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Bailey Walters: Wide Ambitions Lead to the Wolfpack

Bailey Walters stands in front of the Wilson College of Textiles.

This story was originally published by NC State News.

For third-generation Wolfpack student Bailey Walters, family connections sparked her interest in NC State, but her own hard work earned her a place in the Pack.

Raised in Farmville, North Carolina — an agricultural Pitt County community of fewer than 5,000 — Walters cherished her rural upbringing, even as she yearned for educational experiences she couldn’t find in a small town. Pushing herself to excel in the classroom, she graduated as valedictorian of her high school class. But she aimed even higher. In her junior and senior years, Walters took part in an accelerated education program at Pitt County Community College, completing an associate’s degree in art in May. 

“I’ve always been an ambitious person,” said Walters. “As my mom likes to say, ‘I march to the beat of my own drum.’”

Along her march, Walters realized that her biggest ambition lay in pursuing a path that could lead her to a career as a pediatric physician’s assistant (PA). She didn’t know what form that path might take, however, until she attended a Pack Preview event in Greenville in 2022. There, she met Chloe Patterson ‘23, who would soon be leveraging her bachelor’s in polymer and color chemistry (PCC) from the Wilson College of Textiles to forge her own path into the PA field. 

Walters learned that the PCC degree is a specialized chemistry degree focused on polymers — the molecular building blocks of many common materials — with applications in a wide range of fields, from fashion to medicine. She realized it was the perfect degree to help her stand out to the competitive PA program she one day hopes to attend.

“I’ve already started seeing the value of what I’m learning in my classes and how it will apply to my future as a PA,” said Walters.

For now, Walters plans to take full advantage of her Wolfpack experience. She aims to pursue a Master of Science in Textiles alongside her PCC degree, so she can graduate with both. An avid dancer and athlete, she looks to get involved in dance and — hopefully — club tennis. She’s already applied to become a peer mentor with the Campus Health Center. And she even plans to add a second associate’s degree — in science — by transferring a credit she’ll earn at NC State.  

I’ve already started seeing the value of what I’m learning in my classes and how it will apply to my future as a PA.

As a Goodnight Scholar and a Textile Pioneer Scholar, Walters is thankful for the communities connected to both programs, which are helping her find balance amidst her busy schedule. She’s just as excited for the chances she’ll have to pay that support forward.

“NC State’s whole philosophy is to Think and Do and give back to the community,” said Walters. “I hope to use my education to give back to communities — like those in Pitt County — that helped me get to where I am.”