PUC’s Department of Visual Arts Shares the Wealth

Many classes in the department of visual arts require the use of specific, expensive equipment. While PUC is blessed to allow students access to the very best, virtual learning posed a bit of a problem. How would students complete their projects while so far away from the resources they’ve grown accustomed to using? Instructor of film & television production Tim de la Torre and assistant professor of photography Brian Kyle decided to carefully pack-up and ship super-8 film cameras to their students so they were able to complete their projects remotely. 

de la Torre has also personally sent students iMacs from the school’s computer labs, cameras, and filmmaking gear and knows his fellow professors have sent students from photography and printmaking classes packages of tools and equipment to complete their assignments. He says he knows at least one student went so far as to take an entire ceramics wheel home back in March! 

de la Torre speaks for everyone at PUC when he says everything is going to be better once all students are back on campus but for the time being, he and the rest of the department are committed to providing their students with the same level of care and attention they receive in the physical classroom. “We are making this online thing work!” says de la Torre. 

Learn more about the department of visual arts at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about these programs, or the other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.eduto get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!

Get To Know PUC Church Pastor Chanda Nunes

By: Ashley Eisele

In the midst of the pandemic, the PUC Church welcomed new lead pastor Chanda Nunes after more than a year-long search to find the right candidate. 

Pastor Nunes was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and is a graduate of Burman University (formerly Canadian University College) and Andrews University, where she received her Master of Divinity degree. She also holds associate degrees in private investigation & paralegal studies and is a certified life coach practitioner.

She began her pastoral ministry in August 2003, serving the Alberta Conference at the College Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church, on the campus of Burman. From 2008-2015, Pastor Nunes served the Kansas-Nebraska Conference at the New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church and was the first Black pastor ever to serve in the Conference, as well as the first Black woman pastor to serve in the Mid-American Union. She was commissioned while there in 2011.

Pastor Nunes has served the Northern California Conference since 2015, most recently at the Capitol City Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, Calif. She is the first Black woman pastor to serve within the Conference where she was ordained in June 2018.

“My biggest hope for right now,” Nunes says. “Is that this pandemic will cease, and that we have an opportunity to come back together as a church family to experience the love and fellowship that we have been missing all these months.”

While Pastor Nunes is very excited for the unique experience of pastoring in a college town, the pandemic has not allowed her congregation to get to know her as well as she would like so she jumped at the chance to sit down (virtually) and answer some questions. 

What is pastoring like during a pandemic? 

Pastoring during a pandemic is a unique position to be in. This is something we’ve never been through or have seen modeled for us, so we’re literally starting at ground zero. This is the time for pastors to unleash their creativity like never before, in order that the Message of the Gospel can continue moving forward. 

How do you connect with a new community when our congregation is virtual?

This part is a challenge. I’m an extrovert and love to meet new people, so with the social distancing that we are expected to adhere to, it will now take (more) time to get to know members individually. Every week, I try to work my way through our church family directory, and make a number of phone calls, send emails/texts messages.

What makes pastoring a campus church special? 

Pastoring a campus church is an exciting and unique experience! You have great resources at hand, the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, energy and insight from all age-ranges, and the desire to come together to learn, and to lift up Jesus!

What hopes do you have for the PUC Church and community in the coming months and years? 

My biggest hopes for right now is that this pandemic will cease, and that we have an opportunity to come back together as a church family to experience the love and fellowship that we have been missing all these months.  

The PUC Church welcomes you to join their weekly worship service each Sabbath morning at 11 a.m. Join at livestream.com/pucchurch

Alumni Profile: Robert Quiroz, Born For Service

By: Dana Negro

Robert Quiroz’s grandfather, Robert Moreno, served in the U.S. Army for 20 years; executing combat jumps in Korea with the infamous 187th Rakkasans, two tours in Vietnam, and was a purple heart recipient. Quiroz was named after him and knew at an early age he wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and serve his country. Just months after his grandfather passed away, Quiroz lost a close childhood friend to an IED in Afghanistan. As he grieved the loss of these two important people, he realized now was the time for him to take action. After a lot of prayer, Quiroz joined the California Army National Guard on March 29, 2011. 

