Category Archives: My PUC Story

Caleb Pudewell, Graphic Design Major

If you love the posters pictured as much as we do, let us introduce you to the artist who designed them! Caleb is a senior graphic design student in PUC’s accredited department of visual arts, as well as a design intern in our Marketing & Communication office. His illustration work is inspired by his passion for nature and the outdoors and when he graduates this June, Caleb plans to pursue a career with an outdoor company or creative agency in the Pacific Northwest. With his portfolio of projects that also includes identity branding, publication, and clothing design, we are confident he’ll be another PUC success story!

To see more of Caleb’s work, visit behance.net/calebpudewell.

Faces of PUC: Introducing PUC’s Newest Professor of Mathematics & Data Science, Nathaniel Adu

Give a warm welcome to Nathaniel Adu. He has only been teaching at PUC for three months, but has already experienced the warmth of our beautiful community and is happy to be a part of our Pioneers family. Being at PUC has given Nathaniel a feeling of how heaven is going to be like with the welcome and belonging he feels here. 

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

I have heard about PUC through a friend whose brother attended PUC. He always spoke highly of the school. I decided to work here mostly because of the sense of community living. The PUC family is extremely welcoming and I have experienced the warmness from day one. I also wanted to work in a place where I can grow not only physically but spiritually. PUC is one of those few places and I am glad to be part of that community. 

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

I feel welcomed and belonging. I love the diversity. It gives me a feeling of how heaven is going to be like. People of all ethnicities living together in harmony.

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

I love to cook and play soccer.

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

Day by Day SDAH 532

Favorite movie to watch? 

Coming to America by Eddie Murphy

Who is someone you admire and why? 

The late Nelson Mandela. He didn’t let what happened to him in the past affect him as a leader of his country. He was able to forgive the people who put him in jail and also put measures in place to reconcile his country when they needed it most. He was a symbol for peace and a great leader. His humility is what I like about him most.

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

Playing soccer with my friends. 

Get To Know Your Student Association

Welcome to a new year at PUC! We are so excited to get to know each and every Pioneer! This year we have a great group of student leaders who have been working hard to make sure this is the best year yet. Let’s take a minute to meet them and when you see them around campus, don’t hesitate to say hello!

thumbnail_image001Lewis Govea – President 

“There is nothing I want more than to reunite with my PUC family, but I know everything is going to be different when all this is over. The incoming SA Team has the monumental task of rebuilding the PUC Family following this forced separation, but that’s exactly what we signed up for. This pandemic has strained our support systems and left us feeling alone, but I want everyone to know that SA will be waiting for you all with open arms and hearts full of love when we are back together again. We see our reunion as something to be excited for and we are ready to make PUC feel like home again. SA misses everyone and can’t wait to be back home on the hill. We love you all!”

thumbnail_Image-2Aileen Kurts – VP 

“I’m so excited to be a part of SA because I know the potential Student Senate has for making great changes at PUC. I’m ready to lead the Senate to make PUC feel like home for all students. I’m hoping to create a mentorship program at PUC so freshmen have some more guidance in what they’re doing and so they know people who have accomplished what they dream of. Senate is a powerful tool that I’m hoping every student learns about and utilizes so that their experience at PUC is the best they can have because PUC is not just a school but a place to create a family and call home.”

thumbnail_11B82805-844F-4B31-8C46-5B54A7F03BCDSebastian Anderson – PR/Marketing VP

“I’m thrilled to have another opportunity to be a leader and representative of the student body. I hope to use the PR & Marketing position to bring the whole campus closer together while helping campus culture and energy flourish. I want to do everything in my power to make sure everyone feels included, involved, and invited to everything the SA team puts together.”

thumbnail_ImageGrace Jong – Social VP 

“Hey, guys! I can’t wait for all the exciting new adventures that God has planned for PUC. This upcoming year, I have so many events planned in order to connect the students together. Stay tuned always remember to give love and give grace :)”

thumbnail_Image-1Keren Castro – Religious VP 

I’m really excited to be part of SA and bringing new things to PUC. My biggest goal for next year is really to bring more opportunities for the students to seek a more personal and deeper relationship with God while creating a stronger community through it. This past year, I was on Noah’s RVP team and we brought together Afterglow and we’ve seen amazing outcomes from it. So now I only want to expand from that.”

thumbnail_IMG-20190831-WA0008Miriam YU – Financial VP 

“I’m excited to meet everyone, especially the new SA team, real soon and also to bond with the student body. As FVP I look forward to growing in this position and meeting all the accounting goals.”

thumbnail_ADC_0034Adam Adreveno – Video Producer 

“I look forward to making quality videos for everyone to engage with and enjoy!”

