Who is Michelle Bolger? DeSales professor says Bryan Kohberger was one of SMARTEST students she's taught

Who is Michelle Bolger? DeSales professor says Bryan Kohberger was one of SMARTEST students she's taught
Dr Michelle Bolger (inset) has taught Bryan Kohberger, the primary suspect in the Idaho quadruple homicide case (DeSales University, Monroe County Correctional Facility)

This article is based on sources and MEAWW cannot verify this information independently.

LEHIGH COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA: A criminology professor who once taught Idaho quadruple murder suspect Bryan Kohberger has revealed that he was one of the smartest students she's ever had. Kohberger, 28, is remanded in custody in Pennsylvania while awaiting extradition to Idaho where he has been charged with the murders of four students.

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He allegedly killed Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Maddie Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20 — all of whom were stabbed to death in their beds in the early hours of November 13. Authorities had been on the hunt for the killer for nearly seven weeks before they finally arrested Kohberger on Friday, December 30, at his parents' home in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.

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Speaking to the Daily Mail, DeSales University Professor Michelle Bolger said she's in a state of shock after learning about the allegations against her former student. "He's a brilliant student," she told the newspaper. "I'm shocked as s**t at what he's been accused of. I don't believe it, but I get it." The 33-year-old Bolger has been an Associate Professor at DeSales for the past eight years. She said she taught Kohberger last year (2021) in an online class and even helped him with his master's thesis project. "He was an online student in the criminal justice master's degree program and graduated in June 2022," she revealed.

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It's worth noting that DeSales is a private Catholic university in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, about 60 miles north of Philadelphia. The university's online Criminal Justice Program is ranked #27 in the country, per the US News and World Report. Joe Walsh, Instructor of Computer Science and Criminal Justice and Director of the Master of Arts Criminal Justice (MACJ) Program, told Daily Mail that the program has a mock crime scene house which "gives our students hands-on, practical experience in investigating criminal activity." The 30-hour Master's degree program reportedly costs around $24,000.

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Bolger said she knew Kohberger from his coursework online but never met him in person. "I never saw him in person, I couldn't tell you how tall he was or how much he weighed, my only interaction with him was via email and Zoom," she said. "I didn't know anything about him, whether he was married, had a girlfriend, etc." However, the professor noted that she never saw a "dark side" to the then 27-year-old graduate student. "This news is upsetting; I haven't slept at all since hearing about Bryan," she continued. "He seemed normal to me, but then again, I only knew him from teaching him online. I didn't know anything personal about him. I believe he worked full-time like most of our graduate students do."

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Bolger described Kohberger as a "great writer and a brilliant student." She said, "He was always perfectly professional when I had any interactions with him. In my 10 years of teaching, I've only recommended two students to a PhD program and he was one of them. He was one of my best students – ever. Everyone is in shock over this." According to Bolger, Kohberger wanted to pursue a career in academia after graduating from Washington State University. She said she was one of his professors who helped him with his proposal for a graduate thesis, including what some sleuths have termed an unusual research questionnaire.

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"I was one of the professors who helped Bryan with his proposal on his graduate thesis, his capstone project," she recalled. "He did put out a routine questionnaire for his thesis. It looks weird, I understand from the public view. But in criminology, it's normal. It's a criminology theory called script theory — it's a normal theory on how and why criminals commit their crime," the professor explained. According to Bolger, Kohberger ended up not using any of the data he gathered from the questionnaire, and instead "his graduate thesis was a narrative one based on the information" due to time constraints. The professor said she later went on maternity leave and another professor took her place. She hasn't had any professional interaction with Kohberger after that.

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Who is Michelle Bolger?

According to the DeSales University website, Dr Michelle (Coyne) Bolger received her PhD in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. She worked as a case manager at a men's community residential facility outside of Cincinnati prior to graduate school, and her research and teaching interests primarily focus on "quantitative analyses surrounding criminological perspectives and predicting behavioral outcomes."

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Her profile states that she recently branched out to publish and conduct research involving citizens' fear of crime and satisfaction with the police, and other criminal justice policy issues. Furthermore, Bolger "facilitates and supervises the student-run group, the Criminal Justice Association, and she is a DeSales representative for the Executive Board of the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium." She is known for teaching "Criminology and Research Methods at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, along with undergraduate Corrections and Community Corrections courses."

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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