Quiroz knew of PUC but it was only while reading Fearless, by Eric Blehm, the biography of Adam Brown, a Navy SEAL who died in Afghanistan, that an idea began to form. The book mentions a young man from Angwin, Calif., and that caught Quiroz’s eye. The thought of completing a college degree was very appealing and it seemed like he was meant to be at PUC. Once he returned from military training, he and his wife moved to Angwin and began attending PUC.  

Quiroz graduated from PUC with an associate’s degree in health sciences, ’16, and a bachelor’s degree in health communication, ’19, and spent this past year working as a staff member in the public relations office at PUC. Towards the beginning of the pandemic, Quiroz received a call from the National Guard informing him he would need to report for duty immediately. He left his wife and baby daughter and headed out to help serve his country and community during some of the greatest times of uncertainty. We talked with Quiroz to learn more about his experience serving on the front lines. 

What kind of regular training do you have to do to be ready to serve at any time?

The National Guard is unique. We are dual purpose, meaning; we train for our units’ federal mission and our states mission in case we called in for a state emergency. Different units have different responsibilities and roles in case of an emergency, and it depends on your MOS or Military Occupation Specialty. My first is 88M or Motor Transportation. I joined a unit that was being deployed to do route clearance in Afghanistan. A job where you find IEDs and save lives. I transferred to that unit and became a 12 Bravo or Combat Engineer. That deployment didn’t end up happening so I switched my focus to our state mission and trained CERF-P which stands for Chemical, Biological Radiological, and High-Yield Explosive Emergency Response Force Package. It is a homeland response to a disaster, natural or man-made. The unit I was a part of was Search and Extraction. We trained to enter collapsed structures and rescue people. It was hard work, but we were able to train with Urban Search and Rescuer Task-4 firefighters from the Bay Area. It’s very important for the National Guard to work with other agencies because we augment their abilities. In the end, we are citizen soldiers and are a part of the community we serve. 

You served while you were a student and a staff member at PUC. You are also married and have a young daughter. How do you juggle your responsibilities at home, in the classroom, and work with the potential to be called in to serve with little notice?

It was tough. Especially when I first started school at PUC. My unit was always training and sending me places during the quarter. I really had to make one-on-one connections with the faculty and explain my situation. Most were understanding and really helped me out! My commitments really made me learn to plan things out. I always knew I would be away at least one weekend a month and that was the week I really needed to get all my school word done. There were numerous times I was called away for duty and it interrupted school. Those connections with the professors really saved me. 

It also helps to have a wonderful partner. My wife is amazing. It’s tough on her at times. The military has given so much to my family, but it takes time in return. I’ve missed birthdays, weddings, and special occasions. When I was deployed for a year, I missed everything! Even her graduating from PUC in 2017. That was tough. She is a champ and I am blessed to have her in my life. 

This spring towards the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic you were called in. Tell us about that.

It was chaotic at first. We had warnings that we may be called up. My unit first tapped eight people for a mission to support the Department of Public Health doing what they called “symptom screenings.” Our jobs were to screen the workers for any symptoms of COVID-19. If anyone showed symptoms, they were sent home. It was important because our locations were vital data gathering hubs that tracked resources and numbers relating to COVID-19 in the state of California. These were operating centers that couldn’t afford to be shut down, due to an outbreak, because lives depended on correct numbers to allocate resources according to the most severe areas. It was long days, but I felt like I was contributing to the fight. We were put up in hotels in Sacramento for two months. It was weird being the only people driving around since Sacramento was shut down. It was the longest time I had been separated from my daughter. I saw her twice during my activation. In the end, I was grateful to be home safe and COVID free.

Where were you sent? 

I was sent to Rancho Cordova for a few weeks. Our mission was to conduct symptom screening for the Medical and Health Coordination Center in downtown Sacramento. This center received data concerning COVID-19 from health centers all over California. Eventually, they went remote and we were sent to do the same thing but at the 115th Task Force in Roseville. The 115th were responsible for coordinating California’s National Guard response. They were receiving their information from the California Office of Emergency Response. Again, it was a logistics hub that couldn’t afford an outbreak of COVID-19.

What were you responsible for doing?

