Bayley Plummer ’19, a recent graduate of Appalachian State University’s B.S. in criminal justice program from Thomasville, may have found her path to Appalachian through an athletic scholarship, but her love of the school and the Appalachian Community — which “feels like home,” she said — has led to her many successes both on and off the basketball court.
This summer, Plummer, who completed her bachelor’s degree early, began her studies in Appalachian’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, which she aims to complete in the spring of 2021. She will also complete an internship this summer with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Plummer’s decision to major in criminal justice was inspired by her grandfather. “My grandpa was in law enforcement, and this area of study always sparked my interest,” she said. “I also am very fond of the idea of serving and helpings others, which is directly related to the field of law enforcement.”
Her interests in public service led her to apply for the Appalachian Police Officer Development Program (APDP). Since being accepted into the program, the center/forward for the Mountaineers women’s basketball team has kept a fast-paced schedule, juggling her part-time security work as a police cadet, her academic commitments and her athletic pursuits.
“We’re pleased to have Bayley as a member of our Public Safety Team,” said Andy Stephenson, Appalachian’s director of public safety and chief of police. “She is extremely successful, both academically and athletically, and her tremendous work ethic is contagious. Should she choose policing as her career, I have no doubt that she will have a significant, positive impact in the community.”
“The APDP program allows me to get one step ahead … I hope to become a state trooper for the North Carolina Highway Patrol and one day work for federal law enforcement,” Plummer said. “The program has also permitted me to build connections and relationships with members of the Appalachian Community.
“I was introduced to (C.) Philip Byers, who currently sits on the (University of North Carolina) Board of Governors and who also served as a former sheriff. He has provided useful knowledge and connections in the field of law enforcement and I am grateful for our relationship,” she added.
Angel Elderkin, head coach of the Appalachian women’s basketball team, said Plummer’s academic and athletic achievements stand out in addition to her desire to be of service to others.
“She played an integral role in the WBI (Women’s Basketball Invitational) championship. On the court, she anchors our defense with her elite ability to rebound the basketball, all while maintaining a 3.9 cumulative GPA,” Elderkin said. “Most important, Bayley has impacted the community with her work as an APDP cadet.”
When she graduates with her MPA, Plummer is likely to become the first APDP cadet to earn a master’s degree. She will also remain committed to a demanding schedule as a successful student-athlete while completing her first year of graduate studies — 2019–20 will be her last season with the Mountaineers, she said.
When asked what comes next after she completes her graduate degree, Plummer said she hopes to work for federal law enforcement, possibly with the FBI or Secret Service.
“As a sworn officer, I will be in close contact with more citizens and members of society, so I am excited for the new relationships that will be built,” she said. “I hope I can use my profession to build relationships that will last a lifetime.”
Next summer, Plummer plans to complete the Appalachian Police Academy and earn her North Carolina Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) credentials to become a sworn police officer.
By Emily Bausch