Tag Archives: alumni profile

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! 

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.

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: Judith Mendoza

Meet PUC’s newest admissions counselor, Judith Mendoza. After graduating from PUC, Judith continued her education at Andrews University where she received her MA in youth and young adult ministry. Judith has a passion for Adventist Education and was excited to accept a position that would bring her back to our beloved tree-covered mountain. 

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

I first came to PUC as a student in 2011 and it was the trees and community feel that drew me to PUC. Thankfully that decision led to some of my favorite memories and people. After graduation, I felt a call to ministry and headed to Andrews to get an MA in Youth and Young Adult ministry. As I was approaching the end of my time at Andrews, my friend Angel (another Admission Counselor) told me about an opening here in admissions. While it may seem like I diverted from ministry, I find there are so many opportunities where I get to share my two biggest passions, Jesus and Adventist Education. Connect Ministries allows me to share in worship experiences with our youth in local churches and schools, while college fairs will let me share with others PUC and the things that make this place and our education system so special. I’m very happy to be back.

What is something you can do that might surprise people?

I am an amateur ‘master juggler’ in balls and rings, I got close to mastering the hollow bowling pins but I still need some practice. I’m also a decent goalkeeper and love participating in PUC’s soccer intramurals. Look out for my team, ‘Lakers’ (I did not pick the name-Go Portland Trailblazers!), this season.

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

I love going to Melted, I have always been a fan of comfort food and grilled cheese always hits the spot. I also feel a little fancy there because it’s not your regular grilled cheese but like an upscale version of it.

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

In the transition from a student to a staff member here at PUC, I’m happy to see I still get to experience the warm community feel which first drew me in. I was already friends with most of the other admission counselors, but the rest have been so welcoming and encouraging as I learn the ropes. Not just the team but other faculty and staff members have also made me feel like a family member who’s finally home from a trip. In a way I feel like that too, PUC was home for me for four years and while a lot has changed, the people are as friendly and this campus is as beautiful as I remember.

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

If you look at my Spotify account it’s all over the place, there’s an Anthems playlist, a Spanish playlist, an English playlist, and I also have a Disney Channel playlist. I don’t think I can narrow it down to one song, but according to Spotify it’s Hesitate by the Jonas Brothers.

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

Reading. I love reading for pleasure and since I’m no longer reading textbooks every day, I’m taking advantage and getting back into it. You may also find me at brunch, Sunday morning brunch is a big thing in my family and I’d love to continue that with my cousins and brother who are here in Angwin.

 

Faces of PUC: Gregg Gallemore

Meet Gregg Gallemore. Last year, Gregg decided to move back to his alma mater and take a welding job with facilities management. He recently got married and is he’s really enjoying being back in an area he loves, building a home with his new wife. 

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

This is kind of a long story, but essentially, I know I am here at PUC because God wants me here. I know it’s a little cliche sounding, but it is the most blatant answer I can give when I ask myself that same question. When I reflect on the whole story of how I came to work here, everything was too perfectly timed out and in my mind, that isn’t how life typically works. Every time I pray, I ask God to give me blatantly in my face answers, ” God, either shut me down hard or kick my butt through the door but I want/need an answer.” PUC was a kick through the door. Every time I ask God to give me a blatant answer, there it is right in my face.

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

I’ll say working with the facilities team is probably the best thing about working here. I love working with these guys and sincerely appreciate the work they do. They make working here easy, even when I have to crawl into the stinky dirty trash truck to weld something!

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

Tra Vigne is always good. Eat inside or outside, both offer a really nice environment or “AMBIANCE” if you want me to get all fancy with my words.

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

I love metalwork, so much so that I built a huge wedding arbor for one of my childhood friends. I also built my wedding arbor as well. Because my craft is working with metal, these aren’t simple arbors, they are all made out of steel with intricate metal details. Aside from that, I ride a motorcycle and sometimes I do wheelies on that motorcycle. 

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

Songs? … try albums. I know these aren’t the best album’s to admit to listening to on repeat, but Tool’s new album Fear Inoculum and Stick Figure’s new album World on Fire.