I was part of the group of eight that our company activated. I was in charge of the seven. We conducted symptom screenings at three separate locations. My job, in addition to system screener, was Non-Commission Officer in Charge or NCOIC. I handled information flowing in and out of our group. On ESAD (Emergency State Active Duty) orders many things have to be tracked daily. Food, fuel used, gallons of fuel put into the vehicle, miles on vehicles, who has the day off, who is sleeping where, among many other things. All that information had to flow up to a central person (me) and then I had to push that information up the chain of command. 

What was a typical day like?

At first, we would wake up at 4:50 a.m. to be on the road at 5: 25 a.m. Work started at 6 a.m. and went till 6 p.m. This was life for a while with no days off. During that time, we would put on some protective equipment and screen everybody who came in the MHCC. 

Once I moved to Roseville the cycle changed. I worked two days and then had one off but the actual work was the same. I also gave one of my days off to some of my crew at another location who had no days off. 

With degrees in health science and health communication, was there anything you learned in your classes or from professors at PUC that you were able to use while serving in the community?

I would actually like to thank professors Duncan, Vance, and Sung. Because of their classes, I was able to understand the various terms the personnel were using at the MHCC. My communication courses played a role in me better communicating with Army personnel. You really need to know how to approach people to effectively get your concerns understood. I was thrust into a unit where I knew nobody and only had one prior working relationship. In the end, we were part of a team, but it takes time to build that team relationship. The better you understand how to communicate across many levels and personalities the quicker you are absorbed into the team. Thank you to communication professors Rai and McGuire. Your  knowledge helped in many different ways!

What has been the most memorable part of serving during the pandemic?

I would say the people I met. They were from parts of the California National Guard I never would have had the opportunity to meet before. I met many people from San Diego, LA, Bay Area, and Northern California. It was such a diverse group that all jumped at a moment’s notice when our state was in need. It was really cool to see everyone playing a part and contributing to the success of the overall mission of helping the state function. I also got to share a hotel room with one of my buddies from my deployment. We were roomies again! 

The Women’s Volleyball Team Shows Pioneers Spirit

By Richie Silie 

Times are difficult and that is a fact. But even in the midst of a global pandemic, our student athletes are finding ways to be good “teammates” to our surrounding communities. 

Members of our women’s volleyball team made the decision to volunteer at the COVID-19 testing site in Yountville, Calif. These ladies didn’t just help at the mobile clinic, they also passed out food, toiletries, and various personal health items to families in need. Overcoming challenges and working as a team are part of an athlete’s everyday life so it was no surprise to see the selflessness of our Pioneers. These incredible young people lead our athletics department by shining their light “all around the neighborhood.” 

The #PUCPioneersNation has really stepped up and shown they are proudly part of the larger Napa Valley community. Though we are more than ready to have all our students back on campus and regain a sense of normalcy, we are blessed to give back in as many ways as possible because that IS the Pioneers way! 

Follow us on Instagram at @pucpioneers!

PUC’s Department of Nursing Redefines the Clinical Experience for Students

The nursing profession as a whole is fundamentally about patient care so when teaching nursing students, interacting with patients is of the utmost importance. In the spring, when Napa County received shelter-in-place orders, the typical clinical experiences for PUC nursing students needed to be reimagined. 

Professor of nursing Tamara Tirado found an alternative to the norm: virtual clinical experiences that focus on real-life nursing issues and experiences. “It has been both exciting and challenging for students to learn how to navigate their critical thinking skills in the online environment,” Tirado explains. “Being able to integrate virtual experiences in our courses has helped us to overcome the obstacles brought on during this challenging time and still meet the learning needs of our students.”

Learn more about the department of nursing at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about the programs, or other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.eduto get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!

Faces of PUC: Introducing PUC’s Newest Nursing Professor, Jenna Park

Jenna Park is a PUC nursing alum and enjoyed her college experience so much she’s back! Jenna is an assistant professor in the department of nursing. She started her position in July but is no stranger to the community. Jenna’s happy to be back in the Napa Valley, not just for the great restaurants, but being a part of the Pioneers family again. 

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

I decided to come back to PUC because I saw how close and supportive the faculty was even when I was a nursing student. I enjoyed my time at PUC and loved the community, so I knew I had to come back. Nursing school was the most challenging two years of my life, but it was also the most fun and exciting.

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

The best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family is I have the best nursing faculty team. Everyone has been so supportive and welcoming, and I feel like I adjusted fairly quickly to this new position. I also love how close I am to all my favorite places to eat!

