The Society of Adventist Communicators, commonly referred to as SAC, traditionally organizes an annual conference that serves as a nexus for communicators, journalists, media professionals, and individuals involved in the realm of communication. This gathering facilitates the exchange of ideas, learning from experts, and discussions on topics pertinent to the Adventist Church and the broader field of communication.
This year, the conference unfolded in Springfield, Massachusetts, from October 19 to 21. The event featured an array of program workshops, panel discussions, general sessions, and award ceremonies.
Communication student Anna Ramos had the opportunity to attend the conference for the first time. “I approached it with an open mind, free of any preconceived expectations,” shared Anna. “It was a very welcoming environment with communicators of different age groups. I was able to gain new insights into the work done by different communication departments.”
What were some of the conference highlights for you?
The workshops during the convention were definitely a highlight for me, with my favorite being PR and Crisis Communication: “How to Handle the Media During Crises” by Greg Dunn and Kevin Lampe. But overall, the opportunity to connect with fellow communicators and reunite with old friends added a layer of satisfaction to the event.
In what ways did you participate?
As a first-time participant, I actively engaged in various workshops during the event, discussing subjects like crisis communication, PR and marketing, and social media management. Unfortunately, neither my classmate nor I had the opportunity to partake in any of the student awards. We remain hopeful that either we or another representative from PUC will secure recognition and bring home an award in the future.
What stood out the most during the conference?
After hearing from the panelists and speakers at the conference, I realized how much Adventist communicators can do and how much work is still ahead of us. It was really inspiring to see all the possibilities we have as communicators.
Can you share a favorite moment during the conference?
Unfortunately, I missed the media tours provided by the conference as part of the program- otherwise, it would have been my favorite moment at the conference. However, being able to get to know more communicators and see old friends became a source of enjoyment for me throughout the event.
Pacific Union College was again lauded for its excellence in higher education, ranking high among the region’s top institutions in the U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best College list released today.
U.S. News & World Report heralded PUC as the No. 2 Best Value School among colleges in the larger Western region, a jump from No. 6 last year. In California alone, PUC is first.
A Best Value School, according to the publication, is an institution credited with excellent academic programs and affordability due to low tuition costs and financial aid assistance.
“I believe the best value that comes with a PUC degree is that our students are connected to a community of faith and well-prepared for a lifetime of service,” said Lindsay Hayasaka, PUC’s vice president of academic administration and academic dean. “Being equipped to create positive change in the world and live out kingdom values is truly invaluable—and this is what we are most proud of at PUC.”
PUC President Ralph Trecartin agrees.
“These rankings have once again confirmed that Pacific Union College is a leader in higher education, not just for its quality academics but for its affordability,” Trecartin said. “We have consciously provided merit scholarships for students who demonstrate high academic qualities, but we also strive to make a college education at PUC possible for a range of students. Being a best-value college to me also means we are committed to practicing our eternal values.”
In the overall ranking, PUC ranks No. 13 out of 48 Regional Colleges West, up from No. 19 in 2022.
PUC maintained its status as a top performer in Social Mobility, ranking No. 12 out of 48 colleges in the Western region. Colleges in this category are compared based on the graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients to non-recipients.
Hayaska said these rankings show that PUC is fulfilling its mission to deliver Christ-centered education to students and prepare them for service.
“Our students are amazing—they are bright, curious, and ambitious for positive change in the world,” she said. “As professors, staff, and administrators, our job is to support, equip, teach, and inspire students to achieve their goals. We have been doing this for over 140 years—and plan to continue fulfilling the mission for many more.”
Trecartin said this is a reflection of the change and progress that’s been happening on campus. “These rankings are a testament to the hard work of our leadership, faculty, and staff. God has truly blessed our college,” he said.
The 2023-2024 Best Colleges rankings evaluate colleges and universities on a host of measures of academic quality. Areas include retention and graduation rates, class size, faculty, per-student spending, peer universities’ assessments, and graduates’ average federal loan debt.
