Chris Hepburn is an example
that it’s never too late to go back to college. He first enrolled at Southeast
Community College in 1999 after graduating from Lincoln Southeast High School.
However, life got in the way, and he ended up dropping out. After coming back
to SCC a few years later, he had another setback, but still managed to see
light at the end of the tunnel.
“Years later I was married and
decided to go back,” he explained. “Not too long after that, I had a traumatic brain
injury where I was lucky I lived and was able to function at a level allowing
me to return back to work. I came back to SCC again and finally finished
up my Associate of Applied Science degree.”
It was 2013 when Hepburn earned a degree in Computer Information Technology from SCC. He subsequently earned a bachelor’s
degree in Cyber Security from Bellevue University. He has since climbed the
ranks at the Nebraska Judicial Branch and is now the Network
Administrator/Security Officer/Department Manager for the IT Division.
“Through his work over the past five years,
the Nebraska statewide court and probation systems have greatly benefited,”
said Jennifer Rasmussen, IT Deputy Court Administrator. “He has modernized
systems, consolidated and enhanced support, brought creative solutions to IT
issues, and tightened security. Through a period of great transition for the
branch, Chris’s leadership, skills and experience were essential and have put
us in a good place to be prepared for the next five years and beyond.”
Hepburn said his department supports around 1,750
employees, justices and judges throughout the state. He administers the
network, trains on cybersecurity and implements security measures. More
importantly than all of his responsibilities with very private information, he
loves what he does.
“In a nutshell, I’m just a guy who
loves waking up every morning, biking to work and spending my day engulfed in
my passion, which is technology,” he said, “and if I can help others embrace
technology, that’s just icing on the cake.”
Looking back at his time at SCC,
Hepburn remembers the kindness of his instructors. In 2011, he was cross-country
biking when he was in an accident and survived a traumatic brain injury. It
wasn’t easy to return to school after that, but he had some help.
“When I was able to return to SCC,
my instructors were so kind and accommodating,” he recalled. “They understood
my issues and did what they could to help me learn. I just can’t say
enough good things about the computer science instructors.”
is an alumni I can always count on,” said Jo Schuster, CIT co-director. “He has
mentored several CIT students in internships, and he regularly shares his
knowledge and experience with The Career Academy students.”
Hepburn recently hired his first SCC intern
and is extremely proud. He was honored to receive the 2020 Distinguished Alumni
“During our current pandemic, it was really an
uplifting gesture from SCC,” he said. “I was surprised. I know a lot of alumni
from SCC, people that do amazing work in their professions. To be picked as a
Distinguished Alumni is a great honor from a school I certainly hold dear to my
Hepburn remembers SCC as giving him a solid foundation, not just in
computer technology, but other aspects such as writing papers, giving speeches
and overall real-world knowledge to apply to his career. His path took a few
detours, but he never got off course.
“Walking down the aisle to accept my A.A.S.
was a moment I will never forget,” he remembered. “Just my sheer determination
to complete my degree and see it all come together was worth all the struggle,
pain and uncertainty. I truly felt blessed.”
lives in Lincoln with his wife Nancy and his daughter Holly.