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

Whenever I am away from the Valley, I always crave and miss Giugnis Deli. I don’t know what it is about them. There is so much nostalgia and that goodness just makes me want to come back for more all the time.

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

I’m not sure if it would be surprising, but I am obsessed with Disneyland, and I usually go at least once or twice a year. So it’s been tough to be away from Disneyland for so long due to COVID-19, but I am happy that they are staying closed for the safety of our community.

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

I’ve been so busy I haven’t listened to a lot of songs recently, especially since I find it difficult to work or study with music playing in the background.

Who is someone you admire and why? 

I admire my mother because she came to the United States and provided for the family, even though she barely spoke any English. She was a nurse in Korea before I was born, and she came back to the career almost fifteen years later in a whole new country with different rules, cultures, and languages. She is now a veteran nurse, and she has gained respect from all her coworkers, and many nurses come to her for advice. She is the definition of perseverance and hard work, and I aspire to be like her.

Favorite movie to watch? 

It depends on my mood. If I want something adventurous or fun, I’d watch something on Disney Plus. Maybe it’s Moana or maybe it’s The Avengers. But if I want something classic, I love to watch Pride and Prejudice.

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

Sleeping in or grabbing brunch at Gillwoods or Grace’s Table in Napa!

Alumni Stories: Working Through A Pandemic

We have been living through this pandemic since March which means the last eight months of our lives have been very strange! We have been dealing with virtual learning, working remote, wearing masks, physical distancing, and finding new ways to communicate and socialize. We decided to reach out to some of our alums to find out how things have been going for them.

Larissa Church graduated from PUC in 2008 with degrees in History and English. She worked for PUC for many years as an admissions counselor and as the director of public relations. After years of volunteer work, she decided to pursue her passion for helping animals, full-time. We asked Larissa how her ner job was going and how COVID-19 had changed life at an animal rescue.

I’m the communications manager at House Rabbit Society in Richmond, Calif. I manage donor relations, fundraising campaigns, and social media. I’m also the editor of our biannual magazine, the House Rabbit Journal. I started in late summer 2019, and to say my first year has been a whirlwind is an understatement!

I was fortunate enough to already be working from home a week before the state’s shelter-in-place order came in back in March. My work had the foresight to close early.

Like every industry, COVID-19 has significantly impacted the animal rescue and sheltering industry. We’re also facing a second virus, specific to rabbits, called Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV). For the first time, it’s spreading in North America in both wild and domestic rabbits. At HRS, we’ve had to change everything because of both viruses. We’re now indefinitely closed to the public. We shut down our boarding services and are no longer offering grooming services, like nail trims. Our adoption process has moved completely online, with adoption counseling done over Zoom and a contactless curbside pickup. I have an app on my phone that makes it look as though I’m calling someone from HRS when in reality I’m sitting on my sofa at home!

Since the pandemic started, we’ve had an increase in adoptions and foster applications, which has been amazing to see. Our donors have been very generous too, despite everything going on right now. In July, we had a successful matching campaign where we $20,000 in just four days! It’s strange to realize I have now worked more remotely for HRS than I did actually in the office and I’ll be remote for the foreseeable future. It’s been difficult to navigate this new normal, both personally and professionally, but I’m so grateful to be working for an organization and a cause I deeply care about. I can’t imagine being anywhere else!

For more information or just to see cute bunny pics, follow HRS on Instagram at @houserabbitsociety.

Larissa and Craig Church adopted Pepper, this sassy queen, from House Rabbit Society on Nov. 9, 2019.

Let’s Stay Together

It hasn’t taken long to realize how much we miss seeing everyone on campus every day so we know this year must be tough on you and your friends. Even though we know social distancing is important for everyone’s health and safety, it’s equally important to stay connected with your friends. Here are a few simple (maybe obvious) ways to do just that. 

Follow Each Other On Social Media 

We don’t really need to tell you this one, if you have social media you’re most likely already following your friends. But try following your new classmates too! It’s obviously a great way to get to know people and an easy way to stay in touch. 

Make A Study Group 

Get some classmates together at least once a week, jump on Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Slack, etc, and study! Not only will it help you with your classes but it’s a great way to chat and engage with your schoolmates, and who knows, maybe you’ll meet some new people.