Coming from Manila, Philippines, is PUC’s Director of Enrollment, Pauline Cidro. Pauline started working at PUC in 2020 as a part-time enrollment counselor and enjoyed it so much that she continued as a full-time. One of the perks of her job is getting to travel around the country for work- but the best part is interacting with students and their families—sharing with them what PUC has to offer and providing them assistance from the beginning until they officially become part of the PUC family.
How does PUC stand out from other colleges and universities?
We are located in the very beautiful town of Angwin in Napa Valley, CA. Our campus is surrounded by great spots for outdoor activities and tourist attractions, and we have nice weather up here in Angwin with very low air pollution, so you definitely have clean air to breathe! Lastly, and most definitely, our students and faculty are able to build personal relationships that make it easy for the students to live away from home but still feel at home with the community they are part of here at PUC.
What’s the average amount of financial aid students receive?
Last year, PUC awarded over $30 million in financial aid with the average award of about $23,000 per student.
What health and academic support services are available for students?
PUC offers a free health clinic, counseling, disability, and tutoring services to our students. These resources are available to all PUC students to make sure they are physically and mentally healthy and striving academically.
Why should high school students consider attending PUC?
We have small class sizes with an average of 12:1 student-faculty ratio. I find this beneficial to the majority of students because I believe it helps improve their learning. We also have a one-on-one advising system which many students find very helpful as their advisors would walk them through each step in achieving their academic goals.
How do you support your students during their enrollment process?
As their main person during the enrollment process, I walk my students through the steps they need to complete and connect them with the vital people they will be interfacing with when they start attending PUC: financial aid advisor and academic advisor.
What advice do you have for students applying to PUC?
My advice is to understand there are many resources and help available to them, especially during the enrollment process. Their enrollment counselor (like myself) is their number-one resource when finding answers to their questions regarding anything. Our enrollment counselors always look forward to talking with the students and having authentic conversations with them to understand what they really need so we can continually support them while they go through the decision-making process.
Tim de la Torre has been working at PUC for 10 years now. He graduated from PUC’s film program in 2006, with the college’s location and the Visual Arts Department holding a special place in his heart. There was a moment of transition in his life when Dean Milbert Mariano (then chair of the visual arts department) called to ask if Tim would be interested in interviewing for an instructor position. He’s so thankful Dean Milbert and his department saw potential in him because “It’s been a fantastic fit”.
Tell us about PUC’s film and television production program.
Our program here at PUC is unique in so many good ways! The diversity of our student body is a real benefit to our writers and artists who are exploring topics that matter to them. It allows them to have the benefit of input from people from different intersecting identities that can help each other avoid stereotypes and cliché’s that are easy to miss when you create in an echo chamber.
I am really proud of the culture we’ve created where students learn hands-on production skills with the equipment and make high-quality films through practice. Our rural location and residential campus housing mean students end up spending a lot of time in Fisher Hall and feel a sense of belonging and shared ownership of the space. We are like a family. It also means we are always making and creating because we live our lives in this space.
What are the class sizes?
Our department has 40-50 students in 3 disciplines: film, graphic design, and fine art. Our small class sizes mean you will know all of your professors and student cohort. It allows faculty to really help mentor and guide you as we get to know you throughout the years of your program.
Is there a class you enjoy teaching the most?
Group Production is my favorite class. It’s where we meet twice a week, and students pitch ideas for film projects they want to create, and we support the students in producing their ideas. There are always incredible projects that come out of that class!
What equipment is available for students?
We have everything you would expect to see on the set of a major motion picture production. We have a fully loaded grip truck for location production, high-end cinema cameras, and smaller cameras with differing unique use cases, such as documentary and low-light environments. We also have a huge range of lenses, including anamorphic, cinema zooms, probe lenses, tilt-shift lenses, and vintage glass.
