Monthly Archives: March 2022

A Balance Between Passions: An Interview With A Social Work & Spanish Studies Major, Sarah West 

Sarah West is a double-major student from Beaumont, CA., who will be graduating with a Bachelor in Social Work and a BA emphasis in Spanish Studies. She didn’t plan on taking two majors, but after studying abroad and taking Spanish classes, she was able to be a Spanish major, and she’s glad she did. With her desire to help people, knowing another language will be very beneficial to her future. Sarah generously answered some questions for us to learn more about her programs and how her love for helping people and traveling comes hand-in-hand.

Why did you choose these programs? 

I knew that I wanted to help people, so when I came to PUC, I was one of many Bio-premed majors. However, after a quarter of taking both biology and chemistry at the same time, I knew this wasn’t the path for me. I knew I wanted to help people, and after a quarter of being undeclared and taking Intro to the Family, I knew social work was for me. 

I did not come to PUC thinking that I would be able to graduate with 2 majors. I did come to PUC knowing that I wanted to spend a year abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, and I did. Because of the time I spent abroad, all I had to do was take a handful of classes here to get a Spanish major. So the degree kind of happened, and I am glad it did. 

What do you like about these programs? 

One of the things I like about the social work program is that the courses required will be very useful and applicable in the field. They cover a lot of topics but give you a good foundation to build on during your internship, and eventual job. The professors are also amazing in the social work/psych department. They all have unique experiences and give the best advice. 

I like this Spanish studies program because it really pushes me to use my Spanish. Being a TA in the department has also helped me improve my Spanish a lot. 

Which classes have you enjoyed the most, and why? 

The class I have most enjoyed in social work was Research Design with professor Milmine. This class didn’t feel like work and was just fun to learn. It taught how to create and conduct research, and how impactful research-based practices are. 

I think that the linguistic class I took for Spanish studies was the class I most enjoyed. It was fun to learn about languages, and how what we learned could apply to the language we learned abroad. 

What are some important things you’ve learned from these programs?

The social work program has helped me by opening my eyes to the needs of the world, and how you should never make assumptions. You never really know what someone is going through or what their past consists of.  

The important thing I learned from the Spanish studies program was how beneficial studying abroad is. Most people who end up getting a language major studied abroad, and we all agree that it was the best thing to do. The program that we go abroad with is Adventists Colleges Abroad (ACA), and it is so easy to apply to and to travel with. 

Why would you recommend this program?

I would recommend the social work program if you have the desire to help people, but don’t know how. A BSW is also a degree that you can get a job with right away or do a one-year program to get your master’s. Social work is also a very diverse field, so you can never get bored. 

I would recommend the Spanish studies program if you are interested in learning a new language, or if you are interested in studying abroad. 

Can you give any advice to high school students interested in pursuing one of your majors, or even both? What should they expect or prepare for? 

For social work, I would recommend to a high school student to try and learn something from every class you take. That is because it will help you in class, in internships, and your future. You are going to work with people from all walks of life, who have their own experiences and passions, and if you know a little about it, it will help you. You also never know where you are going to end up, what population you will be working with, or what organization you will work at. So knowing a little bit about a variety of topics will be helpful. 

I would 1000000% recommend going abroad. The ACA program is amazing and makes everything abroad so easy. You learn so much about yourself, about the culture, and the language. There is a lot of culture shock and quirks about the country you go to, but you learn to live with the changes. I always say no one ever regrets going abroad, but people always regret not going. 

Outside of classes, are there any activities or events your program throws during the school year? 

The social work department is small but mighty. There is a booth for the social work club during fall fest that you can help with, Christmas parties, and outreach to the community. 

The World language/communications department does host prevespers, provides snacks during dead week, and really helps push you to practice your language. 

What is your favorite thing about attending PUC? 

One thing I love about PUC is how close you can get with your professors. I went to a public high school, where the student-to-teacher ratio had a huge gap. So, coming here to PUC and being in the social work program, you can really get to know your professors. This is great because it makes me comfortable to go to them for advice if it is academic, professional, or personal. There are also a lot of clubs, and as the president of the Jujitsu club here on campus, there is something for everyone. What I also love about PUC is how much nature is around us. It is beautiful here, and as someone from southern California, I love the change in atmosphere on this holy hill. 

Faces of PUC: Chivi Meriales 

Chivi (chy-vee) Meriales is a junior pre-nursing student from Las Vegas. She transferred to PUC this quarter; and knew she would learn a lot about herself, make meaningful friendships, and grow closer to God. Chivi loves the campus, community, and attending church with her friends. We are delighted to have Chivi as a part of our Pioneers family! 

What is your dream job?  

Pediatric Nurse   

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young?  

When I was younger, I used to want to be a celebrity or something silly like that but now I realize that I love kids and I want to be able to provide the best care for children that are ill.  

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?  

It’s my first quarter here at PUC, and I love the campus itself and the professors I have this quarter. I love how tightly knit it is here, and everyone seems so friendly. I also enjoy going to church every week with my friends.   

