Bryant Walker

M.P.A. '10

bryant walker outdoor photo

Since he was a small boy, NSU alumnus Bryant Walker knew that he wanted to be a pilot. Flying runs in his family. He remembers flying with each of his grandfathers, both of whom were military pilots who fought in WWII and the Korean War.

While working at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport, Bryant realized his dream was bigger; he wanted to run an airport. Understanding that he needed specific tools to make that dream a reality. Bryant enrolled in NSU’s Master’s in Public Administration program and earned his degree in three years.

“It was a challenge but the university had a very structured study program which really helped me,” Bryant explains. “The flexibility really helps you complete the courses, along with collaboration with students and professors.”

Bryant juggled marriage, children, and a full-time job while working on his degree before moving to Missouri to work with the Department of Transportation. While in Missouri, he continued to take courses online.

“Having the flexibility of office hours, online study groups, online presentations, many of which were recorded, made it more convenient for working professionals. I had access to library resources and more. It wasn’t easy but with the help of my advisers and professors, I was able to stick to it.”

Bryant cites the use of “real world” references and examples as his favorite component of the program.

 “What I enjoyed the most was the content. It was practical application, not just theory. We were encouraged to use examples from our institutions to implement the lessons into that. It was tailoring your courses to your environment.”

In his current position as Director of Aviation for the City of Brownsville, San Padre Island International Airport, Bryant has the best of both worlds. He can go flying any time he wants, and he gets to put his M.P.A. to good use as an airport administrator.

“My field is fairly specialized, however the M.P.A. prepared me in numerous ways for this position. I’m prepared for board meetings, commission meetings, and all aspects of my job. And the knowledge you gain with the degree gives you confidence,” he says. “NSU gave me the tools to do my job effectively and the confidence that goes with it.”

Calling NSU’s program “cutting-edge and current,” Bryant encourages people thinking about pursuing their graduate degree in public administration to “just get started.”

“If you’re looking to progress, excel, and climb the corporate ladder, having a master’s degree is becoming expected. Without the M.P.A., you’re going to be left behind,” he says. “This is not a degree you can earn by attendance, you have to work; there are high expectations. Earning the degree isn’t easy, but it’s attainable…and worth it.”