In the last couple of years, we even taught classes using Unreal Engine for film production and have a senior finishing her thesis project using Unreal Engine. The best way to understand is to reach out to the professors and come and visit us. If there is something specific you want to explore, chances are we have the tools to do that or the ability to obtain them and support you in pursuing your interests.
Do students need internships?
I always say the most important class you’ll take at PUC is your internship, which ideally, does not take place at PUC! It’s where you take your skills, knowledge, and professional and interpersonal skills and go out and get real-world experience that often leads to a job after graduation!
What are the highlights from your department this year?
We worked on multiple projects funded by the Sonscreen Film Festival, which allowed us to cast professional actors and even hire some professional crew to work alongside our student crew. The level of production quality and experience our students gained from this really helped us make up for the time we were teaching online during COVID when those students didn’t have as many opportunities to develop set experiences.
Where do some of your graduates work?
We have many alums in LA working in film as writers, directors, editors, and in the camera department. Others created their own companies and are documentarians, corporate and non-profit production. Some have gone on to work for various church-based organizations such as Hope Channel, Amazing Facts, and 3ABN.
What should future film and television students know and prepare for before college?
Bring your curiosity and hunger to learn. Be prepared to work hard. It’s the only way to close the gap between your taste and skill.
PUC faculty and students and alumni attend the Sonscreen Film Festival in April 2023. Eight PUC student films were selected as official entries and PUC won three categories and was runner-up in two other categories.
The Visual Arts Department grip truck makes transporting all of the equipment necessary for location production possible!
Running a demo shoot for College Days in 2023.
On the set of “Radish Soup” which will be completed in late 2023.
Tim de la Torre and student Josue Hilario prepping the location before production begins of “Inner Space” in May 2023.
Prepping the location before production begins of “Inner Space” in May 2023.
“Inner Space” production in May 2023.
Make sure to check out their YouTube channel www.youtube.com/pucfilm and follow their Instagram @pucartfor upcoming projects!
During the beginning of this school year, auditions were in process for the Jericho Road Musical, which tells the story of two young individuals who fall in love, get married, have a child, and face problems throughout their relationship. Senior graphic design major Sarah Franklin saw this as a fun chance to work on props and set design. With already having experience with stage production and film set design and taking a class from musical director Lindsay Morton, Lindsay asked Sarah if she would be interested in creating the artwork and advertisements for the show too. All these roles created a great opportunity for Sarah to use the material in her portfolio as she finishes her senior year at PUC.
How long did it take to complete all the art for this show? What did you enjoy the most about this experience?
I completed all the advertising artwork over winter break, and it probably took me around 30 hours. For the set design, we’ve been working all quarter and are still working on painting and constructing everything. I really enjoy working with other people on a project and helping them make their vision come to life.
Do you have a favorite art piece from the show?
It’s difficult to answer this because I consider the whole set an art piece. If I had to pick an individual piece from the show, I’d say the tree from the wedding scene, which turned out beautifully. Bethanee (Tabura) did most of the carving and painting of the tree trunk, which was made of several layers of foam, and we worked together to add the vines and leaves to the branches. We also added string lights to create a whimsical look that fits the wedding scene nicely.
What do you like the most about PUC’s visual arts department?
I really appreciate the feeling of family in the VA dept. Throughout my years here, I have become so close to my professors and classmates. I truly value the diversity of the department and how we work together and benefit from our differences. I think it’s amazing when people who are different from each other can learn from one another and create truly amazing things together.
What have been the most important things you’ve learned from your classes, professors, or mentors?
One of the most important things I’ve learned as a visual arts major is to take inspiration from anything and everything. As an artist, I am constantly absorbing the environment I’m in—people, objects, architecture, colors, shapes, shadows, lines, graphics, words, lyrics, you name it. Being an artist means you are always taking in your surroundings and looking at the world from different points of view. It also means you are processing all this information in a way that is unique to you and relaying these new perspectives to others in a way that moves them or makes them think differently.
