Antelope Intros: Bethany Whitson, Thomas Payne and Heidi Brunner

October 02, 2014 / by / 0 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 fun and informative. Employees are eligible to be featured in the month following their orientation.

Bethany Whitson

Bethany Whitson


Job title: Registered nurse at Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic

Job location: Main campus, Prescott Hall

What attracted you to GCU? My husband has been an adjunct professor at GCU for about five years, and we have been praying about moving to Phoenix for the last couple of years. (We are originally from North Carolina.) God answered that prayer in June of this year when a nurse position came open at the clinic. As Connie Colbert, now my boss, interviewed me over the phone, I felt that this was where God wanted me to be. She is a fantastic, hard-working lady. The campus is beautiful. The staff is friendly. I love working in an environment where I am free to share my faith. I love the college benefits for myself and my family as well.

What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love traveling and exploring new places with the family. I grew up in Brazil and, when we are able, we love to visit my parents, who still live there. I value my time with my family. I know my children will be all grown up and out of the home sooner than I think. That is why I love spending time with them, making memories. We plan on exploring the Grand Canyon, southern Utah and the West Coast beaches.

What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about educating patients and families about how to care for themselves. I have approximately 14 years of emergency medicine experience. The last 10 years have been specialized in pediatric emergency and trauma.

What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? The only place I have hiked is Pinnacle Peak, and I would like to explore some more of the outdoors around the city. I would love to know what is fun to do in the city with my husband and children.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I love photography. I enjoy taking pictures of nature and our family’s adventures.

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my family. My husband, Kevin, and I have been married for 21 years. We have three children. Cameron is a sophomore in high school. He is a wrestler along with his brother, Casey, who is an eighth grader and really smart. Kaylie is my youngest. She is in sixth grade and is an avid, passionate soccer player. I am proud of my parents. They are missionaries in Brazil and taught me the importance of having a relationship with Christ. They also taught me that it is important to have fun. I am grateful for great in-laws who love me like one of their own.

Thomas Payne

Thomas Payne


Job title: Tech support, Level 1 representative

Job location: 27th Avenue

What attracted you to GCU?  I first visited GCU’s campus in 2006, at the ripe old age of 13. I had signed up for a faith-based summer camp called Especially for Youth through my church, and although it lasted only five days, I loved every moment once I realized how uplifting the entire program was. That time at GCU was the most memorable week of my life up until that point. I also seem to remember my roommate dubbing me “Webster” within the first hour of meeting me because of the way I spoke. I was mostly a bookworm at that age. I was very socially awkward at times, and I understood words on a page more than I understood people. That summer program was probably what first helped me become more amicable and caring toward others — I made about three dozen friends between that Monday and Friday. Eight years later, I still have immense respect for a university that hosts and encourages that kind of bonding through faith.

What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I get a serious kick out of writing. I like to write down short stories and ideas that would be great for a professional writer, but I have difficulty getting anything creative to come out consistently. I mostly write in short bursts, and then the idea fades or I don’t feel as passionate about writing as I did when I started. I’m trying to train myself to hold on to that feeling. (Now I’m thinking about the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which leads me to my next hobby.) I really enjoy music as well, and I retain auditory memories with supernatural accuracy. I normally use that strange quirk to quote classic movies and obscure song lyrics that make most people don’t remember.

What are you passionate about? The best way to define my passions is to know where I spend most of my time. In any given week, I’m usually in class for my computer science degree, here at work, at home or at church. I’ve recently started to do more athletic things like rock climbing, though, and it helps me balance mental stress.

What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I like to go to concerts and music or theatre venues. Whenever a friend performs in the Valley, I’ve been known to cancel other plans to attend. I also like to hike some of the smaller mountains around the central Valley.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know:  My mother tells me that when I was 5 or 6, I used to think up crazy questions that she legitimately did not know how to answer. The two she remembers most: Do blind people see in their dreams? Do astronauts have birthdays in space, and how do they know what day it is?

What are you most proud of?  I take great satisfaction in defusing hard situations by inserting jokes or pointing out ironies. I don’t like conflict at all; it’s hard to function unless I help everyone relieve stress. I hope it makes a difference from time to time. Maybe that’s why I’m in student service and support.

Heidi Brunner

Heidi Brunner


Job title: Enrollment counselor, College of Doctoral Studies

Job location: Tempe

What attracted you to GCU? My cousin went to school here and invited me to the plays in which he participated. I worked for another university at the time and wanted to get over here and be part of the action at GCU. Seemed like a good fit for me.

What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love to dance, especially break dancing. Do I dance well? Not really, but I can bust a move when needed. I dance at random places like my desk at work and the grocery store if there is a good song on. And I certainly dance at every party.

What are you passionate about? Passionate for those who truly need help or want help and are willing to make the necessary changes to do so. Anyone can say I like to help people, but you can’t really help people who don’t want to help themselves. If they aren’t willing to change their current circumstance or point of view or are at least open to it, they will stay the same.

What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Favorite places to go are Postino (mmm, the bruschetta), Jerome, Ariz., for a road trip and the spring training games in March.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I know the whole dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

What are you most proud of? Finishing the Rock and Roll Vegas half-marathon. I thought I was going to quit in the middle of the race, and my feet had blisters the size of golf balls. But I kept at it and collapsed at the finish line, and my family had to carry me to my room.


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