Students of the Month
Kyle Harken always liked math and science. So after he broke his hand his senior year at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, he decided pre-medicine studies were right up his alley. “I always knew I wanted to go into pre-law or pre-medicine,” said Harken, the son of Karel and Steve Harken of Leawood. “I decided, after going through all of the orthopedics and all, that that’s what I wanted to do. Orthopedics is the nuts and bolts of medicine. I found it interesting.”
Harken, a sophomore, holds a 3.89 grade-point average. He plans to transfer to the University of Kansas to complete a bachelor’s degree in bio-chemistry. And after that, he plans to apply to KU’s School of Medicine.
Harken played baseball for the Tigers this spring. “I’m hoping to play ball somewhere,” he said. “Eventually, I want to go into orthopedics after my residency and either join a practice or start my own orthopedic practice.” Besides making the Dean’s List, Harken was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Math and Science Club. Harken said being named Student of the Month was special. “I was pretty excited” when told of the award, he said. “It’s a pretty big honor to receive at Cowley. I appreciate (Natural Science Instructor Pam) Mrs. Smith for nominating me.” Harken said a Student of the Month was someone who was “hard working and dedicated toward your major.”
Graduating from Hays High School, Candice Bigler had several options. She could go to college and compete in track and field. She could go to college and be a cheerleader. Or she could go to college and just concentrate on her studies. She ended up at Cowley on an ACT Scholarship. She originally signed with the Tiger track team to compete in the heptathlon. Instead, Bigler decided to join Kristi Shaw’s Spirit Squad. That move may have been the most rewarding as Bigler met the man she would marry. Candice Bigler married Grahm Dickinson on July 6, 2002.
Candice, who was reared in Pratt but lived in Hays her senior year, is a sophomore math major who has her future pretty well mapped out. She and her husband plan to transfer to Missouri Southern State College in Joplin, where she’ll major in finance and minor in math. From there, Candice plans to get her master’s degree at the University of Missouri. Her parents, Charles and Charlotte Bigler, live in Chillicothe, Mo. Her husband is a native of Newkirk, Okla. Candice was a Student Ambassador, and was named Ambassador of the Year and Tutor of the Year in the Student-Teacher Academic Resource Center. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Mu Alpha Theta, and serves as vice president of Campus Christian Fellowship, in which she received the award for Outstanding Participation and Leadership for the second consecutive year.
Bren Leete wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but Tornado Alley. Since the Cowley freshman was 4 years old, he has been interested in weather, mainly severe weather. At age 7, he saw his first tornado. “We were coming back from space camp in Huntsville, Ala., and a tornado was coming down the road on 47th Street in Wichita,” Leete said. “We knocked on the door of this house, and the woman inside happened to be deaf. About 50 yards before her house, the tornado jumped. It was an awesome sight.” While most 7-year-olds would be terrified at the sight of a twister, that day 13 years ago only fueled Leete’s interest in one of Mother Nature’s most devastating acts. He’s so interested in it that he plans to transfer to the University of Oklahoma to study atmospheric sciences.
Eventually, he wants a job at the National Severe Storms Forecast Center in Norman, but not sitting at a desk all day. “Weather research would be the ultimate job, but storm chasing is what I really want to do,” Leete said. Leete, the son of Charles and Beverly Leete of Rose Hill, is a 2002 graduate of Rose Hill High School. He takes classes at Cowley’s northern campuses, where he serves as a Student Ambassador, has a work-study job as a student assistant, and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Math and Science Club. He holds a 4.0 grade-point average. In his spare time, Leete enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, including golf.