Category Archives: Student Profile

Faces of PUC: Isabella “Abbey” Esperanza

Meet Isabella “Abbey” Esperanza, a sophomore pre-nursing student from Vacaville, CA. She shared that she chose to attend PUC because of its location in Napa Valley and heard that PUC has a really good nursing program. Abbey is passionate about personal growth and wants to be the best person she can be. 

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to be a nurse practitioner because I want to be able to help the community. 

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

When I was young, I wanted to be a bunch of things, but I always knew I wanted to be a part of a team. 

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

My favorite thing about PUC is that everyone is so welcoming. The professors and campus staff are all so helpful and want us to do well. The campus is also quiet and calm, which makes it easier to get work done. 

Where is your favorite place in the world?

This is a hard question because each destination provides a different and special experience, but my favorite place is Destin, Florida. I would even live there one day! I love the beaches and vibes I get there. 

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

If I were trapped in a movie for a day, I would choose Mamma Mia because I love the movie and how it is based in the country of Greece. 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am passionate about personal growth. I want to become the best person I can be. 

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

A place I would recommend visiting is San Francisco because it is a fun city with fun activities such as shopping, good food, beaches, and more. There is always something to do on a night out! 

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.

Faces of PUC: Daphne Saucelo 

Daphne Saucelo is a freshman from Antioch studying to become a nurse. She has always known that she wanted to pursue a job in the medical field and likes that nursing gives a variety of areas to work in. Daphne also represents our women’s volleyball team and considers them her family away from home. We’re thrilled to have Daphne a part of our Pioneers family! 

What is your dream job? 

I aim to work as a nurse for a while, save up my money and take over my family’s business with my sister. 

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

When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be in the medical field. Originally, I wanted to be a dentist because I loved teeth so much, but I felt like it would be a boring job to clean teeth all day. Nursing is so wide-ranged; I would have the choice to pick what area I want to work in. 

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

My favorite part of being part of the Pioneers family is playing on the volleyball team. I love to have a little family here away from home. I love to practice with them, continue team bonding, and making lifelong memories.  

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world would be Lake Tahoe. It has been a family tradition to go there, and I just love the clear waters, the vast forests, and the cabin houses there. I always feel at ease and calm whenever I am there seeing mother nature.

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

If I could be trapped in a movie for a day, it would be High School Musical 2, working at a golf course over the summer with all your high school friends. It sounds so fun spending an entire summer together with friends, singing, and dancing. Even though they were working, the group of friends had each other and made it a summer they would not forget.  

What is something you are passionate about? 

I am extremely passionate about my family. They have helped me shape who I am today. They have taught me important life lessons, ways of life, and much more. Family is the most important thing in life, and I always believe in treating my future family with the same love and respect. 

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

I totally recommend Walnut Creek or Concord. It has malls, shopping centers, boba shops, and a whole variety of restaurants. You will find great eats out there. My favorite places are The Cheesecake Factory and OH Gane Korean BBQ.

Meet Student Chaplain, Ashley Garner 

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

Share with us what it means being a student chaplain.

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

What made you want to be a student chaplain?

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

What are your responsibilities?

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

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain?

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

What is your favorite part about being a student chaplain?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite weekend activity?

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

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

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

What do you love about PUC?

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

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. 

Faces of PUC: Alexis Jenna Torres 

Alexis Jenna Torres is a nursing student from Vallejo. She dreams of becoming a pediatric nurse because she loves working with children and seeing them grow into their full potential. Her favorite thing about being a Pioneer is how supportive and caring the community is, which makes Alexis a great fit at PUC because she has such a caring heart. 

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to be a pediatric nurse. I grew up with many siblings, and I am the oldest, so I’ve had a lot of experience with kids. Throughout high school, I’ve taken classes that allowed me to gain more experience working with children and, I fell in love with the idea ever since. My favorite thing about working with children is seeing how they can grow to their full potential and being able to build a close connection with them. I hope to bring light into my patients’ day and give them a reason to smile!

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

When I was younger, I actually wanted to be a teacher but, with more background on that, I realized it wasn’t quite for me.

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

When I first attended PUC, people were so welcoming and friendly on campus. The staff was so helpful, but even the students were easy to talk to and get along with. My favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family is that I love how everyone supports and cares for each other. I now count PUC as my second home. 

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place to travel to is Hawaii, specifically Oahu. I love tropical destinations because the weather is always beautiful. It is lively no matter where you go there, and there’s so much to do! Usually, I go to the beaches, but other than that, my family and I go to a Luau which hosts shows like hula/Tahitian dancing. They also provide great food. 

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I am currently watching a comedy show called New Girl, but I would recommend Grey’s Anatomy! 

What is something you’re passionate about?

Something I am passionate about is being close with family and spending quality time with them. The most important thing in the world to me is family. My family has always been my biggest supporters, and they’ve always shown me so much love. They helped shape me into the person I am today. Without them, I would not be me. 

