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Four C of I alumnae honored as 'Women of the Year'

Click here to read the Idaho Business Review’s coverage of the “Women of the Year” event.

The Indian scholar, jurist and revolutionist B.R. Ambedkar once said, “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”

This spring, four College of Idaho alumnae who have achieved success in business are being honored in the Idaho Business Review’s “Women of the Year” publication. Kerrie (Trogdon) Hurd ’88, Jodi (Schuster) Vanderpool ’96, Lori (Dembi) Werth ’98 and Megan (Reinschmidt) Ronk ’01 are the C of I honorees. 

The Women of the Year list honors 50 women who are shaping Idaho’s economic and community well-being through outstanding leadership, mentoring efforts and community involvement.

Hurd, who recently became the deputy district director for the New Mexico U.S. Small Business Administration in Albuquerque, has worked with various government agencies and spent time in the Army National Guard since graduating. Being one of the 50 Women of the Year is an honor, she said.

“I think if you look at the list of honorees, there are some really incredible women,” Hurd said. “To have my name amongst theirs, it is really humbling.”

She credits her business success to the C of I faculty, who encouraged Hurd to pursue her then-goal of getting into investment banking.

“The College of Idaho is truly a special place,” Hurd said. “The professors aren’t just your professor. They are kind of like a guardian. They have faith in you when you don’t have faith in yourself.”

This is the second Women of the Year honor for Vanderpool, who was previously honored in 2006. Graduating with a degree in business administration, Vanderpool has spent almost 20 years in the healthcare field. She moved back to Idaho three years ago and is currently the West Region Administrator of Quality for St. Luke’s in Boise.

For Vanderpool, The College of Idaho provided interactions beyond the classroom that laid a foundation for being involved in the business world, she said.

“[The C of I] really presents an opportunity to become a strong communicator and build relationships,” she said.

Werth also said she was humbled by the IBR honor. Currently the chair of graduate education at NNU, Werth found a love for higher education after working in the C of I admission department. That led her to earn a doctorate in education at the University of Idaho.

“Just like my professors impacted my life, that’s what I’m doing right now; I’m impacting the lives of students in my courses,” Werth said.

Though she graduated from the C of I with a degree in biology, her liberal arts education set her up to make the jump into education.

“What I valued tremendously was the rich critical thinking and the writing skills I learned,” Werth said. “You’re educated in a way that is comprehensive.”

After graduating from the C of I in 2001, Ronk spent time in Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s office, at Blue Cross and several nonprofits before becoming the chief operations officer at the Idaho Department of Commerce.

Two things she learned at the C of I have helped in her business career; how to be an independent thinker and how to be a strong writer—though she still remembers the nitpicking of her freshman English professors.

Ronk is thrilled to be honored alongside 49 brilliant peers in the Idaho business world.

“It’s such a great group of talented women who have done so many wonderful things in their careers,” she said. “I was honored to be considered in that caliber of talent.”

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars and 14 Marshall, Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit