Antelope Intros: Lesley Ray, Matt Boling and Erin Vanlandingham
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 Business
Job location: Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? I knew several people attending GCU, and they were having such a great experience here as students I wanted to see what made GCU so different. As it turned out, my college roommate became employed here and as God would have it, I decided to apply and got the job.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love to be with my family. I enjoy traveling, hiking, working out, rock climbing and chocolate. My sanity rests in my relationship with God and the support of my family/church family (and making sure I have a steady supply of dark chocolate for stressful times).
What are you passionate about? First and foremost, Jesus and His vision to help those on the fringes. In 2005, my husband and I visited Rwanda. It opened my eyes to how I was living my own life and how much I took simple things like clean water for granted. So often, my world was all about me. Seeing what I saw in Africa and being reminded of that trip helps me put my priorities in line. My heart is for missions. At this juncture in life we are unable to go abroad for missions. Instead, God has us working with (and housing, on occasion) foster children.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I prefer to escape the heat of the Valley and spend time in Sedona/Oak Creek. However, if I am in Phoenix I enjoy going to First Fridays (art walk), Studio Movie Grill for a good film or trying whatever restaurant Groupon offers for the week.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I was adopted as a baby and raised as an only child. I found my birth family three years ago and learned that I am the oldest of six kids. Something else that people might not know about me is that I usually wear my hair much longer than it is in my Antelope Intro picture. This summer, 11 of my friends and I shaved our heads to support a friend of ours who had started chemotherapy. If you have never shaved your head, I highly recommend it. It has been one of the most freeing experiences of my life. For a woman, there is a level of vulnerability that comes with having a shaved head (and a lot of people stare), so you really learn to get more comfortable in your own skin. I would sport a bald head for the rest of my life if my husband and daughter approved of it. Don’t get me wrong — they were totally supportive, but I think they missed my hair.
What are you most proud of? I am proud of my family. We have a decoration hanging in our home, and this describes us perfectly: “In this house we do second chances. We do real. We do mistakes. We do sorry. We do loud really well. We do hugs. We do family. We do love.”
Job title: Curriculum developer, College of Science, Engineering and Technology
Job location: 27th Avenue
What attracted you to GCU? I look great in purple! In addition, the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals at a Christian university was what really stood out to me as well as an opportunity to advance my education for free.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I will play volleyball for hours and hours. I don’t know why, but I will not get tired. I play at Glendale Community College as well as Horizon Park in Scottsdale.
What are you passionate about? So many things! First and foremost, Jesus Christ. I’m not perfect and make tons of mistakes, but I truly want to honor Him with my life. I am passionate about mentoring young adults (high school and college). I am passionate about good cups of coffee, C.S. Lewis and Timothy Keller, the smell of autumn, MUSIC (and my Beats headphones), my truck (her name is Charlotte), acting, funny e-cards, Harry Potter, Pitch Perfect, SpongeBob and laughing … to name a few!
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Lux Coffeebar (I feel as if I have an inner hipster in me!), any place that plays jazz and hiking up north anywhere.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I auditioned for “Wheel of Fortune” in high school (almost made it, too), I was in a television commercial for Westcor malls, I can lick my elbows, I can hang sideways on a stop sign pole and can sing the really fast part of the song “Hook” by Blues Traveler.
What are you most proud of? My Savior.
Job title: Enrollment counselor, College of Education
Job location: Tempe
What attracted you to GCU? I am a graduate student at GCU and a girl in my cohort is an enrollment counselor at the Peoria location and asked me if I had ever thought about working for GCU. I looked into it, and here I am today. Plus … the free education wasn’t a bad perk!
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love to travel, shoot guns and go horseback riding. I try to travel as often as I can. So far my favorite places are London, Germany and Austria. I used to take care of horses when I lived in Colorado, and it was probably the best job I have had.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about education and family. I know the lifestyle that I want to live and fully understand that that will not be possible without having an education. My master’s is in professional counseling, and I am looking forward to my future career.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I love to go downtown for First Friday (especially in the fall and winter months). There is so much to do and see — the live music playing in the streets, the local vendors and the night life.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: Collecting and shooting guns is a hobby I started about two years ago. I went with my dad and his friends and have been hooked ever since. I also love mixed martial arts and kickboxing.
What are you most proud of? I am proud that I graduated from Arizona State University summa cum laude. It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to do and what I was passionate about, but once I figured that out I was determined to get it done.