CCU alumna Jennifer Milburn

Cyber Security Graduate Jennifer Milburn Amplifies Leadership Role

Meet Jennifer Milburn, a CCU alumna and a woman who has succeeded in STEM and military leadership. In 2021, Jennifer graduated with a Master of Science in Cyber Security from the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. Today, she uses her degree to amplify her leadership roles in the military and within her church community.

Jennifer led her family as the oldest of four children while her single mother worked multiple jobs. Leadership was a natural position, but she needed the proper outlet. So, after struggling to find the right direction in life, Jennifer joined the Marine Corps Reserve at 17. Speaking about her decision, she recalls:

"I didn't excel in sports or academics and wasn't sure where I was going with my life. When I was 17, I decided to join the Marine Corps Reserve. I was eager to take on the challenge."

Jennifer's experience in the Marine Corps not only enhanced her leadership skills but also developed her passion for national defense. She enrolled in Kent State University's flight program to become a pilot but had to suspend her military pilot training after suffering a severe knee injury. However, Jennifer switched her program to aeronautical engineering. She spent the next decade working for Boeing and BAE as a space and defense programs contractor on projects such as the International Space Station.

"I was thankful I could switch majors into something where I could still serve the defense community."

Jennifer's journey led her to pursue a Master of Science in Cyber Security from the College of Adult and Graduate Studies in 2021. With the constant cyber threats in national defense, Jennifer recognized the importance of having people who knew how to address the concerns, which motivated her to pursue a cyber security degree. She believes cyber security is a field with few experts, and she is proud to be among the few who can address cyber threats.

"In national defense, cyber threats are constant, and the people who know how to address the concerns are few."

Jennifer's cyber security degree has enabled her to excel in her current role as a test engineer section chief, where she is still positioned in civilian leadership with the U.S. Air Force. Despite facing challenges as a female in military leadership and STEM, Jennifer has succeeded, carving a path for other women to follow. Speaking about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field, she said:

"Being a woman in a male-dominated field has its challenges but also can be very refreshing. I have friends who work in predominantly female fields, and unfortunately, women compete against each other when they really should be banding together. We all have similar experiences."

A valuable lesson that Jennifer has learned along the way is the importance of work-life balance. Jennifer advises women to find something else if their home life is not supported and that good companies and leaders will support them.

"If you are in a position where your home life is not supported, find something else. There are good companies and leaders out there that will support you."

She also uses her cyber security knowledge and heart for Jesus in her church community. Together, Jennifer and her husband, who works in physical security, have made recommendations to help improve church security, allowing the staff to continue the fundamental mission of leading people to Jesus.

"Most churches depend on outsourcing I.T. without understanding the policies and procedures, and most can't afford to spend money on cyber assessments," Jennifer said.

Jennifer encourages women entering STEM to follow their passions and trust God's direction. She believes that women must be who God made them to be and never forget who they are in Him. Jennifer loves conversing with new women engineers and helping them work through their struggles. She advises women not to be pressured by societal expectations but to trust their instincts.

"Don't be pressured by the world to do something you don't want. Whether women dream of becoming engineers, mothers, or corporate executives, there is a season for everything; trust God in your direction, not yourself."

Jennifer also encourages women to heed Titus 2: Be reverent, self-controlled, kind, busy, seekers, and teachers of the truth.

Finally, Jennifer recommends finding a mentor. She loves conversing with new women engineers and helping them work through their struggles. Mentors can provide valuable guidance and support, and Jennifer believes everyone needs someone to look up to.

"I love talking with new women engineers and helping them work through the unique struggles we have as we go through work and life. Be who God made you to be, and don't forget who you are in Him."

Jennifer's story is inspiring, and she reminds us that we can succeed in our chosen fields with determination and hard work. Combining a passion for national defense, cyber security expertise, and a heart for Jesus, Jennifer has found success in her career and made a positive impact in her church community.

Learn more about CCU's online Cyber Security degree programs at

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