With the close of another quarter here at PUC, we are taking time to reflect back on many of the great moments and memories. Below are just a few of our favorite photos from the past three months. Enjoy!
Biotechnology students (like Charlene’s classmates shown here) learn to use a variety of lab equipment.
by Charlene Wang
From obscure fields such as the science of pharming, to popular controversial topics such as GM foods, biotechnology covers a vast variety of subjects. Introduction to biotechnology illustrates and teaches the various procedures and techniques behind significant scientific findings, such as the creation of DNA sequencing and the development of vaccinations. Though biotechnology did open up many topics, my experiences both in the class and in the lab were aimed primarily towards the medical field due to my choice in research topics and my own personal interests. This course deals with real life applications of biology and problem solving.
One of the most important aspects of biotechnology is the way it is used to diagnose societal health issues, such as in the case of edible vaccines. Though vaccines are highly accessible in the U.S. and other western countries, this is not the case in impoverished third world countries. The lack of accessibility to protection for the impoverished led to the idea of edible vaccines through the injection of cloned genes into the chloroplasts of plants. This new technology aimed to produce crops that could orally administer vaccinations, allowing societies to cultivate and distribute their own vaccines in crops such as potatoes. Biotechnology seeks to provide solutions to societal and medical issues, constantly evolving to improve current human conditions. The course covered a wide variety of conflicts and solutions, including the development of genetically modified (GM) foods and creation of artificial proteins through pharming.
Biotechnology is a quickly developing field of science, eliminating problems in areas such as medicine. Much of biotechnology focuses on identifying and solving problems, such as understanding why experiments fail and how they can be modified. During the lab, I was introduced to new equipment and techniques while actively participating in research. We sought to find a connection between overeating and the development of Alzheimer’s in humans through the use of C. elegans, a model organism that shares Alzheimer’s genes with humans. Throughout the lab I was able to experience firsthand the importance of purification methods and the process of improving lab procedures through trial and error. The lab taught us how to use machines such as the autoclave, spectrophotometer, and the centrifuge, enabling us to measure optical densities of E. coli and stressing the consequences of lab errors such as contamination. In order to improve our technique and experimental procedure, we were given the opportunity to look through research articles to review and analyze newer procedures being utilized in other laboratories. Much of the time spent within biotechnology lab was funneled towards error analysis and learning from previous mistakes, teaching us how scientific research relies on building off of the past work of not only ourselves, but others as well.
Biotechnology was a unique course in the way it introduced new scientific discoveries and provided relatable real-life examples of how essential science is in our day-to-day lives. The laboratory allowed us to experience firsthand the obstacles and the successes that often come with research, as well as the importance of reevaluation. Overall, biotechnology was an enjoyable course I would recommend to anyone with an interest in seeing the practical applications of biological research.
College could be described as a roller coaster of emotions.
On one hand, looking at college in the perspective of a freshman can feel daunting like the hundred foot drop of Goliath: A gigantic 720 school days until graduation.
On the other hand, Looking at life in the perspective of a senior can feel exhilarating like the butterflies you feel after a speedy drop: Just around 180 days until graduation.
Currently, I am a senior. As I sit in a small room with yellow painted walls, I think of things I wish I had done more of in my earlier years of college. There are three specific activities I wish I had participated in more often.
Intramurals – I wish I had done more intramurals because this is likely to be the last chance to strike a volleyball or shoot a basketball with my best of friends. Although I could still manage to participate in this these sports after college, it is the college atmosphere and playing with your closest of friends makes these experiences so amusing. One’s smile seems to never fade away when playing with friends.
Dinner dates with friends – Notice I say friends? Dinner dates are not restricted to someone you have a crush on. Dinner dates refers to asking a friend to dinner to converse and catch up, to talk about events happening in each other’s lives. Grabbing dinner is a great way to strengthen the bond you have with your friends.
Involvement in Student Senate – You ever want to make a change in your dormitory or even on campus as a whole? Senate gives you the opportunity to make your vision of change come to life. Having a say in what goes on in your dorm is amazing. Not only does it give you a voice, it gives you a chance to represent and advocate for your fellow residents, to hear their concerns, and make their needs known.
While there are opportunities I wish I had taken advantage of, I am extremely glad I did the following:
Candidate for SA – During my junior year in college, I ran for president of the Student Association. This process was not easy. During the campaign process, I found myself wishing I had more time to study. Looking back now, I am glad I decided to run for SA President because the experience taught me how to campaign but also balance academics with extracurricular activities.
