Antelope Intros: Ashley Vavul and Jenna Mann
Antelope Intros is a recurring GCU Today feature that introduces some of our new employees to the people around them in a way that is fun and informative. Employees are eligible to be featured in the month following their orientation.
Job title: Enrollment counselor, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions
Job location: Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? I am working on my master’s in Professional Counseling, and the counselors I worked with were incredible. They encouraged me, made sure I was successful and were attentive to anything I asked. I was more convinced to continue my education thanks to them, and it made me want to play that role as well. Sometimes the difference between a life decision, such as continuing your education, and putting it off can be one person.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I like being creative, no matter whether it’s in painting, cooking, writing or crafting. I also am addicted to traveling and seeing new cultures. I have traveled all over the U.S. and to Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, England, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, China, Mexico and Canada. My fiancé and I are looking into overseas travel for our honeymoon, but it’s not decided just yet.
What are you passionate about? Caring for people. That sounds so broad, but it encompasses what I strive to do every day, be it in prayer, helping a friend by taking quality time with them, going out of my way to assist coworkers on projects or even making the conscious decision to call someone who lives far away.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? During Halloween I highly recommend the 13th Floor Haunted House. I love horror movies and special-effects makeup. 13th Floor is the best of both worlds — amazing makeup and special effects along with an elaborate, scary ride for the Halloween festivities. Last year this venue had two contestants from 2015’s season of the show “Face Off” heading the makeup, and as an avid fan of this show I was quite excited and impressed on how well everything came together. ComiCon is another Phoenix favorite. Whether people attend for the geekdom, the celebrities, the costumes or the workshops, the whole weekend is full of fun people just as excited as you.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I’m terrified of skateboards for unknown reasons. While I realize this is ridiculous, some part of me wonders if I fell off a skateboard when I was little and repressed it.
What are you most proud of? My dog, Sam. He was a rescue from the Arizona Small Dog Rescue. This was the first animal that I adopted on my own upon moving to AZ three years ago, I felt that rescuing a new furry friend would make this feel more like a home. Although he was housebroken and “good with kids,” he was scared of all of the new changes and acted out. I found myself rather close to giving him up, but couldn’t help but give this little guy more love and attention. We’re coming up on our third anniversary together — and I about to tie the knot. He loves playing and going on walks with him, so I think they’ll get along just fine.
Job title: Student services adviser, Military Division
Job location: Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? I love the sense of community this campus gives you. Everyone seems so happy to go to their jobs and help out their students and coworkers. I wanted to be surrounded by that every day.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love anything that is creative. Lately, I’ve been putting my creative energy into recipes that are healthy and delicious. Banana ice cream is something I always recommend to everyone. Just slice up a couple of bananas and freeze them for at least 24 hours. Then you can just blend them up for delicious ice cream! I sometimes add all-natural peanut butter or peppermint extract to add different flavors — the possibilities are endless since you have the perfect soft-serve ice cream base.
What are you passionate about? I get very passionate about a lot of topics, and the only common thread through them is to help others, whether that means volunteering at a shelter, rescuing animals or making a really good cheesecake dairy-free for someone who’s lactose intolerant.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I love to hike out with my two dogs, a Cocker Spaniel named Joe and a Weimaraner named Josie. I have been nervous about moving to the city since there probably won’t be as many spots to hike as there were when I lived in Prescott and Flagstaff, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for those.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: At 22 years of age, I’ve moved 24 times and have been to 47 states. My family has always moved around and traveled, so I guess I’ve just continued the tradition now that I’m on my own. However, I hope to settle down to one area soon — moving isn’t very fun. I’d rather just pack for vacations.
What are you most proud of? When I graduated from Northern Arizona University last May, I was named Most Distinguished Graduating Senior out of about 8,000 students. My faculty nominated me, and I had no idea it was even an award available until I was called in to talk to my adviser, who told me. I was actually worried she was going to tell me I missed a class and couldn’t graduate or something awful like that. I was not expecting it, and was very proud I was chosen.