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Alumni Spotlight - Stephanie Merritt

Joining the medical field would look quite different from joining the armed services – or so one would think.

Felisha Bustos

Stephanie Merritt is one phenomenal woman who has served in both the medical and military worlds with a passion that's hard to replicate. COVID-19 highlighted the need for her to use all she learned in both worlds so she could effectively help people suffering in her community. As a military veteran and medical professional, she was ready to serve, knowing that everything must be done with extra precaution, and with one goal in mind – protecting the health and safety of others.

Stephanie maintained strong roots in Colorado despite moving frequently with her family to serve her country. She has been to Texas, Kentucky and Holland – to name a few. Her husband also has a strong military background and that impulse to serve was passed on to their children. In the Spring of 2019, a different passion settled in Stephanie's heart and she decided to enroll in the Aims Community College Allied Health Professional phlebotomy program. She felt it made sense to attend Aims because of the location and affordability. She completed her coursework in May 2019 and then took an internship in June. She was only in her new career field for 9 months after graduation when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world with its fierce impact.

As is her character, Stephanie didn’t flinch at the news and instinctively worked to help others, a trait ingrained in her since she was a child. When asked what drives her passion, Stephanie said, “It’s just the way my mom raised me. Do unto others as you would have others do to you. And any chance I get to assist somebody, then I will do it if it’s within my powers.” She was taught this from a young age and she has also instilled these virtues in her children.

"Any chance I get to assist somebody, then I will do it if it’s within my powers."
--Stephanie Merritt

When asked about her greatest accomplishment in life, she proudly states it’s her two boys who bring her pride and joy. Also serving in the military, her sons have been raised with “a good head on their shoulders.” But this pandemic hasn’t been easy on them either. In a family where members serve on the front lines during a pandemic, it often means isolation from friends and family. Stephanie said it’s been difficult – she can see her son from 6 feet away, but can’t wrap her arms around him. It’s a tough battle, but it’s worth the fight to save lives.

Stephanie currently works at Banner Fort Collins Medical Center on the Lab Team. She says the respiratory team is made up of the true front-line workers of this pandemic. They have to be ready to fight 24/7 and are the ones who deserve the most gratitude, but it takes everyone doing their part to truly make the world better. COVID-19 legislation and protocols change frequently and Stephanie understands that medical practitioners need to "adjust and get used to the new normal until we get back to the normal norm.” She says that in the midst of the chaos, there is hope and her best advice is, “Stay positive and stay strong. Things will get better. Whether you are in the medical field or a different field, just stay strong, stay positive, and do what you can to help others.” 

Thank you, Stephanie, and your healthcare team for all you are doing. We at Aims are proud to be part of such an amazing community. May we all stay strong, stay positive, and do what we can to help others during this challenging time.