Meet Chelsea Nicole Paclibar, a senior biology major at PUC. She plans to continue on to dental school and specialize in orthodontics after graduation. For the last year, she has been participating in a research study on Alzheimer’s disease.
Who are you? I’m Chelsea Nicole T. Paclibar and I’m a senior biology major. I plan to go on to dental school at Loma Linda University and specialize in orthodontics.
What did you do? I participated in a research that studied the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and overeating. The hypothesis of the study was that overeating causes degenerative behavior in the nervous system. For this study, we grew C. elegans into healthy adults and collected their eggs after a few days. The eggs were then divided into six different conditions and a behavioral test was performed on the collected eggs. I was responsible for the data collection, which involved taking photos of the petri dishes containing the samples under a microscope, as well as measuring and calculating the length, thickness and volume of each specimen.
When and where did you do this work? My research internship started in the fall of 2017 and will continue until spring of 2018. This work is supervised by Dr. Sung.
What did you learn? I realized research work can be complex and overwhelming but also exciting because you get to discover new things and get to interact with people who you will work with towards accomplishing a common goal that can potentially create an impact in the world. I learned working on a research study requires a great deal of patience because data collection and analysis can take a while, thus, often leading to delayed results. I also learned working with other students can greatly enhance efficiency and allow for a better pool of creative ideas to approach the limitations we might have.
How did your experience at PUC help prepare you for this experience? I’m a biology major and I’ve taken many required core classes and electives that provided me with the foundational skills and information needed to effectively do research. The Biological Foundation sequence prepared me very well and gave me the background knowledge to analyze data, to use a pipette and microscope, to prepare solutions, and to observe samples. Additionally, my Cell and Molecular Biology class equipped me with information on the cellular construction and development of the C. elegans allowing me to understand and evaluate its responses to the experiments and tests performed.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “What are your plans after graduation?”
We hear these typical life questions focused on the future even from a very young age. The first, asked of young children, typically produces something predictable—firefighter, teacher, mommy, police officer, doctor. However, many times the second, asked of college students, produces anxiety, fear, trepidation, or hesitation. Or perhaps all of the above.
Being able to say with certainty what one’s plans are for the future is a gift few people are given as they enter their college years, despite it being one of life’s most important decisions. Or, perhaps, because of that.
Fortunately for PUC students, help is mere steps away. The college’s Career & Counseling Center provides an experienced career counselor, armed with training, career inventory assessments, personality tests, and plenty of brochures and information about potential employers and graduate schools. And in the thick of it all, happy to help students figure out their futures, is Sydney Johnston.
Name: Sydney Johnston Title: Career counselor Education: B.A. in liberal studies, California State University-San Bernardino; M.S. in counseling, Oregon State University Certifications/Specializations: National certified counselor; California associate professional clinical counselor Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Employee since: 2013, but in the Career Center since 2016
What does a typical day look like for you? I spend 75 percent of my time doing career counseling and the other 25 percent doing mental health counseling. As the only career counselor, I have a unique opportunity to ease students’ fears and answer the unknowns.
How did you get into this line of work? During grad school, I completed an internship at two nonprofit organizations for women in transition who were going back to college or needed to find work to support their family after a divorce or coming out of a domestic abuse history. After grad school, I worked as career services director at Pioneer Pacific College in Portland, Ore. These experiences really showed me that helping people figure out their futures was a real joy for me.
When you’re not in this comfy office counseling students, where can we find you? Oh boy, I’m out and about regularly, as I coordinate several major student events on campus throughout the year. I’m in charge of the grad fair, the career fair, internship and job fair, and weekly workshops/clinics throughout the quarter.
Tell us about these events. They sound awesome! They actually are pretty well-attended and we generally get positive feedback from students who participate. The grad school fair is pretty straight-forward: Various schools send representatives with information about their plethora of graduate programs.
The career fair allows us to partner with department chairs to invite individuals who represent careers in every field we train for here at PUC. Many are alumni who want to share with current students their experience and success, and talk about how they got to where they are, to motivate the students. It helps students who are looking to explore other fields and are considering changing majors. For example, someone who’s not sure physical therapy is for them may discover during this event that occupational therapy makes more sense for them.
