Olive Branch native Kyle Mealer doesn't mind juggling a busy schedule. As a student who's strongly committed to academics, he's deeply immersed in co-curricular activities as well.
"Divide and conquer" is his approach when tests, projects and meetings start to crowd the calendar. The business administration junior serves as a resident advisor in Griffis Hall, where he serves nearly 40 residents this semester. Like other RAs, he's responsible for equipping students with the tools to help them be successful and enhance their college experience.
A music lover, Mealer also plays saxophone in the Famous Maroon Band — alto sax during marching season and baritone sax during the concert season. He is driven to do his best whether it's marching for the band, serving students, or managing academic assignments for class.
Amazingly, he accomplishes all these tasks while overcoming daily challenges related to complete hearing loss. Mealer is able to hear from one ear using a cochlear implant.
The 21-year-old said he's overcome a lot of obstacles, but he's not the type to dwell on them or let them slow him down. He simply meets any difficulties head on, and works around them. Having a conversation in high traffic areas like the Colvard Student Union can be difficult for him because a high volume of background noise makes it harder to hear. But the self-described "people person" is quick to work with others when he needs accommodations. He usually sits near the front in all his classes and, in addition to listening intently, he reads lips.
Among the most rewarding aspects of his work and activities are lifelong friendships he's formed. Involvement in Kappa Kappa Psi, a national honorary band fraternity, and the National Residence Hall Honorary have given him additional opportunities to get to know people through community service and social activities.
Attending MSU has been an experience like no other he said, and he knew from his first campus visit that this was the university for him.
"The moment I stepped on this campus, my dad and I felt very welcome, and it wasn't just because of the recruitment staff — it was everyone," Mealer said. "I knew that day, I was coming here."
Mealer said the pride of being a Bulldog is never better than when he steps out on Scott Field during football season to march with the band.
"There's nothing like going on the field with 60,000 people ringing that cowbell. The atmosphere of excitement and energy is one of the reasons I came here," he said.