What made you decide to attend PUC?

Before I started freshman year in Vegas, I considered going to PUC, but I thought it was too far, and I wanted to stay close to home. But last year, when I got the opportunity to come to PUC, I decided to transfer here because I felt like I needed to experience somewhere new and completely different from Vegas, and I also wanted to experience living on a campus in the woods like PUC. I also felt like although this place is completely different from my previous campus, I knew I would learn a lot about myself and God here, and I wanted to make new, meaningful friendships. 

Where is your favorite place in the world?  

My room in my Vegas home, Seattle, Italy, and Bali.     

If you had to be trapped in a movie for a day, what movie would you choose? 

I would be trapped in all the Shrek movies.  

What is something you’re passionate about?  

Something I am passionate about is living life to its fullest potential and finding the good in every day even when it gets a little tough.    

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend.  

Matcha Café Maiko, because I love matcha! 😊  

Activites To Do When You Need A Break

We know Finals week can take it’s toll on everyone, so here are some helpful and fun ways to treat yourself!

Take A Nap 

What better way to treat yourself than by taking a nap. You must allow your body to rest so you can feel energized to attend to your tasks and continue being yourself. 

Make Tea or Coffee 

Indulge in a cup of tea or coffee and take it easy. You’re always doing something, so sip on your drink and relax. 

Hangout With Family or Friends 

Spending time with your family and friends can do so much good for your soul. Stay in by kicking back, playing board games, having a movie marathon, or just enjoying being in the company of your loved ones. If you’re not able to meet in person, hang out through video chat. 

Enjoy The Outdoors 

If weather permits, enjoy the outdoors. Go on a bike ride, cruise around on your skateboard or longboard, or go for a walk. To put yourself in more ease- lay out your hammock or blanket. However, you like to enjoy the outdoors, treat yourself to it. 


Working out may be a treat to some more than others, but even working out for 15-30 minutes can help you feel refreshed. Get a quick workout in your day by going to the gym, doing a workout video in your room, or playing sports. 

Read A Book 

Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read and treat yourself to a couple of chapters or even finish the whole book. 

Write-In Your Journal 

We can have so many things going on in our minds that it can be hard to get all our thoughts in place and feel calm. Writing in a journal can help organize your thoughts, clear your mind, and bring perspective to light. Have music in the background to help soothe you as you write in your journal. 

Watch A Show or Movie 

It’s a treat when you’re able to chill out to your favorite show or movie. For some, it can be hard to find time to catch up on shows or movies, but when you’re able to, grab your favorite snacks, sit back, and enjoy the show. 

(Yes, it costs to watch a show or movie, but if you already have a subscription to a streaming site you’re good to go.) 


We know cleaning isn’t a treat for everyone, but for some it is. Getting rid of things, organizing belongings, and finding items you lost can feel good and productive at the same time. 

Do Nothing 

Sometimes all we have energy for is to simply do nothing- and that is okay. Don’t feel guilty for not doing anything because you are doing something- you’re giving yourself time to relax and unwind. 

Remember to take care of yourself and understand the importance of it. If you keep going without taking time to treat yourself, you’ll burn out and miss the joys of life. Engage in acts of self-care that also don’t require you to spend money. 

Five Bible Verses For Strength 

With finals beginning today at PUC, we want to share five Bible verses to give students extra encouragement and strength. 

Isaiah 41:10 

“So do not feat, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

Joshua 1:9 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I Corinthians 16:13

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 

Psalm 18:32

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” 

2 Timothy 1:7 

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Good luck to all our students during exam week. Remember that God is our strength and that your PUC family is always praying for you and are here to pray with you. You got this! 

Faces of PUC: Regan Acosta

This week we’re highlighting senior nursing student Regan Acosta. She’s from Vacaville- and being raised in a military family had her live in Germany for three years, which allowed her to travel around Europe. She dreams of being an ICU or ER nurse because she enjoys a face-paced environment and taking care of others. We are blessed to have Regan a part of our Pioneers family!

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to become either an ICU or ER Nurse. I enjoy the fast-paced environment and how unpredictable the ER can be, you’ll never know what you’re going to get, and to me that’s exciting. I have always enjoyed caring for others, and I chose nursing because I want to take care of those sick patients who don’t feel good, and I want to be that hand to hold when they have no one, but more importantly, I want to make sure they are taken care of! 

 How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young? 

Oh, I would say it’s about the same! I knew from a young age that I wanted to become a Nurse because of my mom. Growing up, I would hear her and my grandmother talking about nursing all the time and knew I wanted to be just like them. 

What made you decide to attend PUC?

I decided to attend PUC because a friend I worked with at the time had mentioned how great the nursing program was over here. I had been contemplating applying to schools out of state because I knew how impacted the programs are here in California, but I decided to check out PUC just in case. I made an appointment to have a campus tour and when I got here I had a feeling that it was going to be a good fit for me. So I started taking my prerequisites, and now I am halfway done with the program. So happy I made that campus tour appointment!

