ominic Queenwanted
to attend a university
where he could study
computers in ways that
would prepare him for the
workforce but also enable
him to be creative.
The incoming freshman
was accepted into Grand
Canyon University’s new
computer science program
out of North High School,
where he competed in
math tournaments and
participated in a robotics
program in which he helped
build a robot that could
throw a small ball about
25 feet.
Queen, an 18-year-
old Phoenix native, said
GCU’s bachelor’s degree
in computer science
appealed to him, not only
for its affordability and the
campus’ proximity to home,
but because he would be
among the first students to
shape the program.
“Since it’s going to be
brand new, I’m not sure
how fleshed out it will be,”
Queen said. “But that’s the
situation I’d like to be in, to
help a program grow and
evolve to make it better for
future generations.”
The computer science
program also offered a
concentration in game and
simulation development.
Like many students drawn
to the field, Queen tinkers
with code in his free time.
He admitted that
though he was interested
in so many things — from
“Cosplay” costume
performance art to
playing the clarinet —
the interdisciplinary
atmosphere at GCU could
eventually lead him to other
studies. The opportunity to
internwith the campus IT
Help Desk alsowas enticing.
Chances are, Queen
said, his campus technology
projects could blend
computer engineering and
artistic design.
“I mostly want to be
able to work with games
and have a hand in major
work surrounding that,”
he said. “But another part
of me just wants to be able
to use different programs
in graphic design to map
out something. . . . The
possibilities are endless
with it.”
than $74,000 for computer programmers
to more than $93,000 for software
Some IT jobs, such as computer and
information systems managers, earn a
median salary of more than $120,000.
“That’s the state of the industry right
now,” Stauffer said. “They’re starving for
people and there are not enough of them
out there.”
Brinkster didn’t happen overnight. It
took years for Stauffer to recognize his
idea’s full potential and pass on other
entrepreneurial opportunities.
As a GCU undergrad, Stauffer first
created and managed the website
Adworld, an eBay-like site that blended
classified ads and auctions. He eventually
sold it for “some tiny dollar figure” to
barely cover his costs. But that dot-com,
business-development experience helped
propel Stauffer into other early business
ventures before he was 23.
He also launched a website design
firm and consulted on information
technology projects for Intel and Lehman
Brothers before he and his wife co-
founded Brinkster.
As part of the STEM advisory board,
Stauffer said he has urged GCU to
provide students with the opportunity
to hone the critical-thinking skills many
have intuitively developed at home
playing with video games and mobile
“They program your brain to be in that
problem-solving mode,” Stauffer said.
“It’s a great life skill.
“These next generations that are
growing up are more naturally inclined
to think this way because they’re so
involved with technology, especially
around video games. I think video games
are very positive things because they
teach students how to critically analyze.”
Kathy Claypatch, GCU’s chief
technology officer, said she looks to hire
well-rounded employees who come from
strong technology backgrounds and
can adjust to various demands of the IT
Teen saw
potential to
pioneer new
Stauffer, she said, is an example of a former
student who has been “in the trenches”
throughout the boom of Internet and IT
business and can speak to issues with authority.
“The more we can get him involved in what
we’re doing, it’s a win-win,” Claypatch said. “He
knows what it’s like inside GCU, and he can add
value from the outside.”
Phoenix native
Dominic Queen
thought it was
a no-brainer to
study computer
science at GCU.
For more information
about GCU academic
programs in computer
science and information
technology, visit
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