Native student wins employee of the year

HALEY DONWERTH | Evergreen reporter

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Frazier Myer enjoys feeling like he’s part of something bigger than himself, which is why he loves his job as communication assistant for WSU Native American Programs (NAP).

Myer, a senior communication student, has worked under Faith Price, the program’s assistant director, at the NAP for two years. An aspiring journalist, he is also a sports reporter for The Daily Evergreen.

Price said she nominated Myer for the Student Employee of the Year Award for his outstanding work in the program.

“He’s got a lot of heart for what he’s doing,” she said. “The journalism work that he’s doing and for his community.”

Students involved in NAP are paired with mentors within the program, who often arrive at WSU before school begins, Myer said. This gives students the opportunity to meet up with them, meet other Native American students and feel at home, Price said.

“[It’s] a great opportunity for all Native Americans,” Myer said, “It’s a place where you can feel comfort and where you feel welcomed right away.”

Myer said he heard about the job opportunity from clinical associate professor Benjamin Shors, who knew the previous communication assistant. Myer said he felt that Shors had a soft spot in his heart for Native Americans because he grew up near them.

“I felt like he wanted to help me get my start and felt that as a journalist and also as a Native American, a good place for me to start would be as a communication assistant,” Myer said.

Shors said Myer is authentic, thoughtful and, overall, a role model for other students on campus.

“Frazier is one of those rare students who has the maturity, creativity and sensitivity to become a great storyteller,” he said.

Myer, a member of the Chehalis tribe south of Olympia, said he was looking for a way to get back to his Native American roots. Being part of NAP makes him feel connected to his heritage, he said.

While growing up, Myer felt like he was disconnected, but he was not sure how. He said once he reconnected with other Native American people, he found the missing piece.

“That’s who I am, that’s part of my identity,” he said.

On a typical day in his position, Myer works on creating newsletters for NAP, but depending on which events the organization may put on, his schedule changes.

Myer said he will sometimes write articles recapping NAP events, features about Native American people or people within NAP who are doing great things for the organization and the community.

“You always hear ‘if you love your job, you’re not really working,’ ” he said, “and I don’t really feel like I’m working because I love what I do.”