Antelope Intros: Deborah Mendez, Sharran Raney and Zach Sweat

December 21, 2012 / by / 1 Comment

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 both fun and informative. Employees are eligible to be featured in the month following their orientation.


Job title: Teacher at Early Learning & Development Center

Job location: Main Campus

What attracted you to GCU?  I came to the center here at GCU as a substitute teacher for the classroom. I was called back every week for two months before I was offered a position to stay. I was pleased to say yes. Everyone here was always so welcoming and the children had grown on me. What I mean by that is, I work in one of the hardest classrooms, and not very many people want to be where I am: the 1-year-olds’ room. I love these  babies and they have come to love and trust me.

What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I tend to vent or find time for myself by doing things with my own children. All of my children are involved in many outgoing activities, such as flag line on the high school band, tutor for fellow students, and even my little one is a girl scout and had dance classes.  We love to go up north and camp. Everyone in my family hunts and fishes. We love it.

What are you passionate about? My passion would be playing sports.  I grew up on the softball fields in Glendale, because my mother was a coach back then and I have played ball ever since.  I do not only play softball but that is my passion.

What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? My favorite events in the Valley are football games and the Arizona state fair.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I would say people don’t know that I leave my home at 6:30 every morning and don’t get home until 8 p.m. every evening. I support all my children’s activities, and once I am home I still have to do homework, clean house and make dinner. So they should know that I am a hard worker. 

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my children for all they do and for keeping up with their mother. They tend to say “If it wasn’t for you mom, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”  Gotta love it.



Job title: Reference Librarian

Job location: Main Campus; Building No. 23

What attracted you to GCU?  That it is a Christian university.

What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? Watch movies/TV on Netflix and go on date nights with my husband (bowling, tennis, movie theater, restaurants with friends)

What are you passionate about? My marriage, the Lord, family, friends and new experiences.

What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit?  Mac Alpine’s Soda Fountain in Phoenix: It’s a really neat ice cream parlor and soda shop that was established in 1928. It has 99 different flavors that you can add to soda, malts or shakes.  The waitresses there even dress in ’50s style uniforms. The portions are huge too! You won’t be disappointed. I visited Mac Alpine’s for the first time earlier this year and have been trying to bring my friends and family there whenever I get a chance. Love it.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know:  I have a black belt in Taekwondo.

What are you most proud of?  My marriage to a wonderful, Christian man.



Job title:  OL Enrollment Counselor: Ken Blanchard College of Business & College of Arts and Sciences

Job location: Peoria

What attracted you to GCU?  Besides the ‘Lopes Up? Well, a huge reason I came to Grand Canyon University was the heritage that the school carries. GCU was founded on Christian principles and this is something I am strongly passionate about. I also loved the employee perks: free tuition, great hours, awesome pay, and so much more — not to mention discounts on basketball! I will have to say, being an alum of Arizona Christian University (go Firestorm!) there were some reservations. However, I have seen the awesome value in GCU and I am thankful to be a part of the herd — go ‘Lopes!

What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I like to spend much of my time in the outdoors when I get a chance. I love to camp, hike, fish and hunt — anything to enjoy God’s creation. And I do this much of the time with my wife, Magen, and our Yordle/Porkie dog, Clyde. I am a big fanatic for Leave No Trace, as well as practicing primitive techniques. And when I am not off the trail, I love to throw on my kilt and go to the highland games that occur throughout Arizona. I also love spending time with my family, church family and friends.

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about the one who created me, God. I love His Word, His calling on my life, and the many people He has blessed me with in my life. I love to incorporate God into everything I do, because He is both transcendent and imminent. 1 Corinthians 10:31.

What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit?  I love the Phoenix Highland Games! It is a terrific weekend of fun, food, great music and of course tossin’ around the ole caber. Feel free to check out for more information, there is one coming up! I also love the Irish Culture Center in downtown Phoenix. They recently just finished their giant castle library which even has a whole floor dedicated to genealogy! Besides these unique events/locals, I love my local church, Oasis Community, and the events that we have together.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know:  One of my greatest passions and desires in life is to one day pull a Jeremiah Johnson and end up out in the woods somewhere to live off the land. Some of my favorite books/authors include “Into the Wild”, Jack London and Leo Tolstoy.

What are you most proud of?  My wife, family and friends — were it not for God putting them in my life who knows how I would have turned out.

About the Author
One Response
  1. Bob Romantic (Author)

    Sharran: We went ahead and updated the link in the story.

    Dec.26.2012 at 10:30 am
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