About Dr. Kesslyn

Some people may wonder what the connection is between domestic violence, personal development and doctoral coaching work?" 

What's the connection?

My experience IS the connection...

Did you know that...

  • Less than¬†15% of people who apply for doctoral programs are admitted
  • Only 50% of those admitted complete
  • The average years to complete a doctoral program is 5-7 years
  • The average student loan balances increased by 90% for those with doctorate degrees over the last 10 years
  • The average graduate leaves the doctoral program with between $165,600 to over $259,703 in debt
  • One of the biggest problems for doctoral students is that it is a lonely journey!

I know personally that those worries about money and the loneliness during the journey are REAL!

It took me seven years and several jobs to complete my degree.  And guess what, the majority of the experience was extremely lonely.  BUT I DID IT!

And so can you!

Dr. Kesslyn has worked with  a variety of universities and students from diverse institutions including, but not limited to:


Approximately 25 years ago...

...I was working on a team of social work practitioners and educators, and we had just received a three-year grant to conduct psycho-educational training on domestic violence in five local counties. 

Within just a few weeks of being awarded the grant, two sisters in our faith community were killed in one domestic violence incident.

The sisters' parents were devastated, the church was shocked, and the entire community was asking, "how could this happen?" 

As a result...

  1. my domestic violence work became much more intentional in memory of the two sisters,
  2. my counseling office became flooded with people from all walks of life who, like me, were triggered by their own experiences with physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, economic, and/or spiritual abuse,
  3. my colleagues and I developed the S.T.A.R.T. Model for Culturally Competent Domestic Violence Education and Prevention, and used it to teach those who wanted to "do more" about domestic violence, and
  4. my commitment to empowering people by asking questions, finding answers, and sharing information regarding "how could this happen?" was solidified. 

Soon thereafter, I went back to school to get my doctoral degree.

After the first year, I wanted to "drop out", but then decided to stay in the program.

Why? Because I realized that my pursuit of the doctoral degree was much more than a desire to be called "Doctor" and far exceeded my desire to remain a college professor, therapist, and faith leader. 

My pursuit of the doctoral degree was really a commitment to empowering people, and it included finding answers to questions like "how could this happen". I completed the PhD and MDiv during the same time period, a little over 10 years after receiving my MSW degree. 

And over the course of the past 25 years, I have been an award-winning college professor and trainer, a sought-after certified speaker and personal development coach, and a highly regarded organizational leader.  More importantly, I have maintained my commitment to asking questions and sharing answers that make a difference in the lives of people and in the world!

Yes, there is a personal connection between domestic and intimate partner violence, personal development, and supporting doctoral pursuers. 

"The connection is that people’s holistic well-being matters, and the recognition that doctoral-level research provides us with the opportunities to find the answers to questions that people are asking, and the validated guidance on the best steps toward positively impacting the masses and changing the world!

Certified Speaker and Coach

Being a trained social worker, former therapist, faith leader and  certified Extreme Execution Coach has allowed me to understand the unique thought patterns, behaviors and communication styles of people. This understanding provides the basis for our positive interactions and attainment of goals!

Educator & Scholar

Achieving the rank of Full Professor and receiving the Elkins Professor Award are reflections of 25+ years in the academy as a social work educator.  In those years, I have learned that the effective integration of teaching, scholarship, service, and social justice all stems from valuing individuals and human relationships.


"I am finished," I exclaimed on doctoral graduation day.  My mentor immediately corrected my notion of "scholastic completion". She reminded me that producing scholarship that matters is an ongoing  cultural and spiritual mandate.  Now, I know that my continued research facilitates quantifiable change for the masses.  

Work With Dr. Kesslyn?

Click here to check Dr. Kesslyn's availability to serve as your doctoral coach, speak at your event, preach at your church, or conduct a training at your organization,  

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