Kyle Kopta is Honored as the Tri-Cities’ DTC

Distinguished Scholar & A WSU Top Ten Senior

By: Max Ciot

Kyle Kopta made his way to the top on the Tri-Cities’ WSU Campus this year. Not only is Kyle the recipient of the DTC Distinguished Scholar award for the campus, but he is also one of the 2021 WSU Alumni Association’s Top Ten Seniors in the category of Visual & Performing Arts. To top it off, he was also named the WSU Tri-Cities Student Employee of the Year.

Dedicated to making the world and his campus a better place, Kyle often advocates for the less fortunate. During his Junior year he was a part of Associated Students of Washington State University Tri-Cities and earned the organization’s Perseverance Award for Excellent Work. Kyle plans, delivers, markets, and advocates for a range of university events such as those that focus on LGBT issues, diversity, equity, and more. “He is a student that goes above and beyond in every area, often without recognition,” says Maegan Murray, Director of Marketing and Communication at WSU Tri-Cities, who was one of the people who nominated Kyle for the Top Ten Senior award.

A man looks into the camera and smiles

Kyle is a leader and serves his fellow students and faculty by encouraging and helping them when he can.¬† In the classroom and outside of it, Kyle goes above and beyond and invests dozens of hours practicing his design skills, and ensuring that his projects and work surmount typical expectations and top up to professional standards. Frequently, students and faculty members seek out Kyle to create design pieces to advertise campus events. He also helps other students develop their design-work and find answers to their problems with, according to his supervisor Monique Van Sant, a “smile on his face and a can do attitude.”

In high school, Kyle took an interest in art and design and ended up graduating with a certificate in multimedia arts, and later an associate of arts degree in Visual Arts from Blue Mountain Community College. Kyle was then attracted to the multi-disciplinary nature of the DTC program as it would allow him to explore all of his options as an artist, rather than being stuck to a rigid structure like other programs.

Kyle did encounter some difficulties adjusting to distance learning initially. Working from his bedroom and not being able to bounce ideas off of peers began to have a negative effect on his creative output. He missed the invigorating feeling of working side by side with others, which made him appreciate the inspiration he can get from his surroundings and others.¬† He became¬†inspired by Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” which compelled him to create some projects that related to his idea of alienation, the disconnect between mind and body, and existential anxiety. This included creating a collection of abstract self-portraits, and a 3D printed bug-human hybrid.

Kyle is a first generation college student and has held a 4.0 GPA while serving in various capacities on the Tri-Cities campus. Previously, he was a student graphic designer through the Associated Students of WSU Tri-Cities and is now a Teaching Assistant and Tutor through the DTC program. In addition, he is an intern with the WSU Tri-Cities’ Marketing and Communication Office. Kyle also practices as the campus photographer, even for high profile events with Chancellor Sandra Haynes. Besides his roles as an intern and student on the Tri-Cities campus, he is also on the art committee for the Washington State Art Commission where he oversees the Washington State Art Collection and helps the organization allocate grant opportunities. Kyle also collaborates with local artists for WSU installation work.

One of Kyle’s favourite projects he has worked on is when he helped put together the Undergraduate Research Symposium and Art Exhibition at the end of every semester. Kyle says that the students at WSU Tri-Cities are creating innovative, thoughtful, and impactful work, and it is a pleasure to be able to amplify their voices in any way he can.

After finding a passion for marketing, Kyle would like to continue to work with it in the future as it allows him to work with design, photography, and video simultaneously. He would further like to continue working in a higher-education setting as well, as collaborating with various groups of people on different projects is important to him and the college setting allows him to do such. In addition, he would like to contribute to the local Tri-Cities art scene in any way he can. Growing up in Hermiston, Oregon, there was virtually no art presence in the community, and to him, fostering a tight-knit artist community in the Tri-Cities would be amazing. This would include curating some in-person gallery shows.

Kyle also has a personal website you can check out.