The NCAA celebrates the third annual Division III Week on April 7-14. In honor of the event, SimpsonAthletics.com is taking a close look at four individuals who personify what it means to be a Division III student-athlete.
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Today, we share the story of softball player, Kylie Van Houten. The senior second baseman from Des Moines, Iowa has been a constant on the team since stepping foot on campus in 2010, starting 144 games throughout her career. In addition to being a steady presence on the diamond, Kylie does all right in the classroom as well. All she's done is maintain a 3.96 cumulative GPA in mathematics and computer science. Not too bad.
- Name - Kylie Van Houten
- Major/Minor - Mathematics and Computer Science/Exercise Science
- Activities - Softball, Wesley Service Scholars, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, CHAMPS, Best Buddies, First Year Council, Math Club, Alpha Lambda Delta, Omicron Delta Kappa, Epsilon Sigma, Intramurals, intern in information technology at the Principal Financial Group.
- Awards/Honors - NFCA All-Midwest Region in softball (2013), President's List (five times), Dean's List (two times), Iowa Conference All-Academic Team (two times), Floyd S. Doft Science Honor Award, L. Mildred Wilson Science Award, Meritorious in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling, Jordan Science Achievement Award.
- Future Plans - Begin career at Principal as a quality assurance analyst in Life IT.
Why did you choose Division III and Simpson in particular?
I liked the small class sizes and the close feeling of a small campus, that is what drew me to Division III in general. I wanted to continue to play softball and at Simpson I had a good shot to do that while being a part of a great program. The campus as a whole is close knit and very supportive.
What opportunities have you had as a Division III student-athlete that have made your experience special?
I have gotten to know my professors personally and they have helped guide me and open doors for me. They have connections that helped me get an internship that led into a job. They really care about you as a person and want to help you achieve the success you want. The athletic community is a big part of the campus and we all support each other. The coaches, strength and conditioning staff and the athletic trainers are concerned about you on and off the field.
What is your favorite memory as a Division III student-athlete?
Some of my greatest memories are with the friends that I’ve made on the softball team, whether it is on or off the field. We have created a great bond that will last even though some of them are miles away now. We have had some great games over the past four years including our 13-game winning streak to start last season, sweeping nationally-ranked Luther, or getting to play some DI and DII competition. My personal favorite memories were against Northwestern last year when I hit a walk off home run and at Wartburg my freshman year when I earned conference athlete of the week honors.
In your own mind, what does it mean to be a Division III student-athlete?
To be a Division III student-athlete means that you truly are a student-athlete with a passion for both academics and sports. We are here because we love what we do and we want to keep doing it for as long as we can. We don’t get paid and we don’t get scholarships or recognition, we play because we wouldn’t know what to do without it. We take advantage of the opportunity to be involved in everything available to us.
How has Simpson helped you succeed in the classroom?
[The professors] are very involved and easily accessible. They are invested in our success and it is easy to get help if you have a question about something. They will sit down with you to make sure you understand and feel comfortable with the concept. It is up to you to ask for the help, but they are more than willing to give it.