Monthly Archives: April 2022

Biology Program Experience from Isaac Joo

PUC’s biology department has an extensive number of courses that allow students to build their knowledge of biology in and out of the classroom, which prepares them for medical school. With our high acceptance rates to medical and dental schools, our students have been accepted into Loma Linda University, Duke University, Midwestern University, and other leading institutions around the country. 

Isaac Joo is a junior biology pre-medicine student from Portland, Oregon. He chose PUC because of the rich history it has within his family. He always heard great academic success by attending PUC and felt that it was a right fit for him. Isaac loved the campus and had a great first impression with the teachers and staff here. Now being a PUC student himself, he’s been enjoying his time at PUC and finds the biology program amazing because of the professors, just as he heard. Isaac answered some questions for us to learn more about the biology program. 

Why did you choose this program? 

Biology is the study of life, and I selected this program because I felt that it could be very integrative to my profession. 

What do you like about the program?

The biology program is truly amazing because of the professors. They are great at really connecting with the students and are always willing to help. One example that stuck out to me was during COVID. My biology professor wanted us to write a weekly check-in because she was worried about us. This really helped me during the pandemic, and she would always write back with a friendly comment. 

What class have you enjoyed the most, and why? 

I really enjoyed Systems and Physiology because I was able to learn more in-depth about the human body.  

What are some important things you’ve learned from your program? 

I learned to find a good balance between studying and relaxing. Burn-outs are real in college and I had to learn that it is okay to take breaks. 

Why would you recommend this program?

I recommend this program to those who are interested in going in-depth in the study of life and how everything works. 

Can you give any advice to high school students who are interested In pursuing your major? What should they expect or prepare for?

Although this major is very exciting, I would say that you definitely need to put in your hours for studying. Most classes go through extensive information, and some parts can be challenging. However, nothing is impossible, and all the professors want their students to succeed. I would say to never be afraid to ask questions and always go to office hours if you don’t understand something.

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

Yes, there are a lot of fun and thrilling activities. The biology club plays movies, throws water balloon fights, and goes on hikes in the back-40! Freshman biology majors also have a personal mentor who can help them settle in. Lastly, the biology club throws a trip to Albion, and that is where you can meet fellow biology classmates and bond with them. 

What is your favorite thing about attending PUC? 

My favorite thing about attending PUC would be my friends and the campus. I made some incredible friends here, and I can see why this place was originally a resort. Whether it be hiking the back-40 or going for a swim in the pool, I found myself really enjoying the moments here. 

Alumni Profile: Marnie Breckenridge, Performing Thoughts, Hopes, & Dreams

Marnie Breckenridge is an internationally acclaimed soprano from St. Helena. Growing up, she loved singing and was a natural performer, and her teachers throughout high school and college told her that she could do this professionally. While attending PUC, Marnie majored in music and performed solo many times for vespers and church, which helped her understand what it takes to perform. Since graduating in 1993 with a BS in music, she has been traveling the world working in opera and theatre, performing at Carnegie Hall, and winning the prestige’s San Francisco Conservatory of Music Alumni of the Year award in 2013.

Tell us about being an internationally acclaimed soprano. What do you enjoy most about what you do? What’s the most challenging? 

There’s something truly exhilarating to me about embodying a character in an opera or theatre work— singing their thoughts, hopes, and dreams — being an advocate and vessel for the music as well as for the journey of the specific character and the overall gestalt of the opera — it really floats my boat! When I’m on stage, in costume, making LIVE music with a huge group of people within the machine (takes so many people to make it happen – from costumers, makeup designers, set designers, director, lights, orchestra, conductor, other singers, etc.) it feels as if we, together, can stop time and offer insights on how to change the world with our intentions and vibrations for that moment/hour/performance time. I believe in theatre as a way to enlighten us and awaken us to the many and varied ways in which we can evolve to be better, more empathetic, and loving humans.

I also truly enjoy traveling and seeing the world…but only for about 3 days solo (having my thoughts to myself (silence) and sleeping in — skipping the 6:30 AM wake up and carpooling to school). But after a little time alone to get the lay of the land in the new city, I miss my husband (Alex) and two children (Gus, 12, and Alexa 10) way too much. The biggest downside to traveling and being away for long periods of time is the loneliness. However, when the kids aren’t in school and have a moment to join me, there are many wonderful educational experiences for them to soak up.

