Category Archives: Academics

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.