Faces of PUC: Karina Saavedra 

Karina Saavedra is a nursing student from American Canyon. She is a driven student who aspires to have a career that will always challenge her and feels like nursing is a perfect choice. Karina also enjoys doing calligraphy and spending time with her friends during her free time. 

 What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to one day be a CRNA: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. I love to challenge myself, and I have always aspired to have a career that will constantly challenge myself every day. I want to care for and save my patients’ lives. I want to be an advocate for them. I love working with people and giving them a reason to see another day! 

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

As silly as it may sound I wanted to work at Target. As a kid, I was obsessed with the idea of being a cashier at Target.  

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

The Pioneers family is naturally very welcoming and loving—I love this the most about being a part of the Pioneers family. From the moment I arrived on campus, I instantly felt at home with the numerous people that made me feel like I had a new family.  

 Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world is the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand. I went island hopping on all six islands of Phi Phi, and it was the most beautiful site in the world. I love nature as well as being in the water. I was able to swim in the ocean and the lagoons of various islands.  

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I am currently bingeing on Avatar. I love the show so much, this is my second time watching the entire series! 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I love to do calligraphy in my free time, so writing is something I am personally passionate about. Writing/calligraphy is something that’s helped me cope with my stress in college.  

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

Growing up around San Francisco, I do have some personal favorite places to go to. If you love to walk around and enjoy the scenery, I recommend taking a walk around Bernal Heights Park, Fort Point, or walking around Sausalito. If you love sweets and coffee like me, I recommend Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. There are also many countless shopping areas and restaurants all over the Bay Area!  

 

Faces of PUC: Dannica Roberts 

Coming to PUC from Honolulu, HI, Dannica Roberts is studying physical education. As an older sibling, she’s always been a nurturer and is really passionate about helping people which makes her a great fit here at PUC where students are encouraged to join service projects. Dannica is well-known for being “super sweet” so when you see her on campus don’t hesitate to say hello! 

What is your dream job? 

My dream job would be to become a pilot and a dentist for children. 

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

When I was young, I wanted to become a teacher, so my dream jobs have not happened yet. Eventually, I would love to learn how to fly a plane and maybe get some experience in the dentistry field. 

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

I receive so much love and support from the Pioneers family. 

What is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite places in the world are either the beach where I would be surfing or in another country, like Taiwan or Peru where I would want to help with community service projects. 

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I have been binge-watching Criminal Minds and I am so close to finishing all 12 seasons of it. 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am passionate about going out into the community and helping with service projects. 

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

I would recommend buying a ticket to go riding on the cable car around San Francisco and of course, visiting Ghirardelli Square. 

 

Faces of PUC: April Medel 

April Medel is a senior from Stockton, Calif., majoring in psychology with an emphasis in Spanish and pre-medicine. She is passionate about helping others and is dedicated to making changes in how the medical field treats minorities. April was sweet enough to answer some questions for us. We are truly blessed to have students like April on our campus!

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to be a doctor. Personally, it does not really matter to me what kind of doctor I end up being as long as I am able to make a difference in someone’s life physically and emotionally and being able to use my knowledge and resources to try and fix parts of the system that are broken, like the prejudice many minorities face while seeking medical care. 

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

I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was in the first grade!  Having the ability to help others and using the resources I have to help those in need is something I wanted to do since I was a kid and I am glad that my priorities have not changed. 

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

My favorite thing about being part of the Pioneers family is that I am given the opportunity to worship God at the end of a stressful week. Many schools do not offer that opportunity, and I feel like it is great how PUC students can all get together, praise God, and give thanks for another successful week. 

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world is definitely Yosemite. Yosemite is basically my second home and I have been going there since I was born. It is a place where I can shut out the world and just thank God for all the blessings in my life. 

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I have been watching Space Force and 100 Humans on Netflix. Space Force is such a cute show and I just love Steve Carell. 100 Humans is extremely interesting so if you are interested in research and random human behaviors, then you should definitely check it out! 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am really passionate about standing up against racism and making sure everyone is treated equally and with respect. The Black Lives Matter movement, standing up for women and LGBTQ+ rights, and helping immigrants and DACA recipients are stuff that I am really passionate about. 

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

I recommend going to Napa or to Pier 39 in San Francisco with your friends. If you want a bit more adventure, definitely check out Alcatraz in San Francisco or the Manchester House in San Jose. 

 

His Passion, God’s Plan: How one alum followed his calling

By Becky St. Clair

Darrin Thurber graduated from PUC in 2007 with a degree in music performance on guitar, and a student missionary year in Pohnpei under his belt. He went on to earn a master’s degree in music from San Francisco State University, but ultimately, he felt God calling him in a slightly different direction. Today Darrin is a pastor with a wife and two daughters, and we ran into him again because, after several years in the midwest, Darrin is back in California, taking on a new experience as senior pastor of the Calimesa Church in SoCal. 

