Servant Scholars 2019

June 1st - August 2nd


The Servant Scholars program was created in 2009 as a response to the desire to more deeply serve the Greenville community. Each summer, up to 10 students live together in Vista House while interning at poverty-alleviating organizations in the upcountry of South Carolina. Because this work can be challenging, the added support of living with other people who are serving in similar ways creates a deeply empathetic environment, as well as encourages thoughtful conversation about the plethora of problems that plague our society.

In addition to both serving in an internship capacity and living in intentional Christian community, this program also contains an academic component. Students are required to read portions of a book every week, as well as to write a journal entry that synthesizes their experiences at their internships, in the Vista House community, and the wisdom of the author of the week. On Wednesday nights, a guest is invited to come and eat dinner with the Servant Scholars and discuss the intersection of service, religion and academia. These honored guests will be non-profit directors, religious leaders, or University professors.

Applying to the Servant Scholars Program is a two-step process:

  1. First, apply for Furman Advantage funding by March 1st, 2019. (This is highly encouraged, but not required to be considered for Servant Scholars.)

  2. Secondly, complete the application for Mere Christianity Forum for the Servant Scholars Program and submit by March 30th, 2019.

Whether someone is successful or not in receiving the Furman Advantage grant, the Servant Scholars summer program includes:

  • Free housing at Vista House

  • $1000 meal stipend 

  • Books

  • Retreats 

  • Community Days

  • Weekly community meals

Previous Nonprofit Placement Options

United Ministries


Greenville Literacy Association

Upstate Forever

North Greenville Food Crisis Ministry

Project Host

Triune Mercy Center

Safe Harbor

Mill Community Ministries

Just Kids

St. Francis Bon Secours

Soteria CDC

Frazee Center

A Child's Haven

GOAT: Great Outdoor Adventure Trips

AID Upstate

Foothills Family Resource Center

Miracle Hill/Greenville Rescue Mission

Greenville Free Medical Clinic

South Carolina Legal Service

Greenville County First Steps

Christ Church Missions Team

Last Year’s Servant Scholars

Katie Brown is a rising junior from Augusta, Georgia, studying English, so as you might guess she spends free time reading books, sipping tea, and having long talks -but she also loves hiking, biking down the Swamp Rabbit Trail, writing letters, cartwheeling, nibbling on baked goods, and shopping at Goodwill. Project Host is where she is interning this summer, under the supervision of MCF alum, Mallory Boyd FU’13. New skills added to Katie’s resume include how to operate a motorized tiller in a 4'x10' garden bed and how to trap groundhogs. 

Shawna Carter is a rising junior from Bridgeton, New Jersey.  She is an English (Creative Writing track) major and in her spare time enjoys writing and watching sports. This summer Shawna is interning at Soteria Community Development Corporation/CDC which has gotten some wonderful press this year – read more here!

Lauren Coury is a graduated senior from Knoxville, TN. She majored in Politics and International Affairs and minored in Environmental Studies. This summer she is interning with Upstate Forever’s Land Conservation Program where she is working to develop a mechanism that provides matching funds for the federal program, ACEP-ALE. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys painting, cooking/baking, gardening, hiking, running, and exploring the greater Greenville area.

Kristopher Johnston is a rising junior from Sayre, Pennsylvania majoring in music education. This summer he is interning at Triune Mercy Center, which is a non-denominational church with a strong mission to help the homeless and low-income people of Greenville. Kris also enjoys writing and producing music.

Whitney Maness is a rising junior from Rock Hill, SC. Her Servant Scholars placement is working at Neighborhood Focus, which is a free, faith-based out-of-school-time program with year round academic support, spiritual enrichment, character education and life skills development for under-resourced children and students. When she has downtime she enjoys reading, hiking, and kayaking. Read some more about Whitney’s life experiences in the Greenville News.

Kristan Pitts is a native of Greenville, SC and a recent graduate of Converse College. This summer she is wearing two hats: Servant Scholars coordinator and JustFaith Greenville Community Coordinator with Mill Community Ministries.  This fall she begins an MDiv program at Wake Forest School of Divinity.  When she has downtime, she enjoys going to conferences, learning about local history, socializing, and traveling.

Lauren Prunkl is a recent graduate who studied Sustainability Science. This summer she a crew leader at Village Wrench. She is supervising four teenagers at the non-profit free repair bike shop. Students engage in job skills training, entrepreneurship classes, and cooking classes with the intention of strengthening work ethic and positive character traits. Through previous experiences, Lauren has developed a passion for urban policy, community engagement, and transportation equity.  Afterwards she will begin working with Furman's Community-Engaged Learning department as a GIS analyst (computer mapping) and collaborator partnering with United Way in a project focused on gentrification in Greenville. 

Tedra Sheperd is a recent Furman graduate who studied Public Health and Religion.  Her hometown is Charlotte NC. This summer she is interning at Momentum Bike Club whose mission is to positively impact Greenville youth (ages 10-18) through mentoring relationships, cycling, and developmental support (internships, youth seminars, trips, and workforce development). In her spare time Tedra enjoys watching Netflix, hanging out with friends and cooking new recipes.