Antelope Intros: Bettina Singleton and Joshua Aguirre
Antelope Intros is a recurring GCU Today feature that introduces some of our new employees to the people around them in a way that is fun and informative. Employees are eligible to be featured in the month following their orientation
Job title: Doctoral specialist
Job location: Tempe
What attracted you to GCU? GCU is an excellent school — established, reputable and extremely focused on customer service. More important, my favorite color is purple!
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? Reading psychological thrillers. They are sick and wrong but a great escape because there are so many twists and turns to follow, and they usually end in a very surprising and unexpected way. In my opinion, reading books is so much more fulfilling than watching movies. I love anything written by Harlan Coben (especially his Myron Bolitar series) and Gillian Flynn (most people know of her book “Gone Girl,” but the books she wrote before that one are even better). I also love anything written by Mary Kubica, Lisa Gardner, Jonathan Kellerman and Karin Slaughter. There are so many great authors — so many books, so little time to enjoy them all.
What are you passionate about? Learning! I would go to school forever if someone paid me to! My parents did not go to college; my dad was a copper miner, and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. However, they stressed the importance of college consistently throughout my childhood. I had a ton of encouragement from them but did not have a lot of guidance because of their limited knowledge and experience in higher education. My mother, although not formally educated, was a big reader, and we had giant bookshelves built in our living room for all of her books. She was my example, and my love of reading began with her. I was always a reader, and as a teen I often would stay up all night reading. Once I was in college, I found that I was at home in an academic environment. I loved getting the syllabus on the first day of class and mapping out my assignments and exams. I actually enjoy writing papers, so I was not the normal student. I found that I am a lifelong learner and have a thirst for knowledge that never seems to be quenched. I always have had an interest in psychology, so I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. at GCU in Performance Psychology. My ultimate career goal is to be an author and a life coach.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? The Phoenix Zoo (I love animals) and kettle corn. I have always been an animal lover and feel really connected to animals and nature. Being at the zoo just makes me happy.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I grew up in a very small Arizona town called Oracle, in the boonies about 45 miles north of Tucson. Dirt roads, no street names and surrounded by nature. And, yes, cowboy boots and a belt with my name on it. Yahoo! I always will be proud of and will embrace my simple beginnings.
What are you most proud of? My son Nicolas! He is 17 and will be graduating from high school this May. He received The Excellence Scholarship to the University of Arizona, which means he will be attending the same college that his dad and I did. Ultimately, Nicolas would like to be a pro golfer but understands that he needs to have a college degree and will focus his business studies on golf course operations and management. He lives at the golf course! His dad, Chris, played football for U of A and later in the NFL. Thankfully, our son got his academic genes from Mom and his athletic genes from Dad. Nicolas is hilarious and amazingly smart. He is just an incredible human being overall, which makes me wonder sometimes if he is really mine. However, I was there (and in lots of pain) when he was born, so I guess I can claim him. Yay!
Job title: Military enrollment counselor
Job location: Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? The opportunity to grow with a well-established University. I joined the military after high school in 1999, and after two deployments (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom), I got out in 2004. From there, I worked back home in Winkelman, Ariz., at a mine driving haul trucks and enrolled in school until I was offered a job in higher education. I have more than seven years of experience working in enrollment. I was a senior adviser at my last job but wanted something with a different approach — something more student focused, more involved with the community and with a genuine approach.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I am from a small town, so I have been hunting, shooting, and doing everything and anything outdoors-related since birth. I love taking the backroads all the way back home, visiting and spending time with family, and raising my two sons, Alfonso (aka Fonzy) and Alex.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about passing down traditional values to my two boys about family, respect and the privileges we have living in a free country.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? My favorite events here in the Valley are gun shows and sportsman expos. I love pizza or Cajun restaurants and the Arizona Barbecue Festival. Besides these, I enjoy going with family and friends to Sycamore Creek, Four Peaks, Butcher Jones or any other off-road riding place near the lakes around the Valley.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: Growing up in a small town and being part of a big family, we didn’t have a lot. My brothers and cousins and I would run around town and the river during the summer months shirtless and shoeless. As kids, my brothers, cousins and I used to have to take our school shoes off (our only pair of shoes) just to go and play with friends after school. Those were good times. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, so I try as often as possible to go back home and show my boys what it was like to grow up there. It is fun and humbling for them. They love going down to town and visiting their Nana and Tata — my mother and father.
What are you most proud of? My family, being alive, and every day that we have to enjoy and appreciate.