The internship and job fair brings recruiters from a variety of businesses to interview students. It opens doors that might not otherwise be apparent to students, and also gives them experience interviewing for jobs.
The weekly workshops and clinics cover a myriad of topics, such as resume writing and editing, interview prep, how to begin and pursue a job search, how to create a LinkedIn account and how to use it, how to apply for federal jobs, and life after graduation. That last one is usually coordinated with the senior class and offers information on basic adult life skills not taught in college, such as employment, budgeting, credit, debt management, banking, housing, car leasing vs. buying, insurance, retirement accounts, and taxes. It’s geared toward students who are looking to move out on their own.
What do you love about your job? Working with college students as they plan their future is fun, uplifting, and forward-focused. I love to help students relate personality and interests to possible careers, and I love walking students through this process of determining what it is they truly want, and what they’re willing to do to get it.
What’s the most challenging part of your work? The hard part is when students come to me contemplating a change of major. They thought what they started doing was what they wanted but now they’re not sure. Sometimes students feel torn between what their parents want for them and what they’re realizing they want for themselves, and not doing what their parents want or expect can make them feel like a failure. I help students navigate all of this to figure out what it is they want to do and can do well. We look at where they can find jobs, how much more school, training, and time it will take to get there, and how much money they can make at that career. Those are the things that assure not only the student of which choice is the best one, but also reassures their parents.
So is what you do something that’s only helpful to college students? Actually, no; I also use what I do as a recruiting tool. I sometimes go with enrollment to visit academies and do the Strong Interest Inventory assessment test with the high school students. I explain what it is and what to expect, then administer the assessment, then we talk about the results. I explain why certain fields come up a lot, and what traits the student might exhibit that gave them the results it did. Then they meet with one of our PUC recruiters, who talks about what PUC has to offer that can provide a path to those careers.
How do you keep up with everything that’s out there? Something that gives me a unique benefit in this job is the three years I spent as the tutoring coordinator in the college’s Teaching & Learning Center. In that role, you know every professor, every program, every class. You know when classes are offered and know the catalog inside and out. It helps students with the projection of their future at PUC: How much time will it take if I change from A to B? Is it worth it? Do I want to be here another year?
Also, during the grad fair I make it a point to connect with the program representatives and gather materials they bring for students, so I can at least know the basics of what’s out there and what will be expected in various areas of study.
Since we have a lot of students who continue on to Loma Linda University, it is helpful to attend their every-other-year training, where each LLU school presents on changes to their program.
What’s the most common question students ask you? Probably the biggest one is “How do I find a job?” We help them begin that process and follow through on leads. Some students have resumes already but they need some additional work. That’s what we’re here for. I worked in business management for 15 years and I’ve hired and fired many people over that time. I know what employers look for and I know what they don’t want. I know what makes potential employees stand out, and I help the students who come to me learn those skills, too. Students need to know how to look professional when they apply for jobs. Cover letters, for example, are essential. Not everyone who writes a cover letter gets the job, but pretty much everyone who gets the job wrote a cover letter. Learning to be prepared for interviews and looking better on paper is what we do here.
If you could offer one piece of advice to college seniors, what would it be? I know it feels like it, but you’re not the only one not getting a job. You’re not the only one getting rejection letters. It takes time, and it takes patience and it takes knowing what you’re doing. Knowing all the right stuff and doing all the right things doesn’t always lead to a job, but it does make it much more likely to happen. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
So, what are some fields students can focus on that have a higher likelihood of available positions? Anything with the word healthcare, medical, computer, and engineering in the title or job description.
What about students who want to start working after an associate’s or bachelor’s degree instead of going on to a master’s or doctoral program? What kinds of careers should they look for? We sometimes believe to be successful in certain careers and professions, that a person needs to get a master’s or a doctorate degree. This simply isn’t true. Maybe your strength is hands-on. Maybe your passion is doing the physical work, rather than analyzing and reporting it. There are plenty of jobs out there in a variety of fields such as, healthcare, medicine, communication, business, fine art, design, and so many others. The pay is good, and graduates can make a living wage. We need those people.
