be small, I am still happy to contribute to something meaningful.
Q: Outside of your internship, what have you enjoyed the most about living and working in Austin this summer?
Austin has an immense amount of free live music events which I have attended. There are so many great restaurants as well. I like to explore the city with other Shepherd interns. I have been living in a co-op with other college students, and members of the co-op will often host social events. I do have four hours of required labor a week, but that gives me the opportunity to collaborate and connect with other people living in the co-op. I am a part of the University Jazz Ensemble at W&L and was unable to bring my saxophone along with me, but the building has a keyboard and banjo. My roommate Lissandro, who is also a Shepherd intern, plays the guitar, and we often play music together.
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