Who is someone you admire and why?

I admire my dad. He just has so much more patience than I do and that is just one of the many qualities I admire about him. He’s also a really good man that I strive to be like.

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

On Sunday morning’s you can find me sleeping in till 7 or 8 am!, working on cleaning up my place, walking my dog Amica, and then working on whatever project I’ve got going.

 

What I Should Be Doing: An Interview with Music Alumnus Brennan Stokes

By Becky St. Clair

Brennan Stokes graduated from Pacific Union College in 2013 with a degree in piano performance. Having discovered a love for composition while studying with Professor Asher Raboy in the department of music, Stokes chose to continue his education at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, graduating in 2019 with a Master’s of Music in composition. Today he maintains a teaching studio in San Francisco’s Sunset District, passing on his love of music to the next generation of pianists. 

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How did you discover your love for music?

My parents are both musically inclined; they both sang in the church choir, Mom took piano lessons as a kid, and Dad plays the trumpet. They started me in piano lessons when I was in kindergarten, but there was always music in our house. I just took it and ran with it.

How did you settle on the piano?

It was the first instrument I learned, and it was a match from the start. I really liked it, and according to my teachers, I showed some promise for it, so I kept playing. Piano just made sense to me. 

How did composing become part of your musical life?

I always assumed I was going to be on one side of the page. I knew I was going to learn it, research it, analyze it, but I never considered creating it myself. When I found out I had to take a composition class for my degree, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but after our first assignment I realized how magical this process is and I fell in love with it. I continued to take classes with Professor Raboy even after the requirements were done. Creating new music was incredibly exciting for me. 

Tell us about your studio.

I teach 30-35 students a week, all between the ages of 5 and 13. My schedule is very flexible; since most kids are in school, I am relatively free during the day. I start teaching around 3 p.m. three days a week and teach until 8 p.m. I enjoy what I do. I consider myself very fortunate to be working in my field, teaching young musicians.

When you’re not teaching kids to create music, you create music yourself. Describe your approach to practicing.

Really, it starts slow. Paying attention to fingerings becomes essential; training my hands to do smaller tasks automatically. Then I focus on rhythm, hand by hand, figuring out what each part of the piece sounds like, then I put it all together. A valuable tool Dr. Wheeler gave me is reverse practice. If you only ever start your practice at the beginning of a piece, that’s always going to be the strong part. But if you start at the end, which is often the hardest part, you ensure the end is also strong. Then you feel even more comfortable with the piece. 

What is the difference between hearing a piece and playing it?

It’s a totally different experience to hear a piece than it is to see what the hands have to do to make the piece happen. You may feel like you know a piece after listening to it multiple times, but when you sit down to actually play it, you realize there are little rhythmic or harmonic nuances you didn’t realize were there. For example, the harmonies in some Chopin and Rachmaninoff pieces are super crunchy. It sounds like you’re playing something wrong and you check the notes three times, but that’s really what it is. You learn it, and suddenly it’s not crunchy anymore; it works. 

Aside from providing a way to make a living, how has studying music contributed positively to your life?

The last several years I’ve been getting into poetry and it has turned into a cycle of self-enrichment. I read poetry and feel like it was meant to be an art song, so I create some vocal music to go with the poem. Also, music allows me to meet really incredible people from all over the world. Music is the most universal thing; it doesn’t matter where you come from or what language you speak, you can bond over music. I love how it brings people together.

Who is your favorite composer to play, and why?

I’d say Chopin and this relatively new 20th century English composer named York Bowen. Chopin changed the game for solo piano. Yes, it’s technical, but once you get it in the fingers, it becomes so fluid and so natural. There’s playfulness, there’s sadness, and the composer’s intentions are really clear. Bowen utilizes really rich harmonies and has a bit of a jazzier feeling. I don’t think he’s well known but he’s written a ton of music; in particular, his preludes and ballads feel really nice to play.

Who is your favorite composer to listen to, and why?

