Student of Distinction: Icarus Bailey

Student of Distinction: Icarus Bailey

Icarus Bailey is graduating with a B.A. in linguistics, interdisciplinary language studies option and a minor in American Indian studies. He is the Dean’s Medal nominee for the Department of Linguistics.

“Icarus has the ability to take complex data and make sense of it through careful observation and analysis, a quality which will serve him well in future studies in the field,” said Dr. Brian Agbayani, professor. “His personal circumstances have inspired a passion for education as well as linguistic and cultural revitalization.”

Bailey grew up as a monolingual English speaker and a foster youth. He found it difficult to communicate with his family, who was primarily Spanish speaking, evoking a love for languages and a deep appreciation for their ability to connect people.  

Before transferring to Fresno State, Bailey earned his associate’s degree in English for Transfer at Fresno City College and a certificate in American Indian Studies, graduating with the highest honors. At Fresno State, he was a part of the College of Arts and Humanities Honors Program, where he wrote a thesis exploring the confluence of Linguistics and American Indian Studies.

“His thesis, ‘The Effects of American Education Policies on Language Loss and Language Revitalization,’ combine his major, Linguistics, and his minor, Native American Studies, in an important intersectional way,” explained Dr. John Boyle. “Icarus exemplifies what the Dean’s Medal represents – an excellent student, an outstanding researcher, and a wonderful representative for the field of linguistics.”

Bailey works with a collaborative STEM-Net grant project on preserving Native American botanical knowledge. He is helping to create a database of plant names in local languages to enhance knowledge of plant identification by local tribes. Through this project, he is recording and preserving local native ethnobotanical knowledge to serve the local communities and enhance STEM education at Fresno State. 

While volunteering with the American English Institute, Bailey gained valuable insight into the experience of adults in an intensive language learning program. That experience augmented his work as a neighborhood community tutor with young learners in reading and English.

“I am sad that my time at Fresno State is nearly over, but I am grateful for all the skills and education I have gained here. I am excited to use those skills to give back to our community in a deeply meaningful way by preserving our Central Valley languages,” reflected Bailey.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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