Grand Canyon University

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Rescue Mission alums receive GCU scholarships

April 15, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

There was no shortage of inspirational redemption stories at Wednesday’s Phoenix Rescue Mission Signing Event as three of four scholarship recipients signed their letter of intent to attend the University in the fall. The recipients, who have completed the nonprofit’s Recovery Program, include Amanda Jaramillo, Jacqueline Mix, Brian Farretta and GCU 2019 alum Jesse Dalla Riva. “These people have had some significant challenges and they’ve taken the first step now, they’ve gone through the Phoenix Rescue Mission Program, they’ve come out of it successfully and they’ve started their new life,” said GCU President Brian Mueller. “For us to be able to offer them this opportunity to take their life now to a whole new level is a blessing.”

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Servant’s heart on display in engineering projects

April 13, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

While pet harnesses are already available on the market, no standard exists to test them. So GCU students designed a canine crash test dummy to help make those pet harnesses safer. Another team developed their Smart Valet to help travelers traverse the airport with ease. And a third team developed a seating system for students with disabilities. They were just a few of the 30-plus projects presented at Monday’s virtual senior Engineering Capstone Showcase.

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Students’ capstones showcase creativity, tech savvy

April 12, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Uriel Serna has always been intrigued by big data and knew it could be used to save lives, so he created a portable nanny camera that uses machine learning to recognize children’s faces. He wanted to help parents better monitor their children to prevent tragedies, such as children drowning in their family’s swimming pools. Shelby Clow and Kolten Spencer created an app for first-time pet owners. And Deep Contractor and Michael Stauffer designed a virtual reality chatroom where people who don’t speak the same language can communicate, despite the language barrier. Those were just a few of the 40 or so projects computer science, computer programming and information technology/cybersecurity seniors created for the senior Technology Capstone Showcase, which was virtual this year.

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Arrests made in hit-and-run death of GCU student

April 09, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Taylor White, a trip leader for GCU’s Outdoor Recreation Program and aspiring athletic trainer, always was looking for the next adventure. He lived life big and bold. He lived life to the fullest. But that adventurous spirit was extinguished when White was struck by an SUV and killed while on a nighttime jog with a friend on April 8, 2018, just three weeks before he was to marry fellow GCU student Sarah Tedeschi. Three years later, to the day, the Phoenix Police Department announced that two suspects were arrested in the hit-and-run case — suspects that Taylor’s parents, Angela and Nate, have chosen to forgive while also seeking justice for their son. “We have to (forgive), for the good of ourselves,” said Nate, “because we cannot hold that.”

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Will Gonzalez looks for the possibilities in people

April 07, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

When Will Gonzalez hears others say about another person, “Oh well, that’s their lot in life. That’s what they are,” he disagrees wholeheartedly. “I think you can intercept people at different points in their lives,” he said. “I think there is the potential for redeeming.” It’s what makes the city of Phoenix prosecutor so passionate about his work in the community, particularly in schools. His work has included everything from presenting teen dating violence programs to advocating for restorative justice in public schools and bringing a $3.6 million Boys & Girls Club to one campus. It’s also why Gonzalez, a GCU alumni and Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees, was recently named the Phoenix Union High School District Alumni of the Year.

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GCU, CityServe feed spirit, families on Good Friday

April 02, 2021 / by / 1 Comment

When community partner CityServe called to see if GCU could distribute two truckloads of Farmers to Families Food Boxes on Good Friday, “I knew there was only one answer to give. I mean, you don’t say no. This is your opportunity to say yes,” said Community Relations Director Debbie Accomazzo. The University rallied and found homes for approximately 2,300 boxes of food, just in time for Easter weekend.

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How GCU scored points with pandemic innovations

March 30, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

There were innovations aplenty as GCU dealt with the pandemic. But none of the required alterations were more visible than the cutouts in GCU Arena, where the basketball environment still was plenty loud enough to be noticed by visiting coaches. Reprinted from the February issue of GCU Magazine.

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Fiesta Bowl marshals parade of kindness at GCU

March 29, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Volunteers at GCU’s COVID-19 vaccination site got a shot in the arm Friday morning when the Desert Financial Kindness Arizona Bus Tour stopped by to serve volunteers breakfast. “We just wanted to show some appreciation and say ‘thank you’ to what they’re doing,” said Jose Moreno, Chief Marketing Officer at the Fiesta Bowl and a GCU alumnus. The GCU stop was one of 25 on the five-day tour across Arizona, a reimagining of the Fiesta Bowl Parade, which was canceled because of COVID-19. Organizers decided to caravan across Arizona instead and blanket the state with kindness.

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Student helps school through Texas storms, virus

March 12, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Amanda Sullivan, a graduate-level School Counseling student, faced a year of COVID challenges and a Texas weather disaster in February during her practicum with characteristic GCU aplomb and humanity. She helped call every student’s family to make sure they were OK, and she took over counseling duties after the office’s leader faced the virus at home. That school counselor said Sullivan “saved the day.”

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GCU helps school districts fight food insecurity

February 25, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Patti Bilbrey, Director of Nutrition Services for the Scottsdale Unified School District, was looking for a way to honor her mentor, Dave Schwake, who passed away earlier this month from COVID-19 complications. Schwake tirelessly fought food insecurity as the Food Service Director for the Litchfield Elementary School District and as a volunteer for several nonprofit organizations. She found that opportunity to carry on his legacy with the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Her district is one of several school districts who received boxes Wednesday in the latest round of food box distributions.

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