Have Movie Nights 

Movie nights may look a little different right now but you can still have them! Pop some popcorn, grab a fizzy drink, your favorite blankets, and hop on FaceTime, Zoom, or Netflix Party and have a great time. Don’t forget to invite your fully little friends if you have them!

Enjoy Music Together 

Staying connected with your friends can be as simple as sharing music and enjoying it together. Send your playlists to your friends or send some songs you think your friends would like. If you have Spotify, you can even make a collaborative playlist. 

Start A Book Club

Pick a book, not a school book, and start a book club. It’s fun to read in general but it’s even better when you get to share with friends. Video chat each week or start a group text to discuss chapters.

Be A Penpal

The digital world has made communicating simple and fast but sometimes it’s nice to do things ‘old school’. Find a friend and exchange letters. If you’re like me you might get sucked down a rabbit hole full of wax seal and stamps on Etsy.

Everyone is handling this time differently so remember to check up on your friends. Nothing can replace seeing your friends face-to-face, but thankfully technology is here to do it’s best. No matter how far you are from your friends, remember to stay connected.

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. 

Highlighting Biology With Aimee Wyrick

PUC’s department of biology is well known for a rigorous lineup of classes. While the majority of biology students continue on to medical, dental, and veterinary schools there are other focuses as well. The department often ventures out of the classrooms utilizing our great location giving students the opportunity to learn in a variety of ways, while also allowing the professors to get to know their students better.

To give you more insight into the great community within this department, Aimee Wyrick, Chair and Associate Professor of Biology, gladly answered some questions for us. 

What is your favorite thing about teaching in your department?

My students and colleagues! I am blessed to work with a great team and I get to teach really interesting and fun classes. 

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

Biology is part of an amazing network on our campus and so, at our core, we are all #onePUC. However, our department is unique (beyond the obvious) in that the curriculum we teach has tangible real-world applications. We also have a lot of hands-on opportunities that range from activities in Clark Hall labs to local and distant field trips. 

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

As a small college, the professors have a genuine interest in student success. Biology classes aren’t easy but the faculty are here to provide support, guidance, and mentorship. Faculty support of our students builds their confidence and helps them to develop the ever-important “soft skills” alongside the critical knowledge for whatever career a student pursues. We also have a very successful peer mentorship program – the BIOneers – that partners new students with returning students.  

What are some cool things your department is doing? 

Of course, much of our “normal” operations are on hold right now but we look forward to having students back on campus soon and continuing with the following: Most Biology faculty have active research programs and provide opportunities for any student that is interested and eligible to participate in undergraduate research experiences. Our department sponsors frequent domestic and international field biology courses and research trips (Alaska, Brazilian Amazon, Honduras, Fiji, Micronesia, Mexico, and Kenya). Many of our classes utilize the PUC forest, Howell Mountain Farm, and Albion Field Station for field biology opportunities (and research) 

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

Where do I start? Most recently we learned one of our graduates (class of 2009) was just named an Assistant Professor of Pathology at LLU School of Medicine. Another graduate (2012) is working on a Ph.D. at UCSB in the areas of Spatial Ecology, Remote Sensing, Land-use Change, and Deforestation. Yet another graduate (2015) is an entomologist earning a Ph.D. at Utah State University. And a recent graduate (2020) starts her first year at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. We have so many accomplished alumni and it’s too bad I can’t tell you what they’re all doing! They make us proud and we cherish the memories of their time in Clark Hall. 

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

We are well known for our pre-professional program preparation. A majority of our majors continue to medical, dental, or veterinary school. Though our graduates are blessed to have a variety of excellent teachers across campus, the science faculty prepare students for the rigors of medical and dental school. We have a number of classes that are specifically tailored to the pre-professional student (e.g., histology and advanced human anatomy) that our graduate’s report is professional-school level. 

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

We have a focus on building community in the department of biology and being part of the BIOneer Mentorship Program is a must-do for new students. New students can look forward to meeting and getting to know a bunch of cool people (including the Bio professors) and getting to know the nooks and crannies of Clark Hall. A new student shouldn’t be surprised to meet (and learn) the names of our reptile menagerie, like Fred the Burmese python. 

This is Fred!

For more information about the department of biology or any of our other academic programs visit our website