Profile: Paul Byrd

photo by Anthony Arroyo

If you’ve taken any sort of government, history, foreign affairs, or contemporary issues class, you’ve probably had a professor named Paul Byrd.

Byrd is a very outgoing personality with a passion for telling stories to brighten up the classroom and involve as many students as possible. Byrd has been a valued member of the DMACC faculty for nine years now, and is very content with staying much longer.

Growing up in a military family can be quite difficult with sporadic changes in residences, but Byrd adapted well. Born in Southern California, Byrd relocated many times depending on where his father was stationed.

When his father was deployed for conflict in the Middle East, Byrd landed in Iowa. Later, Byrd went to Iowa State studying Aerospace Engineering, but when NASA shut down the shuttle program, Byrd saw no use pursuing that field of study any longer.

Instead Byrd chose to study history and political science, which lead him to where he is today.

Byrd finds it hard to narrow down individual moments because he enjoys every class in its own way.

“My first class was a lot of fun. It was a night class at the Urban DMACC Campus. I walked in and it was really an interesting experience because everyone in there was older than me besides one person.” This was pretty intimidating considering it was Byrd’s first official teaching job, but luckily he taught at grad school at Iowa State a couple times to get acclimated to the teaching experience.

Byrd has been on many adventures, but his most memorable was to Europe. On three occasions he has ventured overseas hoping to experience different cultures, try different kinds of water [water is not filtered the same way in Europe], and come to understand that most Europeans do not like putting ice in their beverages.

“My favorite adventure was my first one when I went to England; [I] didn’t tell my parents I was going. I got my passport and plane ticket, and I came home for Thanksgiving and said to parents, ‘Hey, spring break–I’ll be out of the country.’ They were less than thrilled, but they let me go anyway.”

Byrd describes the scene after he left the airport and headed to the soccer match: “Everyone was already intoxicated … A guy got thrown through a window.”

Byrd continued, “Then the police on horseback came in with batons and jumped into the mob of people. [ISU’s discontinued festival] VEISHEA gets you ready, but this was just a whole different level of crazy.”

Byrd has also been to Europe twice since then as well. Once with his college roommate and once with his Russian History class a couple years back.

Needless to say, Byrd has had his fair share of adventures. But with his pretty packed teaching schedule and five children and wife to keep him busy, it looks like Byrd will be on the homefront for a while.

Very content with his relationship with the teaching staff and student body, Byrd will continue to work for Dmacc and bring smiles and perform fiery political speeches for his students.

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