Stuart Bailey | Animal and Rangeland Sciences | Ecampus | New Jersey

United State Coast Guard Arctic Service Ribbon

First Generation College Student

Western Influence

I am a father of an adorable 20-month-old son, and a husband to an amazing Earth-loving woman. She is my rock, and my son is my drive. I am also an Electrician for the United States Coast Guard. Prior to my service, I was a mailman in Humboldt County, CA. An interesting fact about me is while I was in the Coast Guard, I sailed the Northwest Passage, starting out in Sitka, AK, making our way around Canada and ending in Baltimore, MD. Onboard our cutter was a marine scientist from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, well known for arctic marine life studies as well as examining glacial ice and its retreat. We became close friends onboard the ship during our 40+ day adventure and he even emailed me a copy of the complete study.

My hobbies include DIY projects at home and working on my classic truck--which I bought sight unseen in Alaska and drove across the country to New Jersey where I now live. I also enjoy riding horses, gardening, backpacking, hunting and fishing. I am extremely passionate about the western United States and its wild mustangs and burros. I am currently using my GI bill from my military service to attend Oregon State University via Ecampus where I hope to transition from military service to a career in rangeland management with an emphasis on wild mustangs and burros.

Home is the Range

I chose Rangeland Management, specifically wild horses and burros, because it is something I am passionate about. I have just begun my studies in my field and, while I have not yet done research or traveled, I look forward to it. I enjoy the rugged and natural aspect to horsemanship and the wildlands of the intermountain western landscapes. I believe that being outdoors and connecting with nature in a variety of aspects not only benefits a person physically, but also intimately from within. If I could have things my way, I would pair these wild horses and burros with America's combat veterans to help them overcome and manage PTSD and other illnesses that befall our heroes. I would also love to work with correctional facilities and programs that utilize wild horses and burros for rehabilitating incarcerated individuals back into society. Overall, the impact from these programs, as well as the impact of simply restoring wildlands that are facing desertification, would benefit our country immensely and should not be overlooked.

 

Pushing Forward

In five years I see myself owning property out West again, ideally Idaho, Wyoming, or Montana. I plan on working for the Bureau of Land Management or the United States Forest Service conducting research as a rangeland technician or a similar position where I can work towards my ultimate goal of becoming a Wild Horse and Burro specialist for either organization. The College of Agricultural Sciences is helping me get there through numerous programs and outreach coordination.

Building the Dream

Challenges I have faced in continuing my education and dreams are common among parents going to school I believe. I must constantly take time away from my wife and son to complete my work, keep up my grades, and learn what I need to be successful. Luckily for me, my wife is stronger than anyone could imagine, and I owe everything to her. Between us, she is the one making the extreme sacrifice of self so that myself, and our son, remain happy. I am pursuing this better life so we can all live our dreams.

I am a first generation college student. If I remember correctly, my mother did not graduate high school, and my father was expelled but then completed his GED. My sister dropped out of high school, went to a continuation school, and then completed her GED as well.

 

Whole New World

A defining moment of my life was definitely my time spent above the Arctic Circle. Over my three weeks in the Arctic Circle I saw an abundance of wildlife--including polar bears--and I worked alongside seasoned Arctic marine life scientist Josh Jones, who I enjoyed conversation with regularly. While I was up there I witnessed the beauty of that area, along with the military/commercial presence and desire to control the potential sea traffic routes due to the melting of Arctic ice. My conversations with Jones really enlightened me to the true meaning of the polar ice caps melting and Arctic marine life being changed forever.

Shortly after my departure, my crew went on, sailing through the Panama Canal, and back to Alaska. In total, it took them around a year to circumnavigate North America. I always thought that was beyond amazing and while I wish I could have been there for the second leg of our journey, duty called.

Oceanographic Science Aboard Coast Guard Cutter Maple

Looking Back

I wish someone would have told me years ago to stay focused, and try to find a better way to pay for college! I went to college out of high school on a track and field scholarship. I flunked out after two years, with $10,000 in student debt. The thing is, I wasn't sure of myself at that time, and there is no way someone could have told me who I was. It takes time to learn who you are, and who/what you want to be. Some move faster than others, and that's okay. At the end of the day, we really need someone to just tell us "It's okay, you are going to be fine. Don't give up!"