Academics photos

Internship Gets Down to the Basics of Health Care

Alexandra Knoppel '10

Andrea Knoppel photo Alexandra Knoppel '10 works in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Virginia Baptist Hospital, as she prepares for medical school. Knoppel has also interned at the National Institutes of Health.

Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia
Academics: Pre-Medical student majoring in psychology with minors in biology and chemistry
Activities: Circle K President, Vice Chair Judiciary Committee, Psychology Tutor, Psi Chi Vice President

Read "A Parent's Perspective" from Alex's Mom >>>


Changing diapers is one of the last things you'd think of doing in college. But when you're responsible for the most helpless of newborns, it's easy to be reminded that "care" is at the heart of all medical services.

Alexandra Knoppel '10 is one of three Randolph students interning in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Virginia Baptist Hospital (VBH) in Lynchburg.

Alex works with the NICU nurses caring for premature and high-risk babies. In addition to changing IVs, feeding and changing the babies, and stocking the unit with medical supplies, she makes rounds with the nurses and observes neonatal surgeries such as cesarean sections.

Alex also interned last spring at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, as a Biological Science Technician, working on a project to develop a vaccine for hepatitis C.

Experiential learning is one of the core characteristics of Randolph's academic program. Internships like Alex's are vital for pre-med students. With VBH only a few blocks away from campus and an expanding medical complex in Lynchburg, the opportunities are numerous and varied.

"My classes have given me the foundation with which internships, such as the one at the NICU and my summer one at NIH, can then build upon," says Alex. "It has been amazing to actually take the knowledge that I've learned in the classroom and watch it put into practice."

Interning in the NICU

A psychology major with minors in biology and chemistry , Knoppel has taken advantage of opportunities at Randolph to get a leg up on the competition for medical school admissions. She knows that her liberal arts education is giving her a foundation for success in her profession and fulfillment in life.

"I have tried to make the most out of my college experience," she says. "My professors continually challenge me to fulfill the potential that they see in me. I have truly grown from the liberal arts experience - I actually just took up playing the cello!"

Alex plans to attend medical school after graduation and is working with Health Professions Advisor Ann Fabirkiewicz to prepare for admission.

"Although I'm unsure to the exact specialty I will go into," she says. "I'm playing around with many ideas like bariatric surgery and now neonatology because of the internship."

"My mother has been a great inspiration in all that I have accomplished and my future goals," says Alex.


A Parent's Perspective

Andrea Knoppel photo Alexandra Knoppel '10 (right) and her mother Terri Boyd knew that Randolph was the "right fit" as soon as they stepped on campus.

Terri Boyd, Alex's mother, knew from the moment they set foot on campus that Randolph was the right fit for her daughter.

"The college boasted of grounded traditions, brilliant professors, challenging academics, beautiful surroundings, interesting extra curricular activities, and just an amazing group of kind, helpful, honest administrative staff," she says.

"Alex is getting a well rounded education, not only with the academics, but with real life experiences. Her counselors have helped her nail down exactly what she needs to do to pursue her dream of continuing on in Med school. Sure, there are moments when she moans about how hard the courses are or how demanding the professors can be, but as I say, 'those are the reasons you are learning so much and will be able to handle med school and life so well.' "

Terri says "without a doubt" that a Randolph education is a solid economic investment and encourages other parents seeking the most for their education dollar to take a long look at Randolph.

"If you are serious about a fabulous education, a fun college experience rich in tradition, a safe environment, and a lifestyle built on integrity, then Randolph College is for your child."