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Juggling Graveyard Shifts & School for a Kinesiology Degree

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Despite navigating the challenges of working in law enforcement, South Texas College Kinesiology student David Baker is inspired by his role as a devoted father to set a positive example and pursue his educational goals.. STC Image
Despite navigating the challenges of working in law enforcement, South Texas College Kinesiology student David Baker is inspired by his role as a devoted father to set a positive example and pursue his educational goals.. STC Image
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By Selene Rodriguez

Despite navigating the challenges of working in law enforcement, South Texas College Kinesiology student David Baker is inspired by his role as a devoted father to set a positive example and pursue his educational goals.

With 15 years of experience as a Border Patrol officer and three years in the military, Baker has forged a solid career in public safety. Now, he’s set on becoming a coach, a hobby and passion that has brought him closer to his two sons.

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“When I was young, I didn’t put as much effort into school as I should have, and that’s always been one of my biggest regrets,” shared the 39-year-old. “I made it a priority to achieve a degree, not only for myself, but to set an example for my kids, showing them that regardless of life’s challenges, education can significantly impact your opportunities.”

Growing up without a father significantly shaped Baker’s life’s trajectory and influenced his commitment to always prioritize family.

“I had an amazing father, but he wasn’t my biological parent; I never met him,” he shared. “That’s why it’s always been important for me to spend as much time with my sons as I can. Through volunteering as a coach, I’ve noticed that many kids also lack a father figure at home, which is another reason why I want to pursue coaching when I retire in 10 years. Coaching has a tremendous impact on many kids’ lives.”

Without a clear path ahead, the El Paso native chose to enlist in the military a few years after completing high school. However, six months after his son was born, he decided he needed to stay home with his family.

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“I loved being in the army. It was an amazing experience, but I knew being present for my family was more important,” he said. “My stepfather, who raised me, was a Border Patrol agent, so I always knew I wanted to follow that path. Law enforcement can be tough, but at least I go home to my family every night.”

Having transitioned to homeland security, Baker then returned to Texas, this time to the Rio Grande Valley, and first developed an interest in business.

“I was living in Harlingen then, so my first attempt at college was business classes at STC’s Mid-Valley campus,” he said. “My wife and I tried to start a business in the area. However, we ended up not liking the experience so we rerouted our goals.”

His wife then embarked on a path in nursing, graduating from STC to become a registered nurse, while he uncovered a newfound passion for kinesiology through volunteering as a coach for his children’s sports activities such as football and wrestling.

“Given my lifelong passion for sports and physical activity, pursuing Kinesiology felt like the perfect fit,” he expressed. “While my children lean towards law enforcement, I encourage them to consider a backup plan. That’s what makes STC so valuable; it offers many pathways for students to explore.”

He emphasized that despite his extensive background in various program components such as first aid, wellness and survival skills, he enjoys the opportunity to learn and mentor others through his unique perspective.

“My favorite classes have been the sport activities. I’ve discovered a newfound appreciation for sports like swimming and tennis, which I never had before. Even though I’ve been into fitness my whole life, I’ve definitely learned a lot here,” he explained. “And when it comes to the outdoor activities such as land navigation and survival skills, I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my experiences with the young individuals in the program. It truly feels like a family here.”

Set to graduate this spring, Baker has earned praise from his instructors for his unwavering dedication and determination in balancing his diverse roles.

“People often ask me how I manage it all, and my honest answer is simply to do it, without excuses. I tell my kids, either you do it or you don’t. You can either strive to accomplish your goals or watch from the sidelines,” he said. “I’m excited to earn my associate degree and see where life takes me from here.”

For more information on STC’s Kinesiology program, visit southtexascollege.edu/academics/kinesiology/ or call 956-872-3707.

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