This alumni story is part of series of biographical profiles of prominent Florida International University graduates sponsored by the school.
For some, public service and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others is in their blood. That’s especially true of Florida State Senator Bryan Avila. From his early days volunteering and engaging in the political process, Avila has always found himself on the front lines of public service. In fact, his dedication to serve led him to the Florida Army National Guard, the Florida House House of Representatives, and the Florida Senate.
But before all that, it led him to Florida International University (FIU), where he earned dual masters degrees in Criminal Justice and Public Administration. It was at FIU that Avila honed the skills and knowledge that would ultimately prepare him for a successful career in public service.
While at FIU, Avila juggled multiple responsibilities, working as a high school teacher and later as an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College. Despite his busy schedule, he excelled academically, becoming a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society. He was also the recipient of the Outstanding Academic Achievement in Criminal Justice Award.
During his time at FIU, Bryan not only learned about the administrative side of government but also developed a deep understanding of how efficiency can lead to better services and results for residents. He studied the overlap between public administration and criminal justice, which enhanced his abilities as a policy maker. One of the most important lessons he learned was comprehensive budget practices, which have allowed him to be a better steward of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
Bryan’s dedication to public safety and support for those who serve and protect communities became even more evident when he joined the Florida Army National Guard in April 2016. He graduated from Officer Candidate School in February 2018 and was activated for over a year during the Covid-19 pandemic response effort. Additionally, he was involved in the Hurricane Dorian and Hurricane Ian response efforts.
Throughout his career, Bryan has demonstrated a strong commitment to public service. Elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2014, he has earned the respect of his peers across the state and has fought tirelessly for Florida’s families. He attributes his legislative success to the lessons learned during his time at FIU, where he immersed himself in his studies, learning to be more efficient while juggling multiple responsibilities.
Bryan’s experiences at FIU have played a crucial role in shaping him into an effective community leader. His skills and knowledge, obtained over the years, continue to allow him to better serve the residents of Northwest Miami-Dade County. Today, Bryan lives in Miami Springs with his wife, Cindy, and their two wonderful children. He remains a proud alumnus of Florida International University, an institution that has equipped him with the tools and education to make a lasting impact on the lives of those he serves.