Linda Relyea

Adams State online program prepares Merchant for professional success
Article by Garrett Carroll

ALAMOSA, CO. (January 20, 2022) – Salida native, Cynthia K. Merchant is the first female in her family to earn a bachelor degree. She graduated with honors. “I am pleased with my accomplishment; it has been a long time coming and I have worked hard to reach my goals.”

She chose Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., because as an online, non-traditional student, Merchant wanted a university close enough to attend in-person classes or summer workshops, as an option.

Merchant earned a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies and graduated with highest honors at the Adams State 2021 Fall Ceremony. “The small campus size and friendly atmosphere made it easy to find the assistance I needed and led me to take some in-person classes. I enjoyed the personal connections I made along the way.”

She appreciates the knowledge and skills she learned over the last three years which she put into practice in her new career.

“I received a tremendous amount of support from my advisor. I also received inspiration and useful insight and information from my major professors. They made the classwork interesting, challenging, and relatable.” Merchant especially appreciates Michael Stewart, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology, and Heidi Schneider, Ph.D., assistant professor and chair of the School of Humanities. “They inspired curiosity, critical thinking and exploring concepts outside the box.”

Merchant graduated from Adams State in three years and her volunteer work at a local non-profit restorative justice program led to a full-time position with the organization.

She has seen tremendous personal growth since her first semester taking Adams State online classes. Along with improving her writing skills, her familiarity with technology has increased. “I learned how to conduct research and think critically about the world around me. I continue to question and examine the information I receive from mass media sources, and have a comprehensive understanding of sociology concepts and intersectionality.”


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Cynthia K. Merchant