Michael Connell '15
Animal Sciences and Industry Bachelor's
Michael Connell was making a living shoeing horses for the U.S. Army, but he wasn't doing what he loved. A cowboy at heart, his passion for livestock and the rodeo led him to the animal sciences and industry bachelor's degree program through Kansas State University Global Campus.
Connell took 10 years to complete the degree, but the benefits came far quicker. While in school, he helped develop a program for technical large animal rescue for the state of Nevada and has the opportunity to implement similar programs in other states and abroad.
With his degree in hand, Connell now has a host of professional opportunities in front of him, all of which can help fund his love of rodeo.
Animal Sciences and Industry Bachelor's Student Experience
What made you decide on the animal sciences and industry bachelor's degree program?
"I started school through the American Military University on a military history degree path. My older brother got cancer and it did something to me. It shocked me. I decided I need to do what I really love doing, and I switched over. I started looking and found the animal science program at K-State."
How did you balance everything when going back to school?
"In the classroom, students only have that one time to hear a lecture. I struggle with learning like that because after about 10 minutes, I get distracted way too easily. With the online classes, I was able to deal with that problem, because when I got distracted, I could hit the pause button, walk, get my head cleared, come back and continue on. It really helped."
Did you have anyone on staff that helped you through your degree program?
"My graduation ceremony was my first time on campus. My advisor, Deanna Retzlaff, took the day off and she got authorized to drive me around for the day. I was tickled to death. I even wrote the dean a very nice letter when I finished because of the assistance she gave me. She found classes at other universities so that I could meet every requirement and got a few credits transferred. She was just phenomenal."
What are your career plans now that you've finished your degree?
"I want to retire from the army, then I've got a number of different directions I could go. Initially, I was thinking I was going to start my own cattle operation, but because I work in emergency management now, it's opening other opportunities. I've developed the state of Nevada's program on technical large animal rescue, which is now recognized with the National Fire Protection Association in their technical rescue manual. It's actually being put to use, and I do that as a contractor to the state in my spare time. I drive all over the state, teaching that type of technical rescuing with overturned trailers. It's opening up a lot of doors."