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Foster care experts put their heads, hearts together

May 20, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

A diverse group of child welfare professionals from across Arizona tackled goals to improve foster care in Arizona on Thursday at the Foster Care Summit at GCU. Arizona first lady Angela Ducey and Director of the Department of Child Safety Mike Faust challenged the group, with representatives from nonprofits, churches and government agencies, to place more children with kin. ““The state does not make good parents,” Ducey said.

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How a scholarship offer in 3rd grade changed lives

May 19, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

She was in third grade, and all her immigrant parents wanted for her someday was a job out of the heat. But after Erika Delgado Valadez and her 83 classmates at an Avondale elementary school were promised a full scholarship by the Rosztoczy Foundation, the dreams became bigger. Valadez and four others in that class 10 years ago are living out their dreams at GCU. After the foundation looked at the results of the scholarship on the class, it announced more promises to third graders in Phoenix and put Erika and the program in the national spotlight.

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Alumna wins prestigious national educator award

May 17, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Melissa Martin went to school in Chinle, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation, then taught and coached there. But when she led the Chinle Junior High back from the pandemic in her first year as principal it caught the eye of the Milken Family Foundation, which recently awarded her the prestigious Milken Educator Award and $25,000 for her skillful leadership. She attributes some of her ability to GCU’s College of Education, which has more than 100 alumni who have won honors for their excellence.

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GCU podcasters find their voice at Recording Lab

May 13, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

There’s always magic to be had by Worship Arts students in GCU’s Recording Studio. “But then we thought, look at how many students create and do stuff who aren’t in the Worship Arts program,” said Recording Lab coordinator Joseph Vaught — students who now have a resource of their own, the new GCU Recording Lab. It’s where podcasters, such as sports management senior and “Total Soccer Show” contributor Joseph Lowery, are sharing their thoughts with the world. Reprinted from the April issue of GCU Magazine.

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Faculty honored for aiding students’ career success

May 12, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Professors step up in the classroom with lectures, PowerPoint presentations and the like. But they also encourage and mentor students in their undergraduate research, link students to startups or use their connections from their time in industry to help students get jobs. Strategic Employer Initiatives & Internships recently recognized 13 faculty members across seven colleges for their efforts to champion the career success of their students.

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GCU ROTC cadets commissioned as Army officers

May 09, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Isaac Duh Nei Lian immigrated to the United States from Burma when he was just 11 years old and is now headed for infantry training as an officer in the Army. He was among nine cadets appointed to lead enlisted personnel as second lieutenants during the University’s Army ROTC Thunder Battalion Commissioning Ceremony on Friday. “This is my privilege to give back to the country,” he said.

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Coma to Commencement: Grad’s miraculous journey

April 28, 2022 / by / 2 Comments

Stefany Caicedo was in a coma for 49 days after a car accident in 2012. She had to learn everything again, from talking to walking. Ten years later, she stood in the sunshine outside GCU Arena with her Georgia family as the proud owner of a bachelor’s degree in educational studies. “God saved me from something horrible. I’m not supposed to be here. If he put this in front of me, I’m going to do this,” Caicedo said.

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Former basketball star to grads: ‘Let your light shine’

April 27, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Rehema Stephens could have rested on her laurels after an outstanding career as a basketball player, both as a scoring leader for UCLA and later in the WNBA. But she went on from that career to get three master’s degrees, the latest from GCU on Tuesday, when she was the speaker of the afternoon Commencement for College of Education master’s degree graduates. “Don’t settle, keep ascending,” Rehema said in an interview. “Once you find that area, that passion, success will find you and money will find you.”

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Grad brings teaching gifts home to Navajo Nation

April 27, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Falonna Ashley never thought she could become a teacher. Growing up in rural Wide Ruins, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, she never thought she was smart enough to become a teacher. Not only did she earn her bachelor’s degree but, on Tuesday, walked across the GCU Arena Commencement stage after earning her master’s degree in educational leadership. She’s taking those gifts with her back to the reservation, where she’s teaching at a hard-scrabbled rural school that’s an hour away from most conveniences. “The goal was never to make it off the rez,” said Ashley. “The goal was to show rez kids that we are capable of far more than anyone wants to believe we are.”

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Loss of sister, autism diagnosis didn’t stop this grad

April 26, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

When Bianca Peña started a job at a nonprofit, she knew to move forward in her career she needed an advanced degree. So she started on her journey to earn her bachelor’s in behavioral health science. But it would be a hard road for Peña, who paused her studies when her 14-year-old sister, Nancy, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and later when she became the caretaker for her mother. Peña also was recently diagnosed with autism. Many times, she wanted to give up, she said. “I would try to convince myself I don’t need this degree.” But on Monday, she walked across the GCU Arena stage and accepted her diploma, fulfilling her promise to her sister.

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