Georgetown BSN Students Participate in the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)
November 10, 2021 – As Sydney Blackston (NHS’25), Sarah Bryant (NHS’23), and Noah Money (NHS’24) are working toward their baccalaureate degrees in nursing at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, they are also midshipmen in the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
The Naval ROTC is located at George Washington University, and the Army ROTC is at Georgetown University. A few times each week, the three undergraduates travel to Foggy Bottom for Naval courses and a lab, along with students from Catholic, Georgetown, GWU, and Howard.
“Right after I got into Georgetown through early action, I submitted my application for the Navy Nurse scholarship,” Blackston recalled. “About two months later I was offered it. So far, I really like ROTC.”
Added Bryant, who is Blackston’s student mentor, “ROTC is a lot, but well worth it because of the people that I have come to know because of it.”
“I love ROTC,” Money shared. “Being a nursing student in ROTC provides us with a lot of experiences and allows us to see different sides of Georgetown, George Washington, and life.”
‘A Profound Effect’
Blackston’s father serves in the U.S. Navy. She was born in California and has mostly lived nearby in Virginia. Her family also spent time in Madrid. Though she has known about Georgetown for years, it was not until high school that she decided to apply.
“As a junior in high school, I went with my family to walk around the campus, and I instantly fell in love,” she remembered, noting she was attracted to the buildings and the sense of school spirit she witnessed.
Bryant, who is from Ohio, admitted that, “Georgetown was not on my radar at all,” hoping instead to attend a larger state university. “Even though Georgetown wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, I am so thankful that I ended up here,” she said.
From Connecticut, Money attended a medical immersion program at Georgetown during high school, was drawn to the nursing field through the experience, and transferred to campus this year from another university. “Helping people is always something I’ve wanted to do, and I want to be able to have a profound effect on people’s lives,” he said.
At the ‘Forefront’
Bryant values the tight-knit nature of the nursing major and said she was inspired to go into this field, in part, because of her grandmother’s 44-year career as a registered nurse. “She embodied the nursing care role in everything that she did,” Bryant explained.
Looking ahead, she hopes to be a flight nurse with the Navy with a particular focus on the Marines. “In order to get there, I just have to keep working towards graduation and becoming the best nurse that I can be,” she added.
Money highlighted the program’s mission. “I love the Jesuit values,” he said, noting how they are very applicable to nursing and the major itself. Additionally, he said that he is “super pumped” about the opportunity to be in a clinical setting so early in the curriculum and that he is grateful to be in DC due to his interests in health policy.
Blackston, too, said the nursing major has been enjoyable – allowing her to focus on her goal of “helping people.”
“After I did some research on the nursing profession, I really saw myself being in the health field,” said Blackston, who looks forward to becoming a Navy Nurse and has a longer-term goal of advocacy and policy work. “Nurses are really at the forefront of the health care field. . . . I’m beyond excited to start simulation labs in health assessment next semester, which will be really hands-on.”
Busy, Meaningful Schedules
Despite their very busy schedules, the three students are enjoying experiential and extracurricular opportunities with ROTC and other organizations.
Through Naval ROTC, Blackston has become a member of the unit’s diversity club and has had the chance to engage with other university students. At Georgetown, she participates in the GREEN Club’s work on the environment, No Lost Generation’s work to help refugees, and the Georgetown Running Club.
The summer prior to Georgetown Bryant was at Great Lakes Naval Base for a mini boot camp, and during last summer, she was in San Diego on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
“I shadowed the medical personnel for the entire duration of a two-week underway,” she said about the latter experience. “At both trainings, I learned so much and met so many people that have made it clear that I will enjoy my career as a Navy Nurse.”
Additionally, she is a member of the Georgetown University Grilling Society and is the Naval ROTC liaison with the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association. She also works with individuals experiencing homelessness as a youth leader at a local Capitol Heights church.
‘So Much Success’
Money participated in the USS Abraham Lincoln experience as well.
“This was one of the most influential experiences I think I have ever had,” he said, highlighting how he was able to observe and learn about various medical procedures on the aircraft carrier (i.e., a “floating city”) of 6,000 military personnel. “ROTC prepares you to be in the Navy. Seeing how the Navy works was really big for me.”
Money believes his Georgetown nursing education and participation in ROTC form a strong combination.
“Being a nurse from Georgetown already sets you up for so much success,” he said. “I’m excited to graduate and work in the hospital as a nurse in the Navy.”
By Bill Cessato