Antelope Intros: Joe Stopka, Bart Barrett
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: Enrollment counselor, military division
Job location: Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? That it’s Grand, that I go to school here in the Professional Counseling program, that my wife is a graduate from here, that I drove past the campus and saw an awesome baseball stadium (that was really the main thing).
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I am a huge Marvel comics fan. I will argue to the death that Captain America is the greatest superhero EVER. I also am a big hockey and baseball fan, and I am a big fan of board games.
What are you passionate about? God and family! I have the most beautiful 9-month-old girl. I am obviously passionate about my comics and my sports teams. Go Hawks, Cubs, Bulls, Bears! I’m obviously from Chicago. I also am a huge X-Files fan — come by my cube and you will see.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I love going to Coyotes games, especially when the Blackhawks are in town. I also had a great time at Phoenix Comicon this year and can’t wait for next year’s. I also make frequent trips to Tempe to eat at Portillo’s, the best hot dogs/beef in the world!
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: Besides being a walking contradiction of myself — a jock one moment, then a huge nerd the next — I am a crier at movies, but only happy movies. Sad stuff is cheesy and there is enough of that in real life. I cry at the end of movies like “Miracle,” “Field of Dreams,” “The Rookie,” stuff like that, but I also cried at the end of “The Dirty Dozen.” Not many people know that, but I’m not ashamed of it. Real men know how to let their feelings out.
What are you most proud of? I’m most proud that I never gave up in life. I was a five-sport varsity athlete in high school and had all kinds of potential, and it all went away with one injury. I didn’t know what to do with life after that, and some people real close to me thought I would never accomplish anything. After a few years I found God and got a new purpose in life, I went back to school and graduated magna cum laude, and now I’m working toward a master’s degree. One thing I have learned in life, and I learned this from my mom, is to always get back up. Life will knock you down time and time again; it’s not about how hard you fall, it’s about getting back up and continuing. My mom is my hero, and I hope to be half as strong as her in my life.
Job title: University development representative
Job location: Eastern Washington
What attracted you to GCU? I really felt like it was time to seek an opportunity to support others at a greater level, and GCU offered that opportunity.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? We live in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and are surrounded by lakes, so the summer is spent on the water. We are also a die-hard hockey family — we provide a home away from home for hockey players, and our own boys play as well. If that’s not enough, we are season-ticket holders for Spokane Chiefs games and can be seen banging the glass from the front row.
What are you passionate about? I am the Idaho field director for the Horatio Alger Association’s national and state scholarship program. I also serve on the National Scholars Conference staff and am a member of the Alumni Association’s Advisory Board. I love being able to change someone’s life by awarding them a scholarship to go to college.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I don’t do snakes.
What are you most proud of? I don’t get proud of myself. I’m proud of other people when they achieve success after I have had a chance to help them during their journey.