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Brian Coyle finds new career trajectory in Texas while earning bachelor’s degree online

Interdisciplinary professional studies student, Brian Coyle smiles at the camera
Photo provided by Brian Coyle

After nearly 20 years of gaining real-world experience, Brian Coyle was eager to return to college to help increase his chances for career advancement. There was only one problem.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to go back to school and do,” he said. “At the time, I was thinking about information technology (IT), but I didn’t have a clear path.”

Coyle found the ideal solution for his situation by enrolling in Boise State University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Professional Studies.

“I contacted Boise State after seeing an advertisement for its online programs,” he said. “They told me about the interdisciplinary professional studies program, which sounded perfect for someone like me trying to move up along different paths. It helped out so much. The degree opened up a lot of doors for advancement.”

While enrolled at Boise State, Coyle went from working in IT as a technical analyst to becoming a logistics manager for Kohler, in Brownwood, Texas.

“I got into logistics while I was doing the degree, which helped me in both IT and logistics,” he said. “I did the applied leadership emphasis area, which I got into, big-time. The applied leadership program is amazing.”
Coyle is also a single father with a son, Carson (17), and a daughter, Kori (9), so the online program was the only way he could return to higher education.

“Earning the degree online was very much manageable,” he said. “The flexibility of the online courses helped me out a ton.

“Not only do I work full-time, more than 40 hours a week, but my nine-year-old daughter takes quite a bit of my time. The flexibility and the help from Boise State’s staff and faculty were amazing.”

Calling an Audible

Coyle is from Santa Anna, Texas, 30 miles north of Brownwood. He graduated with an associate degree from Ranger College in 2003.

“I wanted to be a coach, but it didn’t happen,” he said. “I had to grow up pretty quickly. My son was born around the time I graduated from Ranger College, so I had to find a job.

“I got a job picking up trash at Kohler. I have been there for 20 years now. I went from the trash guy to a logistics manager. They also have a tuition reimbursement program, which helped me decide to go back to school.”

Because he had never taken any online courses before Boise State, Coyle had a period of adjustment to distance learning and using a learning management system for the first time.

“The program is well put together,” he said. “I struggled some at first with the online format, but it works really well. Time management was tough for me, but having the degree made it well worth it.”

The information Coyle learned in the online Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Professional Studies curriculum paid immediate dividends for him at Kohler.

“I liked most of the courses,” he said. “They’re tailor-made for project management. I especially liked the applied leadership emphasis area a lot, including the Case Studies in Leadership class. It sparked my interest moving forward. I still read quite a bit about leadership.

“You learn information in the program that you can use anywhere. You learn the basics of problem-solving, managing and succeeding at any job you go to.”

Logistically Speaking

Coyle graduated from Boise State in December 2023 after starting his current role as logistics manager 12 months earlier. He was able to complete the program in three years.

“My family and friends are excited for me going back to school,” he said. “I am the first one in my family to get a bachelor’s degree.”

Although he does not have a specific career goal in mind, Coyle believes that having a degree from Boise State will continue to create career opportunities for him.

“It’s important to have goals,” he said. “In one of the first classes I took, we did an assignment about where we see ourselves in five years, in ten years.

“I didn’t see myself this advanced when I wrote it; it happened so fast. A lot of what they teach in that class allows you to move up a lot faster than you think.”

Coyle knew he made the right decision to attend Boise State online when he made a personal connection with the instructor for his first course, Reginald Jayne, faculty lead for the interdisciplinary professional studies program.

“The first time we met, he said, ‘You’re from Brownwood, Texas?’” Coyle said. “I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘The Brownwood (High School) Lions?’ I said, ‘How do you know the Brownwood Lions?’ He said he went to school in Brownwood. That sold me on the program, too.”

Now that he has a bachelor’s degree under his belt, Coyle looks forward to applying his knowledge from the experience throughout the remainder of his career.

“I got great value out of the program — I loved everything about it,” he said. “It’s important to have the right mindset going into it. It’s going to pay off and help you in anything that you choose to do.

“The interdisciplinary professional studies degree opens up a lot more doors than a specific degree would for you. It’s not easy, by any means, but it will pay off in the end, for sure.”

Learn More About Interdisciplinary Professional Studies at Boise State

Want to learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Professional Studies program? Join us for an online information session or contact a student success coach.

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