From The Great Plains, to the Mountains, to the World

A Rapid City native’s journey to Missoula and beyond

By Christian Kiemele

Growing up, Jessica Bailey would leave the plains of South Dakota for the mountains of Montana to visit family in Bozeman. Little by little, trip by trip, she began to fall in love with the Big Sky State. When she graduated high school, Bailey enrolled at the University of Montana as a Griz student-athlete for the track and cross-country teams.

Jessica BaileyBailey decided to major in health and human performance, enrolling in the pre-med program within the department. As a way to further her experiences and education, she joined the Global Grizzlies program through the Davidson Honors College.

Global Grizzlies sends a group of 10 students to a third-world country to volunteer. Bailey’s group travelled to Tanzania to serve at hospitals around the country.

“We got to observe and help a lot more than you could by volunteering in the United States,” Bailey said. “It was a great experience working with the doctors and nurses. We got to learn from them and even teach them some new things we’d been taught in class before we went over.”

All of this helped Bailey win the Peterson Family Scholarship through the Department of Health and Human Performance.

“As a student athlete, it’s hard to have a job on the side that lets you work around the hours you are spending in athletics and school,” Bailey says. “A scholarship like this helps with tuition costs and living costs. It makes everything a little bit easier, and I’m so grateful for that.”

With plans to continue on to medical school, costs for school and living can add up. Scholarships are helping make her goals more reachable.

“Anyone who’s willing to help students like me achieve their dreams is a pretty awesome person in my book.” 

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