Carrie Merchant: A Classy Character

Hannah Kramer, Arts & Life Editor

Carrie Merchant is the classy wife of our president at Buena Vista University. Dr. Joshua D. Merchant, appointed in 2017, is the 18th president of our lakeside school. Many students, faculty, and community members of Storm Lake are aware president Merchant believes higher education serves the public good, and how involved he is with BVU. More often than not, his wife and first lady is right beside him. But what do the community, faculty, and students know about Carrie Merchant?

It is common knowledge Carrie is President Merchant’s wife, mother of two teenage boys, and a huge BVU supporter and fan. What is not as commonly known is Carrie’s career and position at BVU. She is currently a counseling intern at BV in addition to finishing her master’s degree in mental health counseling.

“I transferred from where I started my program at a school in Michigan, Central Michigan University, and transferred to the BV program,” Carrie said.  

This academic school year, Carrie will be spending her time three days a week in the counseling center located in Student Success. Spending time working with students is a part of her practical internship experience.  

“I’m still working on which specialty I may look at [going into], but it’s wide reaching and there’s a lot of ways to help people in this field,” she added.  

While she is completing her practical and internship experience, she is also taking online grad courses. Keeping herself busy allows her to stay on task and on track. Not only is Carrie working hard in her internship and continuing her education for her masters, she has one of the hardest and most important jobs in the world; she’s a mom!

“It is [busy], especially you know my kids are teenagers. Very busy on their own. All kinds of stuff is going on, [but] I like being busy. I kind of thrive in a busy environment,” Carrie smiled.  

While Carrie thrives and is very successful in busy environments, she had to learn quickly how to adapt to taking online grad courses here at BV.

“I had never done an online class before I started classes here, so that was an adjustment, trying to make sure that I’m managing my time well between classes, things I want to do at BV with the president, and things that I have to do and want to do with my kids. Now that I am here three days a week counseling as well, it just adds a whole new section to my schedule,” she said. 

While Carrie has a busy schedule, she still loves what she does, and she would recommend BV’s graduate course options to any student who wants to further their education.  

“If you have it in the back of your mind you know what you want to do, then you should continue on. This is the path I’m on, take advantage of it while you can because it is definitely a good opportunity,” Carrie emphasized.  

On the contrary, if you don’t know what you want to do, or if you change your mind, that’s okay! When Carrie was a little girl, she would play teacher in her room. This is what she thought she would become. Her undergraduate degree is in English. She worked in higher education for 16 years and has worked in admissions and financial aid. It was when she started advising she developed the interest in counseling because of her love for working with students one-on-one in that environment.

Someone’s path can change a million times before they find out what their heart is set out to do. Carrie’s did, and although it has not been easy, she is still enjoying her journey. In May of 2020, Carrie will still be all of those wonderful things, plus a graduate from BVU with her masters in mental health counseling. She looks forward to her husband handing her a BVU diploma.