Monthly Archives: May 2022

Meet Student Chaplain, Ashley Garner 

Ashley Garner is one of PUC’s student chaplains this year. Through her previous roles with our campus ministries team and joining praise and worship, she fell in love with ministry- and wanted to take on more responsibilities by becoming a student chaplain. She’s been able to meet more people- and witness ministry and Jesus change lives.

Share with us what it means being a student chaplain.

Disclaimer: This is just how I would personally define student chaplaincy; others may have differing definitions! A student chaplain has the privilege and great responsibility to assist and guide individual students as well as the student body as a whole in spirituality. Being a student chaplain means to engage in many different types of ministry and serve the various needs of students, staff, and the community. Modeling Jesus, student chaplains should seek to serve the whole person: the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of those around them. I believe that a student chaplain has the responsibility to be a campus prayer leader/prayer warrior, consistently praying for others and for spiritual change on campus.

What made you want to be a student chaplain?

I first started getting involved with ministry in high school. I joined the praise team, the Campus Ministries team, and eventually became the Religious-vice my senior year. I started on the PUC Campus Ministries team last year as PR; and also got involved with PUC praise and worship. I fell in love with ministry through these roles and wanted to further my journey in ministry and take on a new role and a bit more responsibility this year as a student chaplain!

What are your responsibilities?

Under Campus Ministries, I am a general student chaplain, the women’s dorm/residence hall chaplain, and I am our PR (this is my second year doing that!). My responsibilities generally include but are not limited to: managing Campus Ministries and being a part of our team; assisting the Chaplain in various ways, serving on a spiritual life committee; being a spiritual resource for dorm staff and residents; and managing Campus Ministries social media and public relations. Moreover, I have a responsibility to my campus, Pacific Union College; my boss, the PUC Chaplain, Pastor Kent Rufo; my team, the Campus Ministries team; and to overall serve God in everything I do.

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain?

The challenges I’ve discovered, specifically this year, are trying to reach the entire student body in a meaningful way that promotes spiritual change. I’d love to personally know every single person on this campus and their needs; however, this is, unfortunately, impossible for one person to do. Also, programming is a big part of our ministry, and it’s an awesome opportunity but I wish I had more opportunities to connect with people on a one-on-one, personal basis. It’s definitely been a transitional year with COVID-19 still impacting our campus and the way we do ministry, which has undoubtedly presented challenges for the past 2+ years.

What is your favorite part about being a student chaplain?

My favorite part about being a student chaplain is the relationships with people. It’s been amazing to get to know more people, work with those who share the same love for God and others, and to be a part of a community. It’s also a very rewarding job: it’s really cool to see someone be impacted by the ministry we do and to see lives change through Jesus.

What do you hope to accomplish as a student chaplain this year?

What I’d love to accomplish this year is to start meaningful spiritual change on our campus. For the past 2 years, life has been largely uncertain and challenging due to the pandemic. As we try to rebuild from that, I want to help create a safe community at PUC, where people can dwell with God and others. I want to help create an atmosphere and culture that people who experience our campus can say, “God is working here and God’s presence is prevalent”.

What advice do you have for someone struggling with their spiritual life? 

This is a tough question but so important. Firstly, I want to encourage those struggling. It’s certainly okay to struggle with your spiritual walk, and everyone— even the most devout religious leaders— struggle with their spiritual life sometimes. It’s okay to admit you are struggling and I think that takes courage and is admirable. Another piece of advice to specifically PUC students: utilize your resources! There are many resources for spiritual care here on campus. Talk to our Chaplain, a professor you trust, the counseling center, or even a student chaplain, Religious-vice president, or any student leader. We are here for you and we would love to assist you in your spiritual life, and we’d love to simply pray for you. Prayer is powerful!

What about being a student chaplain has prepared you for your career and other aspects of your future?

Student chaplaincy has prepared me for my career- in the sense that I’ve gotten to work with many different people from all walks of life, and I’ve gotten to build interpersonal skills. It’s also taught me a lot about fostering community in the workplace. I believe you can minister in any professional field, and being involved in ministry has taught me that and has also equipped me with skills to do so, although I still have a lot to learn. Being a student chaplain frequently pushes me outside my comfort zone, and I’ve developed leadership skills and learned to be more comfortable with public speaking. 