What inspired you to become a singer?

I’m not sure exactly what inspired me to become a singer. I think I have just always been one. Like it’s just who I am. Marnie the singer. My parents tell me that I was always singing. I used to line my stuffed animals up in my bedroom as a 7-year-old and sing to them for hours and hours. I would make up stories and sing those stories to them….tears streaming down my face in dramatically imaginative moments and all. I wanted to be “the next Barbra Streisand” when I grew up. Haha! But as I went to PAJA (Pomona Adventist Junior Academy) then MBA (Monterey Bay Academy) then PUC – my dear teachers always encouraged me to sing solos…and a few of them here and there even said little things like, ‘you could do this professionally’, etc. But instead of Contemporary Christian or Broadway, I leaned more towards Classical as I came from the liturgical world of singing in church. Mom was an organist and also sang (beautiful mezzo-soprano voice). Also, my mom’s cousins (a few times removed) were the Hooper family as well as Maurita Phillips Thornburgh. Wayne Hooper wrote such beautiful songs. Maurita sang a lot of his music. She inspired me to think about classical singing as that was the style she had mastered so beautifully. And I was more moved and got more goosebumps while listening to classical music and opera, so that’s the direction I went. I had studied pre-med for like 5 minutes my freshman year then realized quickly I needed to succumb to my own natural talents and leave o-chem, phlebotomy, and biology tests to someone else.

You’ve performed at Carnegie Hall. Can you share with us what that experience was like? 

Carnegie is a great hall. The acoustics are just splendid. Easy place to stand and express knowing the sound will carry in that perfectly reverberant place. When I was a sophomore at PUC, our Pro Musica group sang in a large choir (with other schools) at Carnegie Hall in John Rutter’s “Requiem”. I remember sitting in the audience while another choir was rehearsing, and I said to myself, “I’m going to sing solo in this hall someday”. When it finally happened, it was for the soprano solos in Mozart’s “Coronation Mass”, and mostly it was a really fun experience. I got the new gown, did the hair and nails, took cheeky photos in front of my dressing room with my name on the door…the whole deal. But a funny thing happened- in that the conductor forgot I had a long cadenza (a florid addition to the end of a phrase) towards the end of my first aria, and he just sped on through to the next music as I was singing my cadenza! I had to stop singing it mid-vowel and jump to the new spot in the score. My heart SANK in at moment. Here I was making my Carnegie Hall debut, and the conductor jumped on my line! He made it look like I messed up! It was so sad! So I just kept going — which has been my motto: JUST KEEP SWIMMING (thanks, Dory). But let’s face it, Carnegie Hall is just a HALL. We assign so much ego attachment to things. Yes, I am a professional, and I “deserve” to sing in big important HALLS throughout the world. But would I be any less of a pro singer and actor had I not sung there? Consider, if you will, all of the amazing people who never get to sing in Carnegie or Davies Symphony Hall or at the Metropolitan Opera but they deserve to! It is a numbers game for sure. It’s who you know/where you are in that moment, etc. I only say all of this because although it did feel special to sing at Carnegie, and I’m happy that my life goal came to fruition, I’ve actually had much more artfully fulfilling experiences in little churches at the end of dirt roads, out under the stars by a campfire, or in a teeny theatre with no budget to pay their singers, etc. than at that big important hall. Were those other experiences any less important? I don’t think so.

What opera have you enjoyed the most performing? 

My most performed operas are Cunegonde in “Candide” (Based on the Voltaire) and Lucia di Lammermoor. Both have special places in my heart. They are challenging to sing, and both tell interesting stories about young women who were subjected to their ‘lot in life’ without choice. Cunegonde experiences every embarrassing and belittling thing in life yet emerges on the other side a more wholesome and evolved human. Lucia di Lammermoor is forced to marry a man she doesn’t love so the insanity of it all drives her to murder him then she dies immediately afterward — not before the townsfolk and her family realize they should’ve been nicer to her. 