Seeking out job opportunities – Earning your own money is such a great feeling. I still remember the time I received my first check. I feel independent and more responsible knowing I no longer have to ask my parents for money. Getting a job and making your own money also allows you to experience the tasty food Napa Valley has to offer!
Service projects – Berkeley Homeless Ministry, a student ran service project, has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Joy and meaning arise from helping others who have limited opportunities or cannot help themselves. I have met some of the most genuine people through this ministry. Service project opportunities are something you’re not going to want to miss out on when you’re at PUC.
Overall, college has been a collage of memories and great times. The likelihood of enjoying or dreading college all depends on what you choose to do with your time. Are you going to look for ways to connect with others? Or are you going to sit in your room? The choice is yours. Just like a roller coaster, you never know what direction college life will take you. Be proactive and participate in different activities. I can wholeheartedly call PUC my second home and I am forever thankful for everything this institution has provided me. Best of luck as you explore the different opportunities college has to offer!
Here’s Andrew hard at work at the public relations office at PUC!
Amanda uses a small syringe to feed a goldfinch chick.
Meet Amanda Garcia, a senior environmental studies major. Last summer she completed her internship at the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County in the Song Bird Clinic. Her goal is to someday work as a wildlife conservationist at Yellowstone or Yosemite National Park.
Tell us about your internship.
As a volunteer intern, I properly prepared and cleaned bird cages for the hatchings, juvenile, and adult song birds. I gave oral medicine to the towhees, finches, and scrub jays.
What did you learn during your internship?
There needs to be a lot of people involved in order for the Center to run smoothly. At all times, there needs to be three people at the center to feed the small and large hatchlings every 30 to 45 minutes, one person to give medicines and stitch up birds that have been attacked by cats, and one person to feed and take care of the juvenile and adult birds and help with the birds of prey. I learned the diet of different bird species, and I learned how to mend broken legs and stitch up wounds.
How did PUC help prepare you for this experience?
The Vertebrate Biology class helped me identify the different species of birds found at the Center and helped me know what habitat they can be found in, to better know how to take care of them. The Biological Foundations labs helped me to record information accurately about the behaviors of the birds so the next volunteer could continue care for the birds, and knowledge of a microscope helped me to find any worms or parasites in the fecal samples in order to give the proper medicines to the birds.
Trying to choose a college can be fun, but also extremely stressful. The truth of the matter is, the memories from college are ones you will remember forever, so making a conscious decision for where you attend is crucial. College Days at PUC makes this not only easier, but a whole lot more exciting. As a recent graduate, and now a PUC enrollment counselor, I am excited to share more about this experience with you!
What Should You Expect?
PUC is located just minutes from one of the most well-known destination spots in the country, Napa Valley. Surrounded by picturesque views, our “campus on the hill” is where it all takes place. Whether you are traveling by plane, car, bus, or train (who knows), PUC does their best to accommodate you. Upon arriving, you will make your way to Winning Hall, our main residence hall, where you will check in with our enrollment team and receive your rooming assignment and schedule for your stay.
Depending on the dates of your specific College Days experience, the activities will differ. However, this April, you will take a tour of the campus, eat dinner with current PUC students, play some fun games, and end the night with an ice cream social! Think you’re finished? Not quite! You can also look forward to attending a couple classes of your choice, a financial aid workshop, spending time in our storybook town of St. Helena, and touring the beautiful city of San Francisco!
What Should You Bring?
If you are anything like me, you feel the need to pack your entire life into a suitcase for whatever trip you’re embarking on. However, lucky for you, I am going to give you a list of essentials:
A sleeping bag, travel mattress pad, pillow, and towel.
A comfortable pair of shoes is KEY for this trip. We do live on a mountain, so tennies or flats would work perfectly. This is especially important for those of you checking out our hiking trails!
Personal toiletries are important; however, we do have the College Market where you can purchase items from, as well.
Extra cash isn’t a requirement, but who doesn’t want some chocolate directly from the Ghirardelli Factory in San Francisco? Let’s be honest.
Athletic gear for our open gym is optional.
Why Is This Important?
Before attending PUC, I remember how stressed out I was about choosing a college that would not only offer great academics, but a spiritual and welcoming atmosphere, as well. When I found PUC, I was nervous about a few things. I wasn’t Adventist, I really loved the city, and I had never lived so far from my parents. This is why visiting is so crucial. During my visit to PUC, I was able to talk to my enrollment counselor, get my financial aid questions answered, talk with an advisor for my major, meet several current students, worship with the community, visit some of the surrounding cities, and get a feel of what the campus was all about. College Days will change everything folks. Don’t second guess an opportunity to experience what could potentially be your home away from home.
Where Can You Get More Information?