Picking a college major can be a bit stressful. As an enrollment counselor, the number one question I get asked is, “Am I stuck with this major?” Don’t worry! Picking a major doesn’t lock you into an exact career for the rest of your life, but it does mean you will spend a lot of time with the subject you choose. So here are a few of my tips before you make a decision.
What is a major?
First off, what is a major? A major is a bundle of classes put together by a college in order to receive a degree. This bundle of classes will typically have a subject of your choice paired with some general education requirements.
Is picking a major important?
It can be important to pick a major sooner rather than later if you are interested in earning a professional degree after college. Some professional programs, like medical school, can have a list of prerequisites or certain courses you must complete before you even apply. (If you’re interested, take a look at the curriculum guidesheets for each major to see what classes are required and if there are any prerequisites for continuing on to a professional program.)
When to declare a major?
Most people think you must have your major picked out before starting school. When you are filling out college applications, most ask what your expected major is. It is okay if you don’t know what major you want to pick before you start. According to the U.S Department of Education, about one in ten students change majors more than once. During your first year of college, take time and figure out the field you want to be in. Usually, by your sophomore year in college, you will want to officially declare a major.
Most important tips for picking a major:
Pick something you are interested in. You will be spending a lot of time in that field. So if you dislike what you are studying, you will be miserable and won’t be very motivated to finish.
Evaluate your skills. What are you good at? It’s probably not the best idea to major in something you know you are weak in. If you’ve barely passed science classes during high school, majoring in a science is probably not the best decision. Go into a major being confident you will do well with most of the topics.
Consider growth industries and do your research. Think about the skills you will have and how much those skills will be in demand by the time you are in the field.
Look at what types of income you can receive from different jobs in your field. It’s hard to predict exactly what you will earn but it can give you a realistic idea of what your future may look like.
Talk to people who are in the fields you are interested in. Ask them how they got there and tips they might have for students going into the field. It may open your mind and help you in making that major decision. They may even be open to you allowing you to shadow them and get a real glimpse into what the field is like.
Overall, don’t worry if you have no idea what to do when it comes to picking a major. You will be able to evaluate your interest in college, it just may take some time. Sometimes if you don’t pick a major, a major will pick you!
If you’re in need of some ideas for what your options are when it comes to deciding what to study at PUC, don’t hesitate to contact our team of enrollment counselors. They can talk with you about what’s available at PUC and what sounds like could be a good fit for you. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email email@example.com to get connected with a counselor now.
This year, a new class is being offered at PUC, GNRL-296, Intro to Geographic Information Systems (GIS for short), taught by Peter Lecourt, the college’s new forest manager. Peter recently received his master’s in geographic information systems from the University of Redlands and has a passion for the environment. He is eager to share his knowledge with students at PUC. We asked Peter to tell us more about the class and why students should be interested in taking it. Tell us about the class and why it’s significant that it’s being taught at PUC. GIS is the use of computers to analyze and portray geographic information. Maps are key tools in many fields, and the vast majority of modern maps are made using GIS. PUC is one of just four Adventist institutions offering an undergraduate class in GIS, which is significant as GIS is a growing field important to many industries and disciplines.
What type of student should take the class? Anyone interested in maps will enjoy this class. Specifically, the knowledge gained in this class will help students in the disciplines of environmental studies, business, emergency services, social work, and history.
Why should students take the class? Aside from being a useful skill in many industries, digital map making is fun. Students in the fall 2017 class really enjoyed the hands-on experience playing with GIS in the lab period. At a light two credits, and offered in the evening, even the most demanding schedule can fit this class.
What can students hope to gain from taking this class? The ability to create maps, as well as an appreciation and better understanding of cartography, and knowledge of a cutting-edge field.
What is your favorite thing about teaching this class? Sharing knowledge of a discipline that many enjoy, yet didn’t even know existed. There are a lot of “light bulb” moments in this class as students see behind the scenes of how maps they have seen before are created.
