Chelsea Ellis, Canyon Hall RD
Oversees: Canyon Hall, with Jenny Doane
GCU experiences: I am in my third year working in residential life. I graduated from GCU in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and am currently studying toward a dual MBA/MSNL.
Q: You came up as an undergrad through GCU’s outstanding College of Nursing and Health Sciences. How did your nursing studies prepare you for the professional workforce?
A: My nursing school experience was awesome! Let’s be honest, it was hard. Many tears were shed over my ICU textbooks, but we had a great time! GCU’s nursing school blend of clinical hours and class time gave me the opportunity to apply my knowledge on a consistent basis. I’m a kinesthetic learner with a photographic memory so that worked well. Academically, I felt prepared to take my boards. Socially I’m still in contact with classmates and professors. Our small class size, low student-nurse-to-clinical-instructor ratio, and the care and concern I received from my professors helped me succeed.
Q: How did your work as a nurse help prepare you for your role as an RD? What led you to put nursing on hold to work at GCU?
A: I think most people think I got fired, which was definitely not the case. I was a nurse for three years, starting out in a pediatric emergency department. I later changed to NICU/special care, with my last position as a clinical supervisor for the pulmonary unit at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I loved it and miss it! But God had given me another passion for Res Life. During my undergrad I was an RA for two years and a student assistant resident director my senior year. I missed it when I was a nurse, so started pursuing job opportunities at various universities.
Q: You seem to have a healthy sense of humor. Do you enjoy pranks? Name some of the more creative dorm room practical jokes you’ve seen at GCU.
A: Oh, you know — the usual, like hanging live night crawlers on fishing line over someone’s doorway at night so they couldn’t get out in the morning. Prank calls with gorilla sound effects. Fish in the vents.
Q: What sets GCU apart from other universities where you’ve visited or attended?
A: I really respect GCU’s mission and vision. Sometimes universities become too ethnocentric. Sometimes they want to stay small because the idea of growing makes people uncomfortable with the culture-shift that requires. I love that GCU has a missional outlook, desiring to have students become educated citizens who can impact the world.
Q: Why take a job as a residence director? What’s rewarding about your job?
A: I really do love my job. I love working with college students, talking with them about life, growth, Jesus, the hard times, the good stuff. It’s all awesome. I remind myself this job is a gift so my response should be about thankfulness to Christ. Having honest conversations about the challenges of life and what our choices can do to us is hard but worth it. I’d much rather see a college student have his or her perspective changed here, where our focus is redemption and reconciliation, than in the real world.