Emerging Scholars Spotlight: Cat Frazier

Published: November 17, 2017

And the award goes too... not one, not two, but 11 students at the College of Western Idaho (CWI).

These 11 students were among the first chosen for The Emerging Scholars award. The Emerging Scholars Program is new to CWI as of spring 2017. Deserving students are nominated by their instructors, making it a unique recognition.

Brenda Fisher, Department Chair of Integrated Studies and Visual and Performing Arts, describes her vision for this program as an opportunity “to encourage students and acknowledge their potential.”

In the past, Fisher assisted CWI Foundation screen applicants for various scholarship opportunities. After having read so many great applications she felt CWI needed an award students could identify with at the course level.

The Emerging Scholars Program now exists to recognize outstanding students for their commitment to learning, demonstration of talent, and their potential to excel. Selection is based on academic integrity, innovation, and professionalism. This award allows students to be identified by their instructors in a different way and Fisher is hopeful this initiative will incentivize retention and persistence.

During the fall of 2016, Fisher, Library staff, and deans from across the College started planting seeds for the award. Institutional funds were designated for the award and instructors from Academic Transfer Programs were asked to nominate deserving students. More than 50 students were nominated in the spring of 2017, and the recipients received $500 to go towards furthering their education at CWI.

The selection process was “very inspirational,” said Fisher.

“It was amazing to hear what instructors had to say about their students!” 

Cat Frazier was one of the first recipients of the Emerging Scholars award. Frazier started taking classes at CWI when she was 19. Shortly after beginning her college career, she decided she was not ready to pursue a college degree. Eight years later, she returned to CWI as a non-traditional student. Frazier is a Media Arts student and a part of the CWI Media Club. Because of her experience, Frazier said, she is “finding better purpose within learning and finding out more of the person that [she] wants to be.”

The Emerging Scholars award can encourage all kinds of students they do have what it takes and they should continue to pursue their goals.

Frazier was nominated by Dr. Liza Long, an instructor in the English Department. Long saw the potential Frazier brought to her English course and nominated her for the award. For Frazier, the recognition has been “a defining moment” in her college career. This recognition gave her the incentive to continue moving forward.

“Cat is an exceptional student in every way. She has met and overcome challenges; she is compassionate and collaborative, and she strives for excellence in all of her work,” commented Long.

The Emerging Scholars Committee wants to recognize additional students for their hard work and dedication in their college career. Fisher noted, “This award makes the receivers feel worthy.” By awarding the scholarship funds for the next academic year, it is a hope that this initiative will incentive retention and persistence. Therefore, nominees must be CWI students in fall of 2018 to be eligible.

Submissions are due by March 23, 2018 and can be submitted at:  cwi.edu/form/emerging-scholars-nomination-form.  

For more information, please contact:

Brenda Fisher
Department Chair, Visual and Performing Arts
Phone: 208.562.3351
Email: brendafisher@cwi.edu

Catherine Kyle
Phone: 208.562.2192
Email: catherinekyle@cwi.eduS

Cathy Carson
Associate Professor
Phone: 208.562.3361
Email: cathycarson@cwi.edu

Daniel Lemus
Coordinator, Financial Aid
Phone 208.562.2493
Email: daniellemus@cwi.edu


Head shot of Dakota Keiser

Dakota Keiser


Keiser is a Communication student at the College and one of several students participating in an exciting partnership between CWI's Communication 273—Media News Writing and Reporting class and the CWI Communications and Marketing Department to generate content for the College.

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