Graphics major to graduate with international award, internship experience, diverse portfolio, job in KC 

When graphic communication major Kaylea Robertson graduates in December, she’ll be leaving with four things: an international award, internship experience, a diverse portfolio, and a job in Kansas City — all made possible, she said, because of her choice to attend Pittsburg State University.

Robertson grew up in Southwest Missouri and attended Ozark High School, where she took pottery, drawing, and photography classes. She had always loved art but didn’t consider herself to be the fine artist she needed to be to do it professionally. 

After taking a graphic design class and a web design class her senior year, she was hooked. 

“I researched nine schools — I had file folders of information — and was very serious about my decision,” she said. “I toured four of them and canceled the fifth. My fourth tour was here. After coming here and seeing the College of Technology, I was like, ‘Yep, I’m good — this is it’.” 

One of the biggest draws of Pittsburg State, she said, was the chance to immediately begin classes in her major during her freshman year. 

She also found plenty of project opportunities for her portfolio, meaningful and exciting coursework in the Graphics and Imaging Technology department, and faculty who went out of their way to support her. 

Kaylea Award

Her experiences 

In a graphics work experience course, she earned credit and skills working in production and customer service for PSU Printing and Design (the university print shop), where she immediately put to use what she’d learned in her printing and design course. 

“My teacher, Doug Younger, who also is the department chair, wrote me a letter of recommendation,” she said. “Faculty here know you, and they care. I wanted to apply that skill set, I toured the office and wanted to work there, and I got the job and was able to hit the ground running.” 

In a job she landed in the Office of University Marketing & Communication, thanks to the skill sets she learned in classes, she worked as a content coordinator for web marketing.  

“I was given the responsibility of creating web pages for the Honors College and the presidential Transition Advisory Committee, and for helping with the revision of program pages — and those are all seen by thousands of people each month,” she said. 

This summer, she landed an internship with Boelte-Hall, a commercial printer in Kansas City, as a pre-press intern and social media manager.  

“Because of my diverse skill set from my classes and experiences at Pitt State, I was able to jump right into those jobs,” she said. 

Even better, she was offered a job with the company the last day of her internship — before her senior year even began. She’ll work for their marketing division, Ataché International, as a project manager. 

Since her freshman year in 2019, she’s won six ADDY Awards —American Advertising Awards that recognize and reward creative excellence in the art of advertising in the industry’s largest and most respected competition.   

Last week, she joined classmates and instructors for the ultimate field trip: Adobe Max in Los Angeles.

International award 

And then there was that international award. 


For Production Graphics, a capstone class taught by associate professor Andrea Kent, her assignment was to enter a graphic design competition. 

“We had to find it, choose it, develop the project, and she was there to help us if we needed it,” Robertson said. “I used the skill sets from classes by Traci Hughes, Chris Huitt, and Doug Younger. A combination of print and packaging skills.” 

The result: a unique resumé packet that caught the attention of judges in the Printing United Alliance Premier Print Awards. 

“I was very excited — it’s a big deal,” she said. “I have gotten a really well-rounded education here, and the faculty played a big role in my success. I found a good home here.” 

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