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

Lately, I’ve been going to San Francisco. There’s always plenty of things to do there, whether it’s actual activity places or even sight-seeing places. If you’re a foodie like me, I recommend trying Korean corn dogs at this new restaurant called Stix! A really good picture spot would be the Conservatory of Flowers also. 

Faces of PUC: Silvia M. Sosa

This week’s Faces of PUC is senior Silvia M. Sosa. She is from our lovely town of Angwin and will be graduating with a BBA in Health Management. Silvia is passionate about healthcare, and as a kid, she wanted to become a doctor but later realized as she got older that she wanted to pursue medicine and business in college. We’re happy to have a dedicated student like Silvia and can’t wait to see her accept her diploma. 

What is your dream job? 

President of my own hospital or Director of a Neuro Department within Adventist Health.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a doctor when I was younger, and it was not until later that I realized that medicine and business were two subjects I wanted to pursue in college.

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

My favorite thing about being part of the Pioneer family is just that, PUC is truly a family through and through. The people that you meet on campus are some of the sweetest and kindest people you will ever meet, people who become friends for life. 

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world is in my room, but New York is a close second 😉 

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

If I were trapped in a movie for a day, I would choose Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

What is something you are passionate about? 

I am extremely passionate about healthcare and what the future holds in terms of our health and our way of life with our current climate. 

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

I highly, highly recommend you stop off by Marufuku Ramen in Japantown and get there early because it is so popular that lines will start to form around noon on a Tuesday afternoon. If you’re vegetarian, I recommend you get the Vegetable Ramen, and if you enjoy spice get the ‘Spicy’ heat level. To pair your ramen, spicy or not, enjoy it with a nice cold Matcha drink! Within the same building, head downstairs (of its location) and stop off to get some mochi donuts at Mochill Mochidonut. They have a variety of flavors to die for, not to mention they are delicious, so instead of just getting one, get a box of a dozen.

Pioneer Profile: Nathan Hiss 

Nathan Hiss is a junior biology student from Orinda, CA., and represents PUC’s Men’s Cross Country team. With a background in cross country in high school, he joined the team his sophomore year and enjoys every part of it. He answered a few questions for us to share a bit of what it’s like being a student-athlete and playing for PUC. 

What drew you to PUC athletics over another college? 

I didn’t attend PUC with the initial intention of joining the XC team but rather joined it my sophomore year! I ran XC in high school and thought it would be a good idea running again.

Walk us through a typical team practice. 

Usually, I would wake up at around 5:45 in the morning, throw on some shorts and head down to the track. Coach Muhic would then walk us through what our practice was going to look like, and we would either go on a long run or do a speed workout! Then in the evening after classes and labs, I would go on another run totaling 5-10 miles a day!

What is your favorite part about being part of your team? 

Team runs are my favorite part because my teammates always motivate me to go faster and longer!

How do you balance your time between school and sports? 

Since practice is in the morning it works out really well! After practice, I study before classes then attend those classes and labs, then study some more, and go on another run. I found a good balance from removing TV, YouTube, clash of clans from my day.  

What advice do you have for students who are interested in being a student-athlete? 

Do it! It’s a great way to make new friends and keep yourself healthy. 

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

Team dinners are my favorite.

Do you have a favorite athlete? If so, who and why? 

I looked up to Michael Phelps because in addition to running I was on the club and high school swimming for most of my life. 

What are other things you are passionate about? 

I am really passionate about hiking, tennis, gardening, volunteering, fishing, and Bobby, my gorilla figure!

What are you most looking forward to this school year? 

I am really looking forward to trying all the restaurants in Calistoga. I already got through St. Helena and decided Farmstead or Goose and Gander are the best there. So I am looking forward to seeing what Calistoga has to offer!

Faces of PUC: Nat Nguyen

This week we’re highlighting Nat Nguyen, a junior from Pasadena majoring in Biology Pre-Med. When he was younger, he wanted to be an astronaut but now aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon to make prosthetics for people who need them. We are blessed to have a student like Nat be a part of our Pioneers family!

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to become an orthopedic surgeon specializing in prosthetics. I want to be the person that makes cool robot arms for people who need them. 

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

When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut. Then I changed career paths when I discovered I was scared of heights. 

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

My favorite part about being part of the Pioneer family is getting to know everybody, from other students to professors. Once you find your community here it becomes hard to imagine you could’ve been anywhere else.

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

Any place there’s a dog or cat I can pet.

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

The obvious choice for me would be any Studio Ghibli movie, except not as the protagonist. I don’t want to deal with fantastical, magical problems. I only want to look at fantastical, magical scenery and eat their food.

What is something you’re passionate about? 

Something I’m passionate about is keeping up with my journal. I love collecting small items and drawings to compile into one place I can remember the past with. Because if I don’t record my life no one else will.

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

If I had to plan a day in the Bay, it would start off at an art museum like the De Young or the MOMA, and end with sesame balls in Chinatown.