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Immersion and Internships

Immersion Is… an opportunity to follow your curiosity and learn by experience. Many communication of science and technology students fulfill their Immersion experience through a hands-on internship, gaining real-world knowledge that opens doors for the future.

Immersion Program

Through Immersion Vanderbilt, students pursue a two-part project beginning with experiential learning and ending with a culminating project. Learn more about the variety of immersive experiences students have undertaken.

Science Communication Immersion Project

The Science Communication Immersion Project represents an approach to develop new dialogues that address critical issues facing the world by bringing together interested students to strike up conversations. The goal is to propagate science communication across a variety of media to establish factual beachheads in the wealth of information available to people.

Project Activities

The project takes place over two semesters. In the fall semester, students spend the initial four weeks researching and mastering the science. Activities include reading the scientific literature, lay articles, and blog posts; listening to speakers with expertise on the subject matter; listening to pertinent podcasts or Ted Talks.

At the end of the initial period, each student prepares a three-slide presentation to share with the group. The presentation will cover:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. What are people doing to solve it?
  3. Where is the research going?

Students spend the remainder of the semester developing blogs, podcasts, films, music, and/or art to communicate the science they’ve mastered. In the spring semester, students collaborate to produce a theatrical production; students write the script, design sets/costumes, film the production, produce music, and act in the production. Additionally, students travel to the annual Science Talk Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Hear the Immersion Scholars describe their experience:

“Thank you so much for such a great trip! The conference was great and I’m excited to see how this Immersion project grows in the future. I learned a lot! (I have also told this story to everybody who will listen).” –Anjali Raman, Communication of Science and Technology ‘24

“Such an amazing experience! I had a great time at the conference and am excited for more students to have the opportunity to attend in the future. I also registered for classes this morning and was inspired to sign up for Dr. Ornes’ CSET course next semester which I’m really looking forward to!” – Lipika Narisetti, Medicine, Health, and Society ‘24


Internship opportunities can be found through the Vanderbilt Career Center, which provides information about on-campus recruiting activities, interning abroad, and internship subsidies. CSET majors can contact Cathy Weisbrodt, Director of Student Engagement, for the latest opportunities. New opportunities are updated continuously and if you have a specific request, Cathy is happy to help identify internship opportunities for you.

Heidi Hall CSET Summer Science Writing Scholars Program

The Heidi Hall CSET Summer Science Writing Scholars program provides opportunities for students to work in close collaboration with mentors in creative writing, the natural sciences, and the Vanderbilt Office of Communications and Marketing. Science Writing Scholars will develop communications in multiple genres, driven by their own creative and scientific interests, as well as interact with student and faculty researchers and communications professionals.

This program is open to students with interests in both science and creative expression, regardless of major. Selections for these competitive awards are made by a committee of faculty and staff affiliated with the Science and Nature Writing Program with input from the Vanderbilt Office of Communications and Marketing.

Program Requirements

Heidi Hall CSET Summer Science Writing Scholars will work as part of the Summer Science Writing Workshop mentored by a CSET faculty member. The scholars will engage in a regular and sustained way with one or more to learn about the research area through group meetings, readings, and to the extent feasible, participation in the work of the research team. Working with the Vanderbilt Office of Communications and Marketing, the scholar will also pitch and write pieces for specified communications channels. Based on these experiences and their own scientific interests, scholars will develop a substantive writing project in the genre and medium of their choice. Depending on the creative interests of the scholar, this project could range from a cycle of poems, to journalistic articles, to a short graphic novel.

Student works will be archived and presented as part of the Summer Research Symposium.

Student Eligibility

The CSET Summer Science Writing Scholars Program supports students from any major, but they must be able to display clear interest in both science and creative writing. Students are eligible to apply for the summer after their sophomore or junior year. Prior involvement in CSET is not required, but it may help produce a more compelling application. Students may only be supported for one summer.

How to Apply

Students should submit:

  • Description of proposed project
  • Writing sample
  • Application form

Applicants should compose a clear, concise description of their scientific writing interests and a summary of their prospective writing project (limited to 2000 words). In the same document, the student should append a writing sample limited to 500 words. Excerpts of larger works are acceptable. The project description and writing sample should be submitted as a single pdf.

Application materials are due by the first Monday in February.

Awards will be announced in late March. Students will be notified by email, copying the faculty mentor. Students may not accept this award if they are participating in another summer research program or if they have on-campus summer employment, and if they accept the award, they are expected to commit to the program and remove themselves from consideration in other programs.

Selection Criteria

CSET Summer Science Writing Scholars proposals will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • The potential for the scholar to generate writing that communicates artfully and with precision about science, with the goal of deepening our understanding of the natural world and our place in it.
  • The potential for the scholar to engage creatively with research supported by the Vanderbilt University Summer Research Program.
  • Considerations of disciplinary and student diversity, equity, and inclusion.


A complete proposal consists of the Application Form, Project Description and Writing Sample. Applicants should compose a clear, concise description of their scientific writing interests and a summary of their prospective writing project — limited to 2000 words. In the same document, the student should append a writing sample limited to 500 words. Excerpts of larger works are acceptable. The Project Description and Writing Sample should be uploaded as a single pdf as part of the application. The application RedCAP can be found here.

Program Period

This is a ten-week, in-person, writing workshop experience beginning in late May and concluding in early August. Exact dates will be announced in the award letter.

Fellowship and Expenses

The current fellowship award is $5,000 per student plus provision of on-campus housing. Students not requiring on-campus housing are not eligible for additional remuneration.

A budget of $500 is provided to purchase materials, equipment, or travel that directly supports the creative project. Any durable materials, supplies, and equipment will become the property of the College of Arts and Science and remain with the faculty mentor’s department after the summer. All expenses must be approved by the faculty mentor and submitted to the administrative assistant for the faculty mentor’s department no later than the last day of October following the summer project.


Students who complete all requirements as stated above and who are endorsed by their faculty mentors can receive Immersion experience credit for this summer research experience, provided that they register the experience in the Immersion Portal.

Immersion Stories

Amanda Maeglin

“This summer, I am working as an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AIML) communications and outreach intern at NASA. My responsibility is to update NASA’s internal AIML website, where anyone within the agency can go if they have questions about the technology. I work to keep the site accurate and user friendly. In addition to renovating and expanding the site, I write blogs about AIML development at NASA, send out monthly newsletters, and am helping to develop educational resources so that anyone at NASA can learn more about the technology. As a part of my internship, I have gotten to interview researchers and scientists across the country to learn more about their work. I have connected with NASA employees working in everything from art to earth science, and witnessed firsthand the importance of communication in scientific and technological development!”