How did your time at PUC help prepare you for your career? 

We had great fun singing all types of songs and styles of music in Pro Musica with Dr. Jim Kempster and even performed a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, “Trial By Jury”, while I was there. The many times I was able to get up in front of the whole school to perform solo for vespers or church really helped me get a strong foothold in understanding what all it takes to perform. I was also fortunate enough to be able to tour with Dr. Leroy Peterson and a string quartet to Norway and Sweden (which included current PUC orchestra conductor Rachelle Berthelsen Davis).

What did you enjoy the most about your time at PUC? 

I enjoyed just about everything about PUC. What fun years those were. The combination of independence driving myself around in a car in the gorgeous Napa Valley filled with fantastic friends having hilarious adventures with a home base of an excellent institution of higher learning whose teachers were supportive, kind, and encouraging? That’s what I would call an exquisite combo!

What are your hobbies? 

For many years, I have said, “I don’t have any hobbies” because I truly didn’t have time to! With everything I had to learn about how to be an opera singer, it felt like I was continuously reading books on opera, studying languages (Italian, French, German), memorizing the next pieces, etc. My hobby was STUDYING! But now, I like to include attending my children’s sports/theatre performances, hiking, ballet barre workouts, interior design/decorating, letter writing, and practicing calligraphy as hobbies! 

Faces of PUC: Alexis Jenna Torres 

Alexis Jenna Torres is a nursing student from Vallejo. She dreams of becoming a pediatric nurse because she loves working with children and seeing them grow into their full potential. Her favorite thing about being a Pioneer is how supportive and caring the community is, which makes Alexis a great fit at PUC because she has such a caring heart. 

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to be a pediatric nurse. I grew up with many siblings, and I am the oldest, so I’ve had a lot of experience with kids. Throughout high school, I’ve taken classes that allowed me to gain more experience working with children and, I fell in love with the idea ever since. My favorite thing about working with children is seeing how they can grow to their full potential and being able to build a close connection with them. I hope to bring light into my patients’ day and give them a reason to smile!

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

When I was younger, I actually wanted to be a teacher but, with more background on that, I realized it wasn’t quite for me.

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

When I first attended PUC, people were so welcoming and friendly on campus. The staff was so helpful, but even the students were easy to talk to and get along with. My favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family is that I love how everyone supports and cares for each other. I now count PUC as my second home. 

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place to travel to is Hawaii, specifically Oahu. I love tropical destinations because the weather is always beautiful. It is lively no matter where you go there, and there’s so much to do! Usually, I go to the beaches, but other than that, my family and I go to a Luau which hosts shows like hula/Tahitian dancing. They also provide great food. 

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I am currently watching a comedy show called New Girl, but I would recommend Grey’s Anatomy! 

What is something you’re passionate about?

Something I am passionate about is being close with family and spending quality time with them. The most important thing in the world to me is family. My family has always been my biggest supporters, and they’ve always shown me so much love. They helped shape me into the person I am today. Without them, I would not be me. 

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

Lately, I’ve been going to San Francisco. There’s always plenty of things to do there, whether it’s actual activity places or even sight-seeing places. If you’re a foodie like me, I recommend trying Korean corn dogs at this new restaurant called Stix! A really good picture spot would be the Conservatory of Flowers also. 

RA Feature: Misael Bernard 

Coming from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, is history, political science, ethics, and pre-law major, Misael Bernard. With it being his first year as an RA for Newton Hall, he loves everything about the work he does. If you know Misael, you know how kind, warm, and funny he is; and how his character is the perfect fit for being an RA. 

To learn more about what being an RA is like, Misael generously answered some questions for us to share his RA experience. 

Tell us about being a RA. What are your responsibilities, and what does a typical shift look like for you?

