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Former fighter pilot gains AFL-titude at Bond

Harvard Law School
Daniel Walker with Brisbane Lions AFLW player and Bond student Mikayla Pauga

A former US fighter pilot and Harvard Law School student has tried his hand at another type of aerial combat at Bond University.

Daniel Walker, who is studying on the Gold Coast for a semester, took part in a Brisbane Lions AFL workshop at the Bond campus.

“I’ve heard of Aussie Rules because my wife is Australian, but I don’t really know what it is and I’ve never played it before,” Mr Walker said. 

“I played Division One College baseball for four years and later used those hand-eye coordination skills to become a fighter pilot. 

“I’ve just been told that AFL actually requires foot-eye coordination – so that’s not really my cup of tea!”

Brisbane Lions AFLW player and Bond Psychology student Mikayla Pauga commended the international students who gave the sport a crack.

“It’s so awesome to see international students getting around AFL. There were some concerned faces when we explained the rules, but you can tell some of our American students have a background in football and are getting the hang of it quite quickly,” Miss Pauga said.

Mr Walker was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and left the US Air Force after over a decade of service to pursue a law degree at Harvard, one of the most prestigious universities in the world. 

But, when faced with the harsh Boston winter, Mr Walker made the bold decision to swap the snow for sun, surf and sand Down Under.


"It's January in Boston so it was a pretty easy decision,” he said. “Instead of trudging through the snow with my classmates, I get to go to the beach every day.

"My wife is from Melbourne but her family lives on the Gold Coast, so we decided to spend a semester here – that way our kids are close to family, and I’ve got the opportunity to learn law with the sun out.”

Since arriving at Bond earlier this month, Mr Walker has spent time learning about First Nations Australians through the Nyombil Indigenous Support Centre.

“There are a lot of similarities between Indigenous struggles here and my own African American history back home," he said.

“I’ve been chatting to the Nyombil Centre here at Bond to find out how Australia is reconciling with its past and if I can learn any lessons and take that back home.”

Mr Walker plans to finish his degree and become admitted to the bar in both the US and Australia. 

"I’ve really enjoyed the flexibility here at Bond, and the fact that I've already met and got to know my instructors and professors really well.”

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