Interested in taking GNRL-296? The two credit class is available this coming spring quarter on Mondays from 6-6:50 p.m., with a lab on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m.
Peter Lecourt, who also works as the college’s forest manager, will be teaching GNRL-296.
Katharine Van Arsdale is a Texan-turned-Californian who loves books. This is appropriate, considering her profession: She is one of our team of librarians here at PUC who helps students and other faculty find what they need. Katy adores her two cats, Mochi and Meeka, and has a passion for history. Without further ado, introducing: Katharine Van Arsdale!
Name: Katharine Van Arsdale Title: Special Collections Librarian Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Faculty since: 2015
Classes taught: Information literacy sessions for all kinds of cool classes in different departments
Education: B.A. English, Andrews University; MSLS Library & Information Science, Catholic University of America; M.A. History, Catholic University of America
What made you decide to be a librarian? I’m a special collections librarian at an academic library, which is honestly my dream job. The “special collections” part means I get to work with rare books and archives full of old letters and photographs and diaries. It’s all the coolest stuff in the library. I knew I wanted to do this job when I was a kid and I visited museums. I saw all the interesting objects hidden behind glass and I thought to myself, “I want to be the one who has permission to touch all the historic things.” So that’s what I do now every day, and it’s great. The best part is that I work in an academic library’s collection, which means that I’m making these rare books and fragile photographs available to student researchers. I’m taking the cool exhibits out from behind the glass and sharing history with PUC, and I love that.
What are some of your hobbies? I’m obsessed with National Parks. My life goal is to visit and hike in every National Park. California is a great state for this, because a lot of the most beautiful parks in the United States are here within driving distance of PUC.
What’s something people might be surprised to know about you? I grew up in Texas, and until I was about 10 I spoke with a thick Texan drawl. It’s totally gone now. Well, mostly.
What’s your favorite thing about PUC? I love the campus. There are trees and flowers everywhere, and the views are always changing as you walk across the campus because it’s hilly. Many of the buildings are historic, and they have very interesting architecture. The campus is also special because it’s close to wilderness and city, mountains and ocean. From PUC, we can go for a hike in the forest preserve, or we can take a day trip to San Francisco. It’s all nearby.
What’s your favorite spot on campus? I love standing on the steps to Irwin Hall when the sun is setting. You get such a gorgeous view of the campus and the sky.
What’s your favorite book? My favorite book is “The Count of Monte Cristo” because it’s a glorious revenge tale but also a classic book, so you feel very cultured and smart when you finish reading it.
What advice would you give to an incoming freshman? If you have questions or problems with any stage of research or study, you can text the library. Did you know that? It’s true! We have a Text-a-Librarian number so you can get help even when you can’t come to the library. Try it—the number is (707) 948-6639!
PUC’s department of visual arts has been led by the same very capable chair for a dozen years now. Milbert Mariano, native to SoCal, taught for four years at Andrews University in Michigan before moving back to the West Coast and joining the visual arts faculty at PUC. He’s an outdoor enthusiast like none other and enjoys pretty much any activity that involves being outside. Without further ado, let’s get to know Milbert Mariano.
Name: Milbert Mariano Title: Professor of Graphic Design Email: email@example.com Faculty since: 1995
Education: MFA, San Francisco Academy of Art; BS, Pacific Union College
Highlighted professional activities:
Juror for the Napa Lighted Art Festival and the Napa Art Walk
What made you decide to be a teacher? After getting my design degree at PUC, I had the opportunity to teach at Andrews University. I realized that teaching was my calling while I was teaching there. A few years later, PUC called me as they were expanding their design program. I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of helping grow. I’ve been teaching ever since and chairing for the past 12 years.
What are some of your hobbies? I love food, travel, running, and 80s trivia.
What’s something people might be surprised to know about you? I can solve a Rubik’s cube and do a New York Times crossword puzzle (Mondays only) in about 8-10 minutes.