What is your favorite weekend activity?

My favorite weekend activities are trying new coffee shops, thrifting, and yoga. I love coffee, and my favorite coffee shop near PUC is Soul Rebel Organic Coffee and Juice Bar in Calistoga. I also have been getting into yoga recently, and hot yoga is my favorite!

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

Outside of school, I really enjoy hanging out with friends and family, playing sports, working out, and music (usually singing or playing the piano). I’m currently playing basketball intramurals, and my favorite sports are flag football and soccer. I make it a priority to move my body at least once a day, whether it is weight lifting, running, walking, or playing sports with friends.

What do you love about PUC?

I love many things about PUC. For one, the campus and the Napa Valley are beautiful; I love the trees, the sunshine, the sunsets, and even the fog and rain. I also love that there are so many opportunities here; for example, I’ve gotten to become a Student chaplain, a student-athlete on the women’s soccer team for 2-years, a member of the praise and worship team, a member of the Psychology honor’s society (Psi Chi), I was blessed to get a part-time job at Adventist Health St. Helena and I’m planning on serving as a student missionary next year! Through all of those opportunities, I’ve grown personally, spiritually, academically, socially, and professionally: I’ve met amazing people, traveled, made memories that are so special to me, and grown my relationship with God. PUC is pretty great. I’m honestly just so thankful that it was a part of God’s plan for me to attend here.

Coaches Corner: Abraham Garrido 

Abraham Garrido is the head coach for PUC’s Men’s and Women’s Cross Country team. This is his first year coaching at PUC and has previously coached high school basketball at Fresno Adventist Academy. He recently graduated from PUC this past June, and we couldn’t be happier to have Abraham continue his life on our campus. 

What makes PUC athletics different from other colleges and universities?

What makes PUC athletics different from other schools is the never give up attitude that our athletes have. Whether it’s on or off the field, court, or trails, PUC athletes and coaches strive to be the best that they can be. 

How would you describe your coaching style?

Fun but competitive. I say this because I want my athletes to enjoy the sport that they are participating in. In doing so, if my athletes fall in love with the sport, they’ll want to compete even more because they like the sport. 

How do you keep your players motivated during the season? 

I do fun activities such as running to a waterfall and running around lakes. I also remind them and show them the progress they have made over the course of the season. 

Outside of competing, are there activities you try to get your players involved in? 

I try to encourage my athletes to participate in clubs, church, and even school outings. 

What values do you instill in your players? 

To respect others, have patience and to do their best in everything that they do. 

How do you incorporate spiritual life within your team? 

We, as a team, pray in the mornings and pray before each race. 

What do you enjoy most about being a coach?

Seeing my athletes improve in any aspect in life. Whether it’s sports, school or other hobbies that they might have. 

How do you support your players on and off the court? 

We, as a team, have a group chat. So, as a team, we support each other with anything that they might need. 

Why should prospective students choose PUC over another program? 

Location! We have the best location out of any school, and it can’t be put more simply than that. 

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

Having the ability to change/improve what others before me started. 

When you’re not coaching, what do you enjoy doing? 

When I’m not coaching, I love to participate in ultra-marathon races and ride 100 miles on my bike. Overall, you can say that I love to be outdoors. 

PUC’S Jujitsu Club: A Safe Space To Meet People & Better Yourself

PUC’s Jujitsu Club is more than learning martial arts. It’s a community that provides a safe space for everyone to be themselves, better their health, and have fun. Students and faculty meet on campus and travel to Albion once a year to get a change of scenery. Sarah West is president of the club and wants people to know that the Jujitsu Club is not as aggressive as they might think it is. She kindly answered some questions for us to learn more about the Jujitsu Club and why you should join. 

Tell us about the Jujitsu Club. 

Jujitsu club is not what you think it is. Yes, we are learning a martial art, yes, we do grabs, throws, and holds; but it is so much more. It’s a safe space to meet people and to get to better yourself. I feel the most balanced after time on the mat and have learned to respect my body. You also learn how to move in ways that help avoid injuries if one falls, and you have the chance to experience rolling and tumbling.

What made you decide to be a part of this club? What responsibilities does your role as president entail? 