There are two to whom I constantly return: Ravel and Beethoven. I have yet to encounter a piece by Ravel I’m not stunned by. He was a wizard of music and his chamber and orchestra music is stunning. Every instrument’s shape and technique is magic because he thought about more than the obvious ways to use the instrument. He utilizes every aspect of shading to get different tone colors and sounds.

Beethoven takes his time with his surprises. What he did to change musical form is a reminder that if you feel like doing something, you can. He’ll pull a fortissimo out of nowhere or move through his harmonies in an unexpected way. His sonatas are really rich; one movement is fiery and passionate then another is lyrical and serene. It’s incredible to realize you don’t always have to do the same thing all the time. He reminds me to come back to things that are good and innovate. I’m still looking back to these masters and finding ways to influence my music-making process. 

What is something you want to improve about your musicianship, and what are you currently doing to move in that direction?

Right now, rhythms and the finer points of notating what I want, maintaining my ear to get the intricate harmonies I love. I constantly have to work at how I put the complicated pieces together in the way I want them. During my first year of grad school, I took a musicianship class, and it was insane but incredible. Walking out of that class, my ear was so much sharper than it had been walking in. I still use techniques from that class to keep track of what has happened in a piece and what I’m doing next. 

What is the highlight of your career thus far?

Definitely my first composition recital in November 2017—the first time I heard one of my pieces performed. I had composed two songs for mezzo soprano, violin, cello, and piano, and I was terrified. I’m so used to being in the driver’s seat, and it was terrifying to be the composer just sitting in the audience watching four other people do my music and having zero control over what happened.

It was an immense learning curve handing my music over to other musicians; what I think works initially may not actually work after a second pair of eyes looks it over, especially when I’m composing for instruments that are not my primary. I also learned that how performers interpret music is also a part of the creative process.

A lot of people came up to me afterward and said it was amazing. It was a moment when all of my fears of not being good enough vanished. To be positively received by an audience was wonderful, but for my music to be positively received by the musicians playing it was even better. It was confirmation I was doing what I should be doing.

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If you could change one thing about society’s perception of classical music, what would it be?

I wish more people understood if you have the context of 20th century music, it will make more sense. The 20th century saw a lot of horrible things happen, and that’s reflected in dissonant 20th century music. It’s not necessarily pretty to listen to, but if you understand what they’re trying to say you don’t necessarily disagree with it. It takes a moment to transcend what you’re hearing and realize what the composer is saying; for example, a minor key with shrieking strings can express how a Polish composer feels about the Holocaust. If you understand what it is they were experiencing or reacting to, it contextualizes their voice and makes the music more accessible. 

How do you deal with performance anxiety?

I read a book on performance anxiety and the author said if you don’t get nervous, if you don’t feel anxious or get a boost in energy (whether positive or negative) before a performance, it’s apathy. You don’t really care. If you’re nervous before you perform, it means you want to do a good job and perform to the best of your ability to make sure what you put out there is wonderful. That really changed my way of thinking. I’ve learned to recognize what happens to me and where my nervousness affects me the most, then find a way to adjust. I try to fully relax my body and tell myself I’m going to give a wonderful performance. I reassure myself I’ve practiced, I’m ready, and I’m a good enough musician to find my way through the performance. This is music and music is fun, and sharing it with others should be enjoyable. That nervous feeling just means I’m doing the right thing. I’m doing something that matters to me. And that’s how it should be. 

 

Sensibilities: Douglas Sandquist at the Rasmussen Art Gallery

By Becky St. Clair

In the early 90s, Douglas Sandquist attended PUC as a bio-chem. Upon being accepted into dental school after his junior year, he left PUC and headed to dental school. He went on to become a dentist back in his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, where today he curates the unexpected combination of his dental career and photography. 

In 2016, a photo Sandquist took in Iceland with his iPhone and shared via Instagram was requested by Apple for use in a worldwide marketing campaign. This resulted in mega exposure for this Nevadan dentist-photographer. (More on this in the Q&A—keep reading!)