Ready to visit? All you need to do is go to our Visit page on the Admissions website, scroll down to the College Days section, and click on the “Sign Up for April 2017” button. Here, you’ll be able to choose what classes fit your interest, and if you know any of our current PUC students, request to dorm with them during your stay. It is as easy as that! I look forward to meeting you!
Your last chance for a College Days experience this year is coming up April 9-11. Don’t miss out!
Daniel studied the effect of chlorogenic acid on C. elegans lifespan.
Meet Daniel Newport, a senior biology major. Last summer, Daniel conducted research at PUC. He plans to attend graduate school at CSU East Bay for a master’s degree in cell and molecular biology.
Tell us about your research.
I formulated and implemented a lifespan assay on Caenorhabditis elegans by exposing them to glucose, which shortens their lifespan. The goal of the study was to measure the effectiveness of the compound chlorogenic acid, an inhibitor of glucose absorption, in attenuating the effects of glucose on lifespan.
What did you learn during your research?
I learned there is an immense amount of reading required in order to understand the basics of a topic, let alone enough obtain information to formulate an entire experiment. I had to read a handful of papers just to verify the correct volume of one reagent in my media. However, the process was extremely fun, because you gain so much information on cellular processes, common statistical methods, and cutting edge research in published journals. After a while you learn what questions haven’t been answered, and you begin thinking about how you can answer those questions yourself! Research can be long and tough, but implementing critical thought, controlling an experiment, and studying life was exhilarating.
How did PUC help prepare you for this experience?
Classes like Cell and Molecular Biology and Systems Physiology equipped me with a basic, yet cohesive understanding of cell, tissue, and organ mechanics I found invaluable. This gave me a hunger for more information on cell systems, and led me to ask serious questions to Drs. Wyrick and Sung. They were consistently available for ideas and help honing in on research topics; the magnum opus of the department of biology is the care and interest professors like Wyrick and Sung provide to students.
Dominique Townsend is currently a junior at PUC, studying English with an emphasis in literature and a minor in writing. Dominique decided to attend PUC after visiting during College Days when she was a high school senior. In her words, “It just sort of clicked. It felt like home—somewhere where I was comfortable.” She applied and was accepted to PUC, receiving the Maxwell Scholarship and entering the Honors program.
So far, Dominique has thrived at PUC. She gets plenty of support from her teachers and classmates. In the Honors program, she gets to “experience a wide range of classes that are taught in interdisciplinary ways” to help her connect what she’s learning with her life and her future.
Dominique sees PUC as quiet yet connected. She appreciates the close, familial atmosphere of the PUC community. In her words, “We might not always know all of the goings-on in each other’s lives, but when something happens to one of our own, we band together to share their joy, sympathize with their sadness, and protect their rights to be who they are.”
Her favorite part of PUC is that “every day [here] is like having [a] mountaintop experience with God. We’re literally at the top of a mountain, and it’s beautiful. I think all of the nature and the scenery up here just points right back to our Wonderful Creator.”
Dominique is a very active and passionate member of the PUC community. She’s the president of PUC’s chapter of the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, and the secretary and co-founder of Thaumatrope, a club focusing on serving others. She’s also the head editor of Quicksilver and works as a teacher’s assistant in the department of English and occasionally tutors at the Teaching and Learning Center.
Dominique has clearly made use of the opportunities and resources available at PUC. She has pushed herself to achieve, to be creative, to improve spiritually, and to use her talents and skills to help others.
She says, “Looking back on my life, I think my college experience will probably be the period of the most change for me. I’ve made new friends, [I’ve] experienced a lot more things, I’ve picked up some new hobbies, I’ve seen myself grow academically and spiritually—and I think that those are positive aspects I’ll take out into the world when I graduate.”
The 2017-2018 Student Association elections at PUC was one for the records. Every candidate, from president to public relations vice president, ran unopposed, an extremely rare situation. While the odds of obtaining one’s desired position was guaranteed, a few were still nervous, but who wouldn’t be? On Thursday, February 23, each candidate gave a speech for the SA Elections Colloquy to make their case for why they should be elected.
Each candidate has something different to offer PUC students. Megan Weems brings her experience in service. Coming back to the states after serving a year as a student missionary in Fiji inspired Weems to apply all she learned while she was away to being the next SA president. She ended her speech saying, “SA is about the students not the leaders. I ask that you follow me and you follow God to make PUC what we want it to be.”
In addition to being a senator-at-large, incoming executive vice president Alma Musmovi is the current president of Amnesty International, a club that informs students of human rights issues. Musmovi is prepared to handle the task of leading out in Senate. “You have someone who has a passion for change who is willing to have those hard conversations and address the concerns students have,” she said.
