Yavapai College Diesel Technician student Kaiyah Bean has always been a diligent and serious-minded student who strove to attain good grades. She was a member of the National Junior Honors Society in middle school and was enrolled in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) in high school, and when she wasn't pursuing her studies she was helping those in her community through volunteer activities.
Kaiyah did not grow up with a paved path to success, and she's had to work hard for everything she has. "My family never had much growing up, being kicked out of house after house due to the lack of money we needed to pay the bills," she said. "Now, years later I still face the same problem but that only pushes me harder to go through school and make the best out of my life that I can."
YC Diesel Tech instructor Ron Luellen suggested that Kaiyah turn a personal hardship into a source of strength.
"Kaiyah grew up in an economically depressed home watching her mom struggle to pay the bills," he said. "This struggling childhood taught Kaiyah that she needed to work to be her own independent woman. She saw a way for her independence on the occasions when her mother taught her about minor car repairs such as installing brakes on the family vehicle."
Those repairs planted a seed of interest that grew into a passion that Kaiyah would pursue as time advanced. She began her formal training in Mickey Chaney's Joint Technical Education District (JTED) automotive program at Prescott High School. There, she applied several transfer credits to her transcript at Yavapai College. While in high school, she realized that her passion lie with working in the diesel trades as either a heavy equipment or heavy truck mechanic.
Luellen was impressed with Kaiyah’s work--during this her first year in YC's Diesel program, she was awarded that program's annual "Most Outstanding Student" award.
"With her passion to develop her skills as a diesel mechanic and her drive to be a truly independent woman, there's no doubt that Kaiyah is destined to go far," said Luellen.
While Bean's early success at YC seems to be built upon her personal habits of determination and a strong work ethic, the opportunity for students to engage in one-on-one relationships with their professors has been a big factor in her academic accomplishments.
"Yavapai College has been helping my dream come true," Kaiyah said. "One teacher in particular has helped me in my journey--Ron Luellen has helped with my studies and has ensured I not only get my work done, but that I understand everything that I'm learning. He never hesitates to answer any of my questions, and I ask a lot of them. He plays a big part in my success here at Yavapai and I can’t thank him enough for teaching me everything I need to know for my future."