Some of Sandquist’s photographic art will be displayed in an exhibit in the Rasmussen Art Gallery beginning this Saturday, Oct. 12, with his opening reception at 7 p.m. He will present an artist talk and refreshments will be served. Before you go, though, you may want to learn a bit more about the artist himself. We did, so we asked him a few prodding questions. 

Introducing: Douglas Sandquist.

Where did you grow up, and how did that environment contribute to how you view the physical world? big-image-1

I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s right in the middle of the Southwest part of the United States. California, Utah, and Arizona, along with their beaches, deserts, and National Parks, gave me the opportunity to get out and see what was out there. I’ve never stopped exploring.

 

 

What sparked your original interest in photography?

I actually dabbled with it even as a child. It wasn’t until I wanted to get better at taking photos for my day job as a dentist that I really started getting serious about it. I wanted to somehow be able to capture what I do. Most dental photography is macro photography, but it’s also portrait photography. I originally wanted to learn how to take better clinical photos, so I delved into learning how to better use a camera, how to compose a shot, and how to work with different lighting. One thing led to another, and I started to enjoy photography outside the office just as much as in it.

What was the first camera you used to start shooting artistic/intentional photography?

I bought a Canon 10D in 2004.

What camera is your instrument of choice now?

I currently use a Canon 5D Mark IV and, of course, an iPhone. 

Where do you learn your photography skills?

I’ve never taken a formal photography class. I am mostly self-taught, but I have also participated in workshops all over the world, and have engaged in online mentorship programs for over 10 years.

Okay, let’s talk about the Apple iPhone ads. (You knew it was coming!) How did this happen?

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Crazy as it sounds, I didn’t submit my photo to Apple. In January 2016 I took a photo with my iPhone and posted it on Instagram with a few hashtags—as you do—and a few months later, I was contacted by Apple and their advertising agency, requesting the use of my photo in a campaign. I agreed, and within a matter of months, my photo—taken with an iPhone 6S—was on billboards, in magazines, and on signs around the globe.

 

 

 

Where did your photo show up, that you know of? big-image-3

That photo appeared on over 30 billboards all around the world: L.A., San Francisco, Dallas, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Paris, India, six cities in China—including Shanghai—Korea, Thailand, Mexico, Tokyo, and Turkey, and on the back of magazines all over the world. 

 

What inspires you as a photographer?

I love challenging what I see and then attempting to capture it. It also means I get to get out there and go see the world. 

What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

I particularly enjoy capturing cold landscapes and the stars in the American Southwest. 

How do you think the desert of the American Southwest and the frozen tundra of Iceland are connected for you? What draws you to those environs to shoot? big-image-2

Both of these regions offer plenty of opportunities to ask, “How did this happen?” Whether it’s a massive arch-like Double Window in Arches National Park or the glacier ice that ends up on the black sand beaches of Iceland, there are always unique views and perspectives to capture and ponder. I also love the way the light transforms these elements. Different times of the day or year create different scenes that often catch me off-guard and illuminate my sensibilities.  

We have to ask one completely abstract question, so here goes: If the experience of taking the perfect photo had a color, what would it be? big-image

Sunset Orange 🙂 

 

Where Passion and Profession Unite

Every Pioneer has a unique story. Each one is different, but they all started at the same place. Here! An education at PUC prepares students for more than just a career. Graduates are equipped with the practical knowledge and the spiritual nurturing to succeed and serve and are ready for whatever the future brings. 

PUC is a place where passion and profession unite. Our grads know the combination of a beautiful and perfectly located setting; dedicated professors; and a hands-on approach to Adventist education, all play a part in starting your future. At PUC, you find more than just a major—you find your calling.

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Cameron combined his love of surfing with graphic design and is thriving as a senior designer at RipCurl.

“PUC gave me a lot of opportunities to work one-on-one with my professors. Under their guidance, the skills and techniques I developed and perfected helped me land my dream job at Rip Curl.” Cameron Mitchell, Senior graphic designer, Rip Curl

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As an animal lover, Mindy dreamed of doing more. Now she’s a vet performing surgeries to help save the lives of horses.

