Antelope Intros: Alysse Reyes and Taylor Johnsen
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, military division
Job location: Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? I recently graduated from ASU (I know, I know!), and I was looking for a place of employment that I found to be high in energy and, all in all, a place where I could grow and be challenged. While I was in college some of my other friends were attending GCU, and when I was on campus and I just felt a strong presence of community. Three months later, a friend contacted me about an open position. The rest is history!
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I am very passionate about music. I love to collaborate with other bands and churches to work on music/worship nights. Some of my favorite places to listen to music are in downtown Phoenix at The Crescent Ballroom and at a local church. Also, when I was in college I was a part of a ministry called Young Life. I was a leader in the band, and every week it was up to my team and I got to deliver amazing songs to young college students. I spent three years in Young Life, and it has shaped me in many ways. It taught me to be bold and confident. For instance, when I was 18, I was asked by my good friend to help out with the band. It was hands down the best experience ever because when students walk into the club we have to set the tone, our energy needs to be up and we try to take students on a journey with us by playing and singing music. Later, I took over as lead, and it was so much fun! I now strive to be myself in every moment, living authentically.
What are you passionate about? Living life with my family and friends. Right now I have a high passion for young college students. I think my love grew for them through Young Life, and as I began to get older I started to serve in my college group. Young adults are amazing, and I feel as if I truly have had the chance to live a life of fun.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Some of my favorite places in Arizona are Flagstaff, downtown Phoenix and Tucson. Flagstaff has the best coffee shops and cute little stores — it’s a short drive and there’s always something to do. Downtown Phoenix also has a ton of events going on. I love the music scene downtown. Tucson has Mt. Lemmon, and it’s amazing. The views and the caves you can explore are pretty rad.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: When I was 18, I started traveling around the world through mission trips and organizations. I have spent my summers in the Dominican Republic, Maui, Canada and Mexico. I have gotten to be part of communities that are rapidly changing because of the people who are being present there. I have seen life in the eyes of many different people.
What are you most proud of? One of the proudest moments of my life is the day I walked across the stage and received my bachelor’s degree. I never thought that moment would be mine. I always had struggled as a student, so it’s insane to me to think that I have made it this far. Through my GCU employment I am well aware of the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree for no cost! The Lord is good and I am excited for this moment in my life to fuel my purpose. Here’s to moments in life that may not define us how we want them to but second chances that show us who we were made to be! LOPES UP!
Job title: Enrollment counselor, Doctoral Studies
Job location: Tempe
What attracted you to GCU? I graduated from GCU with my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology in 2014 and was involved in the Servant Scholar Program and as a Life Leader. I enjoyed the community on campus and wanted to pursue a career in which I would be surrounded with the same type of community. I am currently pursuing a career in enrollment, and my goal is to walk alongside students and assist them in finding their purpose.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love to spend time with my family and go out to eat at new restaurants with my mom, dad, sister, fiancé and son. My current favorite restaurant is La Piñata. It’s an old restaurant, but it moved to a new central Phoenix location. When we’re not checking out new restaurants we enjoy family BBQs.
What are you passionate about? I love kids! I have worked with kids in the behavioral health setting and in the foster care system. They are so fun and have the ability to teach us so much through their innocence. I worked in the foster care system for a year before accepting this position with GCU. I previously volunteered in group foster homes for two years during my time at GCU through the Servant Scholar program, which sparked my passion for children in the system. I want to continue to love on children in the foster care system and spread awareness on the effects of children being in that situation. I hope to start volunteering in group homes again.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I love going to new restaurants and local parks. Some of my favorite restaurants are Spinato’s (they have a killer spaghetti and meatball calzone), Postino’s (the bruschetta is a must) and Chino Bandido (it’s such a crazy, delicious mix of Chinese and Mexican food). I also enjoy thrifting on Saturdays at Goodwill with my fiancé. He goes straight to the golf clubs, and I usually go to either the “better quality” clothing racks or the children’s section. We have been doing this regularly for about three years. I found the cutest baby Sperrys last week for $2! Our greatest find was a $300 golf club that was only $3.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I have lived in north central Phoenix my whole life, but in high school I went to Europe for an interim program and got to travel to France, Amsterdam, Sweden and Denmark. I also have traveled with the Servant Scholar team for a mission trip to Malawi and Ethiopia.
What are you most proud of? My 4-month-old son, Jaksen! He was born six weeks early and is truly a miracle.