Tag Archives: college

Faces of PUC: Kyra Grant

Kyra Grant visited PUC during a basketball tournament during her freshman year of high school and felt so welcomed. She loved the campus and felt a deep connection to it, which made her decide to attend PUC. Now coming from San Diego, CA, Kyra is a college freshman studying psychology and music. She’s discovered many parts of herself she didn’t realize before and it’s all due to “feeling safe and supported by the community.” 

What is your dream job?

In the future, I will be a psychologist and teach music on the side, but in my dreams, I’d love to be a chef or be in a very talented band. I love to do a lot of things that I don’t think I would be happy with just sticking to cooking my whole life or just playing music, but being a psychologist and teaching music on the side is a perfect balance of two things that I love.

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

When I was younger, I wanted to be a lot of different things, but one of the professions that stuck with me the longest was being a doctor, but that’s not for me anymore.

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

Ever since coming to PUC, I have gotten to grow and discover so many parts of myself I didn’t realize I had, and I think that’s due to feeling safe and supported by the community. I love being a Pioneer because every day I learn something new about myself, other people, and the world. I also love the campus and the nature around it! Every day I get to sit and read or study on the patio by Stauffer Hall- not a lot of campuses have such beautiful scenery! One last thing that is just such a blessing is the music department. The professors and everyone involved in music are always so wonderful and really show that they want the best for you.

Where is your favorite place in the world and why?

I love being in nature- anywhere the sun is out, there is greenery or water. It’s so nice to feel the warmth of the sun and the wind as well as just feeling calm by the trees and plants.

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

Although it’s not my favorite movie, being in the Avatar world would be so awesome! Just being in a jungle or at a beach all day without a care in the world is much needed, especially being a college student.

What is something you’re passionate about?

I am passionate about many things, but I get really passionate about things I’m interested in. For example, I am so passionate about music, but I also get passionate about life and the beauty of it. I also love learning about the theories of the universe and get really passionate about discoveries and all that stuff.

Can you recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend? If so, where?

I’m not from the area, so I’m not too familiar with what is around, but I love going to Yo Sushi and then Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Vallejo. It’s a beautiful trail where you’re able to sit and see the water up close.

Q&A with Aimee Wyrick-Brownworth: Dean of the School of Sciences, Associate Professor Biology Department

Aimee Wyrick-Brownworth has been working at Pacific Union College for 19 years. She is an associate professor of biology and was made the Dean of the School of Sciences in April. The dean’s job description has many facets, and though academics is the primary responsibility, she will take on enrollment, student life, and advancement initiatives. 

PUC will be a three-school model this coming school: Nursing & Health Sciences; Arts, Humanities, & Professions; and Sciences. Aimee will be one of three deans to help lead the college and will protect the School of Sciences faculty and guarantee they are at their best for the students. Her vision is to increase awareness of and accessibility to PUC academically excellent and Christ-centered education. 

Tell us about being a dean. 

These are the early days, so I am meeting with faculty and leaders of each department and others across campus. I am lucky to have colleagues committed to working as a team, and we are working together to identify priorities and action steps. The dean’s job description is multifaceted, and though academics is the primary responsibility, I will take on enrollment, student life, and advancement initiatives. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with the School of Sciences team to complete necessary and aspirational tasks that are currently difficult to implement or complete. 

I support, encourage, and protect the School of Sciences faculty and ensure they are happy, healthy, and at their best for our students. I work with the other deans and the VPAA to minimize distractions – ensure systems are consistent, inefficiencies are minimized, and processes are streamlined. As a result, faculty can focus on their students and classes. I advocate for departments in the School of Sciences and will (loudly) share firsthand knowledge of the great things going on here. I will help to recruit top-notch students that are a good fit for PUC and the School of Sciences. I plan to connect more (and more often) with the community and constituency that lies beyond our immediate campus.

What’s your vision for your school?

My vision is to increase awareness of and accessibility to our academically excellent and Christ-centered education. Our graduates think critically, are well-prepared for their profession, and show kindness. We want to expand the number of students that we train so that they, in turn, can increasingly serve others and the planet. I want to ensure that the School of Sciences faculty and staff find satisfaction in their work, feel supported, and are given the space and time to access their creativity and pursue passion projects. I want us to illustrate to our students, constituency, and others that the personal and financial investment at PUC is worth it and, even, that the education gained is priceless.

How can PUC help you accomplish your department goals?

