Kendra Meredith ’18 made some big leaps as a young adult, transferring to Gettysburg College as a junior and shifting her career path. She started her collegiate career at an NCAA Division II institution as a two-sport athlete, but decided it was time for a change.
Meredith received a scholarship to play basketball at Southern Connecticut State University and ended up competing on the track and field team, as well, for two seasons. With two coaching changes, not seeing much playing time on the court, and wanting to live closer to home, she started looking at other colleges.
“I thought that if I went to a Division III college, I would have a better chance of playing, and knew that I could compete in both basketball and track and field,” said Meredith.
Having grown up in Boyds, Maryland, she started looking at colleges near her hometown. Meredith was familiar with McDaniel College and knew some of the colleges that they played against in the Centennial Conference, so she started looking at colleges in the league.
“I toured Gettysburg, and I initially loved it,” said Meredith. “I knew this is where I needed to be. It was a small campus with a great opportunity to meet new people, it wouldn't be hard to fit in, and with playing two sports, I would have teammates to help me through the transition.”
Meredith toured the campus before emailing head coach Nate Davis about her interest in playing on the basketball team. Coach Davis expressed his interest by asking Meredith to send game film and continued to stay in touch.
“He welcomed me with open arms and I appreciated his kindness,” noted Meredith.
Once her application was accepted, she asked Davis if she could compete on the track and field team, as well, since she wanted to do both. Davis had no issues with it, and according to Meredith, believed Davis mentioned something to the track and field coach.
Then assistant, but now head cross country and track and field coach Bryson Hartzler, reached out and the two of them met in person once she was on campus. After that, Hartzler said they would be happy to have her join the outdoor team.
In her two years of wearing the Orange and Blue, Meredith certainly left her mark on both programs. [For more on Meredith’s athletic career, read the full article on the Athletics website].
When Meredith started college, she was set on becoming a teacher. She completed the requirements, and then student taught as a junior. It was at that point Meredith wasn't sure she wanted to pursue teaching as a career.
“I was reflecting and thought, ‘Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life? Maybe it is not for me,’” noted Meredith. “I thought of looking into something different, but… I decided to stick with what I had and figured, ‘I'll see what I can do with it’.”
All it took was one conversation with her sorority sister during that junior year to change her career path.
“I was having a conversation with my sorority sister, Jordan Stefanacci, and she revealed that she worked for the FBI over the summer,” said Meredith. “She went on to say how fun it was, that she learned a lot, and then told me I would be a perfect fit for it. I denied it, but she was persistent in saying it is something to consider.”
After deciding that teaching wasn’t for her, Meredith started doing her research, asking Stefanacci questions about her experience, and started thinking about applying to the FBI. The FBI accepts any major but requires two years of full-time work experience. Meredith started thinking of the law enforcement route and decided to reach out to a hometown friend whose parent was a police officer, and scheduled to do a ride-along for a day. Like Stefanacci, the police officer she met with told Meredith she would be a great fit and encouraged her to apply to the police academy after graduation.
During Meredith's last semester at Gettysburg, she completed an off-campus program in Washington D.C. and interned with the Metropolitan Police Academy. It was during that internship she knew this was her career path.
“It sparked my attention when I went to the Academy and thought that this is something that I could see myself doing,” stated Meredith. “If I want to work for the FBI one day, I would be able to because of having two years of experience of being a police officer. I went for it and applied to every county police department in Maryland. I ended up getting a job at the Montgomery County Police Department, which is in my hometown, right after I graduated in December 2018.”
“It was definitely surprising how I got into it, because no one ever thought that I was going to be a police officer, and neither did I,” said Meredith.
Meredith underwent 28 weeks of intense training through the Montgomery County Police Academy, which had one of the most academically challenging programs in the nation.
After working for two months as a patrol officer at the police department, she transferred to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department and now serves as a deputy sheriff.
“I chose Gettysburg and never looked back. It was the best decision that I have ever made,” said Meredith. “I wouldn't change a single thing.”
By Jennifer Mower
Photos by Ryan Murray and courtesy of Kendra Meredith ’18