Change can be scary. GCU honors student and senior Clarissa Galaviz can attest to that. She will be graduating in April 2017 with a dual degree in communications and digital film with an emphasis in production. However, when it came to choosing a university, Galaviz took a chance on a whole new country when she moved to the U.S. in August 2012 from a city in Sinaloa, Mexico called Culiacan.
As a senior in high school, Galaviz began to research state universities in an effort to continue her education in Arizona. However, during her college search, Galaviz experienced some difficulties working with state universities due to her international student status. At this time, her high school counselor told her about GCU and helped her sign up for a tour. While Galaviz was encountering issues with other universities, GCU went out of their way to ensure she felt welcome and had the necessary materials to start college.
As a freshman, Galaviz became a member of the inaugural class of honors students. Previously called the Honors Institute, Galaviz and her fellow classmates were the first 60 students to start this program at GCU. Galaviz became involved in honors because she wanted to challenge herself academically.
As a sophomore, she had the opportunity to be a College of Fine Arts and Production ambassador and was inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. As a junior, Galaviz was inducted into the Alpha Chi Honor Society and currently serves on the board as the vice president of community outreach.
Now in her senior year, Galaviz shares, “It is amazing to see how much the Honors College has grown on campus; seeing it evolve and change, constantly adapting and adding elements to it that improve the Honors College, shows that it is growing in the right direction.” The Honors College has opened up many doors for Galaviz and provided her with more opportunities than she could have asked for.
In addition, in her first year at GCU, Galaviz and three of her peers restarted the International Club. The International Club is one of the organizations on campus that Galaviz is most passionate about. Galaviz believes “it is important to have an organization on campus where students from different cultural backgrounds could come together.” Since the club’s reboot four years ago, the leadership team has successfully implemented activities for its members such as Language Corner and local trips to cultural events.
After her experience with the International Club, Galaviz felt that God was calling her to become more involved on campus. Galaviz evaluated the opportunities available to her and applied to be on the Associated Students of Grand Canyon University (ASGCU), which is the student government on campus. As a junior, Galaviz had the opportunity serve as the photographer for ASGCU’s marketing team. She wanted to continue her time as a student leader and reapplied to be on ASGCU. Galaviz now serves as an ASGCU senator, where she has the opportunity to interact with students and propose change to better GCU’s campus.
“My experience has been great at GCU,” she said. “Although it has been challenging at times, I feel that I am in the right place.”
Galaviz shares that there have been many opportunities throughout her college career that have not only helped her academically, but professionally and spiritually as well. Galaviz explains, “The Honors College has been a great addition to my academics. I have had some great teachers in honors classes, and I have met bright and hardworking peers through the program.”
As her time at GCU is coming to a close, Galaviz wants to leave with this: “Never fear taking a chance for a great opportunity. Moving to a different country to pursue opportunities that I would have never expected to have, I am extremely grateful for the wonderful community at GCU, and I thank the Lord for taking me places and bringing me to an amazing place that I can call home.”
The Honors College at Grand Canyon University is home to hundreds of academically bright, passionate and motivated students. To learn more, visit our website or contact us using the Request More Information form at the top of the page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.