Skip to main content

Crawford Path Leads Back to the White House

June 17, 2024
Kaelynn Crawford '22

Since graduating from The College of Idaho, Kaelynn Crawford has interned for a United States senator, interned in the White House, worked at the Pentagon, and recently started a new job at the White House as a Special Assistant to the White House Military Office.

That’s quite a career, right?

She’s 24 years old. She graduated from the College with a degree in international political economy in 2022.

One might assume Crawford has high political aspirations with a career arc like that. You’d be wrong.

“I don’t have a set path,” she said. “I wouldn’t categorize myself as someone who is super career-driven.”

Instead, she’s following lessons she learned during her time at the College. Lessons instilled by professors like Stelios Panageotou, Sean Blackwell, Rob Dayley and Kerry Hunter.

“Kerry Hunter said, ‘I don’t care what you learn about Aristotle in this class or what you remember five years down the road,’” Crawford recalled. “But it’s instilling that thought in students of, always be inquisitive, always be asking questions.”

How that relates to Crawford’s professional ascension? Again, it goes back to lessons learned on campus in Caldwell.

“If this interests you, keep going down that road,” she said. “Enjoy the ride.”

She’s doing just that. Initially, she had little interest in domestic politics. Conversations with Dayley helped to reshape her journey and, just two years later, she’s immersed in domestic politics.

In the new role, she’s part of a small management team that oversees a large staff of people coordinating and providing military support for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Everything from Air Force One and Air Force Two to White House ceremonies and events. If people have questions, they come to Crawford and she ensures they find the proper answers. While she is surrounded by people who either grew up or were educated on the East Coast, she takes pride in the current administration’s efforts to embrace a diverse staff of people from throughout the United States.

“Idaho has been historically very under-represented and I tell them all about it (Idaho). It’s great, the people there are great,” Crawford said. “It’s really cool to be the person when someone says, ‘Oh, I know somebody from Idaho.’”

Could she enjoy the ride enough to one day shift from providing support to the President to maybe being the President?

“That’d be cool,” she said with a laugh. “If I do, I’ll make Rob Dayley my Secretary of State.”

Whether the ride takes her to another wing of the White House, whether it brings her back to Idaho, or whether it takes her someplace completely different, the lessons she learned at The College of Idaho will help her.

“Had I not gone there, I don’t think my mindset would be what it is,” she said. “And I think that’s more valuable than any degree.”

The College of Idaho has a 133-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including eight Rhodes Scholars, three governors, 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