Being an RA is an interesting job and it’s something that you really don’t know what you’re getting yourself into when you first get into the position. As an RA, you’re basically responsible for a wide array of things from the well-keeping of the residence hall to the safety and well-being of the residents in the dorm itself. In many ways, you’re the student with the most experience on campus and in the dorm itself. A typical shift is usually the whole day from when you wake up until you go to sleep. You see something in the dorm that’s broken, you try your best to see if you can fix it or call someone who can fix it, to fix it. Someone on your floor is locked out of their room because they forgot their keys when going to the bathroom (it’s happened many times), you have to go and get them into their room or find another RA who’s in the dorm to help that student out. An RA is there to assist the residents in the dorm but not necessarily babysit them.

What values have you learned by being a PUC RA?

Responsibility is definitely the biggest value I learned as an RA here at PUC. As an RA, you’re not only responsible for the dorm itself but the people in it. Their safety, their well-being, etc. is what you signed up for when you applied to be an RA. Now, you’re not the resident’s personal therapist or babysitter, but you’re the one they can go to in order to get the help that they need. You’re there to direct them to the TLC for when they need to get tutoring for a class they’re not doing so well in, or even show them where health services are so they can get over-the-counter medication or mental health treatment. 

How do you balance school and being a RA?

Being an RA comes second. I am first a student on campus and I make sure that my school and life come first. Being an RA sort of fits into my schedule because it’s something that I do in the evening when I don’t have classes. 

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? What do you enjoy the most?

The most difficult aspect of being an RA is reaching out to residents that don’t want to be reached out to. It’s always difficult seeing a resident that you want to reach out to in order to make sure they’re in tip-top shape mentally and spiritually. 

How do you incorporate spiritual life with your residents?

In Newton, we incorporate spiritual life by having a new weekly event called power-up and that’s where residents join on our Instagram live and join us for a weekly power-up and an encouraging devotional. Every Tuesday we have floor worship and that’s where we have a little devotional and worship time with the residents on our floors. Every Thursday we have dorm worship and that’s where the whole dorm comes together to have worship in the lobby.

How do you build a community in your hall, and with other residents?

Community starts with room checks every night from the very first day of school up until the last day of school for the quarter and the year. It starts with the interactions that we have with our residents and it grows to the residents having something in common, their RA. From there, they go on to having interactions with one another. Sometimes community is from the residents themselves where they have connections to one another from outside PUC and they grow their connections here at PUC. 

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

Favorite thing about being a part of the PUC family is the fellowship and the uniqueness of that fellowship that you gain here on campus. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a college or university campus that’s had the type of fellowship like how they do here at PUC. Of course, it’s unique because we’re on a mountain but it’s a fellowship that is unique to PUC. There’s no other campus that I know of that has this fellowship and because of that fellowship, there is a sense of belonging here at PUC. 

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a RA?

In simple terms, be ready for anything and everything. You’ll get calls in the middle of the night to go and unlock a room because a student locked themselves out and their roommate is sound asleep. You’ll get calls to help fix someone’s sink in the middle of the day because the faucet broke. Just be ready for anything and everything. 

What are you looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to impacting all of my residents in a positive way and making them feel appreciated and welcomed in Newton. When I was a freshman and I first moved in, my RA made me feel welcomed and like I belonged. It made the kickoff of my college experience something that was amazing and great. 

Q&A With Katrina Blue, Associate Professor of Theology & Christian Spirituality

PUC’s department of theology offers a greater variety of courses in the general education program than other theology departments. Our faculty has a tremendous gift helping our students think about God, the word, and the world. Through discussions and prayer, students develop and grow in their faith. 

Katrina Blue, Associate Professor of Theology and Christian Spirituality, loves having the opportunity to help students think about their faith and what it means to them personally. To give you more insight into the strong community within this department, Katrina kindly answered some questions for us. 

What is your favorite thing about teaching in your department?

One of the things I enjoy about the PUC Theology Department is that we have a clear mission to equip our students and prepare them for ministry with a strong practical emphasis. It is a tremendous gift to be able to impact someone’s thinking about God, to help them develop and grow in their faith, to open the mind about God, His Word, and the world. I love having the opportunity to help students to think about their faith and what it means to them personally. There is the academic/knowledge aspect of learning new things and also the personal growth aspect: both are important. It’s great to get to work with such committed people who love the Lord. 

What makes your department unique compared to other departments at PUC?

