“I like everything that fits into the nexus of pop culture and science, but I’m more interested in the stories that make people nerds,” said Dyer Oxley, who attended SPSCC from 2000 to 2001. “There’s always something that you can grab onto in a person’s story and realize ‘I can relate to that’.”
Dyer works on the web team at KUOW public radio. When he’s not writing, editing, and updating KUOW’s website, Dyer is hosting and producing NW NERD, an award-winning podcast that shares the passions of nerds across the northwest. Episodes have covered a wide variety of stories including a tea blender who utilizes their unique form of synesthesia to create flavors for specific fandoms, as well as a collector who created a Star Wars Church that preserves an entire era of pop culture.
“Nerd is a relative term. A lot of people say ‘I’m not a nerd’, but then you get to know them and realize ‘no, you definitely are’,” Dyer joked. “The term has gone far beyond the boundaries of what we’d traditionally think of, like a person with glasses and a pocket protector. That’s more my brand of nerd.”
Recently, Dyer released the first issue of the magazine version of NW NERD. His interest in nerd culture and its coverage comes from his history of visiting different bars and pubs. There, he came across magazines like Mercury, The Stranger, and Bulldog News that appealed to very specific and unique audiences. He wanted to create something similar.
“NW NERD is geared towards the bar, arcade, and geeky coffee shop audiences spread throughout the northwest and at conventions,” said Dyer. “I hope to build it up to a quarterly release and we’ll see how it goes. Some advice that I got was that even though I know what something can be, it doesn’t mean it will be that right away. There’s nothing wrong with small, steady, strategic growth.”
Attending SPSCC helped Dyer find his path forward. In the beginning, he didn’t know where he was going or what he wanted to do.
“I had no clue how to navigate college. You have a lot of opportunity and control, but that can be overwhelming,” said Dyer. “I spent a lot of time with SPSCC’s advisors. As odd as it sounds, I spent as much time in their offices as I did in classrooms. I liked going in and getting face-to-face with someone who could point me in the right direction.”
In addition to his advisors’ guidance, Dyer found that his classes were also impactful in shaping his future. An English class taught him the importance of discussing pieces of media critically from perspectives informed by different experiences. A film class introduced him to a whole community of people who take movies as seriously as he does.
“All the skills I learned from classes has been transferable to my current job and interests. Being able to dissect pop culture, media, and the arts planted a few seeds in me that I didn’t realize at the time,” said Dyer. “And that all happened at SPSCC.”
“I find myself recommending that to people these days. ‘Find a community college, get those prerequisites done’. Even if you transfer somewhere else, it’s way better than jumping into a four-year and wandering around aimlessly,” Dyer said. “Knowing what I know now, I would’ve stuck around community colleges more because of all the opportunity and direction they gave me. You can get really creative with where you want to go.”