Students Christian and Caroline Tipton experience the K-State family while building one of their own
At a young age, Christian Tipton knew the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus would be a part of his future.
From a family of farmers in Munden, Kansas, who also enjoy working on old cars and attending drag races, Christian was excited to follow in his older brother's footsteps studying mechanical engineering technology at K-State Polytechnic and competing for the car building and racing club called Baja SAE. As sure as he was, though, of becoming a Wildcat, Christian had no idea just how significant that decision would be.
While working on the Baja car his second semester, Christian and the other club members asked a new web development student to design its graphics. Caroline Reed, a graduate of Cunningham High School and a community college transfer, had met Christian briefly during a free bowling night put on by the school where she mentioned her tech savvy. Caroline ended up creating the off-road vehicle's artwork and she even became the team's driver for the next competition.
Christian and Caroline began dating soon after their connection over the Baja car, and a wedding and baby followed the next year. Belonging to the K-State family was the catalyst to starting a family of their own, and it's a primary reason why they are able to balance that responsibility with their educational ambitions.
"Life happens when you're in college," said Caroline. "There are going to be changes and you have to learn to adapt along the way. I've continued to keep my goals in mind and as long as I work with my professors, they have been willing to work with me."
Caroline has transitioned her web development associate degree into the applied business and technology bachelor's degree where most of her courses are online. This convenience has allowed her to study on her own time while focusing on caring for their baby, Cooper. For the classes she and Christian have on campus, their newest addition has been happily welcomed into collegiate life.
"We've been pretty lucky," said Christian. "The instructors have been really good about having Cooper in class, which minimizes the conflicts in our schedules and keeps us from missing a lecture or lab. It's definitely nice being on this campus where you know your instructor and they know you. I think in a larger setting where you're just a number, this would never be an option."
After graduating, Christian and Caroline plan to return to the Tipton family farm where he will run the ag operations and she will manage the business operations. They're excited about the future and say the K-State family and their new family have put everything into perspective.
"Having Cooper helps us to focus on what matters and inspires us to work hard so we can provide the best for him," said Christian. "This experience at K-State Polytechnic has given us a whole new way to look at life."
"Sometimes I think, what would have happened if I would have waited to transfer during a different semester; would I be where I am today?" Caroline reflected. "But I also try not to look back too much, because there is so much to look forward to."