What’s your favorite thing about PUC? The community of faculty, staff, and their families. We work and go to church together, and live relatively close to each other. I think it’s important to find and build community wherever you are.
What’s your favorite spot on campus? Anywhere in Fisher Hall/Visual Arts Department. It’s like my second home.
What’s your favorite book? “Les Miserables”
What advice would you give to an incoming freshman? PUC’s a great place to put in your 10,000 hours. So work your rear off, and make yourself at home.
This week we caught up with Randy Ramos, student chaplain here at PUC. Randy grew up in Southern California and chose PUC because he wanted to stay in the state, but wanted to stretch his wings a bit, too. By all accounts, it sounds like he made the right choice. We talked to Randy a bit about his spiritual journey, his experience at PUC, and the hopes he has for his future. Without further ado, we introduce to you Randy Ramos!
What led you to choose a theology major?
It’s definitely a calling. To be honest, I never wanted to be a pastor and didn’t see myself as one. I actually wanted to do physical therapy—something I’d planned on doing since fifth grade. Then I came here and I realized my calling wasn’t to the medical world, but to minister to people in a different way. To help them find spiritual healing. Just taking the basic theology classes started to build my passion for looking into scripture to see how God views us.
Growing up the focus was more on how we view God, and ultimately what I’ve come down to in the last four years here at PUC is how God views us is shaped by how we view him. If we view him with anger, we’ll see him as an angry God. Scripture says he loves and wants us. Studying theology and diving into the Bible has reshaped how I view God, and I want to share that with other people—I want to help them find their own view of God that gives them peace and joy.
Tell me about your job. What kinds of things are you responsible for as student chaplain?
Well, along with the Student Association’s religious vice president, I’m in charge of spiritual life on campus. I want to make sure people on campus are doing well and their spiritual life is going well. If they’re struggling, students can talk to the campus chaplain or myself, and since I’m closer to their age, it gives me the chance to minister in a different way. I also create and lead Bible studies. I see the importance of small groups in building relationships, because that’s how Jesus did it with his small group of disciples. Although they didn’t quite catch on during his ministry, they finally got it when He ascended. It was then they realized the importance of a closer relationship with Christ. I want to see that model grow here at PUC, too, by urging through small groups the importance of rediscovering who God is in our lives.
So, what is it you love most about your job?
First, that I don’t see it as a job. It’s a passion, and what I’ve truly been called to. When those two become one—a passion and a calling together—it just doesn’t feel like work. This is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life: Care for people the way Jesus cared for people and the way He cares for us now. I also love the opportunity to build relationships with people, watching them grow spiritually. My first roommate didn’t want anything to do with God. He had a lot of doubt. Throughout the year I spent as his roommate, I never preached the Gospel at him, or told him what to believe. I built the friendship first and then we began opening the Bible and praying together. Eventually he opened up, asking me to pray for him and his family. Our close friendship started it all. I love creating opportunities for more relationships like that to take place here on campus.
Just because you love it doesn’t mean it’s easy, right? What do you find challenging about being a student chaplain?
Getting people to see your vision. Sometimes you can do a lot of motivating and planning, trying to inspire others to see God loves them, and He is moving in their lives. Sometimes the response is, “meh.” Sometimes they don’t want to see it. Sometimes it can be sad seeing people not tasting and seeing the glory of God, but everyone has their own spiritual walk. Being patient with others’ walks is hard, too. We can all grow and move forward, but it takes time. It took time for the disciples; for example, Peter denied Jesus but if you look at Acts you see the Peter who now gets it. What Jesus told him to do he’s out in the world doing. It just takes time.
Since you mentioned spiritual walks, can you tell us a little bit about your own?
Of course! I came here knowing what I’d been taught, and knowing how God views us. I came feeling really guilty about the things I’d messed up in the past, and believed God to be extremely angry with me. During my first year here I started really looking into the life of Jesus, and I discovered He’s the mirror reflection of the Father. It was at that point I saw the Bible in a whole new light, realizing God actually really loves me. Loves all of us. That really shaped my spiritual journey. Now I can look back at my worst days and see God there, too, just loving me.
