May 16, 2012
2012 Graduate: Monique Byrd
At the very mention of many campus programs, initiatives and
organizations, the name Monique Byrd automatically comes to one's
mind. An advocate for education and community engagement, Byrd was
responsible for spearheading plans for the Blazer Pantry, reviving
the Student Action Council, and helping introduce VSU’s Volunteer
Service Fair. Her commitment to service and helping others is
apparent in the activities and projects she has overseen during her
time at Valdosta State.
Byrd, who received a Master of Education in School Counseling on May 4, became involved on campus and in the community almost immediately after arriving in 2006. By her senior year, she had already been actively involved in 13 campus organizations, 19 community service organizations, and had received nine campus-wide awards. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she participated in all three components of the Office of Leadership Development's LeaderQuest program, held the position as assistant chief justice in the Student Government Association Judicial Council for two years, and served on the VSU Mass Choir executive board for one year.
Byrd received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in spring 2010, and then immediately enrolled in graduate school and became a graduate assistant working with Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Russ Mast.
During her graduate assistantship, Byrd served as a coordinator for Volunteer Services, and was instrumental in orchestrating the Volunteer Service Fair, serving as committee chair for the event during its first and second years. She has also been the point of contact for the Red Cross when arranging blood drives on campus.
One of Byrd's biggest projects during her assistantship was the creation of the VSU Blazer Pantry -- a food collection for students who qualify for nutritional assistance.
"The idea for the Blazer Pantry came about during a leadership class I attended summer semester in 2010. Dean Mast suggested a pantry here at VSU, so another graduate assistant and I decided to develop a plan for one,” Byrd said. We looked at different schools and studied how they ran their pantries and mirrored some of their rules and procedures while developing our plan."
Byrd feels that all of her campus and community outreach efforts have helped her develop personally and professionally in some way.
"I am embracing the future at this point, but I continue to hold on to principles and skills I have learned during my collegiate experience," said the native of Warner Robins, Ga.
Her immediate goals include securing a position as a school counselor, and she also hopes to one day establish a non-profit organization.