Ryan Goldring, soon-to-be financial vice president, is ready to bring his experience in service to PUC students. Goldring spent a year as a missionary in Pompeii. Currently, he is performing cost-benefit analyses, contract negotiations, asset managements, and market research as an intern for Brotemarkle Davis & Co., LLP, an accounting firm in St. Helena which ranks 25th in the nation.
Angel Castillo, a junior who ran for public relations vice president, plans to use Snapchat as a medium to inform students of all SA events.
Knowing he is the next editor-in-chief of the Campus Chronicle, Daniel Grigore began his speech saying, “I am going to be your new Campus Chronicle editor next year,” He continued, “If you have any great stories we’re looking for them,” referring to his team and editors. The crowd began to laugh.
With each candidate proposing new ideas, students attending PUC for the 2017-2018 school year can expect big SA events. One major past event was giving students the opportunity to ride a hot air balloon, which seems possible again with this up-and-coming SA team.
To stay current with the Student Association at PUC, visit their Facebook page. Congratulations to all of the 2017-2018 SA officers—we can’t wait to see what exciting things you will do next year!
Seniors, if you’re still looking for ways to help pay your college tuition this fall, this blog post is for you. Here is a list of 10 scholarships open to high school seniors with application deadlines this spring—and even a few into the summer, for those of you who need a little extra time!
In honor of Hunter Garner, who was killed in a car accident, this scholarship asks students to create a 25 or 55 second video to encourage teens not to drive distracted. The winner receives a $5,000 scholarship, while the second place winner receives $2,000. Third place gets you $1,000.
Taking an 8-question multiple choice test after reading an essay from the American Fire Sprinkler Association could earn you $2,000. For every question you answer correctly, you will receive one entry into a drawing for one of 10 $2,000 scholarships.
For this scholarship, you write an essay of 2,000 characters or less (approximately 400 words) about how the work you put in ahead of time helped you overcome adversity and achieve a goal. The essays will be put online for visitors to vote for their favorite essay. There are first, second, and third place prizes of $2,500, $1,000, and $500, respectively.
This scholarship awards five winners $1,000 each, as well as gives each winner’s school a $500 grant and Krylon supplies. To apply, you must submit a portfolio, an artistic statement, a letter of reference, and your transcripts.
If you have a way with words, this scholarship may be for you. Created in memory of Harold G. Henderson, the cofounder the Haiku Society of America, applicants must submit five unpublished haikus. The winner receives $150, and their haiku will be published in the Frogpond magazine and on the Haiku Society of America’s website. Second prize receives $100 and third prize $50.
Iris Lee and classmates learn to identify cells and tissues during Histology lab.
I never imagined myself taking histology, which is the microscopic study of cells and tissues. Looking back after completing the course, I can definitely say I am glad I decided to take the class and have gained a better understanding of a subject in biology that is not visible to the naked eye.
In the beginning of the quarter, we focused on the four basic tissue types: epithelial, nervous, connective, and muscle tissue. We then expanded to various body systems, such as the respiratory and the lymphatic systems, as well as pinpointing the specific cells which make them up. One of the most interesting parts of this class was studying the eye under the microscope and being able to differentiate the tissues of the eye, such as the retina from the choroid layer and the cornea from the sclera.
A large portion of the class was spent in the laboratory, and we spent our time there twice a week. Lecture was spent mostly previewing the tissues we would look at during lab and learning a little bit of their physiological and clinical aspects. Much of what I enjoyed about histology was becoming more comfortable with light microscopes. Although there was not a lot to do in terms of preparing slides and staining, it was fascinating to take images from the textbook and see what they look like in real life. For example, we were able to see neurons with their axons and dendrites (as well as the myelin sheaths and individual nodes of Ranvier!) in various nervous tissues. One takeaway I got from working with microscopes is pictures in textbooks do not reflect reality, and it takes patience and specific attention to detail to identify the correct tissues and cells. Thankfully, under the guidance of Dr. Robin Vance and his microscope camera, it was much easier to find the various tissues and cells.
As a biology major, I found histology complements systems physiology, and it helps to take these two classes together. Furthermore, for pre-medicine or pre-dental students, these classes are on the list of recommended courses that will come in handy for professional school. Histology deepened my appreciation for the microscopic world, and it was fascinating to learn extensively about how these cells and tissues have specific functions that contribute to the functioning of a body as a whole. I highly recommend this class to anyone interested in learning about the various tissues and cells vital to the human body and hope it is just as enjoyable to them as it was for me.