Erin Thompson Podvin joined the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) family in 2007. She is the Regional Program Director for the Georgia Opportunities Scholarship and Outreach Program. In this role she works to increase college readiness, access and retention among Latino students across the state of Georgia. Prior to this she served as the Campus Manager for HSF’s University Alliance at the University of Georgia (UGA). In that role she supported HSF scholars on campus, recruited potential new scholars, and collaborated with a variety of UGA offices and departments to promote increased outreach, recruitment, and retention of Latino students. The resulting persistence and graduation rates- generally in the mid-high 90% range- were consistently higher across cohorts than those of the student body at large, often by as many as 10 percentage points.
Prior to joining HSF, Erin was the Coordinator of the Even Start Family Literacy Program in Athens, GA. Even Start takes a wrap-around approach to learning, integrating early childhood education, adult literacy (adult basic education, GED and ESL), parenting education, and interactive parent and child literacy activities for low-income families who are eligible for services. She has also worked as the Lead Bilingual Family Liaison for the Clarke County School District’s federal Migrant Education Program, and as an interpreter in the Athens-Clarke County Juvenile Court. Erin served 2 1/2 years in Guatemala as a Health & Sustainable Technologies volunteer with the Peace Corps.
Within the community, Erin is the sitting President of the Junior League of Athens, a service organization whose mission is to develop the potential of women, promote volunteerism and improve the community around us through the effective action of trained volunteers. She has also served on the boards of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, the Athens-Clarke Literacy Council, the Clarke County Mentor Program, and P.L.A.C.E. (Promoting Local Agriculture & Cultural Experience) and is a sitting member of the University of Georgia’s Latino Advisory Board. She is a 2013 graduate of the LEAD Athens program and she and her husband were just named as two of Athens’ “Exceptionals” for 2013.
In her free time Erin plays soccer, enjoys photography, and is the proud mentor of a feisty Latina who is the first in her family to attend college! Erin and her husband Josh live in Athens, GA.
One of my favorite quotes is a lyric from the song “Wooden Ships” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and it says: If you smile at me, I will understand / 'Cause that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language. This guides my work and my life as I am reminded that no matter our differences, kindness and respect are transcendent and break down barriers.