Whitewater native Kaleigh Bevan
Being home-schooled, the sixth child of eight, and not knowing what she should major in while in college, did not stop this Whitewater, Kan. native from pursuing her dream to do something worthwhile. Kaleigh Bevan graduated with a degree in cyber security from Butler Community College, entered the Kansas Air National Guard, is obtaining her bachelor’s degree in cyber security and was just named Airman of the Quarter for the 184th Intelligence Wing – the Fighting Jayhawks.
Bevan, always a hard worker, was not sure what she wanted to do when she graduated from high school. After 11 years of being home-schooled, she attended Berean Academy in Elbing, Kan. for her senior year and, like when she was home, was interested in everything. Along with her fascination with computers, cyber, and medicine, Bevan sang in her church’s choir. Because of her natural talent, her high school guidance counselor encouraged her to apply to Butler, audition for a music scholarship and hone in on what field she should study. Bevan thought that was a terrific idea. Two of her older brothers had attended Butler. Soon, she became a soprano in Butler Ladies while she studied cyber security.
“There are some fantastic teachers in the cyber security program at Butler,” Bevan said. “The director of the program helped me strive for my best, and he encouraged a passion for learning cyber security.”
Bevan’s passion led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in cyber security at Friends University and work as an IT specialist at McConnell Air Force Base. Last September, Bevan received the Airman of the Month for the technical school base. She was chosen from a pool of more than 2,000 other airmen.
“I like to be kept on my toes. I joined the military for the drive and discipline that it would give me,” Bevan said. “I joined to be a part of something bigger than myself.”
Bevan, who now lives in Augusta, acknowledges the military and Butler provided her with training and determination.
“Kaleigh was always prepared to learn, prepared to engage and prepared to be challenged,” said Brett Eisenman, department chair of cyber security at Butler. “She is driven, vibrant and full of energy.”
Butler was the only school Bevan applied to, but she realized early on she had made the right decision.
“I wanted to start off easy, figure out what I wanted to do and then go from there,” Bevan said. “Choosing IT fell into my lap. I was looking through the catalog and saw cyber security as a major, and I was hooked.”
As with her military service, Bevan excels at classwork.
“Kaleigh came to Butler with a vision and a goal. She applied herself and focused on reaching her goals,” Eisenman said. “Kaleigh is what every student should aspire to be.”
Bevan enjoys being challenged and understands that in the field of cyber security, she must continue her research and training.
“As a student, Kaleigh was a leader and a role model to others,” Eisenman said. “She inspires me to keep teaching. Seeing the drive that Kaleigh has inspires me to help others attain that same passion and desire for success that she exhibits in everything she does.”
Bevan credits Butler for her success.
"I would not be where I am now if I had not gone to Butler. At Butler, I was able to participate in hobbies I enjoyed while I pursued an affordable education,” Bevan said. “I gained a new perspective on the world all while being part of a tight-knit community. It was an essential stepping stone that helped me succeed."