PUC, as an institution, should support initiatives that enhance campus morale. The administration must clearly communicate with the campus about challenges and opportunities. At every opportunity, faculty and staff should collaborate to create and pursue campus initiatives and to problem-solve. PUC should ensure that student voices are heard and that all students feel safe and respected. 
The greater PUC (constituency and alumni) can support us by sharing the good news and great things that are going on at PUC. Our constituency can build us up by refusing to engage in negative speculation or spreading misinformation about our campus and future. The School of Sciences also needs your tangible support – send students our way and donate to student scholarships or other worthy causes on our campus.

What is your favorite part about working in academics?

I can interact with others (colleagues, students, church community) to encourage open discussion and inclusion. Though different views will persist, I hope that we can avoid emphasizing who is right or wrong and instead reflect God’s love and be Christ-like. I enjoy serving the diverse students who are in my classes. Doing this well requires me to juggle a multitude of duties, but doing this relies effectively on my personal enthusiasm and currency in these course areas. I gain strength from my students and my colleagues. The encounters and relationships with these people keep me coming back for more. 

What is one thing you want people to know about PUC?

The faces and names may be different, but PUC is and offers what we always have- an excellent Christ-centered education within a supportive environment. Unfortunately, many don’t understand why this is an advantage and/or how this translates in a world so focused on the immediate and tangible. I know that Adventist education is different and is, in most cases, superior to other public or private schools. I am excited to be at PUC, where I see from day-to-day the difference my colleagues and I make in the lives of these students. We are invested in their academic success, but that’s not all – we are interested in them as people and want them to have personal success as well.

What do you love most about living in the Napa Valley?

California, the Bay Area, and particularly the Napa Valley location can’t be beaten. We live amid an internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot. As a biologist, you can’t ask for a more diverse and interesting part of the world to study and study in. I enjoy PUC’s extensive acres of wildlands and can even watch bald eagles soar overhead and see pileated woodpeckers in my backyard! PUC is truly “Where Nature and Revelation Unite in Education”.

Ways to Cope with Anxiety in School

Many students share the struggle of having anxiety in school. With a lot of things going on at school, anxiety can build up. Some have figured out what helps them cope with their anxiety, while others don’t know where to start. Here are ten ways to cope with anxiety. 

Have A Routine

Having a routine keeps you on track with what you need to do. Your routine shouldn’t just consist of what time to wake up, do homework, or when to eat, but also when to rest and do things you enjoy. 

Take A Break

Taking breaks is essential to coping with your anxiety. There is so much going on around us that we need to take time to step away from the noise to catch our breath. Put your books, notes, and laptop aside for a bit. Treat yourself to a snack break, watch your favorite show, nap, or go for a walk to clear your mind. Always make sure to take breaks. 


It can be easy to forget to breathe when your anxiety builds up. When your anxiety gets to you, close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths. By focusing on your breathing, you’ll ease back into yourself. 

Eat Well, Feel Well

Make sure you’re eating healthy food every day. Having a healthy diet helps shift our mood and can calm our reactions when we’re hit with anxiety.  Try to avoid junk food and anything else that makes you feel sluggish. When you eat well, you feel well. 

Go Offline

You’re already spending a lot of time looking at a screen, so give your eyes a break. Disconnect from social media and go offline. 

Spend Time Outside

Spending time outside can help you feel more present and improve your well-being. Step away from the books once in a while and go outside to breathe fresh air and get your body moving. 


Many people find journaling therapeutic and helpful in handling their anxiety. Writing down what you’re feeling and what’s happening in your life can release stress and anxiety. 

Get Creative 

Get on the creative side of handling your anxiety by drawing, painting, coloring, sketching, or creating something. Having your favorite playlist or calming music in the background also helps relax your mind. 

Talk To Someone You Trust 

Talk to someone you trust about your anxiety. Whether that be a family member, friend, teacher, pastor, or school counselor. You are not alone and there is always someone you can talk to. 

Spend Time With God 

Last, but certainly not the least, is to spend time with God. Talk to God and tell him what’s giving you anxiety. Read his words and take his promises to heart. Through him, you will find peace, strength, and rest. 

Remember that you are not alone. Many students experience anxiety in school and at PUC, we take that seriously. Our Counseling Center is available to all students for free, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment. You can call the office at (707) 965-7080 or email counseling@puc.edu

It’s Okay To Feel Homesick

Even though college is an exciting time to embrace your independence and take on new adventures, being homesick is very common. No matter how far or close you are to home, there will be times you’ll feel homesick, so we’ve put together tips on how to cope with missing home.

Bring Pieces of Home With You 

One way to get more comfortable in your dorm room is bringing pieces of home with you. Bring your favorite pillow, blanket, or mug. Develop photos with your family and friends to keep around your room or in your planner. Things you’re able to pack that remind you of home, take it with you. 

