Erin Thompson Podvin joined the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) family in 2007. As the Regional Program Director for the Georgia Opportunities Scholarship and Outreach Program she works to increase college readiness, access and persistence among Latino students across the state of Georgia. Previously she served as the Campus Manager for HSF’s University Alliance at the University of Georgia (UGA), supporting HSF scholars on campus, recruiting potential new scholars, and collaborating with a variety of UGA offices and departments to promote increased outreach, recruitment, and retention of Latino students.
Prior to joining HSF, Ms. Podvin served as 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. Ms. Podvin served 2½ years in Guatemala as a Health & Sustainable Technologies volunteer with the Peace Corps.
Within the community, Ms. Podvin serves as the Education Chair for the LEAD Athens Alumni Board of Directors and is a sitting member of the University of Georgia’s Latino Advisory Board. She is also the Immediate Past 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. Ms. Podvin has 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). In 2010 she and her partner took home the Judge’s trophy in the Dancing With the Athens Stars competition while helping to raise nearly $95,000 for their local domestic violence shelter. Ms. Podvin is a 2013 graduate of the LEAD Athens program and she and her husband were named as two of Athens’ “Exceptionals” for 2013.
In her free time Ms. Podvin plays soccer, enjoys photography, and is the proud mentor of a feisty Latina who is the first in her family to attend college! Ms. Podvin 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 what our differences may be, kindness and respect are transcendent and break down barriers.