Is there a class you found most valuable to you?
There are a lot of classes that were valuable to me, so I’ll give you all of them and a short reason why:
Astronomy with James Robertson–gave me perspective on how small we are and how short life is.
History of Contemporary Art Since 1945 with Jon Carstens—my favorite art history class of all-time; introduced me to some of my favorite artists and works (Mark Rothko, Josef Albers, Andy Warhol, and Lynda Benglis to name a few). These artists’ works were an integral part of my senior thesis research and inspiration, so this class has been extremely valuable to me.
Packaging Design with Cliff Rusch–aside from this being one of the most fun classes for me as a graphic designer, I ended up becoming really close to my classmates and creating some great friendships which I value so much. Not only do I value our friendships, but also the constructive criticism, competition, and push to become a better designer.
Can you share any projects you hope to do this year?
Aside from Jericho Road, this year’s main project is my senior thesis. I am working on gathering data from individuals about their favorite colors and using this data to represent the evolution of color preferences throughout one’s life. The data will be visualized through a series of paintings and will be hung in the Rasmussen Art Gallery this spring.
Many college students graduate with a degree that they initially weren’t majoring in when beginning college. Switching majors is common for students to do because as you grow into adulthood, your interests and passions change. Here’s how to know if you’re pursuing the right major.
Know Why You Chose Your Major
Clearly know why you chose your major. Are you sincerely passionate about it and want to make a living from it? Did you choose it for yourself or to please others? Knowing why you chose your major will give you that boost of motivation during those long nights of studying and when you feel stressed. If you need to, write down the reasons why you picked that major.
Picture Your Future
Picture your future- what do you see? Do you see yourself happy working the career you chose? If you do, fantastic! If you don’t, think about changing course and heading down another career path. Ask yourself what type of job you’d be good at and would enjoy doing every day. That’ll help you figure out what to major in.
Think of Your Interests & Skills
Thinking about your interests and skills helps figure out what your strengths are and what career you can make out of them. A work environment that fits your skills, interests, and personality will allow you to feel fulfillment in your career and grant you more success.
It’s completely okay to be confused about what you want to study or whether or not you chose the right major. We understand that this process can be tough, which is why PUC has various programs for you to choose from. Your options and opportunities are endless here.
Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti, also known as Professoressa Gregorutti to her students, has been teaching at PUC since 1993. She was chair for about 20 years and is now the associate chair of the Department of Communication and World Languages, since their departments merged in 2019.
One of her favorite things about teaching is seeing students study abroad and hearing about their unforgettable experiences. She loves being involved in ACA (Adventist College Abroad) and seeing how it changes students’ lives. Sylvia generously answered some questions for us to learn more about the Department of World Languages.
What makes your department unique compared to other departments at PUC?
World Languages has collaborative relationships with many departments on campus, and most of our students are double majors or are working on an Allied Health degree or some type of pre-professional program. We strongly encourage getting the most out of the college experience and our majors are easy to combine with many others. The one thing that makes us unique among departments: Nearly 100% of our World Languages majors spend a year of their college experience studying in another country. Top choices are Spain, Italy, France, Argentina, Austria, Lebanon, and other countries have also been hosts to PUC students. There are actually students who are heading abroad even as I type this. I’m praying for their safe travels. After personally sending about a thousand students abroad, I can confidently say ACA is hands down the best year out of their college experience. Also, it’s ACA for * ALL * In other words, you don’t have to be a major in World Languages to go abroad — though we do make it really appealing to major in one of our degrees! The year abroad is transformative to so many – it confirms your career choice or helps you see who you are and choose better. It’s also one of the greatest regrets of those who didn’t make time for it during their college years.
What makes your department unique compared to the same program at other colleges and universities?