“Reflecting on my undergraduate education at Pacific Union College, I can’t imagine better preparation for my career as a veterinarian. The biology program gave me the foundation needed to transition into veterinary course work with ease. My professors were not only wonderful instructors but ensured my academic success through personal mentorship and course flexibility. The smaller class sizes afforded many opportunities for leadership and teaching roles that greatly enhanced my application in a highly competitive pool. PUC influenced my transition from student to educated professional equipped to face the challenges and triumphs of my chosen career as an equine veterinarian.” Mindy C. Smith, DVM, cVMA, Associate Veterinarian, Equine Medicine

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Alex is a self-proclaimed “people person” with the singular focus to one day make a positive impact. Following her passion for education and service drove her to a career in public health. 

“PUC was not only where I received an education, but also where I received the opportunity to be an enrollment counselor. That experience has trained me to be successful in my field when it comes to working with the community in countless ways.” Alex Dunbar, community education specialist

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Stefaan combined his love of the outdoors, sports and photography into a double degree in photography and business here at Pacific Union College!

“I’ve always been an athlete and I’ve always loved photography. In my junior year, I studied abroad in Spain and I spent a lot of time traveling and finding what my passions were and I came away from that year seeing photography as a very viable career for me.” Stefaan Dick, adventure photographer

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Julie found her path around the world through global service. 

“I never imagined that my degrees in English and psychology would lead me to a job in missions that takes me around the globe. Yet my professors at PUC celebrated the diversity of people, culture, and ideas. They taught me to look beyond the surface and dig deeper for new perspectives. They showed me how compassion and dialogue can build community, wherever you are. By teaching me how to think, PUC prepared me for the world.” Julie Lee, Vice president of marketing, Maranatha Volunteers International

If you’re interested in joining our amazing alums and becoming part of the Pioneers family, apply today!

 

Alumni Profile: Karisa Lowe

When people talk about doing anything you can imagine with your degree they really mean it!

Karisa Lowe graduated from PUC in 2008 with a degree in Public Relations and Journalism. Since graduating, she has founded her own publishing company and published several children’s books.

We asked Karisa to share about her experience at PUC and what life is like as a children’s book author.

What inspired you to start writing children’s books?

I’ve always been interested in writing books, but originally full-length novels. After graduating, I dabbled in newspaper writing and decided I liked creative writing more. But by the time I decided to try creative writing again, I hadn’t done any kind of writing for a while. Writing a children’s book seemed like a much less daunting task than sitting down and cranking out an 80,000 word novel, so I decided to start with that. After I wrote the first book, I started reading it at schools and bookstores just to get some feedback and I ended up really loving the interaction with kids. It was very rewarding and I fell in love with the whole process and everything came together from there.

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How did you come up with the idea for your books?

When I decided to start writing children’s books, I really wanted them to have a purpose. I was reading a ton of books to my nieces and nephews and started realizing there a ton of cute books, but more often than not, I would get to the end and think, “is that it?” I felt like a lot of books were missing that lesson, morale, whatever you want to call it. Basically, something teachable for kids to take away from the book. So I came up with one specific scene for a dentist book and decided to make a series of kids books that tackle first encounters (first trip to the dentist, first trip on an airplane, etc) and eventually just important topics close to my heart, like nutrition. I built the entire series off of this purposeful concept.

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Describe your typical work day.

On a typical work day you’ll usually find me checking and filling orders, making sure inventory is up to date, at the post office mailing out orders, making and editing marketing materials, brainstorming new marketing and sales opportunities, booking events, etc. Honestly, I could probably write an entire page of things I usually do on a typical day. If I have “nothing” to do, then I’m doing something wrong. When you work for yourself, you never run out of things to do.

How did your major prepare you for this endeavor?

I studied both Public Relations and Journalism at PUC. I always thought I would end up in journalism but I have definitely ended up using my public relations knowledge more. Since I published my books through my own small publishing company, I do everything myself: marketing, sales, vendor relations, etc. Typically, authors just want to write and sell the manuscript, which is much less work than the way I’m doing it but also requires them to share a large chunk of the profit. With my public relations skills I know that I’m capable of doing a lot of the non-writing tasks myself and I’ve made it into a profitable business.

