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Inside Immersion: Meet our HOD Intern!

Posted by on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 in Immersion Blog.

Hello! My name is Cole Bloomfield and I am a Junior studying HOD and History. I am currently completing my HOD Capstone Internship at the Office of Immersion Resources (Immersion Vanderbilt administrative office). I personally believe that the Immersion program has the potential to provide significant long term value to all of our Vanderbilt degrees and to the school in general – that is why I decided to dedicate this entire semester to helping implement and improve this program.

There are a number of ways to describe what Immersion is: an experiential learning requirement, a way to give students official university recognition (on their transcript!) for the amazing projects they are already working on, etc. Personally, my favorite way to describe Immersion is as an “experiential college thesis.” The college thesis is widely considered by employers, grad schools, and the broader academic and civic community as something that indicates exceptional dedication and innovation on the part of a student. Just consider Princeton’s senior thesis – it is one of the most historic college capstone projects ever. Every Princeton student from Henry Kissinger to Michelle Obama to Jeff Bezos had to write a senior thesis in order to graduate.

Rather than limiting students to just one specific type of project or experience, like a senior thesis program, Immersion allows students to pursue projects that are meaningful to them and perhaps better align with their interests, skills, and goals. That being said, a thesis can still be a fantastic experience, and an Immersion project to boot, if a student wants to pursue it. I have personally seen this when I completed a thesis on the origins of the American private prison industry for my History Seminar. However, considering the breadth of resources and opportunities afforded to us as Vanderbilt students, many students are able to, and would rather, explore emerging interests by creating an art project, a technical product, or whatever they can get their hands on. Immersion enables and empowers students to receive official university recognition for these types of projects that more accurately reflect the holistic nature of the Vanderbilt experience.

Cole Bloomfield, Class of 2021
Human and Organizational Development & History

From Piedmont, California Cole is a Junior studying Human and Organizational Development and History. He is interning with the Office of Immersion Resources and is excited to bring an undergraduate perspective to the development of the Immersion Vanderbilt program.