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Rutgers-Camden Track Star Races Toward Career in Nursing
Reenacting Rocky sprinting up the Art Museum steps is a popular Philadelphia pastime. But not even Stallone can say he came from Camden.
That eight-mile run from Rutgers–Camden, over the Ben Franklin Bridge, is just part of Tracy Dobkowski’s week, and not necessarily the hard part.
The soon-to-be Rutgers–Camden graduate is captain of the Rutgers–Camden Cross Country, Outdoor, and Indoor Track Teams. A nursing major and psychology minor, Dobkowski has also made dean’s list every semester at Rutgers–Camden. Plus, she has a job at the Rutgers–Camden Athletic & Fitness Center.
“I’ve always been involved,” says the 2008 West Deptford High School graduate and Rutgers–Camden cross country MVP. “If I have a thousand things to do I’ll get everything accomplished…I don’t like having spare time too much.”
Training for long races, she says, takes similar stamina that’s needed for schoolwork, and eventually the nursing profession. “It takes mental strength. You have to prepare long and hard for a race and long and hard for an exam.”
Dobkowski’s desire to become a nurse evolved from her mother’s diagnosis of lung cancer. When she passed away last November – just as Dobkowski started the nursing program at Rutgers–Camden as a transfer from Gloucester County College - the Scarlet Raptor somehow kept her stride.
“I couldn’t take off. I wasn’t going to make that an option. I worked so hard to get into the program, I didn’t want to give up on the opportunity,” she recalls. “A lot of this is for me, but it is because of her. There’s a much deeper reason for why I do all of this.”
Dobkowski’s advice to future students, and those confronted with crisis, is to know for yourself what you can handle.
“Countless people told me it’s too much. But you have to believe in yourself. I didn’t know I could do all that I did, but I knew I could try.”
The standout scholar athlete, who was a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American and Academic All-American at Gloucester County College, intends to work in critical care and run the Boston Marathon in 2014.
Media Contact: Cathy K. Donovan