Kyler Parris admits that he struggles to “say no to cool opportunities.” But his openness has exposed him to everything from playing football to student government and an internship in Representative Adam Schiff’s office.
Although he’s a kicker on Occidental’s football team, Kyler only started playing the game as a high school senior in Bothell, Wash. For years he had played soccer, but he was ready to mix things up.
“The football team needed a kicker, and I knew I could kick soccer balls,” Kyler says.
He loved the experience, and after meeting the coach and some of the athletes at Oxy, he was ready to continue. Football players arrive on campus in late summer, before the rest of the students, and by the time his classmates showed up he already had a solid group of friends, including upperclassmen.
“I knew we were going to stick together and be there for each other because that’s what you do as a teammate,” he says. “So it was really cool right from the beginning. Before classes even started, I called home and said, ‘this is the best decision I ever made.’ “
One of the benefits of being a student-athlete at a school like Oxy is your focus is not singular, Kyler says. His coaches have been not only understanding of his interest in getting involved in other ways on campus, but encouraging.
“You can find your place because we’re here for a great education. No one is coming here just to play football.”
Being an athlete, and especially being on a team sport, fills my bucket in a certain way. Then my other leadership involvements, like engaging with our community, fills a different bucket.”
He has endeavored to strike a balance between classes and extracurriculars. He admits that he’s pretty much always busy, but it’s worth it.
“Being an athlete, and especially being on a team sport, fills my bucket in a certain way. Then my other leadership involvements, like engaging with our community, fills a different bucket.”
Kyler works for the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs, which dovetails with his Diplomacy & World Affairs major. Kyler and another student are currently planning a conference on gentrification and displacement, which will apply global ideological principles like human rights at the level of our city and communities.
He is also the vice president of policies for ASOC student government, where he is putting together a constitution commission to review financial policies, senate bylaws and other foundational documents in order to improve the organization’s efficiency and better meet the needs of students.
In his “down time,” he works as a tour guide for the Admission Office, serves on the Student Marketing Action Committee (SMAC) and was selected as the student representative to the Board of Trustees Budget and Finance Committee.
Kyler plans to study abroad during his junior year in Latin America so he can improve his Spanish language skills. He also plans to apply for a Young Student Grant, which funds independent summer research projects.