Kyle Neiswender with surveying classmates

One Vo-Tech Student’s Journey Through College

Kyle Neiswender didn’t take the traditional road to Penn State Wilkes-Barre but five years after walking onto campus, he’s thrilled that his path led him here
Guest Written by Kyle Neiswender

Traditional high schooler, adult learner, veteran. These are all words people often associate when thinking about college students. This story showcases college students come in all forms and from all backgrounds. Kyle shares his story on the path from a vo-tech school to the Penn State commencement stage in the spring of 2018.

Hi readers, my name is Kyle Neiswender. I am from Bloomsburg Pennsylvania and am currently a 5th year student, majoring in surveying engineering program.

Before I came to Penn State Wilkes-Barre I attended Columbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School. While at CMAVTS, I was in Drafting and Design. My typical day consisted of normal academic classes in the morning, then in the afternoon I would attend my shop class.

A misconception is that vo-tech students can’t or don’t go to college, that all vo-tech schools do is teach their students a trade and off to work they go. This is not the case. When you graduate from a vo-tech, you have many more options that normal high school students wouldn’t necessarily have.

A few of my options were either go to college, or go into a mechanical drafting or an architecture field. My senior year in high school I knew I wanted to further my education but the problem was I didn’t really want to draft my whole life. I loved being outdoors, and I had a strong background in road construction. One day my shop teacher approached me asking if I ever considered surveying. I looked at her, and ask what is that? She explained to me what it was, and I became interested.

My final year in high school I got an internship with a local surveying company. It was there I realized that this was something that I could get into, and could see myself doing. I then started to look for colleges that offered surveying degrees but they were either out of state or were only two-year degrees, except for Penn State Wilkes-Barre.

After getting accepted into Penn State I thought it would be a challenge adapting to the college life. I was wrong, it was pretty easy. I would have my academic classes then I’d have surveying classes. This is basically how high school was, but now my classes were mixed.

Not everything was easy though. The hardest part of transiting into college was being away from home and having to cook every day for yourself or going to buy food, which got expensive. Some of the academics would also get a bit challenging, but with help from the tutors they went smoothly. After being in the surveying program for four years I feel like I’ve learned a lot.

Additionally, I feel like being a part of the Surveying Society has boosted my chances at getting a surveying career because of the networking that goes on. The Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus has given me opportunities that I may not have gotten at a larger campus. After graduation, my goal is to get a job either doing construction surveying or tunnel surveying.

Just For Fun Questions We Ask Everyone

  • What is your ultimate dream job?
    My dream job would be to be a professional hunter that has his own show on the outdoor channel.
  • If you could eat a meal with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would the meal be?
    If I could eat a meal with anyone I’d have to say Daniel Boone, and the meal would be elk back straps cooked over an open fire with a side of potatoes, and homemade ice cream.
  • What is your definition of happiness?
    If I were to define happiness I would have to say it’s something you do to bring a smile to your face.
  • What is your spirit animal?
    I’d have to say my spirit animal is an eagle