November 30, 2016 12:00AM
As an accomplished cellist and softball player at Park Hill South High School, Kylie DeClue was looking for a university that strongly supported the arts and athletics.
“And when I made my first campus visit to Pitt State during my junior year, the Bicknell Center was just built and the Plaster Center was being built right next to it,” she said. “Those were definitely strong selling points.”
Oh, and right next door to both of those new facilities was the nationally-recognized Kansas Technology Center.
“I knew I wanted to go into engineering, but I didn’t know what branch,” DeClue said. “During my tour of the KTC, they talked a lot about plastics. I thought it seemed very interesting, and the amount of equipment and machinery in the labs was very impressive.
“Pitt State was the last college campus I visited, and it definitely stuck with me the most.”
DeClue, a Kansas City, Mo., native, is finishing up an active first semester at Pitt State. She’s a plastics engineering major with a music minor, a member of the PSU Honors College, a cellist in the university orchestra and an outfielder on the PSU softball team.
It’s been an overall experience that she believes couldn’t have been possible at other schools.
“The size of Pitt State is just perfect for someone like me,” she said. “It’s big enough to offer a variety of different things, such as art and athletics. But it’s not too big so that you’re overwhelmed by one and don’t have time for the others.
“The orchestra, for example, has been very good about working with me on any scheduling conflicts due to softball,” she said. “The people here want you to be involved and want you to be successful, so they work with you. That’s really cool.”
She also finds it “cool” that the PSU faculty are so willing to give their time and attention to students.
“I think one of my big takeaways from my first semester is seeing how helpful the faculty are,” she said. “They are willing to help and work with students one-on-one. You probably can’t get that at a bigger school, which again, is why I think PSU is the perfect size.”
While she’s used to the bustling shopping and restaurant scene of Kansas City, DeClue said she doesn’t feel that far from home in Pittsburg.
“Obviously there are fewer places to shop and eat here compared to KC,” she said, “but it’s also really nice to have that small town feel. And if I want to go back home to shop, I can. That’s another cool thing about being from KC but going to school at Pitt. You’re far enough away from home, but you’re not so far away that you can’t go back up there on a weekend if you want.”
While DeClue said it can sometimes be a struggle to manage academics, athletics and the arts, she said “the grind” is worth it.
“I wanted the full college experience, and I have it,” she said. “It’s hard at times, but it’s not impossible if it’s what you really want.”