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Bronley Martin Merges Theory and Practice in York’s Urban Revitalization and Beyond

Headshot of Bronley Martin.

The York College of Pennsylvania alumnus is using his Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) degree to help breathe new life into the city and across York County.

Bronley Martin ’23 had been working for a legislator in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for a few years when he was ready to take the next step in his career. He learned about the College’s Master of Public Policy and Administration program and knew it was the right fit for where he wanted to go in his career.

In 2019, in between legislative meetings and connecting with his representative’s constituents, he began the MPPA program. Bronley’s decision to pursue the degree at York College wasn't just about convenience; it was about tapping into a program deeply rooted in the local community.

“It was very locally focused, which was what I was looking for,” he says. “From the start, they had emphasized the connections to the community, and you could build that through the program.”

The MPPA program provided Bronley with a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application, intertwining them into an immediately functional educational experience.

A move to urban revitalization

As he was wrapping up his degree in 2023, Bronley also was transitioning to a new role as the Urban Revitalization Manager for the York County Economic Alliance (YCEA). Since then, he has been breathing new life into urban spaces in York and beyond the city.

Much of Bronley’s time is focused on placemaking projects in downtown York, helping to beautify and enliven the city. He also works on countywide projects through the York County Industrial Development Authority and the York County Land Bank Authority.

“The things being taught and the classes that were part of the program are things that I’m actually doing right now in my current job,” he says of his York College degree. “It really helps to know the ‘why.’ Education isn’t about what to think but how to think.”

Bronley’s time at York College equipped him not only with the necessary skills but a network of professionals deeply ingrained in the community. As YCEA Urban Revitalization Manager, he leverages those strengths and connections to address challenges and implement effective strategies for economic development in York County.

Bronley strives to keep people at the center of every decision. It’s a mindset that often was highlighted in his MPPA program.

“There was a strong emphasis that public policy involves people,” he says. “You have to really think about how these decisions affect real people. What values does what we’re doing show? Just being able to have that framework about how to think about public policy and its implication to real lives was always stressed.”

‘Develop your life and your career’

In addition to his role at YCEA, Bronley serves as an adjunct professor at York College, advising students on their MPPA capstone projects and helping them develop their theses. Fresh out of the program, he hopes his recent experiences with it can encourage students going through the process.  

As Bronley spearheads urban revitalization efforts, he hopes others will see that an MPPA degree is within reach for anyone. While York College offers a 4+1 program so undergraduate students can earn their master’s degree quickly, that’s not the only path available.

Many in Bronley’s class worked full-time, as he did, and had families. He appreciated having the real-world experience of working for the House of Representatives and having an outlet to put what he was learning into practice. Both pathways to the advanced degree tie together public policy theory and hands-on learning to help prepare students for a successful career.

“You can do this,” Bronley says of the College’s MPPA degree. “There’s a local program right in York that’s at the same level of anything you’d receive at a larger university in a bigger city that allows you to develop your life and your career, but on a reasonable schedule and budget.”