Antelope Intros: Kari Marks and Christina Yantorno
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: Faculty specialist
Job location: Main campus, Building 23
What attracted you to GCU? Its outstanding reputation and, being a native Arizonan, I really wanted to work at a large, local university. The fact this is a Christian university made it an easy decision.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? For fun, I love to travel and visit local sites with my family such as Jerome, Fossil Creek, Tombstone, Prescott, Williams, Flagstaff, etc. Sometimes, the best history and memory-makers are the ones in our own backyard.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about Christ, my husband (Shawn) and three teenagers (Casey, Darron and Sierra), my fur babies (Nala, LeRoy Brown, Baby Diva and Whitney) and education.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I love to visit all the local farms that host pumpkin-type events in the fall. No matter how old my kids get, they love to go to these. We have a great time, and we have the video to prove it. You are never too big to squeeze into the tiny farm train.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I was invited to be on “Oprah,” not once but twice, and couldn’t go either time. I was adopted and when I found my birth parents, the Oprah show was doing a reunion event and invited me to be on the show in Chicago. The first time, I could not go because my birth mother and I did not want to wait for the taping of the show to meet. However, we ended up on all the local news channels here in Phoenix. The second time, I could not go because we had just been stationed in Guam while serving in the Navy. I had two toddlers and a newborn, my husband had just left on a ship, and I had no one to watch my babies for two weeks so I could attend the taping of the show. However, it was an honor to be invited.
What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my husband for retiring from the Navy after 20 years and jumping right into another career as a detention officer — he transports inmates and watches over them while they are seeking medical care at local hospitals. I am most proud of him for his generous spirit and continued support of myself and his children and for being a good, Southern, God-loving man. I am truly blessed.
Job title: Enrollment counselor
Job location: Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? The work environment and good reputation of the University. And I love being able to be open about my faith.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love music! I worked for a record label in Los Angeles, so I try to catch a live show any chance I can get.
What are you passionate about? Helping others. I do some volunteer work with a couple of nonprofit organizations. The first is called Hope for the Day, which works to fight teenage depression and suicide through music and the arts. I love being able to reach out to these kids and let them know they’re not alone, that there are people out there who care and want to help them through their struggles. I also volunteer with HALO animal rescue. I get the opportunity not only to help animals find loving homes, but also to see the impact a furry friend can have on a person’s life.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I really enjoy history and art. I go to the Phoenix Art Museum whenever I get the chance and enjoy visiting some of the older sights in southwest Arizona.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I’ve got some pretty amazing home-improvement skills. I’ve completely built out my backyard, and I’ve also built furniture and done some plumbing work around my house. Honestly, these are skills even I didn’t know I had.
What are you most proud of? Traveling abroad alone. I’ve taken two trips to Italy by myself. As terrifying as it first seemed, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had.