Let’s start with an easy one: Why music? 

I’ve always been very passionate about music, and I love performing. I also come from a musical family; my grandfather was a wonderful musician and sang with the King’s Heralds back in the 60s. My dad is a guitarist—he’s the one who taught me to play, actually—who loves to arrange and compose music. I grew up playing for church often, and I enjoyed it so much I would sit on my own at home and just play and sing. When I got to PUC, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but I signed up to take a music theory class, and I was hooked from day one. It was so much fun and exactly what I wanted to study. 

So how did you make the jump from music to pastoring?

When I was studying for my master’s, I was the interim worship pastor at the PUC Church for about half a year. That experience changed my life because I discovered I could use my music skills while also serving in a leadership role in the church. I learned a lot about what goes into planning a worship service, including how to collaborate with various entities, people, and groups, and exploring a variety of music styles. It felt perfect to me, but God had other plans. He closed that door and instead called me to Ohio to be a preaching pastor.

What did that look like for you?

Well, I originally went to be a campus ministry director on state college and university campuses for the Ohio Conference. Shortly after I got there, though, I felt God tugging me toward the seminary, so I went. What followed was a one-year stint pastoring a four-church district in rural Ohio before we settled in Mansfield where I served as pastor for five years. A month ago, in June 2020, I followed God’s lead to fill the senior pastor role at the Calimesa Church, and we’re just starting to get settled here.

How do music and pastoral ministry fit together in your life now?

Music is such an important, central part of church worship. Having a background in music has allowed me to be able to dialogue and collaborate with worship leaders and church musicians to plan services, and I’ve also been able to use my passion for music to connect with youth in my churches. Because of my experience being involved in several different ensembles at PUC, and during my time as worship pastor there, I can relate to a lot of people’s church music experiences and preferences, and it helps me as a pastor be able to meet their worship needs in a meaningful way.

How do you feel your overall experience at PUC prepared you for your life after college?

Oh man, PUC prepared me in so many ways. I had numerous opportunities to really grow my leadership skills and grow in my areas of interest—namely, music and sports—in a spiritual environment. Both of these things took a lot of my time in college, but they also taught me work ethic, commitment, and hard work. Both music and being on the basketball team taught me success doesn’t just come magically; I have to put in the time and effort to see results. All of that has benefited my pastoring a lot, as I’ve learned to prepare church services and sermons and help coordinate ministries and outreach programs.

Let’s take that a bit further: How do you feel the spiritual environment at PUC was beneficial?

Practicing these skills in a spiritual context prepared me to continue doing so as a pastor, and showed me that the best way in which to apply my passions and gifts is in a spiritual context. Music, leadership, and working hard toward something mean the most in a spiritual environment where you impact people for the Lord. I developed a lot of spirituality at PUC.

Today, as an adult, a pastor, a husband, and a dad, where or when do you feel closest to God?

The process of writing a sermon and preaching week after week is grueling, but it forces me to really depend on God in a way that’s so unique from other parts of my devotional life. Almost every week I tell God, “I can’t do that again. I have no more ideas. I’m spent.” And every week, without fail, he gives me something. He shows me his word is powerful and that he can use me even though I feel inadequate. The call to preach was never something I’d considered as a career, but the process of studying with God and being in prayer with him week after week are the moments when I feel closest to him. 

Darrin Thurber '07

Faces of PUC: Dylan Gray

Meet Dylan Gray, a marketing communication and emergency services major heading into his junior year at PUC. We asked Dylan what made him choose PUC, his answer made us proud to be Pioneers!

“I love PUC for many reasons but one of the biggest is the people. I love the friends I’ve made and memories we’ve created and I can say with full confidence I am where God wants me to be. I chose PUC mainly for financial reasons but once I got here I knew I really had no choice in the matter. God had already made the choice for me and I realized if it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill and he’s going to place me where I’m supposed to be.”

Dylan is a friendly guy and was happy to share a bit about himself. If you see him around campus, say hey!

What is your dream job?

To be honest I don’t really have one. One day I would like to work in fundraising and coordination with non-profits for disaster relief programs. There are a lot of things could do with my degrees but I just haven’t figured out a path I want to travel after college. I’m not worried about it though because ultimately it is not my decision, it’s all in God’s hands!

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

Quite a bit. When I was younger I wanted to go into Oceanography and marine biology. I love the ocean still but I can’t imagine myself in the field doing research all-day. I love the outdoors and I want to incorporate that into my work somehow as I move forward in life.