Make Your Room Homey

Your dorm room will be your room away from home, so make it as homey as possible for yourself. Bring your personality into life from the little things like decor, to the big things like your bedding, towels, and 

Hangout With School Friends 

Plan outings with your friends- and take advantage of our beautiful campus and town, or have a movie or game night and cook food together. There are many things you and your friends can do on and off-campus.   

Keep Yourself Busy

Keep yourself busy by getting more involved with school. Join clubs, intramurals, music or ministry groups, or attend campus activities, events, or volunteer opportunities- Schedule time to do things you enjoy and when to have downtown. College will give you a structured schedule, so create a balance that will benefit you. 

Go Outside

It can be tempting to stay in your room, cozied up in bed watching your favorite shows, but don’t be cooped inside all the time! Don’t pressure yourself to socialize if you’re not in the mood but go outside for a walk, take a drive around the Napa Valley, and have a day for yourself. 

Treat Yourself 

Speaking of going outside, go out and treat yourself! There are things from home we just can’t get anywhere else, but you can try to find something that’s close. College will be like your second home, so find places that you enjoy and bring you happiness. 

Keep In Touch With Home 

Whenever you miss home, call or message your family or friends. It might make you miss home more, but being able to talk and see them virtually can make your homesickness more manageable. Home is always a phone call away. 

Make The Most of Time At Home

Always make the most of your time at home. Eat your favorite home-cooked meals, go to your favorite places, and spend time with your friends and family. Whatever you love doing at home, do it, because there is no place like home.  

Remember, it’s okay to feel homesick! Everyone at PUC knows what it feels like, so talk about it with your friends, advisor, counselor, and even your professors because we are all here to care and support one another. 

Sorting Out Priorities in College

The older you get, the more responsibilities you have. In college, responsibilities come at you from every direction. From school life to your personal life, countless things need your attention. Here are five tips to help you figure out how to sort out your priorities. 

Ask Yourself What Your Goals Are 

Think about what you need to accomplish and what direction in life you want to take. What kind of degree do you want? What steps are you taking to learning more about your career choice? Do you want to get involved in school or within the community? You don’t need to know all the answers right now, but at least have a goal you want to reach. 

Identify Your Priorities 

After knowing what your goals are, it’ll help you see what your priorities are. Obviously, school is one of them. Outside of that, you might have priorities from extracurricular activities. A job or your personal could also be things that need your attention. 

Know What’s Not So Important 

There’s going to be times where your friends want to hangout or people asking you for a favor, but you might be too busy already. When your schedule gets too packed and you’re feeling stressed, you have to let go of the things that aren’t a top priority. Knowing what’s not so important will allow you to put your time and effort into the actually important things.

Be Flexible 

We can control what we do, but we can’t control what life throws at us. When the unexpected happens, learn how to be flexible. Workaround the issue and focus on what you can control, rather than what you cannot control. Reorganize your priorities and see what you can do. 

Find A Balance

With everything that you need to do, find a balance on how to finish it all. This goes from eating, studying, and completing assignments, to making sure you take a break. Set goal times for when you want to finish each priority and to also make time for yourself. 

There aren’t enough hours to do everything, which is why sorting out your priorities is very important. No matter how many priorities you have, remember to make yourself a priority. 

Ways To Manage Your Classes 

The start of the school year can be a challenge. Especially being back to in-person learning, the struggle is real to get back into a routine. You’ll have to wake up much earlier to get to class and your energy may not be the same as it once was staying on top of schoolwork. As you adjust to this coming school year, here are six ways to manage your classes. 

Keep Your Syllabi

Your syllabi are a huge help in managing your classes. That is your cheat sheet to know what chapters to read, when assignments are due, when to expect a quiz, and prepare for an exam. Your syllabi will also have your teachers’ contact information, descriptions of readings and assignments, and other important things you need to know. Even if your syllabi are online, still keep your printed syllabi in your binder or folder. 

Stay Organized 

Stay organized by using a planner, calendar, or task app. Write down when your classes are, assignments are due, exams dates, meeting times, and anything else that’s a priority. At the start of each week or the night before, write down what you have to accomplish, and throughout the week cross them off. It’ll feel satisfying knowing you finished it. Whatever helps you remember things and stay organized, continue to do that. 

Establish A Study Strategy 

Find what study strategy is most effective for you. If you haven’t established a study strategy yet, consider experimenting with making study sheets, color coding lecture notes, or reading important chapters. For some students, handwriting notes, formulas, or diagrams help them remember important information. Everyone studies differently, so find what works for you. 

