A vital part of the RMC experience is experiential learning, and internships offer real-world settings for applying and connecting classroom learning with the workplace. Students work closely with faculty, and with staff from the EDGE, RMC’s four-year career preparation program, to find just the right internship. On-site experience allows students to explore a career path, network with professionals, and make confident choices about the future.
Internship opportunities at Randolph-Macon College include unpaid internships for academic credit through the Bassett Internship Program, and paid and unpaid internships with a wide variety of companies and not-for-profit organizations, including federal and state government.
“As a pre-med student, seeing the inner workings of a hospital and shadowing doctors helped me understand what my future will be like,” says Ria Khandpur ’20, who did an internship at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, where she shadowed healthcare professionals in the operating room, anesthesiology department and emergency department. She also kept a journal and wrote a final paper, which she presented to hospital staff at the end of her internship.
Khandpur, who plans a career as a physician, was accepted into the Preferred Applicant Track program at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical School in conjunction with a partnership between RMC and VCU. “It feels so good to have faculty that believe in my ability to practice medicine someday,” she says.
Working with alligators and turtles. Cleaning animal enclosures. Scrubbing aquariums. It was all in a day’s work for Sarah Mayberry ’20, whose passion for animals led her to an internship at the Nature Center at Maymont in Richmond, Virginia. “More and more, our students are starting to see the value an internship provides,” says Biology Professor Nicholas Ruppel, who helped arrange the internship. “The experience gives them in-depth exposure to a career field.”
Under the guidance of Maymont aquarist Delaney Sheire ’16, Mayberry siphoned aquariums, prepared diets for a wide variety of animals—including raptors, turtles, and alligators—and assisted with outreach programs. Mayberry says her internship “gave me a better perspective on what kind of career I might want. I now want to work more closely with animals, but maybe also do research at some point.”
Stephanie Parker Golembeski ’97, business development director at Froehling & Robertson, Inc. in Richmond, mentored Benjamin Woodfin ’20, who interned in F&R’s Environmental Department. As she has for a decade, Golembeski worked with Environmental Studies and Geology Professor Michael Fenster to arrange the internship. Fenster says, “In my humble opinion, this is how it’s supposed to work… partnerships, networks, students working as professionals, real-world mentors, and established and new relationships all working together synergistically for the good of the whole, each other and the environment.”
“Ben got to see firsthand what he learned in his classes,” says Golembeski. “You may think you want to do something, but you don’t know for sure until you actually do it—especially in the environmental field, where so much of the work happens outdoors.”
The biggest surprise about the internship? “Each week, the fieldwork we originally planned on doing was shifted around,” says Woodfin. “The lack of a set-in-stone schedule was a little uncomfortable at first, but I quickly began to appreciate the team’s flexibility. My internship showed me that environmental consulting is the type of work I’d like to pursue after graduation.”