The College of Science, Engineering and Technology offers degree programs that prepare students for high-demand professions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. With an emphasis on Grand Canyon University’s Christian worldview, our college believes in instilling social awareness, responsibility, ethical character and compassion. Our blog, BrainSTEM, focuses on topics related to science, engineering and technology, with engaging contributions from students, staff and faculty. On the blog, you can find helpful resources relating to STEM fields and learn more about current events occurring globally, locally and within GCU. We hope to provide our readers with information that helps them learn about the necessary knowledge, skills and mental disciplines to succeed in today’s job market.
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Brian Sillanpaa, M.D.

Assistant Professor, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Brian Sillanpaa Official GCU headshotBrian Sillanpaa, MD, has been an assistant professor of pathophysiology at Grand Canyon University since 2011. He has also taught and researched at Arizona State University and has conducted bio-behavioral cancer research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, while working for the department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona. Other classes he has taught include embryology, nutrition, and human anatomy and physiology. He has been affiliated with several hospitals, including Scottsdale Healthcare, Maricopa Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. Dr. Sillanpaa has also been a peer-reviewer for several published articles, published a few of his own and been a frequent speaker at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life events.

Faculty Spotlight Questions:

Who am I and how did I get to GCU?

I can honestly say that God led me to GCU, because from my perspective, I accidentally fell into working for GCU. It just so happened that I put in an application to teach an anatomy and physiology class part-time back in the winter of 2010. I didn’t bother to see how far GCU was away from my home and I didn’t hear from them for over six months. Then, when I got a call to interview for the job, a full-time position came available the day before my interview. I considered it and prayed about it, and it just felt right. I knew that I was supposed to leave the largest university in the country and teach at this little college 50 miles away from my house. It didn’t make a lot of sense, but I’ve learned to not question what God wants me to do. As they say, the rest is history.

What do I enjoy most in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology?

CSET has a feel of family. I don’t think I’ve ever worked anywhere else where nobody tries to undermine anyone else in hopes of getting ahead. In fact, I’d say quite the opposite is true. Faculty and staff in CSET really go out of their way to help each other out and be supportive. It’s also very nice that, in everything that we do, the welfare of our students is the first consideration. I wish I would have had the advantages that CSET students are given when I was an undergraduate.

What advice do I have for CSET students?

The best advice that I can give is to keep your attitude up and surround yourself with other students who are here to do their best. For a student, GCU is a really fun place! That’s all well-and-good, but remember that as a full-time student, your professors expect you to be in class or studying for 40 hours a week. That’s what full-time means. Of course, do some fun stuff and stay healthy. That will help. But don’t forget why you’re here. You’re in a competitive field, and your paycheck is your grades.