Category Archives: Academics

How To Know You’re Pursuing The Right Major

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. 

Explore World Languages at PUC With Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti 

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 admissions@puc.edu.

Six PUC Programs You Should Know About 

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.

Nursing & Health Sciences 

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

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. 

Biology

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. 

Education

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. 

Psychology & Social Work  

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. 

Visual Arts 

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 admission@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080 to speak to one of our admissions counselors. 

Q&A With First-Year Film Student: Josue Hilario  

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. 

Get To Know Assistant Professor of Theology Laura Wibberding 

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. 

Freshman Feature: Marguerite McHenry

Coming all the way from Newnan, GA., is freshman film student Marguerite McHenry. Growing up in a little city an hour outside of Atlanta, a friend of hers told her about PUC’s film program and how amazing the screenwriting professor was. With her first year here, Marguerite shared how the film program has exceeded her expectations and is so glad she took her friend’s advice- as are we. We are so happy to have Marguerite a part of our Pioneers family!

What is your dream job?

I want to be a writer/director and run my own film production company.

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

I wanted to be a cowgirl/rockstar/author when I was little. I guess writing is still a thing in my life, even if those other dreams have gone away with age.

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

Everyone on campus is really friendly and nice. I think it’s a great community to be a part of.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Literally any bookstore with a good selection. I could spend hours in Barnes and Noble.

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

Either National Treasure or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Both seem really fun and interesting worlds to play a part in.

What made you decide to attend PUC?

A friend told me that their film program, and specifically, their screenwriting professor was amazing. So far, the program has exceeded my expectations so I’m glad I took their advice.

What is something youre passionate about?

Legally Blonde is one of the most important movies of our age.

Who is someone you admire, and why? 

Someone I admire a lot is the director Taika Waititi. He has written most of his films and is an amazing storyteller who brings pieces of himself to every project while also making his work very relatable and universal. If I can make films in my professional career that are even half as cool as his, I would be very happy.

Q&A With Nursing Professor Jenna Park

PUC’s nursing program is our largest department. Offering a two-step program in A.S. and B.S.N., and a B.S.N. program for registered nurses, students come from all over the country to gain real-life experience, receive hands-on training, and be mentored by caring, dedicated professors. 

Jenna Park is one of PUC’s nursing instructors who teach first-quarter nursing students. As a PUC nursing alum, she enjoyed her college experience so much that she decided to come back and teach the future generation. 

What is your favorite thing about teaching in your department? 

I’m relatively new at PUC as a professor, and I love all the support I get from my department. I also love the class I’m teaching, as I see tremendous growth in the students.

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

Each quarter is one cohort together, and as they advance in the program, they advance together. The comradery within the cohorts is pretty neat to see.

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

There is freedom for me to start my classes with a word of prayer and a verse of the day. I can also share spiritual experiences I’ve had with my patients in my personal clinical stories.

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

PUC grad nurses, including myself, have been working on the frontlines to fight COVID-19, whether it’s in the ICU, ER, or vaccine clinics. But we honestly can’t wait for all this to end.

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

When I was a student at PUC years ago (not sure if it’s still relevant now) nursing students were known to disappear after getting into the program. We’re always studying and going to clinicals!

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

New students can look forward to an intense amount of work and reading! But mostly, students can look forward to putting everything they’ve learned and will learn into practice to provide care for patients not only physically but also spiritually and mentally. 

Advice From Professor Park: 

“I would ask them to seek what motivates them to be a nurse and let that be a true drive-in pushing through with the program. Students are always surprised by how intensive the program is, so being efficient with time management and knowing the best study and learning habits beforehand may be helpful. And lastly, it’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to ask for help, whether you seek help from the TLC, the counseling center, your professors, or your classmates. Nursing is really hard! We’re all here to help our students.”

Visit our website to learn more about the department of nursing. Our admissions team can answer any questions you have. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu to speak with one of our admissions counselors to start learning about what PUC’s nursing department can offer you. 

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.