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Multiple roles yield many contacts for BVU student leader

April 15, 2021 4:05pm

To say Khamedriah Grimes is busy as a Beaver at Buena Vista University doesn’t do justice to the word busy.

It might short-sell Grimes, too.

Consider these commitments:

The junior from Kansas City, Mo., has two majors: Spanish and psychology.

She serves as President for BVU’s Black Student Union.

She’s President of the BVU Psychology Club.

She is BVU’s student representative on Campus Compact’s Student Leadership Committee, serving as one of three representatives from Iowa colleges.

She serves AmeriCorps through BVU’s Center for Diversity & Inclusion, working to research, organize, and present activities such as those taking place during Diversity & Inclusion Week, for example.

She’s a member of both the Spanish honor society, Sigma Delta Pi, and the psychology honor society, Psi Chi.

She’s a resident advisor.

She’s a member of Esprit de Corps, BVU’s Student Admissions team, and has the ability to break into Spanish while offering a tour of camps to a prospective student and his/her parents or guardians.

“My dream job is to become a bilingual therapist specializing in serving children and teens,” says Grimes. “I’d be very OK with working in the minority community while advocating for mental health because there are times mental health services—specifically accessing those services—is diminished in minority communities.”

Grimes says a stigma exists among minorities that it is better to push through mental health issues solo. A lack of health insurance or proper health insurance coverage can also represent limiting factors.

“I seek to do what I can to break that cycle,” Grimes says. “We need everyone to understand that therapy is OK. It’s wonderful to ask for help. Being vulnerable can be a strength as you’re finally allowing yourself to be the ‘real you.’”

The real Grimes is an adventure seeker who trekked to BVU after a family friend used an atlas to zero in on the location for BVU’s main campus in Storm Lake, a city some 280 miles from Kansas City.

“My family’s first question about BVU was this: ‘Where is it?’” Grimes says with a laugh.

She and her family came for a visit. Grimes enjoyed the size of the campus and the personal connections she made quickly. Each time she joined a group, or added tasks and responsibilities, she expanded her circle of contacts and friends.

“I’ve been able to meet so many people,” she says. “I have great friends and the support of our lovely staff and faculty. At BVU, I’m able to figure out who I am and what I want.”

During Black History Month at BVU, Grimes participated in a Zoom presentation by Simon Estes, an Iowa native of international acclaim in opera, philanthropy, and serving the underserved through education, music, and philanthropy, having founded a music school decades ago in Cape Town, South Africa, for example.

“I was amazed hearing Simon Estes talk about how he continued his career despite salary disparities,” Grimes says. “Simon said his mother taught him to never talk badly about others and to pray for his enemies. His foundation of faith was powerful.”

Grimes says she continues to grow in her faith and her self-confidence as she serves a variety of leadership roles at BVU, where she’s busier than ever.

“I am growing here. I’m proud to be African-American. I’m proud to be female and a Christian,” she concludes. “I am proud to be who I am going to be while being comfortable in my own skin. It feels good to know this is my process.”