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

My favorite part of being in the Pioneers family is that I never feel excluded anywhere I go. No matter where I go on campus I am always running into people I know and finding different events to go to. It seems like no matter where I am on campus I am always greeted with a smile. I have made some of my best friends here. Not just the type of friends that you enjoy hanging out with then don’t talk to after you graduate, I mean the type of friends that I want at my wedding one day if I ever get that lucky. Truly good people.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

I grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Lake Tahoe in a little town called Cromberg. Living here for most of my life has left me with an affinity for the mountains and being out in the wilderness. one of my favorite places is a little lake up in the Plumas-Eureka National Forest called Wades lake. This lake is about twenty miles from any type of civilization along the Pacific Crest Trail. I love this place because when I go there it’s just super relaxing and offers a great time to reconnect with God through nature.

What show are you bingeing these days?

Well, I don’t have too much time to watch anything at the moment, but when I am not so busy you will definitely find me watching How I Met Your Mother. 

What is something you’re passionate about?

Worship and Ministry. The most important thing in my life is my relationship with God and I will take almost any chance to worship. I love worshiping with my friends and supporting them through the prayer group that we have started on campus. Click the link to read more about the group! https://blog.puc.edu/2020/02/13/prayer-in-numbers/ 

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

I am not much of a city guy but one of my favorite places is Coit Tower in SF. The views from the top are absolutely phenomenal! If you like the outdoors a little more, I recommend heading out to Point Reyes, it’s a gorgeous area and it’s right on the beach.   

 

Faces of PUC: Emily Smith 

This lovely lady is Emily Smith. Emily comes to us from Lake City, Florida, and just finished her freshman year studying biology and management for medical professionals while and next year will be taking on the role of event coordinator for the Pre-Med/Dent Club. After an unusual ending to the school year, Emily kindly answered some questions about herself. 

What is your dream job? 

I would love to be a doctor! Currently choosing between being an OBGYN, ER, or surgeon. 

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

I have always wanted to work in the medical field. I had a phase where I wanted to be a nurse because a lot of people in my family are nurses. Then I switched to wanting to be an esthetician because I love skincare! 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am really passionate about health and that includes skincare, fitness, diet, and overall wellness. God gave us our bodies and we owe it to him to keep it in the best shape we can! 

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

I love how inclusive the Pioneers family is. The campus is not very big, so it feels like one big family. Everyone is super friendly, and it feels like a second home. 

What is your favorite place in the world? 

Costa Rica! I lived there for 8 months when I was 7, and I loved it! It is such a beautiful place with loads of culture! 

What was the last book you read? 

The last book I read was “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. A very inspirational book! I highly recommend it! 

What is your favorite type of food? 

I love any type of food, as long as it is vegan and full of flavor! 

What is your favorite Bible verse? 

My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I love this verse because it comforts me when I have big decisions to make. It is comforting to know that God is in control and that he has my best interest at heart. 
Thank you, Emily, for sharing a bit about yourself with your Pioneers family! We can’t wait to see you soon!

PUC’s Newest Admissions Counselor​: Nicholas Borchik

Nicholas Borchik graduated from PUC in 2019 and has recently found his way back to our favorite College on the Mountain only this time, his role is a little different. After receiving a degree in social studies, Nic decided to join the Admissions team as a counselor. Now Nic spends his days sharing his love for PUC and higher Adventist education with future students, helping them make intelligent decisions about their college journey.

Note: If you’re interested in attending PUC or have any questions, you can reach out to Nic at Nic@puc.edu or any of our other counselors at admissions@puc.edu.

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

I initially came to PUC as a student because I had already built such a strong community here through my brother and some of my best friends who were a little bit older than me. I have chosen to stay in the area because I have grown to care so much for this school and what it can do for students looking to grow their education and their faith, and I am looking forward to seeing how God will use me in this position.

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

For me, it has always been the relationships that you can develop across pretty much every aspect of life, from education to food, fun, and faith.

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

Gott’s Burgers will always be one of my favorites. Nothing beats a Gott’s burger and shake after a long day!

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

I have always been really into DIY projects. One of my goals for the future is to build most of the furniture in my house!

What is one song or album you’re listening to a ton lately?

I have been listening to an album called Living Room by a band called Lawrence quite a bit recently. Musically it is a super rad album with genius lyrics, giving you something different to focus on each time you listen!

Who is someone you admire and why?

I have always admired Jon Foreman guitarist and singer for the band Switchfoot. First off as a musician and lyricist he influenced me greatly in the way I expressed myself through music when I was first learning to play music. More importantly, as a man of faith, he uses his art and his platform to advocate and stand for things he believes in.

What’s the last book you read for fun?

Recently I have been rereading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.

Favorite movie to watch?

I love tons of different movies, but one that I am able to re-watch quite a bit and that has become one of my favorites is Knives Out. It is probably one of the best movies I have seen in a long time!

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

Honestly probably sleeping in and trying to figure out something delicious to eat for lunch!