I’ve grown a lot here at PUC. I’ve come to realize church isn’t just a service on Sabbath. There’s so much more to it than four walls and a roof. Church is a broken community coming together for healing, and to accept the love God is always there to give. That has shaped a lot of how I’m going to go into ministry, understanding how God views me.
Growing up, I was afraid to ask the hard questions. “Who is God?” “Does he even exist?” “Does He even love us?” It was so hard because I was afraid people would shut me down. It wasn’t until I was about 16-years-old when I started realizing what was happening in my life had a reason. I started trusting God and walking with Him of my own accord, and really believed He had a plan for me. When I came here to PUC, I realized the same struggle was going on with people around me, too—there were other people asking the hard stuff I had asked. When we came together we were asking these questions, even in Bible studies I attended. It was so relieving to know I wasn’t alone in my questioning and doubt.
Last year I took a class called “God and Human Suffering.” That was a tough class. For one assignment, I wrote a paper called “A Theodicy,” which was basically a defense of God’s character. In that paper, through my own testimony, experience, and scripture, I looked at people who have died in my life and asked, “Why?” Why did my 10-year-old cousin die? Why did my high school friend die? I wrestled with my faith, and ultimately, it came down to this thing called sin. And it sucks. But God sent His son to overcome it, to give us life. We’re not going to be obedient to death, but Jesus was. That’s why He says He’s the way, the truth, and the life.
PUC is a place where asking questions is okay. It’s a place where you’ll find spiritual leadership to help you find the answers and point you to the true God. I keep going back to the fact if God allowed Job to ask these questions, we can do the same. God won’t be hurt by our questions. What it really comes down to is do you trust God?
You’re graduating this year and heading out into the world with your absolute faith and trust in God, and a solid education. What will you do with it?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? My ultimate goal is to pastor, whether that’s through chaplaincy, teaching, or other ways. It doesn’t have to be at a church. I want to lead a group of people as we move together to build leadership and empower the next generation. This has been my calling and I feel it’s the calling for the rest of my life. Giving my life to ministry was a huge step in my life, and I don’t plan on ever looking back.
How do you feel your time at PUC has helped you prepare for both your career and other aspects of your future?
It’s the experience here. Through the worst days, I feel that’s where I’ve learned the most that’s helped me prepare to relate to people who are struggling. The best way to relate to people is through experience and testimony. Even my good days are a testimony, as I can share with someone who’s struggling that better days are coming. What has really prepared me is not just classes and education, but experiences I’ve had here on campus.
You were recently given an award. What was it, and how were you selected?
Oh man, I was so surprised to learn I’d been been selected for this award. According to the email I received, the Charles E. Weniger Fellows student scholarship is awarded to students who exemplify positive qualities and characteristics in campus leadership. I’m honored to be selected for this award, as it tells me I have been effectively allowing Christ’s character to shine through me. I can attribute this only to allowing Jesus to lead the way in my life.
If you could give all incoming freshmen one piece of advice, what would it be?
Just one? Haha! Seriously, though, I think I’d most want them to know it’s okay to ask the hard questions—they will allow you to grow. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to struggle. Out of that, something beautiful happens. I’m speaking to myself, here, too. I was afraid of failing and struggling, but out of that, in Ecclesiastes 3, the Bible tells us God makes everything beautiful in its time. There’s a season for everything. It’s okay to go through the hard stuff, because He’ll be with you every step of the way.
Welcome to #FacultyFriday! Meet Hilary Dickerson, professor of history. Dr. Dickerson is a long-time West Coast resident, having completed four degrees in Washington State before moving south to teach here at PUC. Her interest in WWII-era history led her to a short-term research position in Japan, which has given her invaluable experience as a professor and a historian. But more on that later. Introducing: Dr. Dickerson!
