Open Doors: Cody Floyd

Kathy Dean Alumni, News, Sciences

Open Doors: Cody Floyd

Cody Floyd
Intern in Kyrgyzstan, U.S. State Department
Bachelor of Science in Public History ’20
Graduate Studies, Penn State School of International Affairs

The University of Mobile has a lot to offer the veteran community. The quality of the education, the sense of community, and the support structure all make UM ideal for veterans. I would encourage veterans to seriously consider making UM the next step in a life of purpose and service.
– Cody Floyd ’20

I have been interested in international affairs since I first saw coverage of the Persian Gulf War at the age of six. I was further drawn into international affairs and U.S. foreign policy by my time in the U.S. Army and in Afghanistan. Being involved with the War on Terror made international affairs more than an academic subject; it became real and personal. 

I am fiercely patriotic, and I consider the U.S. to be a major force for good in the world. God willing, I want to be a part of representing the U.S. abroad, where I can represent both Him and my country in some capacity.

I still believe in John F. Kennedy’s challenge: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” We have, I believe, gotten away from this idea, and it shows in all aspects of American society. 

This belief, along with God’s gentle nudges, has guided my path from the beginning. My decision to dive into international affairs was largely based on my desire to serve the U.S. on what has become an increasingly volatile world stage. 

Open Doors: Cody Floyd
Open Doors: Cody Floyd

Q. What have you been up to since leaving UM? 

A. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Public History, I was offered and accepted a scholarship to the Penn State School of International Affairs, where I am focusing on international security and intelligence studies. I was recently offered an internship with the State Department that I believe will get my foot in the door with something big. I will graduate Penn State SIA in May 2023.

Q. How would you say your time at UM helped prepare you for this? 

A. You might think that history and international affairs are two separate paths in terms of academics, but I consider them to be very much intertwined. How can one possibly understand the events of international affairs without first knowing the context in which they are happening? 

Dr. Matthew Downs and Dr. Michael Robinson in the College of Arts & Sciences transformed the way I looked at history by helping me understand that it is not a series of compartmentalized events, but a continuum. One small event has echoes that travel through the centuries. This is critical to understand in international affairs. 

Additionally, Dr. Julie Biskner was phenomenal in her approach to teaching international affairs and comparative politics. She helped me not only understand how international politics work, but why. Just as important, she taught the subject of politics not by telling her students how to think, but by making us think about things from every angle — an increasing rare skill these days in her field of academia.

With this, my time at UM prepared me for where I am by helping me focus on the right things the right way. My professors set me up for success and continue to be supportive of my endeavors even two years after I left.

Q. What are some of the most important things you gained from your UM experience? 

A. The most important thing I gained from UM is confirmation that God will open doors for you if you don’t panic and just trust Him. I cannot emphasize this enough. I didn’t begin my journey through college until I was 31 years old, and it has not been easy. My time at UM allowed me to increase my patience, endurance and faith, and I am seeing the rewards of this every day.

Second, I gained wisdom from professors who are as caring and supportive as they are knowledgeable. 

Q. What did you like most about UM?

A. I loved the small class sizes at UM and the Christ-centered mission there. Everything you do there is designed in a way to prepare you to do something to make a difference in the world. I also like that UM is veteran-friendly. I always felt that the perspective that I gained from military service that I brought to the classroom was appreciated by my professors and classmates. Even more, the staff at UM was always willing and able to help me understand my veteran’s benefits and make the most of them.

Q. What advice would you give to UM students?

A. First, never, ever give up on yourself. It doesn’t matter how bad it gets or how tired you are of fighting, don’t give up. Trust in God and His ability to use you, and He will open doors you never imagined possible. Stay the course.Second, it’s ok if you don’t have it all planned out. I’m 37, in graduate school, and I still have no idea where I’m going to end up.

The way I look at it — and how I would encourage UM students to look at it — is to imagine that you’re walking down a long hallway with countless doors on both sides. It’s not your job to stress about what door to open. All you have to do is keep moving forward and trust that God will open the door you are supposed to walk through. You’ll know it when it’s right.

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is associate vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.