I love the genuine caring spirit amongst my colleagues. Each one is gifted in teaching. They are kind people, courteous, generous, creative and spiritual. We all bring something unique to the table. When we gather to talk, discuss, and pray we are a harmonious group. The Spirit is present. We are able to have vibrant discussions, we listen to each other, and we grow. I cannot speak for other departments as I only know ours, but I do believe that together, we make a great team!

What makes your department at PUC unique compared to the same program at other colleges and universities?

PUC’s Theology Department is unique because we offer both Greek and Hebrew to our majors which is an excellent preparation for the Master of Divinity and gives students a solid basis for understanding God’s Word. We also offer the integrated “Lab church” to students ranging from freshman to seniors. This practical, hands-on experience, integrates majors with our local pastors and lay ministry leaders who are mentoring them for ministry and service.

Can you share a few examples of exciting things alumni from your department are doing?

Many of our students go on to complete the MDiv program at Andrews, which they are very well prepared for by taking our degrees at PUC. Many have become pastors, chaplains, church planters, or work in various ministry fields building the kingdom of God. We are honored to have been a part of their spiritual journey in Christian leadership and ministry.

What’s something your department is well known for? Why do you think that is?

When I attend professional meetings each year with fellow religion and theology faculty from all over the country and world, so many have come over to tell me that they began their career as a teacher/scholar at PUC, and the warm memories they have of our school. They want to know which office I am in, and of course, what courses do I teach? They are surprised at the great variety of courses that we offer in our general education program and for our majors, much more than other religion/theology Depts. Truly, this is a great Department that is known and loved by generations of people who have taught and studied here. Religion faculty at other schools continue to express their appreciation and support for us. We have a solid academic and teaching capacity. Historically, the PUC Theology Dept. is also known for the Des Ford controversy which happened about forty years ago. I have seen a lot of healing take place over this. It was incidental that it happened at PUC with a visiting scholar, it could have happened anywhere.

What’s something a new student can look forward to about joining your department?

Students receive personalized attention. They can learn and grow in our regional context with close interaction with professors and local pastors. That counts for a lot as students are able to make strong connections, and receive excellent training opportunities which have helped launch careers. The church has a great need of young servants of God, women and men. All are called to work in the Father’s vineyard: the world. We also support students who are taking a dual degree or double major. If you do not want to become a pastor, but would like biblical and theological training alongside whatever other professional degree program you want to pursue, we are here to support you also. Whatever your calling in life, adding a theology or religion major can equip you for a life of ministry in whatever field you will end up working in. So many have told me, “Oh, I wish I could study religion/theology,” when in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Why not take the opportunity now while in college?

Visit our website to learn more about the department of theology.

Faces of PUC: Silvia M. Sosa

This week’s Faces of PUC is senior Silvia M. Sosa. She is from our lovely town of Angwin and will be graduating with a BBA in Health Management. Silvia is passionate about healthcare, and as a kid, she wanted to become a doctor but later realized as she got older that she wanted to pursue medicine and business in college. We’re happy to have a dedicated student like Silvia and can’t wait to see her accept her diploma. 

What is your dream job? 

President of my own hospital or Director of a Neuro Department within Adventist Health.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a doctor when I was younger, and it was not until later that I realized that medicine and business were two subjects I wanted to pursue in college.

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

My favorite thing about being part of the Pioneer family is just that, PUC is truly a family through and through. The people that you meet on campus are some of the sweetest and kindest people you will ever meet, people who become friends for life. 

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world is in my room, but New York is a close second 😉 

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

If I were trapped in a movie for a day, I would choose Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

What is something you are passionate about? 

I am extremely passionate about healthcare and what the future holds in terms of our health and our way of life with our current climate. 

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

I highly, highly recommend you stop off by Marufuku Ramen in Japantown and get there early because it is so popular that lines will start to form around noon on a Tuesday afternoon. If you’re vegetarian, I recommend you get the Vegetable Ramen, and if you enjoy spice get the ‘Spicy’ heat level. To pair your ramen, spicy or not, enjoy it with a nice cold Matcha drink! Within the same building, head downstairs (of its location) and stop off to get some mochi donuts at Mochill Mochidonut. They have a variety of flavors to die for, not to mention they are delicious, so instead of just getting one, get a box of a dozen.

