Master of Legal Studies Student Named Overall Outstanding Graduate Student for 2019-2020 Academic Year

May 7, 2020 | By Rachel Egli, Director of Events and Continuing Legal Education

Robert Heath Bailey, a graduating student of the Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous People Law program, was named Overall Outstanding Graduate Student for the 2019-2020 academic year by the University of Oklahoma’s Graduate Student Senate. 

“Heath engages his academic and professional work with enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity,” said OU Law Professor Taiawagi Helton. “He attends to detail meticulously, while maintaining a clear sense of the big picture. His combination of practical experience and thoughtful analysis has earned the respect of his faculty and fellow graduate students.”

While pursuing his M.L.S. degree, Bailey continued serving as the Carson National Forest’s East Zone Archeologist, where he is responsible for administering and providing interpretive services for historical and cultural programs. His job also involves advocating for material cultural remains and tribal concerns east of the Rio Grande River, from the Colorado border in the north, to the Truchas Land Grant in the south. He has worked in archeology, both in the public and private sectors, for almost twenty years.

“Excelling in a challenging academic program while simultaneously excelling at a full-time job is impressive, and it is beyond gratifying when that level of accomplishment is recognized by peers,” said OU Law Professor Lindsay Robertson. “Congratulations to Heath. We are proud he is a part of our M.L.S. family.” 

Bailey shared that attending OU Law’s IPL program provided him with the tools and knowledge to assist his continued advocacy in Indian Country and on federal ancestral lands and the desire to create a greater understanding of Indigenous Law among his colleagues in the federal agencies.

“My experiences in the Master of Legal Studies Indigenous Peoples Law program have shown me that there are so many incredible Oklahoma students doing great things in the world and in Indian Country specifically,” Bailey said. “I can attest that the IPL program gives students a skill set to deliver positive changes in tribal, federal, state and international contexts. I am confident too that this year’s outstanding graduating class will advance the understanding and apply the importance of Indigenous Law when and where it is needed.”

Prior to his current position, Bailey earned his Bachelor of Science in Cultural Anthropology from Appalachian State University in 2009.

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