The Bay Area is a melting pot of personal interests, from its successful sports franchises to the online dominance of the Silicon Valley.
Like the surrounding area, Las Positas College and its students have an abundance of fascinations. Simply walking into the cafeteria will put these fascinations on obvious display. From sports apparel, to card games and the occasional video game groups.
Another location on campus to find evidence of these interests is in the office of new Dean of Arts, Letters and Social Sciences, Justin Garoupa.
Garoupa, who was appointed the new interim department dean this past summer, has been teaching English sine 2001 and was originally hired at Las Positas in 2006. However, the new dean is more than just a department head, he is also an advocate of the campus’ popular interests.
Garoupa is an avid video gamer, a comic book fan, a sports fan and a musician.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center done in 2003, 70 percent of college students play video games.
“Gaming used to be frowned upon,” said John Wilker, a sophomore Criminal Justice major and a proud gamer, “you were viewed as anti-social. It wasn’t considered normal, but everything becomes normal eventually.”
Now, with Garoupa, gaming has approached the pinnacle of a modest community college campus.
This means that the guild of gamers from the English, performing arts and social sciences department has a new clan leader.
Garoupa has also played in an English department band, wielding a guitar, bass and drumsticks.
He is also the adviser for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club on campus.
“He is very fair,” said Daniel Tribble when asked about Garoupa as the professor of his English 1a class. “He has his pet peeves but he is very clear and precise.”
Tribble was not just a student of Garoupa’s, but when he decided to form a club to teach his fellow student’s martial arts, Garoupa made himself available for assistance.
According to ratemyprofessor.com, Garoupa has an overall rating of 4.0, above the LPC English professor average. This average is based on 37 total ratings, a high number by comparison.
These ratings’ accompanying comments confirm the expressions of Tribble.
While Garoupa’s many interest are intriguing, it’s his expertise that put him in his position of power.
The new dean is not just a gamer who stumbled into his current position. Garoupa has a Bachelors Degree in English from the University of California-Davis.
He then moved on to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where he achieved a Master of fine arts in Creative Writing.
“Teaching was not really in my plans,” said Garoupa, who originally wanted to get into electrical engineering. “My mother was a teacher, that’s part of why I wanted to avoid it. But the college math experience burnt me out.”
The title granted to Garoupa, however, is interim.
“I have a hard time seeing it from here,” Garoupa said about the possibility of taking on a permanent dean position. “I’m a teacher.”
Whether he holds the position of English professor or department head, Garoupa will continue to provide support for students and multi hobbyists alike.