Kendra Meredith ’18: Changing Course

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.

On the court, she posted 249 career assists and averaged 4.4 assists per game, ranking her ninth and third, respectively, in program history. Her assists average was the best by a Bullets player in 23 years. As a team, Gettysburg posted a 46-11 record when she guided the team from the point guard position. She also averaged 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game and helped the team capture the 2018 Centennial Conference title, marking the program’s second league championship.

In track and field, she finished her career ranked third in school history in the long jump (18-6 1/2), eighth in the triple jump (36-2 1/4), and ninth in the 100-meter dash (12.87). As a junior, she landed All-Centennial Conference Second Team honors after soaring 18-0 1/2 at the conference outdoor championship. Then as a senior, she was the conference’s long jump champion, earning All-CC First Team recognition with a PR leap of 18-6 1/2. She was also named to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division III All-Mideast Region Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Team as she finished No. 5 in the region in the long jump.

Off the court and track, she was a member of Chi Omega sorority and majored in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a minor in education.

When Meredith started college, she was set on becoming a teacher. She did the requirements, and then student taught by herself as a junior. It was at that point Meredith wasn’t sure she wanted to do 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 by that time, I was already in women’s studies and education and knew that I would have to stay longer if I switched majors. 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 knowing that teaching wasn’t for her, Meredith started doing her research, asking Stefannci questions about her experience, and started thinking about applying to the FBI. The FBI accepts any major but requires two years of full-time experience. Meredith started thinking of the law enforcement route and randomly decided to reach out to a hometown friend whose parent was a police officer and scheduled to do a ride around for a day. Like Stefanacci, the police officer she did a ride-along 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 did 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.” 

Meredith went through 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.”Print Friendly Version

This story was originally posted on the Gettysburg College Website.

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