Summer Intern Highlights 2019 | A Conversation with our Student Athlete Interns

Please briefly share your academic and professional background

Kayla: I am a rising junior at Vanderbilt University Majoring in Medicine, Health, and Society, minoring in business.

Kenny: Rising Senior with a major in Sociology with a business minor. Outside Linebacker on the football team. Some internship experience in the nonprofit world and with recruiting.

Braden: Rising Senior with a major in Law History and Society, as well as a Tight End on the Football team. Internship experience really all over the place and that was part of my reason for choosing TFC and Mario; to help figure out a potential focus.

What was the path that led you to get involved with the TFC at Vanderbilt? What we were you hoping/ expecting to get out of this summer?

Kayla: I came in contact with Mario after seeing his booth at the internship fair. I reached out to see more about what his center was about. Talking with him early on in the summer i was hoping to broaden my knowledge with different areas of people. I was hoping to try something new to get an idea of what sort of work does or does not interest me.

Kenny & Braden: We were first introduced to Mario and the TFC by Oren Burks, a Vanderbilt alum who is currently with the Green Bay Packers. After a subsequent meeting with Mario and Oren we knew this is what we needed to do in the summer. We really did not have the biggest idea of what our actual roles would be, but with Mario it’s all about pairing the right people with the right project and we were confident that we would fit well.

What was your experience as a TFC intern this summer – Please share details regarding the Accelerator project you were working on – from Accelerator lectures / business model canvas/pitch to Malcolm/ connecting with former college and professional athletes, etc.

We all believe that this was an incredible experience for all three of us. It pushed us all outside of our comfort zone and gave us new opportunities to grow. There was a significant challenge in building the Accelerator program and opened us up to more of the office grind. Shifting over to various business model canvasses combined with real engagement with businesses allowed us to begin to see the inner-workings behind everything and see the opportunities in the gaps. Pushing towards our pitch with the Vanderbilt AD Malcom Turner, we prepared well and were able to execute on the big stage – giving us excellent experience in a pitch scenario. By bringing current and former Vanderbilt professional athletes into the program, we were building was crucial towards a program that the entire network could get behind. All in all, this experience was wonderful for us and pushed us to be better in ways that we did not think were possible.

How has this summer shaped your thinking about your athletic and professional career?

Kayla: This summer has made me realize that using my resources in school right now are important as well as made me more interested in business. I have begun to consider that business school may be something I am interested in pursuing in the future. I have realized that my athletic career has well prepared me for a career in the future with the skills I have developed as a student athlete.

Kenny:  It has done a lot. My focus has primarily been on football and realizing my dream of the NFL, but through the TFC I’ve consistently added skills and knowledge that are helping me excel towards my goal of the NFL and into my professional career.

Braden: This summer has placed me in a good spot. One with a multitude of options that really will be on me to decide. Talking with people across industries and professions opened my eyes to some more possibilities and has been a great influence on me. Moving forward I think we all see Kathleen and Mario as a part of our circle and all of us are extremely lucky to have them there.

#1 Take away from this summer?

Kayla: A takeaway I have had this summer is the importance of creating relationships with people that can benefit you further on in life by expanding your network. I also took away how important it is to use the skills you have to be successful in a professional career, as well as a broader outlook on many different areas and careers.

Kenny: Expanding my network was crucial for me.

Braden: Take “like” out of your vocabulary. S/O Mario.