I joined the jujitsu club because of PUC’s club fair. I had already been wanting to get back into martial arts and knew a little bit about jujitsu. My role is mostly to remind people when and where jujitsu is taking place and to help think of things to do as a club. It is a smaller club than most, which makes planning things a lot easier.

What are the goals for the Jujitsu Club this year? 

My main goal this year for the club is to make sure we can still meet safely. It’s hard to social distance when you, or your opponent, is in a chokehold, so making sure all members are being careful and taking precautions is important. 

Can you share any upcoming activities or events you have planned? 

The most exciting thing we have planned for the jujitsu club is the yearly trip to Albion with the biology club. Albion is a great change of scenery to the regular meetings of the jujitsu club, and we usually have a guest sensi join us. Last year we had our Sensi’s Sensi join us, and it was a fun experience for all. 

What is your favorite thing about being in the Jujitsu Club? 

My favorite thing about the jujitsu club is that the members can get to know each other better. Two-hour meetings twice a week is a lot of time to spend together, and with movie nights and Albion thrown in there, you get to know one another. I think this club does a great job at providing a safe space for everyone to be themselves and have fun. 

What do you want people to know about the Jujitsu Club?

The main thing I want people to know about the jujitsu club is that it’s not as aggressive as you might think. When I tell friends that I am in a jujitsu club, they make comments about not wanting to mess with me, for fear of my martial arts training. But jujitsu is not aggressive, it’s about learning to take what’s coming at you, and avoiding it/changing its course. 

Convince me to join the Jujitsu Club in five sentences. 

If you want to join the club so that you can defeat all your enemies, this is not the club for you. If you want to learn about balance, have a chance to increase your heart rate and decrease stress, and get to know fellow students and faculty here on the holy hill, this is for you. Jujitsu also gives you some skills on how to stay safe out in the real world. 

Faces of PUC: Kimberly Dunker, Chair of Nursing & Health Science

In honor of National Nurses Day- we wanted to introduce you to PUC’s new Chair of Nursing and Health Science, Kimberly Dunker. Having received her AS and BS from Atlantic Union College, she has been a nurse for 22 years and has worked in a variety of clinical care areas. Before coming to PUC this past fall, she was previously the dean of nursing at Fortis Institute in Nashville. Kimberly not only holds academic positions but is a SIGMA advisor and author for new nursing educators and served in accreditation roles. She is excited to expand the nursing department and give students more healthcare opportunities.

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

I am here at PUC to continue to lead the Nursing and Health Science Departments. I am hoping to elevate nursing practice for those that want to join the healthcare profession.

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

As the chair of nursing and health science, my programs are the gateway to allow those who want to seek healthcare the opportunity to do so. I am excited to expand the nursing program offering online opportunities.  

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

So far we really like anything that is vegetarian-friendly. This area has so many good restaurants it is hard to pick. The English Muffins at Model Bakery and incredible as well as the local cuisine in the St. Helena Farmers market.

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

I can sew. 

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

Trust in you by Lauren Daigle

Where is your dream vacation? 

A vacation is one where I don’t have to cook or clean. Would love to do that anywhere actually. I love to travel. The next place I would love to go is Germany, Austria, Switzerland to do the sound of music tour.

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

Cleaning up from the weekend and preparing for the upcoming week.

Benefits of Taking Summer Classes 

PUC offers a variety of summer classes, workshops, and seminars. Many high schoolers and undergraduates take summer classes because it gives them a head start on checking off their credits and ensures they graduate on time. Taking summer courses at PUC also cuts half the price on classes and boarding. Here are six other benefits of taking summer classes. 

Finish Gen Eds Sooner 

A great way to finish your general education courses sooner is by taking summer classes. This allows you to take up more mandatory classes your major requires from you during the regular school year.  

No Overloading 

Taking summer classes will knock out other courses you have to take during the regular school year, which can give you a lighter course load so you won’t have to worry about overloading on credits. 

You Can Graduate Early 

If you want to begin your college career sooner or want to finish undergrad faster, enrolling in summer classes can help you graduate sooner. Taking summer classes will help you check off your courses and lead you one step closer to graduating early. 

Fewer Classes

Since you’re required to take a number of credits each quarter, summer classes allow you to focus on just one or two classes at a time. No need to worry about juggling too many classes at once.

