Making an iMPAct

PROVO, Utah – Mar 16, 2020 – At the age of three, Nick Porter created his own imaginary city with its own made-up language. He may not have realized it at the time, but this activity would ultimately foreshadow his future career path. Now as an adult, he is following his passion and pursuing an MPA at BYU Marriott with the hopes of one day running a real city as a city manager.

In addition to his early-childhood hobby, Porter credits his time in high school taking business classes and interning for Matt Dixon, South Ogden city manager, with helping him discover his future career goal. This experience introduced Porter to a profession in public administration, and Dixon encouraged him to pursue an MPA. “During high school, I realized that a career as a city manager could tie together my passion for business and running an organization with being able to help people and make an impact,” says Porter.

Porter, a second-year student from South Ogden, Utah, has taken his desire to make an impact to heart as he has involved himself in the MPA program. He is currently serving as the Masters of Public Administration Association president. “I wanted to be involved, and I wanted to be an advocate for the students,” says Porter about being chosen to be president. “I wanted to contribute to that feeling of camaraderie that I have felt throughout my time in the program.”

In addition to his role as MPAA president, Porter works as a recruiter for the MPA program. Through his job, Porter has helped spearhead many activities for the MPA, including an adventure race on campus. During the race, ten teams made up of first- and second-year students completed different task across campus. The purpose was to inform the students of BYU’s different services and to build unity within the program.

This sense of unity is what Porter enjoys most about being in the MPA program. “I like the collaborative feeling created within the cohort,” says Porter. “We do a lot in teams and feel like we are in this together. The cohort is not a competition, but rather a feeling of family.”

According to Porter, BYU Marriott MPA professor Chris Silvia has been the most impactful teacher he has had within the program. What stands out most to him is how Silvia teaches by the Spirit in every class and makes concepts simple to understand. Most importantly, Porter appreciates how much Silvia cares about his students. “You can tell by the way he teaches that he wants his students to succeed in life before he cares about how they succeed in his class,” says Porter. “He also emphasizes that if you succeed in his class you are more equipped to help make an impact and succeed in life after the MPA program.”

For Porter, his motivation to succeed is a no-brainer. “My kids are what keep me going,” says Porter. “They help me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.” As a father of two with another on the way, he attributes his success in the program to his wife, Merrilyn. Porter calls his wife a champion, noting that being a stay-at-home mom is more than a full-time job and he couldn’t do the MPA program without her. “After a long day, my family is what I look forward to coming home to,” says Porter. “Being a dad and husband is the best thing ever.”

BYU Marriott MPA student Nick Porter
BYU Marriott MPA student Nick Porter. Photo courtesy of Nick Porter.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Natalie Heidemann