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

I really enjoy how close everyone is on campus. You can’t go anywhere without seeing someone you don’t know, which is what I love. I have never really been a part of such a welcoming, fun, and loving community, and it’s a good feeling to have when you are walking around campus!

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world would have to be Europe. I lived in Germany for 3 years because my Dad was in the military, and we traveled all over. It’s so beautiful out there! I will go back eventually. 

If you had to be trapped in a movie for a day, what movie would you choose?

If I had to be trapped in a movie for a day, I would want it to be any of the marvel movies, because not only is it full of really great-looking superheroes but Iron Man is my favorite. Win-win for me haha.

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am super passionate about cooking! I really like trying out new recipes that I find on Instagram or TikTok- there are so many good ones to try. It’s just something I love to do during this time of the year, especially with my mom because we cook some amazing food during the holidays.

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend 

If you are a crazy plant person like I am, I highly recommend going to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco. It’s amazing! 

Faces of PUC: Eloise Tran 

Eloise Tran is a junior nursing student from Maryland and loves being a part of this big family we have here at PUC. With the new people she’s met and the great friends she’s made- Eloise has been able to surround herself with people that share the same values as her. She also loves playing soccer and trying new places to eat. We’re happy to have Eloise at PUC! 

What is your dream job? 

I think it would be super cool to be an astronaut or a professional soccer player. However, I am really looking forward to working in the medical field because I want to help others and hopefully make a difference in the world. 

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young? 

When I was young, I wanted to be a doctor like my mom, but I chose nursing because I wanted to be able to spend more time with the patients and care for them during their time at the hospital. I also like that with nursing there are several avenues to go from there in the field.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

Definitely the new people and friends I get to meet. Everyone is so welcoming, and it really feels like a big family. It’s also nice to be around people that share the same values as I do.

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

Any nice beach honestly. I don’t really have a specific place that is my favorite, but I absolutely love the beach. 

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I am currently bingeing Criminal Minds, but I have watched Friends, The Office, and New Girl several times.

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I love to play soccer and I am really looking forward to hopefully playing this season 🙂

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend 

I love trying new foods so I’ll recommend this taco place in San Jose called Spartan Taco!

Q&A with President Ralph Trecartin, Ph.D., M.B.A. 

He loves working with students and has a personal mission to provide them great opportunities to reach their goals and shape their futures. The dedication he has to make sure everyone in the Pioneers family belongs here and is valued is incredible. Dr. Trecartin kindly answered some questions for us to get to know more about him.

What brought you to PUC? How/Why did you decide to work here? 

The Seventh-day Adventist education system has had a phenomenal impact on the spread of the gospel message throughout the world. Pacific Union College has been at the forefront of this movement from the very beginning when Ellen G. White helped choose the location and outlined the principles of “True Education.” Our young people today are still called to walk with God and to join him in service to others in a myriad different locations and occupations.  

I love working with young people both inside and outside the church. At our colleges, we are called to a higher mission than merely providing opportunities for intellectual prowess and career preparation. I believe that our young people generally want to belong to an organization where there is purpose and meaning to the lives of those who share common beliefs and aspirations. Choosing to join the PUC team was not on my radar, but I could not resist the opportunity to influence young people and help shape the future of the SDA denomination. The fact that PUC has undoubtedly one of the most beautiful campuses and locations is like adding whipped cream on top of strawberries.  

What is the best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

We get to participate in all aspects of campus life: the peaks of joy coming from achievement, the sorrows of personal setbacks and loss, the friendships that grow and last, the seriousness of diligent study and preparation, and the fun and games that provide the social atmosphere that we all crave. As a member of the Pioneer family, we all belong and are valued.   

What are some of your hobbies?

Both Virginia and I love to participate in physical activity in places of natural beauty. She likes to run or walk fast. I like to saunter and add to my bird list. We both do a lot of hiking, canoeing, wilderness camping, and in general, participate in outdoor life.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you? 

Given my current body composition, it is hard to imagine that I once ran the Boston Marathon (unofficially).

Do you have a favorite place to eat in the Napa Valley yet? If so, why?

If frequency has anything to do with “favorite” then it has to be the PUC Café. They do a great job. All of the other experiences in Calistoga and St. Helena have also been excellent but I haven’t settled into a “favorite” spot yet.

Where is your favorite spot on campus?

This is a really hard question. I love the Church Bowl surrounded by towering redwoods, several miles back on the mountain bike trails (and still considered on campus). I think the prayer garden, almost hidden from view from the Library, is pretty special. Looking up at Clark Hall with the accompanying gardens and trees or looking down the steps when descending from McReynolds Hall through the woods are very special spots. The special collections room in the Library and the Pitcairn Center have some really exciting secrets waiting for discovery. I even like the effluent pond by the airport – especially when there is a bird, like the American Avocet, wading on the shoreline.

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings you can find me… 

Walking through the fields and woods or reading at my desk, unless the farm team invites me to stack hay or clear brush while it is still cool.

We are so delighted to have Dr. Trecartin as our President. If you ever see him around campus, do not hesitate to say hi!