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Kyler Dessau: More Than Just a Pretty Face

Kyler cares. This was Kyler Dessau’s slogan as she campaigned to be VSU’s 2012 Homecoming Queen. This is more than a slogan for the senior psychology major, it’s her way of life.

Dessau attributes her winning the title of Homecoming Queen partly to this aspect of her character. Other members of the VSU community have picked up on Dessau’s extraordinary character, as well.

“Kyler struck me as a motivated and charismatic leader,” Erin Sylvester, Assistant Director for Organizational Development, said. “It is evident that she is respected by her peers and she does not hesitate to point out injustices and attempt to rectify situations to the benefit of the entire VSU community.”

Winning the title isn’t something that Dessau takes lightly.

““I’ve been dreaming about this day since high school,” she said.”I want to take the opportunity to thank the campus for their votes. It really was a dream come true for me, I am honored to wear VSU’s crown and I want the campus to know how truly grateful I am.”

But Dessau plays many more roles on campus than just Homecoming Queen. She is a member of VSU’s Theta Tau chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, a historically black sorority geared around sisterhood, scholarship and service.

“Delta Sigma Theta is a not-for profit Greek-lettered sorority of college-educated women who perform public service and place emphasis on the African American community,” she said. “The Theta Tau Chapter does tons of community service and really has a heart for the community. Every Thanksgiving we fund and serve a Thanksgiving dinner to a family in need.”

While they are not limited to working with one organization, Greek organizations on campus typically focus on one organization or awareness project for the year’s philanthropy. This year, Delta Sigma Theta’s philanthropy is Autism.

Dessau’s involvement with Greek Life goes even beyond her sorority involvement. She now serves as National Pan-Hellenic Council President (NPHC) and is strongly focused on Greek Unity.

According to Dessau, the purpose of NPHC is “unanimity of thought and action as far as possible in the conduct of Greek letter collegiate fraternities and sororities, and to consider problems of mutual interest to its member organizations.”

Dessau has long been an advocate of Greek unity and shown strong school spirit.

“I first met Kyler during my first few days at VSU,” Sylvester said. “She was a welcoming steward of VSU and NPHC spirit and she and the vice president of NPHC and I went out to lunch to talk about the council and Greek life as a whole. From that conversation has grown a Greek Unity initiative that I hope will leave a lasting change at VSU.”

Dessau’s list of involvement on campus doesn’t end here, either. She is also the Chief Justice of SGA’s Judicial Branch.

The Judicial Board is responsible for handling peer hearings for students who have violated the University Code of Conduct. Students who commit such infractions have the choice of going before this Judicial Board or an administrative hearing.

“[The Judicial Board] interprets the Student Code of Conduct [and] determines the facts by reviewing police reports, witness statements, accusations from the accuser and/or faculty,” Dessau said. “[It then] makes recommendations of sanctions to the Dean of Students Office.”

Dessau said that most students given the option choose peer hearings.

“I’d think that you would be more relaxed with your peers, but the reputation we have on campus is that we have an “absolute no tolerance” [policy] as the VSU J-Board so some people do choose to have an administrative hearing instead,” Dessau said. “We really want to ensure that VSU students are enjoying their campus life and we make sure that others aren’t inhibiting students from enjoying their academic experience.”

“It’s not about punishing you,” she explained. “It’s an educational experience with the purpose of identifying if a student/ organization is not on the right track. If not, then we want to help you.”

Ultimately, helping people is what Dessau is all about.

“There’s a lot I want to do,” she said. “I’m thinking about getting my Master’s in Leadership then my Doctorate in Organizational Leadership. Eventually I would like to have my own motivational speaking company. I want travel, so if and when the opportunity presents itself, I will travel with my company to different countries. I also would like to build organizational leadership programs within companies to help rebuild them concretely, encourage more of a team working atmosphere, and to make their working environment more pleasant. In order for employees to work at to their highest capabilities, they need to be in an atmosphere that’s welcoming to that.”

In keeping with her desire to help people, Dessau came to VSU with a desire to study psychology.

“One of the key deciding factors of me choosing this University was all of the positive things I heard about the psychology program,” she said. “I Took AP Psychology in high school, after taking the class and passing the AP exam, I decided to study it in college on deeper level.”

Psychology wasn’t the only reason she came to VSU. Dessau toured many campuses, but finally fell in love with the scenery here.

“It’s a beautiful campus,” she said. “VSU has one of the cleanest campuses in Georgia.”

Another solidifying reason to come to VSU was Dessau’s passion for leadership.

“[…] when doing research about VSU, I heard they offered an Emerging Leaders Program here, and just the fact that they had a leadership program for incoming freshman made a big impression on me,” she said. “Since my involvement in that leadership program, my college experience has been very fulfilling. I’ve been able to develop and polish my leadership and interpersonal skills and put my hands to work in many different organizations that helped build me into the woman I am today.”

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