GCU master's student honored by Navajo Nation

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez (left) and Vice President Myron Lizer honored GCU master’s student Stacy Etsitty (right) this week on their social media platforms.

By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau

Stacy Etsitty refused to move away from the Navajo Nation because she saw the need in her community.

Almost 36% of households live on incomes far below the federal poverty level, and 35% don’t have access to running water, according to a May 2020 article from Prosperity Now.

The Grand Canyon University student’s efforts in her community are being recognized this week by the Navajo Nation Office of the President, Jonathan Nez, and Vice President, Myron Lizer

After seeing a GCU Today article featuring Etsitty’s story, Nez and Lizer shared her story on Facebook and Instagram.

“We appreciate her services to our Navajo Nation and congratulate her on successfully balancing work and education,” Nez and Lizer expressed on social media.

“He (Nez) is honored and proud of how I am representing the Navajo Nation,” said Etsitty, whose family is from Rabbit Brush, New Mexico. “He wanted to highlight me for my accomplishments and education. This is something HUGE to me.”

Etsitty worked as a bookkeeper at Navajo Elementary School in the small town of Navajo, New Mexico, the same school she attended. When she saw parents and students precariously making their way down a pothole-filled Cedar Avenue, the only access road to the school, she knew someone had to do something.

School bus drivers couldn’t even make it to the campus unscathed, taking 15 minutes to weave down the half-mile of almost unnavigable road.

Etsitty rallied the community and raised enough funds to fix the road.

It’s that kind of focus that has carried her through her studies at GCU, where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Management in spring 2021 while working her full-time job.

Not that she wanted to stop there.

Etsitty is continuing her studies and is slated to earn her master’s degree in Public Administration from GCU in the fall.

The Navajo Nation president and vice president’s social media platforms spotlighted Etsitty’s clans and shared how she attributes her success “to teachings from her nálí asdzaa (paternal grandmother), who encouraged her with the Navajo teachings of t’áá hwó ájít’éego, or self-reliance and self-determination.”

“It was very exciting, especially with the Navajo Nation president acknowledging you, especially with work and with school,” said Etsitty, who now works in General Accounting for the Navajo Nation Office of the Controller in Window Rock, Arizona, where she continues to dedicate herself to the Navajo people. “… People are still coming up and congratulating me and my parents (Alvira Clark and Arviso Etsitty Jr.), as well.

“I was very honored. I am still speechless about it,” said Etsitty. “I really am.”

GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.

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Click here to see the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President’s social media post recognizing Stacy Etsitty.

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Related content:

GCU Today: Road to success: GCU grad aids her Navajo Nation

GCU Today: Culture Fest weaves in students' diverse stories

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