This one’s easy! Compared to our sister institutions, at PUC’s World Languages Dept., you can complete a major in Language & Culture Studies with an emphasis in Italian, German, Arabic, French, or Portuguese in addition to the more common Spanish. One of the courses we offer in the L&C major is Language, Culture, and Humanitarian Issues — great for students aiming for international humanitarian work. We also offer a major in Spanish Studies that’s especially relevant to future educators. Compared to larger institutions, we provide abundant one-on-one time. We have a comfortable student lounge next to our offices and classrooms where we get together to talk and sometimes worship together. In true World Languages style, our lounge is open to all.
What is something new students can look forward to about joining your department?
World Languages is a very welcoming department. We actively celebrate variety. Diversity is in our very DNA – we not only accept it, we revel in it and encourage its proliferation! New students to our department can expect to be embraced, seen, and heard. We agree with French philosopher Chateaubriand who observed that each person “carries within himself a world.” We’re eager to benefit from the ‘worlds” our students bring to our campus. Our aim is to enrich them with knowledge of other languages and cultures, and different ways of seeing the world. Critical thinking expands by quantum leaps when you understand different ways of solving human problems and needs: What to eat, what to wear, what shelter to build, how to interact, and what to value – the solutions vary around the world.
What is your favorite thing about teaching in your department?
There are so many things I enjoy, but I think my favorite thing about teaching is seeing students decide to go abroad for a year. And then, when they return, it’s fabulous to talk with them in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese – to hear about their unforgettable experiences, and to see how they have become better versions of themselves, more open to the world, more empathetic, and sure of what they want to do with their lives. That is the single most transformative activity I get to be involved in, and it’s incredibly rewarding. Lifelong international friendships are made and a lifetime of memories, too. In Spanish, we say, “Nadie te puede quitar lo bailado.” No one can take away what you have danced – and the study abroad experience is just that – something you have for life.
What is your department well known for, and why?
We’re known for our enthusiastic teachers who are native speakers or they have spent time living in the countries whose languages they teach. For students heading abroad, we offer a high-quality orientation prior to departure and support from our home campus during each quarter spent abroad. World Languages is innovative and versatile: In addition to the majors mentioned, we offer introductory Chinese and Korean, and our popular Spanish for Health Care courses, which provides language skills and cultural competence to better serve Spanish-speaking patients, clients, and customers. This year, we’re trying out an intermediate level of this course. We’re also expanding our Spanish for the Professions emphasis to our first beginning Spanish class. Tailoring courses to students’ interests and professional objectives creates greater motivation and makes learning another language more applicable. Our upper-division courses contribute to the rich offerings of our liberal arts college – from my specialty, linguistics, to literature, film, and humanitarian issues. Our aim is to create engaged, competent, and compassionate global citizens.
Learn more about the Department of World Languages on our website. If you have any questions, our admissions team will gladly assist you. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email email@example.com.
We know how difficult it can be to choose a major- which is why Pacific Union College has over 70 degrees and programs, ranging from pre-medical professions to visual arts, for students to choose from. As you or your student begin researching programs, here are six departments at PUC you should know about.
As PUC’s largest department, it is filled with experienced and helpful professionals that work in nursing, allied health, and emergency services. Students have the opportunity to work in leading hospitals in Northern California and get hands-on experience during clinicals to prepare them for their nursing careers.
Health communication is an excellent degree for students pursuing medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and other healthcare-related fields. Communication is one of the top skills employers look for, and health communications teach students to recognize and demonstrate the elements of competent communication. Especially when working with a diverse group of people in the healthcare profession, articulating communications is vital.
Our biology department is one of our popular programs. From the Bioneers mentorship program to Albion trips, students mix fun with learning as they develop a strong background in biology. With the guidance of our dedicated professors, students are ready for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and other medical and graduate schools.
The education program has prepared students for a lifetime of service. The program not only provides associate’s and bachelor’s degrees; but also masters. To ensure students get a job right after graduating, they attend Education Days. This event connects graduating education majors with potential employers all over California and other states. Our students become independent and qualified to teach and lead.