Pioneer Profile: Nathan Hiss 

Nathan Hiss is a junior biology student from Orinda, CA., and represents PUC’s Men’s Cross Country team. With a background in cross country in high school, he joined the team his sophomore year and enjoys every part of it. He answered a few questions for us to share a bit of what it’s like being a student-athlete and playing for PUC. 

What drew you to PUC athletics over another college? 

I didn’t attend PUC with the initial intention of joining the XC team but rather joined it my sophomore year! I ran XC in high school and thought it would be a good idea running again.

Walk us through a typical team practice. 

Usually, I would wake up at around 5:45 in the morning, throw on some shorts and head down to the track. Coach Muhic would then walk us through what our practice was going to look like, and we would either go on a long run or do a speed workout! Then in the evening after classes and labs, I would go on another run totaling 5-10 miles a day!

What is your favorite part about being part of your team? 

Team runs are my favorite part because my teammates always motivate me to go faster and longer!

How do you balance your time between school and sports? 

Since practice is in the morning it works out really well! After practice, I study before classes then attend those classes and labs, then study some more, and go on another run. I found a good balance from removing TV, YouTube, clash of clans from my day.  

What advice do you have for students who are interested in being a student-athlete? 

Do it! It’s a great way to make new friends and keep yourself healthy. 

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

Team dinners are my favorite.

Do you have a favorite athlete? If so, who and why? 

I looked up to Michael Phelps because in addition to running I was on the club and high school swimming for most of my life. 

What are other things you are passionate about? 

I am really passionate about hiking, tennis, gardening, volunteering, fishing, and Bobby, my gorilla figure!

What are you most looking forward to this school year? 

I am really looking forward to trying all the restaurants in Calistoga. I already got through St. Helena and decided Farmstead or Goose and Gander are the best there. So I am looking forward to seeing what Calistoga has to offer!

Introducing PUC’s New Business Department Chair, Scott Perryman

Please join us in welcoming PUC’s new faculty member in the Business Administration and Economics Department, Chair Scott Perryman. With only being at PUC for two months, he has seen the tangible passion for students and how many of his students enjoy the family atmosphere on campus. We are blessed to have Scott and his family be a part of our Pioneers family. 

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

I came to PUC for two primary reasons: 1) to support the mission of the university and 2) to pursue my passion for teaching and challenging young people to think for themselves and to prepare to meet the demands of their chosen career.

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

I haven’t been here long, so this is a response based upon very limited experience. What struck me the most in my interviews and in my experiences thus far is a tangible passion for students. I think that the pandemic has dampened that a bit, but it really comes out when you interact with faculty and staff. I have also been struck by how many of my students refer to the family atmosphere they enjoy.

Where is your favorite place to eat in the Valley and why?

There are so many really good places that it is hard to choose just one. However, I would say I am most likely to eat at Pizzeria Tra Vigne for lunch or dinner. I also enjoy Gillwoods Café, especially for breakfast or brunch. I have also been pleasantly surprised by the quality of food at the PUC Café.

Where did you attend college?

I attended the University of Texas at Arlington and earned my BBA and concentrated in Management and Marketing. I also earned my MBA at Baylor University and concentrated in Finance.

What is something you do that might be surprising for people to learn?

I have been coaching or leading out in youth athletics programs (ages 4 through high school) for my entire adult life, at this point, more than 25 years. Most of this has been in affiliation with Seventh-day Adventist organizations. I continue to be amazed at how young people grow and compete with consistent, supportive coaching. Spiritual beliefs and convictions do not have to be sacrificed to achieve athletic or academic excellence!

What is one song you’re listening to on repeat lately?

A good Journey, U2, or Faith Hill song always gets my attention. Lately, I have found inspiration in Josh Groban’s rendition of “You Raise Me Up” or almost any song he performs.

What is your dream vacation? 

My dream vacation can be almost anywhere if it includes my wife, Angie, and all our children and their families.

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

Home studying and getting ready for the upcoming week.