Get Help From Your Teachers 

If you start to get confused or need extra assistance in a class, get help from your teacher. You won’t be able to manage your classes if you have unanswered questions, so don’t be shy to reach out to them. They are there to help you and want you to succeed. 

Take Breaks 

You can’t manage your classes if you don’t take breaks. When you’re constantly studying without taking breaks, your brain will start to fry up, and you’ll get burnt out. Remember, to take breaks and write it down on your to-do list or planner- if you need to. You’ll feel refreshed and more focused after taking breaks. 

Keep God Close 

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of school and life but never stray away from God. Stay close to God because he will give you the motivation, perseverance, and strength you’ll need. When you start feeling stressed and overwhelmed, spend time with him. Read a devotional or your favorite verses to remind yourself of God’s love and promises. With God on your side, you can get through anything, and that includes managing your classes. 

PUC Climbs U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges List

By Laura Gang

Pacific Union College was again lauded for its excellence in higher education, ranking high among the region’s top institutions in the U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best College list released today.

U.S. News & World Report heralded PUC as the No. 2 Best Value School among colleges in the larger Western region, a jump from No. 6 last year. In California alone, PUC is first.

A Best Value School, according to the publication, is an institution credited with excellent academic programs and affordability due to low tuition costs and financial aid assistance. 

“I believe the best value that comes with a PUC degree is that our students are connected to a community of faith and well-prepared for a lifetime of service,” said Lindsay Hayasaka, PUC’s vice president of academic administration and academic dean. “Being equipped to create positive change in the world and live out kingdom values is truly invaluable—and this is what we are most proud of at PUC.” 

PUC President Ralph Trecartin agrees.

“These rankings have once again confirmed that Pacific Union College is a leader in higher education, not just for its quality academics but for its affordability,” Trecartin said. “We have consciously provided merit scholarships for students who demonstrate high academic qualities, but we also strive to make a college education at PUC possible for a range of students. Being a best-value college to me also means we are committed to practicing our eternal values.”

In the overall ranking, PUC ranks No. 13 out of 48 Regional Colleges West, up from No. 19 in 2022.

PUC maintained its status as a top performer in Social Mobility, ranking No. 12 out of 48 colleges in the Western region. Colleges in this category are compared based on the graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients to non-recipients.

Hayaska said these rankings show that PUC is fulfilling its mission to deliver Christ-centered education to students and prepare them for service.

“Our students are amazing—they are bright, curious, and ambitious for positive change in the world,” she said. “As professors, staff, and administrators, our job is to support, equip, teach, and inspire students to achieve their goals. We have been doing this for over 140 years—and plan to continue fulfilling the mission for many more.”

Trecartin said this is a reflection of the change and progress that’s been happening on campus. “These rankings are a testament to the hard work of our leadership, faculty, and staff. God has truly blessed our college,” he said.

The 2023-2024 Best Colleges rankings evaluate colleges and universities on a host of measures of academic quality. Areas include retention and graduation rates, class size, faculty, per-student spending, peer universities’ assessments, and graduates’ average federal loan debt.

For more information about the 2023-2024 rankings, visit www.usnews.com/best-colleges.

Meet Garrison Chaffee: Youth & Associate Pastor 

Pastor Garrison Chaffee has been working at PUC for three months but is no stranger to the campus. He graduated from PUC in 1999 with a bachelor’s in fitness management and a religion minor. Afterwards, he received his masters in pastoral studies and earned his teaching credential. Pastor Garrison loves PUC and the chance to show Jesus’s love to students. 

What made you decide to work at PUC? 

I love PUC! It is an incredibly beautiful place to live, and the community is amazing. Kids can ride bikes around town, we have the back 40 available to enjoy anytime, and most importantly, I love the real-life, real Jesus vibe that is PUC.

What hopes and goals do you have for the PUC church and community? 

To follow God’s lead in building closer relationships across the students, faculty, staff, and community and to grow closer to God as we serve Him.

What makes pastoring a campus special to you? 

I love the energy the high school and college students bring throughout the year! I love their deep thoughts and questions, they have their whole lives ahead of them and we have a chance to show them the love of Jesus and have the opportunity, by God’s grace to have a part in guiding and influencing them into hope and by faith into a saving relationship with Jesus!

How do you stay connected with young people and be a mentor through their spiritual lives? 

I love investing in relationships. I am honored at the opportunity to speak into another person’s life, just as my teachers, pastors, youth leaders, and youth parents influenced and made a difference in my life. I am in the church today and in a relationship with Jesus today because of those that loved me into faith!

What is your favorite thing about PUC? 

