Black History Month – The Wesleyan Way: Steven Peyton ’87

To borrow a “Star Trek” saying, Steven Peyton ’87 has gone where no Kentucky Wesleyan graduate has gone before with a career at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).  

The Hardinsburg, Ky., native can best be described as exceptional and rare.  

Peyton said, “After graduating with a bachelor of science in business administration from KWC in 1986, I decided to stay in Owensboro and worked at UPS and Modell Sporting Goods.  

“During this time, I applied for a position at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in September and received notification that I had been accepted for a position in Washington, D.C., beginning in January 1987.

“I started as a research file clerk in the Organized Crime and Drug Division, supporting FBI agents conducting various investigations around the world. I worked for the FBI for one year and four months and decided I did not want to become an FBI agent.    

“While working for the FBI, a colleague informed me of a great opportunity with NASA and thought I would be a great fit.  

“My interest in NASA was due to the outstanding missions and reputation it had around the world in human exploration, aeronautics, science research and the mission to share this with all humans on earth. Therefore, I applied.”  I accepted a NASA contractor Security Manager position in May 1988 and worked in that position until March 1990. 

Steven received the call in March 1990 to become a government information security specialist in the Security Office of NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. He has been with NASA for 35 years career in various positions including:  

– Lead information security program specialist 

– Lead physical security program specialist  

– Chief, Headquarters Security Office  

– Director, Security Management Division  

Steven is now director of the Integrated Security Division with the NASA Office of Protective Services (OPS). In that role, Steven supervises a team responsible for leading the research, development, planning and implementation of the OPS Integrated Security Strategy for NASA by incorporating NASA mission requirements, mission support activities, facility requirements, programs, security activities and security systems into a fully integrated corporate security strategy. 

“I am also NASA’s primary liaison for national security programs dealing with classification/declassification management with the National Security Council, the Department of State, the White House Executive Office, the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), the Department of Army, the Department of Navy, the Air Force and other government agencies as required,” shared Steven. 

Steven’s proudest career moments include receiving the NASA Exceptional Performance Award and the NASA Civil Servant/Contractor 25-Year Declassification Program Honor Award for his team, as well selection for his current role. 

“My thanks and gratitude to the Kentucky Wesleyan College faculty, staff and fellow classmates for leading me to a wonderful career,” Steven reflected. 

 Written by Roy Pickerill ’75

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