MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Kylee Altland, who will graduate with an MBA at Penn State Harrisburg's fall 2023 commencement, discussed her journey to graduation.
"My college journey is a little different than most," said Altland. "After graduating high school in 2018, I attended Fairmont State University in West Virginia to get a business degree while playing soccer. I’m from a very small town in Pennsylvania and never really experienced anything outside of that small town. However, I learned very quickly that I’m more of a homebody than I thought.
"I decided to transfer to Penn State Harrisburg in fall 2019. I was lucky enough to have one 'normal' semester before the pandemic hit. Even during the 'Zoom Era,' the Penn State Harrisburg business professors provided me with a quality learning experience while we all navigated through the ever-changing times. Looking back, the pandemic helped shape my experience and was one of the main reasons for all the doors that were opened for me at Penn State Harrisburg.
"During the spring semester of 2021, I was on campus for the campus-wide mandatory COVID testing where I ran into the former head coach of the women’s soccer program. We discussed the program and a few weeks later, I was back to playing the sport I loved again.
"In fall 2021, we won the program’s first conference championship since 2009, and became the first team in program history to compete in the Division III Women’s Soccer National Tournament. Being able to say I was a part of history is rewarding, but it’s the lifelong friendships and memories that I made through this program that I will forever cherish.
"During this same semester, I also started working in the Sports Information department as an intern and served as the women’s soccer Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative.
"I knew I wanted to continue my education and use all the eligibility I had for soccer, so in spring 2022, I decided to apply for the Integrated Undergraduate Program to get my master of business administration. In fall 2022, I joined the Blue & White Journal and Nittany Watch where I was able to share stories about Harrisburg Athletics with the Penn State Harrisburg community and in December 2022, I graduated with my bachelor of science degree in marketing and a minor in communications. At the beginning of the new year as a full-time graduate student, I had the opportunity to attend the NCAA Convention in San Antonio, Texas as a representative of Penn State Harrisburg and the United East Conference.
"And now, fall 2023, I was able to play my last year of soccer with my best friends and will be graduating with an MBA. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in the marketing/communications industry.
"The opportunities at Penn State Harrisburg are endless. My experience as a student at Penn State Harrisburg helped shape me into who I am today. I learned countless life lessons.
"During my time at Penn State Harrisburg, I learned that it's more than just a college; it is a family and I'm so thankful to be a part of that family. I can't thank the college enough for providing me with a quality education, lifelong friends and mentors, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience."