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Moscow Native Makes His Way Back Home

May 11, 2018

This article was written by Taylor Nadauld and published in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News on Friday, May 11, 2018. Read the original article .


Drew Papineau, 25, is the student manager of the University of Idaho's Steer-a-Year program, president of the U of I Dairy Club, a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences ambassador and a peer leader for students of animal veterinary science at the U of I.

It was not so long ago Papineau thought he would never graduate from a four-year institution, much less with a degree in animal veterinary science and an option for dairy.

But Papineau will do just that this weekend, walking with what is expected to be more than 1,300 students graduating from the U of I's Moscow campus Saturday during the U of I 2018 Spring Commencement ceremony.

Though he grew up in Moscow, U of I was not Papineau's first choice as a next step straight out of high school. Instead, it would take a long journey across the country before Papineau made his way back to Idaho again. He enrolled at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C., where he earned his associate degree in auto mechanics before moving to Cleveland to pick up a certificate in welding.

Papineau was never involved in the National FFA Organization or 4-H in high school; he never had pets; but he did have a passion for animals. Anytime he saw large livestock, he said, that passion called to him.

"It was just something that always struck an interest and made me happy," Papineau said.

Once he returned to Moscow, Papineau got a job working in the feed section of Spence Hardware & Supply. It was there Papineau said that untapped passion for animals manifested itself, and he decided to pursue the calling in the form of a career.

"I remember when I saw him in Spence Hardware in the pet food area," said Carl Hunt, professor emeritus and overseer of the Steer-a-Year program at U of I. "He already had an inkling that was really an interest that he was gaining, and it just kind of took off from there."

Hunt has been a mentor to Papineau the past two years and oversaw his work in Steer-a-Year.

"Among all of the students that I've been involved with and trained, he has a terrific motivation to make things right and work towards having things right," Hunt said.

As student manager of Steer-a-Year, Papineau spent much of his time at the U of I's Beef Center, tending to livestock and helping to double the size of incoming cattle before they were sold.

While Papineau's course has ventured from one career path to another, he cites that exploration straight out of high school as what led him to studying animals in the first place, and even to meeting his future fiance in his agriculture classes at U of I.

"Everything that I've done leading up to this and coming to the University of Idaho has been a stepping stone for my success here," Papineau said.

Papineau will move to Tulia, Texas, in June, where he will take a job with the cattle production company, Cactus Feeders. He and his fiance will marry next year.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at