University of South Florida St. Petersburg



Kyle McIntyre is one of six Outstanding Young Alumni in 2024

USF St. Petersburg graduate Kyle McIntyre is one of six outstanding young alumni being honored at a ceremony April 11

Outstanding Young Alumni recipient puts his political science degree to work at U.S. Space Force

By Sarah Sell, University Communications and Marketing

Kyle McIntyre credits the guidance and support he received at USF St. Petersburg for his success at a young age. As one of six recipients of USF’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award this year, he is amazed at how far he has come since graduating with a political science degree in 2015.

McIntyre, 35, is the deputy director of congressional affairs at Headquarters U.S. Space Force (USSF), which provides strategic planning and synchronization support for USSF activities with Congress. A Navy and Air Force Reserve veteran, McIntyre has served in numerous federal leadership roles and received multiple military and civilian commendations.

“I feel a mix of emotions, and I’m incredibly grateful and honored to receive this award,” McIntyre said. “It’s a little surreal because of my choices when I was younger. There are times throughout my life that I still feel a bit of imposter syndrome. It’s nothing I can’t shake off, but because of that, it’s surreal.”

McIntyre joined the Navy on his 18th birthday. He dropped out of high school the year before after realizing he wouldn’t graduate on time. He never took the SAT.

Through four years of active duty, long hours and back-to-back deployments, the Navy broadened his world. He was on the first American ship to reach Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. He spent time in Brazil and Peru working with their militaries. And he took a handful of college classes - earning grades far higher than he expected.

Suddenly, college seemed doable - a pathway to a future he wanted for himself.

McIntyre enrolled at USF St. Petersburg in 2013. While still in school, he landed his first government-related job as a military and veterans’ affairs liaison in the U.S. House of Representatives. He commuted between Tallahassee and St. Petersburg during his final semester, reporting to MacDill Air Force Base for drills one weekend a month.

After graduating from USF St. Petersburg, he got a job at the Pentagon, where he held several positions in leadership and congressional affairs. He also obtained a master’s degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University.

Kyle McIntyre receiving second award as chief of staff

McIntyre receiving his second Meritorious Civilian Service Award presented by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary John Fedrigo for his work as chief of staff for the assistant secretary of the Air Force at the Pentagon.

In 2022, McIntyre was recruited to join USSF as deputy director, where he currently oversees the strategic planning and synchronization of congressional affairs activities in support of the chief of space operations, secretary of the Air Force and the president’s annual budget request. The USSF was established in 2019 as the first new armed services branch since 1947. Its mission is to secure the Nation’s interests in, from and to space.

We spoke with McIntyre to learn more about his journey.

What’s it like being part of the U.S. Space Force?

It’s like a saying we used in the Air Force when doing something quick and knowing there will be obstacles; we are “building the plane while flying it.” That’s true for the Space Force as well. It’s largely established and operating. The mission sets that we have at USSF have always existed, we just pulled them all together under one organization. As the threats and the environment change, our needs change. So, we are looking at what the future of the service looks like and how we can better meet the threats of today and tomorrow. Because of that, we are still growing and developing.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I have a broad idea of what success looks like. As a political science major, I didn’t specialize in anything specific, so I guess leadership and congressional affairs would be my expertise now. My position at USSF is a GS15 equivalent, so the only step up would be senior executive service. I’m not quite ready to take on that responsibility. It’s less about aptitude and more about the changing dynamics at home. I have newborn twins [a boy and a girl] and commute an hour to work every day. That said, I have 30 more years of work ahead of me. I always had this feeling that I was behind the curve, but I feel like I’m caught up now. I still have dreams for the future and would like to be part of senior executive service one day, but I think I will take some time with my kids before I make that leap.

Why did you choose USF St. Petersburg?

I had heard a lot of great things. Then, when I toured, I saw it was on the water. That was the final straw. All my professors were great. Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, who nominated me for the alumni award, was more involved in my personal development than others. She’s been an incredible mentor and now friend. But they were all very knowledgeable, both in the field and in classes, and excited about what they were teaching. I remember being engaged throughout. And then sitting outside by the water to do homework or in the library was just fabulous. I’m excited about returning to campus to accept the award and see the people who made a difference in my life.

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