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Campus Safety officer earns national scholarship

One spring day, College of Idaho sophomore Bridget Kernan walked into the Campus Safety office to do homework. Then a freshmen, Officer Kernan heard her fellow officers saying, “I want to tell her.” 

Her mind started to race. Was she in trouble? What were they talking about?

They asked her if she’d checked her email. She knew nothing was in there, but checked again anyway. Still nothing. That’s when they told Kernan she was one of three students across the nation to receive a $1,000 scholarship from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

“I was kind of speechless,” Kernan said. “I was like, ‘You guys are messing with me.’ I was trying to figure out if it was a mistake. I was in disbelief that I’d actually received it.”

Kernan, a political economy major, first got involved with Campus Safety after watching a presentation during the freshmen welcome week that convinced her to join as a work-study employee.

“The department as a whole gained my respect,” she said. “I wanted to be part of an organization that is helping people and making a difference.”

She started out doing office tasks, unlocking doors, making ID cards and working at football games. But after her first semester, Kernan was asked if she’d like to be a part-time officer.

What was it about her character, work ethic and personality that allowed her to rise through the ranks so quickly?

“All of the above,” said Chief Allan Laird, C of I’s director of Campus Safety.

She made an early impression when some parking issues arose during a football game last year. With a can-do attitude, she jumped on the task and straightened out the mess.

 “She came on board with a mindset of, ‘give me a problem and I can fix it,’” Laird said.

And though she may be small in stature, Kernan isn’t afraid to mix it up and put on the gloves.

Shortly after getting involved in Campus Safety, she started boxing when fellow officer Cpl. Daryl Flennoy asked her to join the boxing club. After playing basketball and softball in high school, boxing filled that athletic void.

“I just fell in love with it,” Kernan said. “It’s so much fun.”

Whether she’s on duty, boxing, working her second job at a grocery store, or trying to make her sixth-grade dream of becoming a lawyer a reality, Kernan puts her best foot forward. Her drive is fueled by the example of an amazing role model—her mother.

“She’s a really strong woman, and I wouldn’t be where I am without her,” Kernan said.

Now in her first full year as a part-time officer, Kernan is eager to take on more responsibility

“I’m really excited,” Kernan said. “I’ll get to handle more cases, take primary on them and figure out what I’m capable of.”

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.