Georgena Frazier: Dogged Determination to Succeed

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Teaching herself to code, psychology major Georgena Frazier, '16, created a curriculum to teach women of color how to build robots.

Georgena Frazier, '16Psychology major Georgena Frazier needed to know how to code. She'd learned of an opportunity at a YWCA in Seattle’s Central District. The organization was looking for someone to help teach women of color how to build robots. Frazier got an interview, but there was only one problem—she didn’t have a technology background.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Frazier graduates this month with a degree in psychology. The 32-year-old started her college journey roughly eight years ago at Seattle Central College. The then-24-year-old was in an abusive relationship which disrupted all aspects of her life including education. “I took a class here and there but it wasn’t until three years ago that I actually came back and finished,” said Frazier.

Frazier transferred to UW Tacoma in 2014. She credits her success to a class taught by lecturer Leighann Chaffee. “I never thought of myself as a good student,” said Frazier. “Her class really taught me how to study, how to study early, and how to build study guides.”

Frazier also benefited from a dogged determination to succeed. “I was in the counseling center all the time, in the Teaching & Learning Center every day,” she said. “I made myself get up early every single morning and run so I could be ready to be in class on time.” Often times Frazier would go straight from class to work.

This dedication to self—to the pursuit of knowledge—took Frazier to Ghana in West Africa, on a study-abroad trip. She went to learn more about herself and her heritage. “I got a more well-rounded picture of who I am, where I am, and where I come from and that helped me be a better person,” she said.

So, when presented with the problem of not knowing how to code, Georgena Frazier tackled it head on. She taught herself and enlisted the aid of friends to help draw up curriculum for the robotics program. Frazier got the gig.

Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / June 6, 2016
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or