Speaker Bio

Sarah Draper

Sarah Draper, USMA Class of 1995, grew up in Michigan and was the middle child of a graphic designer and a preschool teacher. Her parents introduced her to the joy of being outdoors and many of her childhood memories are of sailing, cross country skiing, and biking. Her family traveled all around the country, mostly by car, and she saw 42 states before she finished high school. She fell in love with the diversity, complexity, and beauty of our incredible Nation. During a trip to Colorado as a 7th grader, she had also fallen in love with the Air Force Academy and decided that was her future. Her goal to attend a service academy grew throughout her high school years, and she ultimately chose between West Point and the Coast Guard Academy.

A target of frequent hazing as a Plebe, she found her solace on the Army Crew Team, where she got to row away from the Academy every day. She enjoyed great kinship on the crew team, as well as in the Cadet Chapel Choir. Her most memorable semester at West Point was the one she spent away from it, as an exchange cadet at the Coast Guard Academy. Her closest friends during that semester were her fellow exchanges from the Naval Academy and Air Force Academy and her Coast Guard Academy teammates on the Coast Guard Crew Team. Her Firstie year at West Point, she was appointed the Brigade Athletic Officer and the hazings she had received as Plebe from the upper class cadets were replaced by hazings from the Department of Physical Education staff over the cadet intramural or club sport programs she oversaw. In all, she had an amazing four years at West Point and was grateful for the unique and challenging opportunities of a service academy education.

After graduation, she joined the Military Police Corps and was stationed in Germany, South Korea, and Fort Lewis, Washington. Her deployments included Croatia as a Platoon Leader and Kosovo as a Company Commander. She loved the Army and leading soldiers and fondly recalls some of her favorite memories of conducting reenlistment ceremonies during her deployment to Kosovo.

In 2003, she completed her time in the Army and turned her drive for service in a different direction, towards the FBI. Her first FBI assignment was in Salem, Oregon, where she spent three years as a member of a very tight-knight small team of agents who investigated everything from human trafficking to organized crime to terrorism. After three years, she transferred to Northern Virginia and spent five years investigating health care fraud, which she still recounts as the most challenging work she has done in the FBI. She spent the next two years working counterterrorism, until she transferred to Boise, Idaho, in late 2013. In 2015, she started and became the first supervisor of the first dedicated national security squad in Southern Idaho.

In 2017, Sarah began a graduate degree program through Gonzaga University and completed her master’s degree in Organizational Leadership (Global Leadership concentration) in 2019.

In her free time, Sarah loves to spend time enjoying many of the wonderful things about the outdoors in Idaho, such as skiing, trail running, mountain biking, hiking and camping, as well as traveling throughout the Northwest with her family.