But the 24-year-old Wisconsin native said opportunities and experiences in the Springs’ nonprofit sector have been invaluable to her development.
Now working as a program coordinator for the Center for Creative Leadership and a direct-care counselor for Urban Peak, Babcock plans to leave next year for a two-year Peace Corps stint in Nicaragua, where she will work in health care. She talked about coming here, her many travels and the varied résumé she continues to build.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I went to school at Colorado College and majored in psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience. … The summer between my junior and senior years, I got a position at Urban Peak and that was my first experience working with people at risk. I worked there for the summer and was supposed to be a relief [staffer] but ended up working 40 hours a week, which was fantastic because I got to jump right in the water and see a lot of things that most people don’t get to see at that age. I decided to stay on after, so I worked there all of my senior year as well. … I did my thesis on need-based mental health care, looking at a restructuring of the health care system and looking at it more from the client’s perspective. … I also interned at AspenPointe through their Enterprises division and got to really see a lot of the work they were doing in helping those basic needs be met.
You did some traveling after college. Tell us about that.
I graduated in May 2012, went home for the summer, met some really amazing people who are important in my life, and went on a big Alaska trip that I had been planning with my dad since I was 8 years old. It was kind of the year I spent taking out all of my life goals. Then I left to travel the world and finished that in India, where I volunteered at Jhamste Gatsal Children’s Community in the Himalayas. I saw people at risk in a different culture, so I was kind of building on working with those at-risk populations.
When I got back, I started looking for jobs, and I knew that I didn’t want to stay in Wisconsin. The very first day of my job search, I contacted Stacey Burns at AspenPointe and asked her if she could be a reference. I got an email back right away saying, “Call me.” So I called and she said, “I think I have a job for you.” Most young professionals right out of college say their job search was horrible, but mine took about two minutes. … I ended up getting the job and moved out immediately in February 2013. I started as a career service specialist, helping clients who were in our mental health care system to get jobs.
What are you doing now, and what are your plans for the future?
In March I decided that it was time for a change — I still love AspenPointe but I was kind of growing out of my position there. It wasn’t quite the right fit anymore. So I applied for the Peace Corps. It was always something that I wanted to do … and right around the time I left AspenPointe, I kind of just woke up one day and decided to do it. I’m supposed to leave for Nicaragua in March 2015. I was nominated for a position helping run health clinics. I will be working in a clinic and doing anything from working with whole-person wellness to teaching healthy living classes, helping in women’s health and with the health-related issues in the region.
What made you decide to come back?
I was a little hesitant to come back to where I went to college, because I didn’t want to become one of those people who gets stuck at college. … I chose Colorado Springs for the job, but it really grew on me as a city. The Leadership NOW! program through Leadership Pikes Peak really helped me realize just how much room for growth there is here. Up in Denver, I would be just another young professional. But here, I’m a board member on the Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission. There aren’t many places where I could do something like that at my age.
To what do you attribute those opportunities?
I think a lot of it has to do with this environment. After I left AspenPointe I was working part-time at the Melting Pot and ended up getting a job at the Center for Creative Leadership. It’s a part-time job, so I never would have applied if I hadn’t quit … and it ended up working really well. I work with the fourth-best executive leadership development program in the world, and we have location in Brussels, Singapore, Greensboro and San Diego. I love it. … I don’t think I would have gotten the same opportunities anywhere else. nCSBJ