A Passion for Nursing: Dakota Babcock ’19

News Story categories: Biology Career Preparation French Internships Religious Studies Student Spotlight
A woman in scrubs showcasing a passion for nursing, Dakota Babcock '19, standing in a hallway.

“There was tremendous energy in the operating room as I watched the newborn baby take its first breath,” recalls Randolph-Macon College student Dakota Babcock ’19, who observed the Cesarean birth during her recent internship at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center (MRMC). “I saw such joy on the new parents’ faces…it’s an experience I’ll never forget.” The internship was a perfect fit for Babcock, who plans on a career in nursing.

Learning from the Best
Babcock spent January Term (J-term) at the Mechanicsville, Virginia hospital interning under the guidance of Rebecca Shaulis, administrative director of nursing. Babcock shadowed healthcare professionals; observed surgeries and medical procedures; and assisted in creating a brochure for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) within the hospital’s Birthplace.

“I collaborated with NICU and Labor and Delivery nurses to produce a brochure that highlights the resources the NICU offers, such as pediatric cardiology and ophthalmology,” explains Babcock. “The brochure illustrates how NICU staff work closely with chaplains, physical therapists, and respiratory therapists to provide the best care for babies and their families.”

A Tailor-made Internship
The biology major and religious studies and French minor heard about the internship from Biology Professor Nicholas Ruppel and Josh Quinn, medical careers coordinator for the EDGE, RMC’s career preparation program. 

“Professor Ruppel knew that Memorial Regional would be a perfect fit for me,” recalls Babcock, who also met with Quinn several times before applying for the internship. “I’m so grateful to both of them.”

Quinn says, “Dakota has demonstrated her drive and determination to reach her goal of nursing school every time I have met with her. She started working with Professor Ruppel—her advisor—and the EDGE early in her academic career to ensure that she would stay on track and find opportunities like this internship to fully confirm that nursing is the right path for her. I am confident that Dakota’s hard work will propel her through nursing school and on to a wonderful career.”

Ruppel has worked with Babcock for several years, always with an eye toward helping her meet nursing school admissions requirements.

“This not only meant choosing the right courses, but also getting experience in a hospital setting,” he explains. “Dakota’s internship has been several years in the making, made possible by our well-established connection to the hospital and the strength of our previous interns. This was the final step before Dakota starts nursing school, and I couldn’t be happier for her.”

Future Plans
Babcock, a member of the Pre-Health Society, Service Fellows, TriBeta, Omicron Delta Kappa, Delta Zeta, and Gamma Sigma Alpha, says, “The medical professionals at Memorial Regional showed me how to go beyond being just being a nurse. Each day, they provide phenomenal care, and that’s something I strive for in my future career.”

With plans in place to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University through their Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, Babcock is excited at the prospect of becoming a nurse practitioner. She’ll begin the 19-month program this spring.

“For a long time, people asked me what kind of nurse I want to be, and I wasn’t able to answer that question,” says Babcock, the recipient of three scholarships (the Dean’s Award, Robert C. Iden Scholarship, and Barclay DuPriest Scholarship). “My internship helped me realize I’m truly passionate about nursing—it’s where I belong. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead!”

January Term: A Month of Discovery
Each year, Randolph-Macon College offers its popular January Term (J-term), which provides students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture, embark on an internship, or conduct groundbreaking research. On campus, J-term offers for-credit courses across the curriculum, making it possible for students to fully engage for one month in a single subject.