Hidden in the dark at the top of Gibble Auditorium, Brennan Praseut, or Kyle as people call him, operates the lights and other technical happenings for Mad Cow, Elizabethtown College’s improv group. A sophomore computer engineering major, Kyle has travelled many miles just to end up in the techie booth and, while his academics and extracurricular may not reveal it, carries with him an energetic innocence which likely brought him to the group in the first place.
A mobile homestead
Kyle was born in the great state of Mississippi, known for its river. This garnered him the nickname ‘Mississippi Kyle’ within the group, but Mississippi was only his temporary home. His mother, a flight attendant, moved the family around often as Kyle grew up and, to date, he has lived in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and California before he and his family moved to their current residence in Wisconsin.
“I’ve gone to more schools than there are technically grades up through college,” he said. “This has led to me being able to experience so many different regional cultures within the U.S.”
The constant movement for Kyle prevented him from fully planting his roots. Once acquainted with the social climate, the Praseut family would pick up tack and haul over to another place in the country they would try to call home. As a result, Kyle learned how to express himself more vibrantly—essentially learning how to market his personality efficiently enough to fit into his new environment.
“But the deeper set of solidifying friendship skills I never really truly developed,” he said.
A path forward
Working on an essay regarding the implications of virtual reality in the workplace, Kyle’s field of study is computers, a popular market in the rising tide of the digital age. More specifically, Kyle studies the process of engineering technologies including artificial intelligence and virtual reality. His hope is to one day work with top-technological companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, etc.
“Optimally, I would go into research for quote-on-quote cutting-edge technology, like A.I. and neuronetworks,” he said. “But most likely I’ll end up doing database management or be the lead engineer at a leading technology firm. Hopefully.”
In his dorm room, which he shares with another engineering student, is a computer tower, where Kyle plays games and works. It stands as a virtual centerpiece both to the otherwise messy aesthetic of a college guy’s dorm room and to the life of Kyle. The tower is the beacon to Kyle’s life—computers are what currently propels humanity and what Kyle wants to propel him.
Coming of age in adolescence is among one of the major thresholds people attempt to cross over in life. Kyle, despite his unconventional childhood, looks back positively on the experiences which ultimately culminated into him as a person today.
“It’s a good question to think [if I wished to have grown up a different way], but I think it’s a trap in of itself,” he said. “If you’re not truly happy with who you are, then that definitely influences your answer. I am happy with who I am today regardless of my flaws, because of all the trials and tribulations I have had to go through as a person. As long as I’m happy, that’s all that really matters.
“I would not wish I’d lived a different life, because I would’ve missed out on so many positive experiences that I feel people who stay in one place really do lack, and that’s not to say lacking that experience is making them lesser in any way, shape, or form—we all live and lead different lives. It’s just a core part of my personality that I would loathe to give up.”
Once the show goes and the lights come up, Kyle exits the booth at the heavens and walks down to chat with the cast and the crowd as they walk out. Conversations pop up across the room as audience talks to cast about the show and people pour out through the doorways. Eventually, the room empties and the lights come down. Kyle, satisfied with the direction his life, picks up a box of unsold merchandise and strides out of Gibble Auditorium, leaving a place he can call home.