Explore Your Passions 

During the regular school year, you’re focusing more on core classes. Summer classes are an opportunity for you to explore your passions and take fun electives. You won’t only be earning credits, but getting the chance to see if you want to major or minor in your passions. 

Bump Up Your GPA 

Summer classes can help bump up your GPA and accelerate your academic career. Increasing your GPA will look great on college applications and can help you earn scholarships.

Check out PUC’s summer classes. To speak with someone from our admissions team, call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu

Meet Assistant Director & Chief Flight Instructor, Ji Yoon

With today being Teacher Appreciation Day, we wanted to introduce you to Assistant Director and Chief Flight Instructor Ji Yoon. We have been delighted to have her at PUC for the last year. When she’s not teaching- she enjoys spending time in nature and playing tennis.

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

I was looking for schools whose mission statements are in line with my values where I can provide hands-on training to aspiring young aviators. PUC was very high on my list of desirable choices. 

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

The opportunity to spend a lot of my time in nature where I can be myself under the thousand stars, meditate, and pray. 

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

Giugni’s Deli! It was the very first meal I had in town. 

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

People are surprised by the fact that I can rent & fly an airplane in Hawaii and do an island-hop myself. 

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

Light Switch by Charlie Puth because it’s the most played song on the radio lately.

Where is your dream vacation? 

Home where my Mom cooks for me.

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

On the tennis court.

The Value of Spanish Studies at PUC

Terah Ramos is a senior studying for a BA in Spanish Studies and a BBA in Marketing. When she first came to PUC as a freshman, she was a biology major, but that all changed when she found out about the study abroad program Adventist College Abroad (ACA). On a whim, Terah decided to study a year abroad in Spain and take that opportunity to learn Spanish Studies and found it practical because everything she’d learn could apply to her chosen career path later on. 

Terah generously answered some questions for us to learn more about PUC’s World Languages program. 

What do you like about the program?

I love my professors. They are extremely dedicated and profoundly knowledgeable. Not only are they good at what they do, but they are also very helpful and caring. I know people who just visit the professors in the World Languages and Cultures department just to have a chat. It’s easy to tell that the professors are passionate about their jobs and want you to succeed.

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

(1) Learning a language is one of the most rewarding things you can do – the idea that you are able to communicate with an entire group of people you would not be able to understand/converse with otherwise. I love speaking to people in Spanish and seeing their faces light up because it means that I’ve taken extra effort to understand them.

(2) Language is closely tied with culture – it’s impossible to learn a language without understanding the cultures that speak it. As with every language, Spanish is full of colloquialisms. For example, “Aguas!” is a slang phrase commonly used in Mexico – essentially meaning “look out!” in English. The term stems from the time period before modern sewage treatments in Mexico when people would shout a warning (“Aguas!”) before throwing their dirty water out the window. Mexico has a ton of cool slang phrases like these, which kind of give you an understanding of the history and humor of the culture that make it into a widely used modern language. This is just an example from Mexico, but there are unique sayings that differ with each Spanish-speaking country!

What class have you enjoyed the most, and why?

My favorite class was definitely Advanced Language Studies taught by Professor Gregorutti. I’m really interested in Linguistics, so this class constantly blew my mind. We learned about language acquisition – how humans are able to become aware of and understand language. It was so insightful and philosophical!

Can you give any advice to high school students who are interested in pursuing a major in World Languages? What should they expect or prepare for?

If you’re planning to pursue a Spanish Studies or another World Languages major, you’re likely going to spend a year abroad. It’s very important to stay open-minded, embrace mistakes, and become accustomed to discomfort. It is more than worth it!

Why would you recommend this program?

I would recommend this program because of its practicality. When paired with another major (which is doable and even encouraged!), a language major not only prepares students for communicating in the workforce but everyday life as well. I feel that other majors may not be as applicable or usable in the real world as instantly as a language major.

Can you share any advice with students interested in your major?

Practice what you’ve learned as often as you can – find someone you can talk to in your target language/share the information you’ve learned in class. It doesn’t hurt to supplement this major with a minor or perhaps even another major, and most importantly – keep an open mind!

Visit our website to learn more about the Department of World Languages. Our admissions counselors can answer any questions you have. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu to speak with one of our team members to see what the world languages program can offer you.