How did your classes and professors at PUC help prepare you to write children’s books?

My Public Relations and Journalism teachers gave me confidence in my writing skills, which gave me the confidence to go out on a limb with this venture. My PR classes have turned out to be an invaluable asset. I never thought I would be writing press releases or marketing plans, but plans change! I’m so glad I paid attention despite thinking I wouldn’t necessarily go into PR. And if I’m a little rusty on something, I know I can still contact professors Lynn Thew, Michelle Rai, or Tammy McGuire and they always come through for me.

What are your plans for 2015?

2015 is an exciting year already! I’m in the process of signing a contract for a distributor for Early Ink Press, which will be key in expanding sales to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers. I’m also working on some non-Arlo children’s books with my illustrator Edmund Boey, which we’re really excited about.

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If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?

I would tell myself that it’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life. You’re young and still figuring out what you like and what you’re good at. I ended up switching majors four or five times throughout my freshman year until I settled on Public Relations and Journalism halfway through my sophomore year. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just enjoy the experience.

Check out Karisa’s books and publishing company at www.earlyinkpress.com.

Alumni Profile: Jasmine Kelley

Here at PUC we have some amazing alums doing everything from helping to animate feature films to publishing children’s books. Jasmine “Jassy” Onya’e Kelley graduated PUC in 2012 with a degree in Photography and Graphic Design. Recently she decided to use her degree and her creative skills to start her own business selling handmade, all natural skincare products.

We sat down with Jasmine and asked her some questions about starting her own business and her time at PUC.

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1. You recently started your own business – Did you ever think that was something you would do?

It’s something I have always wanted to do, but I didn’t have the confidence back then to actually start it. Sometime after college I started working for small business owners who inspired me to start my own business. I saw how happy and successful they were and I wanted the same thing – to be successful on my own.

2. Describe your typical work day.

After waking up, I write down a list of tasks I need to complete before the day is over in my day planner. Tasks like making products, completing Etsy orders, shipping orders, posting on social media, taking inventory, and responding to emails.

3. How did your major prepare you to start your own business?

Having the knowledge of photography and graphic design helped me have control over my style, which fonts I want to use, how they will work with my aesthetics, etc. Being able to photograph my products in certain light using different backgrounds any time I want without relying on others is nice. It’s great being able to do it all by myself.

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4. How did your classes and professors at PUC help prepare you for starting your own business?

My classes at PUC helped me realized which paths I wanted and did not want to take. I knew I loved web design, but I lacked certain skills with coding and I did not have the patience for it. I loved designing books, layouts, and covers and being able to create something new, but I lacked the ability to design with a pencil and found my skill through the computer. I discovered my strengths and weaknesses and in turn what I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.

My photography and design professors really inspired me to stay on top of my game, to always take the time to go above and beyond and to check everything twice, to make sure my work was clean and understandable and that my presentation was strong. I also noticed my design professors had their own design projects outside of teaching and I loved seeing how they found time while still being amazing teachers. One particular marketing professor inspired me when it came to advertising and putting myself out there. I learned a lot in that class and it was one of my favorite GEs to take.

5. Have you had any support from the faculty and staff at PUC?

Yes I have had lots of support from my college professors. Some gave me feedback when I had doubts about which design approach to take with the look of my business and several have actually purchased some of my products! They didn’t have to, but it makes me feel special knowing they are proud of me and their support truly means a lot!

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6. What advice would you give PUC students who are considering starting their own business?

Even if you have your doubts, just go for it and don’t let anyone stop you. I didn’t read a book on how to start a business – I just did it. It all came together in a matter of months and I learned a lot more as my business grew. You don’t always have to go by the book. Every business is different. Use your resources, try new things, take advice from people you look up to, ask questions and most importantly, take action.

7. If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?

I would tell myself to stop doubting, ask more questions, and to just try.

Check out Jasmine’s Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/onyaenaturals.