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Thousands turn out for GCU student fair

A lawn full of students interested in a career in health care is shown. (Bob McClay/KTAR

Over 3,300 high school and junior college students from around Arizona checked out Grand Canyon University on Friday.

It was the school's 27th annual Health Sciences and Nursing Day.

"We give them the opportunity to explore and understand more about health care careers and science careers," said Mark Wooden, the Dean of GCU's College of Arts and Sciences. "We also get a lot of instructors that teach anatomy labs and science courses in high schools. f they have students that are thinking strongly about going into a science career, they'll bring them here and give them the opportunity to see some things that they can't expose them to in a high school setting."

One of those things is GCU's cadaver lab. Coronado High School senior Bashir Cofner said that was unusual.

"Looking at the open bodies and stuff like that; it was kind of creepy, but it was interesting," he said.

Several of the school's clubs had booths for the students to visit and the students were invited to stay for a concert at GCU arena.

Coronado sophomore Brianne Giddings was pretty impressed with the school.

"I actually wasn't quite sure about how great it was, but I got first hand knowledge today, so it was very informative," she said.

Cofner and Giddings are both considering healthcare careers.

The Nursing Day has exploded in popularity in recent years. Attendance at the event as grown since 2005, when just 600 students attended.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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