Antelope Intros: Samara ‘Samy’ Carlon, Cara Jorgensen and Kayla Fonseca
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.
SAMARA ‛SAMY’ CARLON
Job title: Student service adviser, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions
Job location: Main campus, Kaibab
What attracted you to GCU? I loved the school while attending here, and the closer I got to graduation the more I wanted to work here — not only for the opportunities and because it’s my alma mater, but also because I would be working with and for students. I want to be able to inspire students and be a resource for them. Now I get to do that, especially since one of my main duties will be to make sure students graduate. It’s such a blessing to work here.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love to dance or watch anything involving dance, which means I love zumba. I also love watching gymnastics, cheer and volleyball. I like to read or watch movies with friends and family. Pinterest is a must, as are BuzzFeed videos.
What are you passionate about? Education. I think it’s so important for students to get their college education, dream big dreams and know that their dreams are possible to achieve.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Postino and Lux are wonderful. If you haven’t tried them yet, you should.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I have a scar on my thumb from being a curious child when I was 3. It is perhaps my earliest memory. I was trying to find out “how hot” an iron was … well, let’s just say discovering that wasn’t like going to Disneyland.
What are you most proud of? Graduating from college. It was my dream to go, but I wasn’t sure how I would make that happen. God led me to GCU, and it’s more than I could have ever asked for. I’m thrilled to be working here.
Job title: Marketing event planner
Job location: 27th Avenue
What attracted you to GCU? I always thought it would be fun to work for a university, and since graduating from college I had truly missed that atmosphere. I also love the idea of working for an organization that has such a strong Christian foundation.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? Sports are usually involved when I am having the most fun, both attending and participating. One of my favorite activities is spending days at the lake wakeboarding/wakesurfing.
What are you passionate about? A lot of “f’s” — family, friends, faith, food and football.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I love hiking Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak. One of my favorite places in the valley is Salt River Fields during spring training because I am a huge Colorado Rockies fan. I also love the abundance of golf courses we have here.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I am the biggest fan of the show “Survivor.” I have been watching it for years and would looooooove to be on the show someday. I have created Survivor challenges for my friends and family to compete in. Here’s something else: I was blessed by the opportunity to study abroad my junior year of college and participated in a program called Semester at Sea. Students from all over the world live on a ship for the semester and circumnavigate the globe. The places I visited on this once in a lifetime adventure were Nassau, Bahamas; Roseau, Dominica; Manaus, Brazil; Takoradi, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Port Louis, Mauritius; Chennai, India; Singapore; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Keelung City, Taiwan.
What are you most proud of? The close relationship that I have with my parents and siblings. A lot of families drift apart as the children grow older, but mine has only gotten closer.
Job title: Administrative assistant to the Dean of Students/Campus Pastor
Job location: Main campus, Prescott Hall
What attracted you to GCU? The opportunity to work in higher education, not to mention higher education surrounded by a faith-filled setting.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I really enjoy just getting away, taking spontaneous road trips up north or just hanging out with good friends around a table of good food. My favorite meal is always something home cooked. I cannot get enough of any authentic Mexican meal — preferably plates like molé, menudo or chile rellenos.
What are you passionate about? I’m really most passionate about connecting with people and connecting them with God. I enjoy coordinating local events with my church and just meeting new people and hearing their stories — I’m always in the mood for a good story. Just a couple days ago a student came in and with much enthusiasm shared a really cool story with me. He told me of a stubborn little old lady in her 90s his friends had been helping out, and witnessing to, and how she accepted the Lord after having a sudden encounter with death. She stopped breathing and his friend and her husband, who were visiting the woman, resuscitated her to back to life. Coming back clammy and scared to death by her experience (literally), she gave her life to Christ. I thought that was the coolest thing I’d heard in awhile, and I was glad he got to share that with me. It’s just a reminder of God’s love and ability for second chances.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? My favorite events here in the valley are probably the Resonate events at Love International Ministries. Tons of people, great music and always a powerful message. My favorite place in the Valley is definitely downtown Phoenix. I love finding new spots for some good food. I’m determined to be a walking Yelp. My favorite restaurants downtown are Postino, Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana, Federal Pizza, Modern Grove, True Food Kitchen, Matt’s Big Breakfast, Cibo, Culinary Dropout at The Yard and The Vig.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: Most people don’t know and would never guess that I speak fluent Spanish.
What are you most proud of? I’m definitely most proud of the fact that I’ve gotten pretty good at juggling life. School, work, church and most recently a newlywed.