Our psychology and social work program teaches students to have the knowledge of human behavior, human rights, social environment, and social and economic justice. Through classes, internships, and research, students engage in professional practices and apply ethical practices that will have them ready to help others.
Our talented professors guide students to step into their creative minds, step out of their comfort zones, and discover their voices through art and work. The department goes on trips to museums in San Francisco, companies like YouTube, and Sundance Film Festivals. Our graduates have worked with well-known companies such as Disney, Pixar, and Netflix.
Check out the other programs we offer. To receive more information about our programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 862-7080 to speak to one of our admissions counselors.
Film student Josue Hilario is from Green Bay, WI., and finished his first year of college. Before coming to PUC, he had never visited the west coast and wanted a new experience. Since Josue enjoys making videos and loves exploring creativity through film, he knew pursuing a film major was the perfect fit for him. Believing PUC has the best film program among all the SDA universities, Josue decided to attend PUC. He loves the diversity of the Pioneer’s family and having the guidance to create and achieve personal goals.
What do you like about PUC’s film program?
I love the freedom of being able to create whatever I want. The Film department is good at giving us the resources to create whatever we want.
What class have you enjoyed the most, and why?
Short scriptwriting because it allowed me to explore a new avenue that I never expected to like.
What are some important things you’ve learned from the film department?
I have learned to be more organized throughout my creative processes.
Why would you recommend this program?
The film program at PUC is not cookie cutter. They help you achieve your personal goals.
What advice do you have for high school students interested in pursuing your major? What should they expect or prepare for?
My advice would be to find opportunities to create outside of class. Being successful in the film industry is a lot of work, and it requires determination and skills. The only way to get better at your craft is to never stop creating and exploring your creative side.
What activities or events does your program throw during the school year?
The film department is planning to take us to the sonscreen film festival.
Laura Wibberding has been teaching at PUC for the last five years. When she first visited PUC, she loved the campus and shared, “As an Oregon native, I thought there was too much sun =)” Teaching at PUC has been one of the most meaningful jobs for Laura. She loves getting to know the students and learning about the history of our college. We’re glad to have Laura at PUC and see our students enjoy her classes.
How long have you worked at PUC?
I’ve worked at PUC for about 5-years now, although most of that time I was an adjunct. This year I started as a regular faculty. I’ve enjoyed growing into my relationship with PUC, learning more about the college and the students as I do.
What brought you to PUC? How/Why did you decide to work here?
Our family moved here in 2017 when my husband started teaching and knew I wanted to be a part of this community. Honestly, teaching at PUC is one of the most meaningful jobs I could imagine.
What is the best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?
All the Pioneers, of course! Actually, both kinds. I love getting to know students. You guys are all insightful and creative. And I love Adventist history, so those Pioneers make me happy, too. There’s a story behind every building name on campus and a lot of the street names, too. I love being part of it. I also love that we don’t just inherit a legacy- we choose how we want to direct the future.
Where is your favorite place to eat in the Valley, and why?
I’m actually not the most adventurous with eating out. We discovered our kids like Pizzeria Tra Vigne and often go there. But my favorite place to eat is my own kitchen.
What is something you can do/want to do that might be surprising for people to learn?
I used to use my church history degree to create drama programs for our churches. I have tubs of Renaissance-era costumes and props I made for those, and I keep daydreaming about pulling them out again. Maybe if life slows down a little, I’ll get to that!
What song are you listening to on repeat lately?
The one I can’t get out of my head is “Surface Pressure” from Encanto.
Where is your dream vacation?
I love old architecture and art and especially ruins. I picked Rome for our 20th-anniversary trip, and what I’d love to do next is see Spain or Greece.
Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can find me…
Doing laundry. Sunday is for all the work I couldn’t get to during the week, but it’s also family movie night with the kids, so there’s balance.