Name: Hilary Dickerson Title: Professor of History Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Faculty since: Fall 2007
Classes Taught: U.S. History, Intro to Asia, History Methods II (Historiography), Civil War and Reconstruction, Recent America: 1945-Present, Seminar in Asia, Seminar in the U.S., History Methods IV (Senior Thesis), History of Culture: Cold War America, U.S. Diplomatic History, History Study Tour, and an Honors course: Race and the American Century
What do you enjoy most about being a professor? I love interacting with students, particularly watching students transform and master skills (reading, original research, writing, presentations) they once thought close to impossible. My favorite part of teaching is the growth I see in my students’ scholarship and character from their freshman to senior years as they encounter the world.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose that? My specialty is U.S.-Japanese relations during World War II and the Occupation, particularly involving the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I chose it partially because I heard my grandfather’s stories about fighting in the Pacific during World War II, and I read a book on the atomic bomb as an undergraduate. I also chose it partially by accident; I came across a group of women, the Hiroshima Maidens, in something I was reading in early graduate school and shifted my interest from an environmental history of Hanford Nuclear Site to this group of women who, despite being bombed by the U.S., traveled here afterward for plastic surgery to fix their scars.
What do you find most challenging about your job? Staying up-to-date on current research in the field of history and making history relevant for college students.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to teach kindergarten for a while, which is hysterical now because my classroom management skills for that age group are non-existent.
I understand you’ve spent significant time in Japan. Tell us about that. I lived in Japan for seven months as a research fellow at International Christian University when I was ABD (All But Dissertation in my doctoral program) and have had the privilege of traveling in Japan several other times as well. While there, I conducted my own research three days a week, and usually traveled the other four, unless I needed to help out with a conference or proofread professors’ latest projects.
In Japan, I learned about the importance of traveling alone and pushing myself to try new things even when it felt uncomfortable. I frequently draw on my research from that era as I teach or work on new projects of my own; I learned how to negotiate difficult research topics—such as the death and destruction wrought by the atomic bomb—as a citizen of the country that built the bomb.
I was initially most surprised by Japan’s blend of cutting-edge modern life with tradition, but I should not have been. I was also surprised at how good my Spanish became in Japan; I’d studied in Argentina in college, and surrounded by a new language, I started thinking in Spanish instead of English. When I tried to speak in my limited and halting—and frankly awful—Japanese, Spanish words came out instead. It is funny now, but it wasn’t always then.
And finally, I learned what it feels like to be an outsider while I lived in Japan—to not speak the language, understand all parts of a culture, be able to express myself easily. I brought that with me to teaching, I hope. I think the experience gave me empathy for my students when they are working to learn something new and frustrated by how long it takes or who feel like they don’t yet belong.
Why did you decide to become a teacher? I decided to teach high school when I started college, and then I taught about the atomic bomb and the students were clearly uninterested. About that time, a history professor at Walla Walla University named Bob Henderson suggested I should think about teaching college. It had never occurred to me that I could succeed in graduate school, let alone teach college students.
What are some of your hobbies? I like to travel, read, run, spend time with my family, and ride horses.
What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you? I once spent a summer working grounds for a golf course and can (or at least could) drive a tractor, mow greens, mow fairways, and reprimand golfers throwing fits about their drives. I misunderstood my boss once and mowed an entire hill of decorative grass down; he’d been carefully growing the grass for a few seasons and had told me to “go find something to mow.” So, I did.
What’s your favorite thing about PUC? I love being part of the community of students and faculty at PUC, particularly given the natural setting of the hill.
Name a class (history or otherwise!) you think all PUC students ought to take. I think all students should take a class in a subject that pushes the boundaries of their own knowledge and perspectives, whatever that class might be. History Methods II (Historiography) is my favorite class to teach in many ways because it does just that.
Education: B.A. in English, B.A. in Spanish from Walla Walla University; M.A. in American Studies from Washington State University; Ph.D. in U.S. History from Washington State University
New publication (book chapter) in Fall 2018 as part of the Legacies of the Manhattan Project called, “The Atomic Bomb in Censored Print: Newspapers and the Meaning of Nuclear War.”
“‘Will Die for Cause of Imperial Edict:’ Paul Tatsuguchi’s Transnationalism in a Time of War.” Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast 2017 Annual Conference. June, 2017. Salem, Oregon.