I love so much about PUC! The beauty, the nature all around this place! Not just the back 40- trails to hike and mountain bike, but also the airport, the community, the church and college family and student body, the community of Prep and PUCE, and the community at large! Community swim and pizza nights! Lake Berryessa! So much!

How can your PUC family serve and support you and your family as you minister to us? 

I think it is such a gift to enter into a relationship together. To know and be known, to share the good and the bad, and the ups and downs of life together. What a gift from God to walk the road together towards God with brothers and sisters in Christ, and how amazing that Jesus walks with us too!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?  

I love mountain biking, road biking, wakeboarding, wake surfing, surfing, snowboarding, and volleyball. I am grateful to God for health and love for all the ways we can enjoy God’s beautiful creation together!

Checklist Before Arriving To PUC

With a month until school starts, make sure you have school business completed. Here is a checklist of things to get done before arriving at PUC. It’s good to take care of these things now rather than on campus, so you have less to worry about and have more time for other things. 

Complete Financial Aid

In order to register for classes and start dorm plans, you must pay the $200 enrollment fee. You can pay online or by calling our finance office at 707-965-7200. From there, you’ll discuss your financial aid with your financial counselor and complete any forms needed. To contact your financial counselor, call them at (707) 965-7200 or email studentfinance@puc.edu. Make sure you have your financial plan completed before leaving for school.

Register for Classes

Once you have paid the enrollment fee, register for classes. Don’t wait until September to register! Secure your spot in those classes and register as soon as possible. If you need assistance on which classes to register for, contact your academic advisor or have your admissions counselor connect you to them. 

You can also check your program course online. If you’re undecided, don’t worry! With over 70 programs and degrees at PUC, you will find the right one for you.

Reserve Textbooks

If you’re ready to get your textbooks, you can reserve and pre-order them at PUC’s bookstore. When you pick them up, they’ll be ready for you and you won’t have to take time looking for them or being on a waitlist. 

Submit Housing Form 

Submit the housing form to reserve a dorm room. If you are planning to live off-campus, you still have to fill out a form depending on your housing situation. 

Contact Your Roommate 

After you have a room set, contact your roommate. Check-in to see what room essentials they’re bringing, so you don’t have doubles or if there’s anything you two should split. If you haven’t met your roommate, get to know them and see if you’ll be compatible to live together. 

Send Medical Forms 

Make sure to send your physical and TB forms from the last year to our health services. If you haven’t seen your doctor, make an appointment and ask them to send or print your examination forms. To contact the health services, call (707) 965-6339 or email healthservices@puc.edu. Make sure they receive everything needed so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re on campus.

Register Your Vehicle 

If you are planning to bring a car on campus, you have to register it since all cars require a parking permit. The public safety office will need your information, such as your driver’s license, and your vehicle registration and insurance. Once this is completed, all you’ll have to do is pick up your parking sticker at their office and you’re good to go. 

Remember Your Orientation Date 

If you will be a new student this fall, orientation is September 22-25. You will begin your PUC experience by learning the ins and outs of campus, meeting people, and settling into your dorm room. Our orientation team will assist you with anything you need help with and have activities planned. You’re going to have a lot of fun! 

Come With An Open Mind 

If you’re nervous about starting college, that’s totally normal! You will soon begin this next chapter in your life, and college is filled with possibilities. There are so many things to do, see, and learn at PUC, so come with an open mind. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer and we can’t wait to see you at PUC!

Meet Timothy Robertson: Assistant Professor of Data Science

Coming from Southwest Michigan is Timothy Robertson, PUC’s assistant professor of data science. When he was given the chance to work at PUC, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. Since January, Timothy has been teaching data science, machine learning, statistics and mathematics, and advises students.

Do you have a favorite class to teach?

My favorite classes to teach are Calculus I & II because they involve thinking about abstract concepts that have very practical applications.

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

My favorite thing about being a Pioneer is making connections with the students and faculty. It is much easier to get to know people at PUC than at larger schools I’ve been at.

Do you have a favorite place to eat in the Napa Valley? 

I prefer home cooked meals over restaurant meals, so any place I can get a home cooked meal is my favorite place to eat.

What would students be surprised to find out about you? 

I won five intramural racquetball titles during graduate school.

How are you spending your summer break? 

Summer break is when I work on my personal projects that were undone during the school year, spending time with friends and family, and relaxing.

Where is your dream vacation? 

Visiting a volcano is my dream vacation. I’ve seen a number of geographies across the USA, but volcanoes are still on my bucket list.

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings you can find me… 
On Sunday mornings you can find me either at the gym training or sleeping.