2nd Annual London Tea Party

Students interested in pursuing internships in London met with HOD professors and London alumni to discuss the ins and outs of life and internships abroad.

On Wednesday, September 20th, the HOD Capstone Internship Office hosted its annual London Tea Party. Students who are preparing for their Capstone Internship semester were invited to join us in the HOD Internship Office for an afternoon high tea.

The tea party is an amazing opportunity for students who are interested in learning more about the London internship process. Students demonstrated their London knowledge with a round of trivia, got firsthand information from previous London interns, and had a Skype session with the London HOD instructor, Professor Morgan.




“I think it’s such an amazing opportunity. You really learn a lot about yourself. It’s hard to get there but it’s so worth it, because you can really live independently and live in an international city.”  – Natasha Raskin

“The best part of my HOD internship experience was doing a job I loved in a city I loved. I worked for Social Enterprise UK, where I had the pleasure of learning about all sorts of innovative ways that companies are using business methods to solve social problems. It was even better because I experienced a new work culture in another country, spent my nights exploring the amazing city of London, and spent my weekend traveling all over Europe.” – Serena Deutch


Skyping with Kate Morgan, residing London HOD Capstone Professor


“This program is better than any opportunity out there with Vandy, because you get the study abroad cultural immersion type of thing and on the weekends you can travel but during the week you are having this completely immersive work experience. It’s a nice balance because you have the work experience in London and you can travel on the weekend and meet up with friends. It is such a cool growing experience unlike any other abroad programs.” – Aaron Chasan

“The London HOD internship provided an ideal opportunity to further my academic, professional, and personal goals through the internship coursework, international work experience, and travel opportunities.” – Kelsey Laabs




For those interested in completing your HOD Capstone Internship in London, here are some helpful resources:

Critical London Internship Information

HOD London Tips

London Housing Tips

If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to these past London interns via email:


The Queen would love for you to visit!




“This is not just classroom learning, but world learning”- Interview with one of the first contributors of HOD

Nina Martin, a faculty member in the Human Development Counseling department at Vanderbilt, speaks about her experience contributing to the development of the HOD program, which was called “HD” at the time.

The Early Years:
  • Founder: Bob Innes
  • Called “HD”- the organizational development piece came later, and thus it became “HOD”
  • About 25 students total (it grew to 300 in just 4 years!)
  • Initial Goal: Think about what makes a good learning experience and how to systematically support and document it to ensure that it is of the highest caliber possible.
Interview with Nina Martin:


Nina Martin


Q: How has the HOD Internship Program changed over the years? How has the coursework/requirements of the program changed since the program’s inception?

It has become more organized and systematic with greater numbers of assignments and structure to enhance the academic portion of the experience. The number of sites increases seemingly yearly, especially as more sites in cities outside of Nashville catch on to this opportunity.

Q: What did you hope interns would gain from this experience? Is this still the vision for our interns today?

Ideally, students will gain a sense of what it actually means to be in the world as the program is applied in nature. Students will gain an understanding of how organizations work, use research to inform real-world application, and close the gap between academic and applied experiences so that each one enhances the other and ultimately expands critical thinking. These experiences inform research while research simultaneously informs students as to the best ways in which they can understand and impact organizations. Nina’s hope for students is: “you will apply what you are learning in a real life laboratory out in the world”.

Q: How has the job market changed as far as where we place interns?

It now seems to be more important to be able to read organizations quickly and effectively; with high job turnover, it is critical for new employees and interns to integrate into the organization quickly, conduct a needs assessment, be a team player, and move forward as needed.

Q: What skills should interns focus on building during their site experience?

Academic skills, such as learning about how organizations work, what developmental stages people are organizations are in, enhancing critical thinking, practicing public speaking and giving presentations, and continuing to work on writing skills; creativity; flexibility; adaptability; sense of humor (key!); and the ability to learn and receive feedback.

Q: In your opinion, what are the strongest qualities of the HOD Internship Program? What sets it apart?

First and foremost, it is academic in nature, and rigorous at that. This is not just an internship but an experience grounded in intentionality around creating thoughtful and prepared students whose skills include ethics and organizational development, to name a few. Students produce goods in the form of a portfolio, project, and other elements along the way to end their culminating capstone. Thus, they are able to prove learning through documentation and, with the help of distinguished professors, are appropriately critical of what they learn.

Q: How do you think this sort of internship prepares students for future occupations?

It is hard to imagine how this program wouldn’t enhance your potential to work in any job as it provides students ways to learn how to integrate themselves rapidly and identify needs within organizations, while understanding how to apply best practices from research in the service of enhancing those organizations. The skills learned in this program carry forth if integrated well.

Q: If you were to describe the HOD Internship Program to an individual not familiar with it, how would you describe it?

It is an experience that prepares students to be thoughtful, responsible, and intelligent citizens and integrate themselves into the communities and organizations they want to affect. Students are emerging scholars and continually think about how to help people in an intentional, systematic way. Students are able to think about what makes a good boss, a good leader, and a good organizational member and team player, all of which one cannot learn solely in a class, but must also experience in order to internalize.

Nina’s closing words… “You might be changed by the experience as much as you may change the organization itself.”


“A Day in the Life” by Dana Alloy – Distance Learning Internship

Intern Spotlight


Who: Dana Alloy

Summer 2015

Internship Site: Heart Capital – Cape Town, South Africa




What was the highlight of your experience (i.e. projects you worked on, people you met, events you attended)?

The best part of my experience was being able to be immersed in the culture of Philippi, the township where I worked, without feeling like a tourist. My afternoons selling vegetables through the maze of streets with my coworkers, Monwabisi and Justice, eating “smilies” and amagwenya with the whole team, or learning about the lives of my team members were invaluable memories I will never forget.




How does the HOD capstone internship compare to other internships you have had?

Working in the nonprofit space, there is always an aspect of complexity and chaos that is less present in a typical, for-profit business. My internship at Heart Capital was the most extreme case of that – on a daily basis, I faced corruption, gang issues, theft, internal conflicts, and more. The HOD curriculum provided me with frameworks to make sense of a complicated situation so that I could provide more value as an intern.


How do you think you have grown as a professional (i.e. skills, learning to receive feedback, professionalism tips)?

I think the most valuable lesson I learned is the importance of hard data in creating strategic initiatives in low-income areas. Secondly, I learned the importance of listening to and learning from those around me for weeks – if not months- before even beginning to take action when I am in a new environment.




What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would recommend for the internship search process?

1) Go Abroad! My internship was colored by my international experience. It both gave me a greater understanding of the coursework as well as became the most influential time in my life thus far.

2) Seriously, go abroad!

3) Contact me if you want to go abroad! I now work for the organization that placed me at Heart Capital, and I would be happy to help you find an internship in Cape Town as well. You can reach me at dana@vacorps.com


Why did you choose your site for your internship?

I knew I wanted to work at the grassroots level in a township in order to gain more experience. My passion for social enterprise and youth employment initiatives led me to Heart Capital. I also was interested in learning more about food systems, so it seemed like a perfect fit (and it was!).




How will this internship impact your future (i.e. change career, landed a job)?

My time at Heart Capital gave me a perspective that I believe is necessary for my career in the social sector. I also learned the quantitative and qualitative skills required to pursue lasting, data-driven change, and these tools will be necessary for me moving forward.


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