Student Spotlight: Ty Pryor

By: Richard Windisch

Ty Pryor strikes a physically imposing impression that alludes to his former life as a member of the United States Army and a collegiate and semi-professional athlete, but his friendly demeanor makes him an easy friend to those around him.

While Pryor originally hails from Orlando, his path to Levin was notably indirect.

Pryor was a baseball standout who was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers out of high school but instead opted to accept a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Tennessee.

“I wanted to go to college,” Pryor said. “I didn’t want to play in the minors coming out of high school.”

“Pitching for crowds of over 20,000 was an incredible experience,” said Pryor, pictured above playing for the Tennessee Volunteers.

While playing and studying in Knoxville, the Cleveland Indians drafted Pryor. However, he chose to finish his degree at the University of North Florida after his coach at UT was fired.

“I transferred to the University of North Florida where my brother was [an] undergrad so we could play on the same team together,” he said.

Pryor was a journalism and political science double major and is working toward a master’s degree in educational leadership.

After college, he was drafted by the Angels and designated to play for the Windy City Thunderbolts, their minor league affiliate in Illinois.

After a brief stint as a professional athlete, Pryor moved back to Jacksonville to teach AP Calculus and coach the Baldwin High School baseball team for two years.

Pryor’s classroom at Baldwin High School. “The relationships with the students really made the job rewarding,” he said.

“I wanted to coach baseball,” he said. “The best way to do that was to become a teacher, and math is always an area of need.”

Pryor subsequently enlisted in the United States Army under MOS 35P as a cryptologic linguist.

“After basic training, I spent a year in Monterey, California, at the [Department of Defense] base learning Russian [for] eight hours a day – every day for an entire year.”

Fairbanks, Alaska, where Pryor was stationed for three years during his time in the military.

Upon completing training in Russian, Pryor was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska. He described this time as a uniquely difficult experience for a native Floridian, alternately involving periods of almost unbroken night and day around the solstices.

He said Alaska gave him a jump on visiting every national park, which he described as a bucket list item.

“I don’t miss it,” Pryor said. “Alaska is beautiful, and I recommend for anyone to go up there and take a look at it. Anchorage area, Denali, fishing, small plane flight around the peak of Denali. Do all the cool stuff, but you can knock all of that out in a two-week vacation.”

While in garrison, Pryor was under the auspices of the Department of Defense, but when deployed, he worked under the National Security Agency.

“You spend a ton of time on convoy when you’re in Afghanistan and on mission,” Pryor said.

Pryor spent time in the Philippines training local forces in halting drug-running activities. His job while in the Army also involved signals intercept, requiring him to hold a top secret clearance.

He served in the Army until 2017, retiring with the rank of sergeant.

Encouraged by his younger brother, a 3L at the Florida International University College of Law, Pryor decided to make the move to law school upon completing his military service. He chose to return to Florida after the veritable world tour of the preceding few years.

Pryor is a major proponent of individual liberty, but like many first year law students, he is still trying to feel out what kind of law he wants to practice. However, he seems optimistic about the opportunity he has at Levin.

“It’s a chance to learn for the rest of my life,” he said. “I like the people, I like the topics, I like being a student again.”

 

 

 

Richard is currently a 1L at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Prior to attending law school, Richard graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science and Arts in Biochemistry and a certificate in business. Richard is eager to try his hand at journalistic writing with The Brief. When he occasionally makes free time, he likes socializing, working out, watching movies, learning useless trivia and reading comedic articles.