Antelope Intros: Michelle Carlson and Austin Cox

October 09, 2017 / 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.

Michelle Carlson (right) and her husband, Bruce.


Job title: University development counselor

Job location: Des Moines, Iowa

What attracted you to GCU? It is a Christian-based institution, plus the ability to use our online programs to broaden our brand in the Midwest. I think the teachers and medical staff I work with will be greatly surprised by the value, flexibility and level of education offered by GCU.

What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? My husband and I love to golf at different courses in different towns and states. 

What are you passionate about? My passion would be to all people an opportunity to find purpose in life. It might be education or it might be a volunteer opportunity. It might be as simple as my mom with early dementia being given the “job” of folding silverware for her residence home each day, or it might be something larger, such as running a marathon. But helping people feel connected and useful is my passion.

What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Well, even though I live in Iowa, we have been in the Valley many times and I love visiting the Grand Canyon, the Taliesen West residence, and the many, many, many golf courses.  Looking forward to playing GCU Golf Course sometime.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know:  I was very fortunate to be chosen at the age of 17 to be on a 4-H tour of six countries, including the former Soviet Union. Several of us were dressed in tan raincoats that looked like trenchcoats.  We were detained by the KGB until our sponsor could vouch for us.

What are you most proud of? I believe everyone should learn Hands-Only CPR. I did work for the American Heart Association and was one of the top fundraisers to initiate corporations purchasing Hands-Only CPR in school kits for our local school districts to use.  Then I was the only one to have a heart foundation here in Iowa donate kits to the Girl Scouts to use with staff and for troops to use to train girls how to be lifesavers.


Austin Cox (left) and his wife.


Job title: Anatomy & Physiology/Exercise Science lab technician

Job location: Main campus, Building 57

What attracted you to GCU? The opportunity to work in an exceptionally advanced cadaver lab to further my aspirations of medical school, all the while maintaining a haven for me to practice and progress in my faith.

What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? My wife is my best friend, and when I’m with her it’s a party. Whether it is walking through malls, searching for new restaurants or just playing with our two dogs at our apartment, it’s always fun together.

What are you passionate about? Family, knowledge, Christ, comic books, writing, service, tacos and not being a jerk to people.

What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Any place with great Mexican food, D-backs games and the Gilbert or Mesa LDS temples.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, I perform card magic tricks and one of my biggest aspirations in life is to become a published author.

What are you most proud of? My story… and my beard. I was raised in an amazing family and found an absolute angel of a wife. I served five years in the United States Marine Corps as an Arabic cryptologic linguist. Immediately after my discharge from the Corps, I enrolled at Northern Arizona University and began growing my veteran’s “freedom beard” after five years of pent-up shaving aggression. I graduated from NAU last spring with a degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Chemistry. My wife and I spent this summer helping to renovate my in-law’s house to prepare it to sell (just in case anyone is looking for a three-story house in Snowflake). Between days filled with paint, caulking, tile work and moving boxes, I studied for my second attempt at the MCAT and am now filling out my application to pursue osteopathic medicine. Now I’m in a great job, on the cusp of following my biggest dream, and could not be happier with life.


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