Senior Profile / Bryant Andrews-Nino: Determination to Give Back

Issue Date: 
April 28, 2014

Passion.Bryant Andrews-Nino Vision. Dedication. Desire. Determination. Drive. These six words form the acronym PV4-D, the principles that guide Pitt senior Bryant Andrews-Nino’s life. 

“PV4-D is more than a catchphrase—it’s a constant reminder that all of my hopes and dreams are waiting to be realized. I believe that any goal can be attained, if I turn these words into action,” said Andrews-Nino, who majored in communication and political science and graduates today with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

This fall, Andrews-Nino will enter the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. His goals include practicing law and eventually entering a career in politics. He wants to serve as the mayor of a small town—much like his own hometown of New Hope, Pa.— a role where he can maintain close contact with constituents while making a positive impact on the community.

Andrews-Nino has worked hard, both academically and in the community, to make a positive difference at Pitt.  He is the founder and president of the University Pre-Law Association, which is Pitt’s only nonfraternal prelaw student organization. He also is a member of Pitt’s Phi Alpha Delta International Pre-Law Fraternity.

Among Andrews-Nino’s awards are Pitt’s 2013 Honors Convocation Student Leadership Award and the 2011 Outstanding First-Year Student Leader Award, as well as his 2012 induction into Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society. This spring, he was a finalist for Pitt’s prestigious Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year Award. 

“Bryant possesses the wisdom of a 70-year-old, the energy of a 20-year-old, and the curiosity of a two-year-old,” said David B. Landes, an instructor in Pitt’s Department of Communication, who has taught Andrews-Nino in three classes: Argument, Attention to Rhetoric and Media, and Interpersonal Communications. “He’s also a hopelessly authentic person. Students have literally teared up in class at his words—it has happened in every class I’ve had with him, I think. His life story is stunning, especially when you consider how he’s emerged from such hardships with a 50-pound heart dedicated to giving.”

Andrews-Nino has, indeed, overcome enormous obstacles. Born into an abusive home in Trenton, N.J., he was separated from his biological mother by the New Jersey Division of Children and Youth Services when he was 5 years old. A ward of the state for more than three years, he lived in eight separate foster homes that he describes as being only “slightly less dysfunctional” than the household from which he was removed.

Adopted at the age of eight, Andrews-Nino recalls a tumultuous transition into his new surroundings in the upper-middle class borough of New Hope, outside Philadelphia.

“I remember being a very angry and embittered child,” said Andrews-Nino. “All around me were kids who never once had to go to bed hungry, who never knew what it was like to live in nightly fear of their parents or guardians, kids who could read and write at their grade level. It was incredibly frustrating to have no one who could relate to my experiences.”

Over time, Bryant would learn to channel that anger into the principles of PV4-D. The acronym originated during his successful tryout for the eighth-grade basketball team. As he gradually adjusted to his surroundings, it expanded into every facet of his life.

Andrews-Nino would chant “PV4-D” repeatedly before every basketball game. He scribbled “PV4-D” on all of his school folders, helping him to remain motivated as he worked to close the learning gap between himself and his peers.

So when Andrews-Nino arrived on Pitt’s campus in the fall of 2010, he brought “PV4-D” with him. And he used it as his mantra while balancing a rigorous academic course load and numerous community service projects.

While working as an intern for the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, Bryant organized block parties, neighborhood beautification efforts, and other activities to strengthen relationships between students and Oakland residents. Serving as a project manager for the Oakland Code Enforcement Project, he testified on behalf of citizens at housing court hearings and analyzed crime data for local officials.

Andrews-Nino also has volunteered as an assistant basketball and soccer coach for the Urban Impact Foundation, a North Side-based youth ministry; a reading and writing tutor for Jumpstart Inc.; and a summer camp counselor of children with special needs for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh.

But he believes his best work in the city of Pittsburgh has come through the University Pre-Law Association. He established the association in 2012 because he wanted to encourage prospective lawyers to contribute to their communities.

“Believe it or not, all the lawyer jokes aside, most lawyers are very good and compassionate people, and I wanted to create an organization that reflects that fact,” said Andrews-Nino, who has watched the organization grow to 50 members.

With Andrews-Nino as president, the organization has dedicated itself to members’ professional development and community service within the city of Pittsburgh. By partnering with local businesses and other universities in the Pittsburgh area, the association provided free Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) study materials to all its members. In addition, Andrews-Nino arranged to have Kaplan LSAT professionals mentor members during their biweekly meetings. In the community, the organization regularly participates in such activities as tree planting in East Liberty and bridge-painting projects Downtown.

The association recently elected a new executive board, and Andrews-Nino said he looks forward to watching the organization grow.

“I didn’t make it to this point in my life on my own; I had a lot of people helping me every step of the way. In my life, I want to help as many people as I can reach their full potential,” said Andrews-Nino. “It is my hope that people will remember that I loved Pitt, that I loved people, and that I loved equipping others to be the best they can be.”