Social Change and Development Internship Program


The Social Change and Development (SCD) Internship Program is a unique offering of the UT Dallas School of Interdisciplinary Studies. This program provides students with an opportunity to work directly with non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), especially those with an international focus. In doing so, students build upon their academic foundation, contribute their intellectual and creative talents to the organization they work with, and gain practical experience in continually expanding realm of voluntary or so so-called third-sector organizations.

Academic supervision for the SCD Internship Program is provided by Dr. Jillian M. Duquaine-Watson, a faculty member in the UT Dallas School of Interdisciplinary Studies. In addition to her expertise in social change and development, gender studies, and non-profit management, Dr. Jillian also contributes practical knowledge gained from working directly with NGOs and non-profits, both in the U.S. and abroad.

In recent semesters, internships have included the following activities:

  • Communications: evaluating an organization’s current communication strategies (including social media) as they pertain to donors and volunteers, comparing those strategies to the communication practices of other, similarly-sized non-profit organizations, and formulating a plan to improve this aspect of an organization.
  • Fundraising: investigating various sources for charitable contributions types of crowd funding (such as Indie-Go-Go), and then planning and implementing a fund-raising project from start to finish. Projects are typically aimed at supporting ongoing projects as well as implementing new initiatives or programs.
  • Grants: investigating grants for current and future projects, compiling necessary information, and drafting grant applications.
  • Microcredit Initiative: examining current literature on microcredit and microfinance, evaluating existing microcredit programs, and creating a “working model” for implementation of microcredit initiatives.
  • Marketing: developing marketing materials—including print, electronic and video—for special projects, fund-raisers and similar activites.
  • Volunteer Training: creating a volunteer training manual that is meant to introduce volunteers to an organization philosophy, mission and goals and to provide necessary training in cultural competence and volunteer responsibilites for volunteers that will travel to international “field sites” as part of their volunteer relatinonship with an organization.
  • “Green” Technologies and Sustainability Initiatives: exploring technologies and initiatives (such a biodigesters and aquaponics) and the economic, health and environmental benefits they bring to NGOs and their projects.
  • Culturally Competence Curricular Materials: research specific cultural context and create curricular materials that both advance education objects and reflect cultural values, beliefs and context.
  • Website Development: review and evaluation of existing website, comparing it to other non-profits and NGOs with the aim of revising website to increase appeal, ease of use and effective communication.


SCD Internships are open to undergraduate and graduate students at UT Dallas. Internships are typically offered for 3 credit hours per semester and students must register for academic credit in order to participate in this program. Typically, SCD Student Interns are expected to devote an average of 10 hours per week to their internship responsibilities. Interns are required to meet with Dr. Jillian every other week for approximately 1 hour (individually); interns are also required to meet with Dr. Jillian and the entire internship team for a 4-hour “team assessment and planning meeting” approximately every 3-4 weeks. Meetings are mandatory for all interns. Interns are required to provide weekly written updates about the internships activities and progress via email and to conduct a self-evaluation at the conclusion of the internship. They are also required to produce specific documents (reports, grant applications, presentations) or other materials (such as short video segments, curricular materials, marketing materials) that are specific to their internship assignment.

To Apply/Application Process

Applicants should be creative, dynamic students who can work well both independently and in collaboration with other members of the internship team. Internships are awarded on a competitive basis and all internship positions are unpaid.

To apply, students must submit a 2-page letter in which they describe their interest in the SCD Internship Program, their experience in non-profit and voluntary organizations, and any academic or experiential knowledge they bring to the internship. Applicants must also submit an official copy of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and the selection process may include an interview with Dr. Jillian. Formal letters of recommendation may also be requested.

Contact Us

For more information about the SCD Internship Program, please contact the Program Supervisor, Dr. Jillian M. Duquaine-Watson via email at [email protected] or via telephone at 972-883-2322.