A Naval Officer in the Making

By Zoe Gertz

Having moved from North Carolina to Virginia to South Carolina, Michael Bauldrick is no stranger to change. Growing up with a father in the military shaped Bauldrick’s adaptability and career choice. As a senior public relations major at the University of South Carolina, Bauldrick is striving to become a public affairs officer in the United States Navy. With a passion for competition and a fierce dedication to academics, Bauldrick envisions himself traveling the world alongside his fellow officers within the next five years.

The most important mentor for Bauldrick at USC has been Professor Jeff Ranta. As a student determined to succeed in a challenging course, Bauldrick met with Ranta during office hours multiple times. By the second visit, Bauldrick noticed Ranta’s Navy certificate hanging above his desk. Intrigued, he asked many questions about Ranta’s time and service with the Navy.

Bauldrick cultivated a relationship with Ranta, and the instructor reciprocated. When the time came to apply to join the Navy, Bauldrick asked for Ranta’s assistance. Not only did he assist with the application process, he also wrote Bauldrick multiple letters of recommendation. What started with a few homework questions evolved into a friendship.

Aside from his professional ambitions, Bauldrick is enthralled by design and his own creative skill set. A favorite pastime of his is customizing shoes. Bauldrick paints intricate patterns and lyrics on the exterior of sneakers – expressing his individuality. He even customizes shoes for family and friends.

Bauldrick maintains a close relationship with family. His mother serves as his rock and biggest support system; his father has an incredible sense of humor. His brother is the most selfless person he knows.

If Bauldrick could meet anyone today, it would be his grandfather, Rocky. He passed away when Bauldrick was one year old. A man of esteemed character, wit, and a lively personality, Rocky is fondly remembered. Bauldrick wishes he had known him. Together, the Bauldrick family grows a garden in their backyard of produce including tomatoes, okra, and peaches. Bauldrick not only enjoys each moment spent with his family, but the process of gardening. It has become a favorite hobby. Bauldrick aspires to have a family like his own in the future.

In contrast to his calm and quiet demeanor, Bauldrick is not afraid of embarrassment or letting his guard down. At age 12, he both broke wrists in a biking accident. Both arms were placed in casts. Rather than dread the difficult recovery, Bauldrick embraced this time by making jokes and having his father help him bathe for the first two weeks. Bauldrick lives his life by the motto, “work hard.” He wants to excel in all aspects of his career and be someone others respect and look up to, while never taking himself too seriously.

Gertz is a public relations senior




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