Faces of PUC: Nat Nguyen

This week we’re highlighting Nat Nguyen, a junior from Pasadena majoring in Biology Pre-Med. When he was younger, he wanted to be an astronaut but now aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon to make prosthetics for people who need them. We are blessed to have a student like Nat be a part of our Pioneers family!

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to become an orthopedic surgeon specializing in prosthetics. I want to be the person that makes cool robot arms for people who need them. 

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

When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut. Then I changed career paths when I discovered I was scared of heights. 

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

My favorite part about being part of the Pioneer family is getting to know everybody, from other students to professors. Once you find your community here it becomes hard to imagine you could’ve been anywhere else.

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

Any place there’s a dog or cat I can pet.

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

The obvious choice for me would be any Studio Ghibli movie, except not as the protagonist. I don’t want to deal with fantastical, magical problems. I only want to look at fantastical, magical scenery and eat their food.

What is something you’re passionate about? 

Something I’m passionate about is keeping up with my journal. I love collecting small items and drawings to compile into one place I can remember the past with. Because if I don’t record my life no one else will.

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

If I had to plan a day in the Bay, it would start off at an art museum like the De Young or the MOMA, and end with sesame balls in Chinatown. 

Unite With The Black Student Union: A Conversation With BSU President, Christianne Andrianarijaona

The Black Student Union is a club that invites people of all races to be present, serve and seek, and unite under one roof, especially after COVID. Christianne Andrianarijaona is this year’s Black Student Union president, and is making sure BSU is recognized as an all-inclusive club and spreading the word that they exist on campus. Through their events, her and the rest of the team want to build a stronger community that will serve as a backbone and a source of inclusivity for everyone. 

What inspired you to run for president? What are your goals for BSU this year?

I originally ran for Social Vice President, but the previous officers nominated me for president. So, I did not get that position because I ran for it, I was actually avoiding it. Our goal for BSU this year, in particular, is to be recognized as an all-inclusive club. Another main goal we have is increasing the amount of events we have in order to spread the word that there is a Black Student Union club on campus.

What are you and BSU members talking about, concerned with, and focusing on this year? 

We’re talking about more events and seeing how we can advertise that it’s for anyone because we’re concerned about certain people being afraid to join because they’re not considered black. We’re really focused on trying to reach people and invite others to gatherings in order to build a stronger community.

What is the most urgent issue, or issues, for the club to spread awareness about?

Right now, honestly, it’s not what people might think. We’re not necessarily here to only teach and educate others about our history so that others may gain a better understanding. It’s more so inviting people into our cultures and creating a home for those who may feel homesick. 

How will BSU help these issues?

We’re going to be holding events that will serve as a backbone and a source of inclusivity for everyone. We also want to spread awareness that the club is existent so that people can bring their ideas to us and we can incorporate these ideas into our events.

What activities do you have planned, or hope to do this year?

We have a couple Pre-Vespers planned as well as a sort of potluck, too. We also plan on working with a couple departments for some serving opportunities through the church, while also sponsoring some PUC Church Services. We also wanted to hold a barbecue in the Spring, too. Another event that we’re hoping to do this year is a Black Excellence Gala. Everyone is invited, so we’re going to try to spread the word. 

Are there any new projects or initiatives the PUC community can look forward to seeing from BSU soon? 

We plan on being pretty involved and present when it comes to athletic sports games. We also plan on working with the Food Pantry in February as well as working with the PUC Church within its services.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of BSU? 

I think being outgoing and reaching out to others is my favorite thing about being part of BSU. It’s really warming and entertaining seeing everyone’s reactions along with their responses.

What is important for the PUC community to know about BSU? 

The PUC Community should know that BSU is for everyone and anyone to join! It’s not limited to anyone. We’re here to represent, and if you can do that with character, then you’re in.

What do you want future students who are interested in joining BSU to know about?

BSU would love for them to be a part of the experience in our time of growth. We want them to know that they are the future and that BSU’s nature lies within their reach. We want them to know that the club will not be able to prosper without people like them, and we invite them to be a part of the journey that will get us to our end goal of Being present, Serving and seeking, and Uniting under one roof. It’s up to them to decide now!

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