WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Soon-to-be Purdue University graduate Kyle Albertson was diagnosed as a baby with congenital muscular dystrophy. But he hasn't let that slow him down.
Albertson is the most recent recipient of the Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award, which recognizes students who have encountered "daunting adversity" in their pursuit of a degree.
Purdue President Mitch Daniels surprised Albertson during a recent video call to announce he had been selected for the award. Albertson says it's an honor.
"I'm very humbled that I can be affiliated with Tyler's legacy and the Trent family," he says.
His adviser staged the meeting as a "senior exit interview." Albertson's mom, Tracy, was in on the secret. She says her son is the embodiment of resilience.
"There's not much that can hold him back," she says. "He will figure out a way."
Albertson has overcome many challenges in his life, including learning how to drive. He trained for months as a teenager to operate a modified van.
"Every two weeks we're going to Louisville for a couple days and I would spend eight hours a day in the van with my driving instructor building my hours until I had enough to go take the driver's test," he says.
This allowed him to commute every day from his home near Fowler to his classes at Purdue. He'll graduate Saturday with a degree in agribusiness management.
"My family used to farm so I've grown up on the farm or around a farm my whole life," he says.
Albertson also owns an agricultural drone business. He uses huge drones to spray and monitor crops and he's the first licensed drone sprayer in Indiana.
"Agriculture, a lot of jobs are hands-on, require labor and stuff, which I can't do ... so I just thought, Well, I'm good at drones, I've had a couple internships doing drone work," he says.
The Courage and Resilience Award memorializes Tyler Trent, a Purdue student and super-fan who died in 2019 after a battle with cancer.