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Coaches Corner: Abraham Garrido 

Abraham Garrido is the head coach for PUC’s Men’s and Women’s Cross Country team. This is his first year coaching at PUC and has previously coached high school basketball at Fresno Adventist Academy. He recently graduated from PUC this past June, and we couldn’t be happier to have Abraham continue his life on our campus. 

What makes PUC athletics different from other colleges and universities?

What makes PUC athletics different from other schools is the never give up attitude that our athletes have. Whether it’s on or off the field, court, or trails, PUC athletes and coaches strive to be the best that they can be. 

How would you describe your coaching style?

Fun but competitive. I say this because I want my athletes to enjoy the sport that they are participating in. In doing so, if my athletes fall in love with the sport, they’ll want to compete even more because they like the sport. 

How do you keep your players motivated during the season? 

I do fun activities such as running to a waterfall and running around lakes. I also remind them and show them the progress they have made over the course of the season. 

Outside of competing, are there activities you try to get your players involved in? 

I try to encourage my athletes to participate in clubs, church, and even school outings. 

What values do you instill in your players? 

To respect others, have patience and to do their best in everything that they do. 

How do you incorporate spiritual life within your team? 

We, as a team, pray in the mornings and pray before each race. 

What do you enjoy most about being a coach?

Seeing my athletes improve in any aspect in life. Whether it’s sports, school or other hobbies that they might have. 

How do you support your players on and off the court? 

We, as a team, have a group chat. So, as a team, we support each other with anything that they might need. 

Why should prospective students choose PUC over another program? 

Location! We have the best location out of any school, and it can’t be put more simply than that. 

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

Having the ability to change/improve what others before me started. 

When you’re not coaching, what do you enjoy doing? 

When I’m not coaching, I love to participate in ultra-marathon races and ride 100 miles on my bike. Overall, you can say that I love to be outdoors. 

PUC’S Jujitsu Club: A Safe Space To Meet People & Better Yourself

PUC’s Jujitsu Club is more than learning martial arts. It’s a community that provides a safe space for everyone to be themselves, better their health, and have fun. Students and faculty meet on campus and travel to Albion once a year to get a change of scenery. Sarah West is president of the club and wants people to know that the Jujitsu Club is not as aggressive as they might think it is. She kindly answered some questions for us to learn more about the Jujitsu Club and why you should join. 

Tell us about the Jujitsu Club. 

Jujitsu club is not what you think it is. Yes, we are learning a martial art, yes, we do grabs, throws, and holds; but it is so much more. It’s a safe space to meet people and to get to better yourself. I feel the most balanced after time on the mat and have learned to respect my body. You also learn how to move in ways that help avoid injuries if one falls, and you have the chance to experience rolling and tumbling.

What made you decide to be a part of this club? What responsibilities does your role as president entail? 

I joined the jujitsu club because of PUC’s club fair. I had already been wanting to get back into martial arts and knew a little bit about jujitsu. My role is mostly to remind people when and where jujitsu is taking place and to help think of things to do as a club. It is a smaller club than most, which makes planning things a lot easier.

What are the goals for the Jujitsu Club this year? 

My main goal this year for the club is to make sure we can still meet safely. It’s hard to social distance when you, or your opponent, is in a chokehold, so making sure all members are being careful and taking precautions is important. 

Can you share any upcoming activities or events you have planned? 

The most exciting thing we have planned for the jujitsu club is the yearly trip to Albion with the biology club. Albion is a great change of scenery to the regular meetings of the jujitsu club, and we usually have a guest sensi join us. Last year we had our Sensi’s Sensi join us, and it was a fun experience for all. 

What is your favorite thing about being in the Jujitsu Club? 

My favorite thing about the jujitsu club is that the members can get to know each other better. Two-hour meetings twice a week is a lot of time to spend together, and with movie nights and Albion thrown in there, you get to know one another. I think this club does a great job at providing a safe space for everyone to be themselves and have fun. 

What do you want people to know about the Jujitsu Club?

The main thing I want people to know about the jujitsu club is that it’s not as aggressive as you might think. When I tell friends that I am in a jujitsu club, they make comments about not wanting to mess with me, for fear of my martial arts training. But jujitsu is not aggressive, it’s about learning to take what’s coming at you, and avoiding it/changing its course. 

Convince me to join the Jujitsu Club in five sentences. 

If you want to join the club so that you can defeat all your enemies, this is not the club for you. If you want to learn about balance, have a chance to increase your heart rate and decrease stress, and get to know fellow students and faculty here on the holy hill, this is for you. Jujitsu also gives you some skills on how to stay safe out in the real world. 

Faces of PUC: Kimberly Dunker, Chair of Nursing & Health Science

In honor of National Nurses Day- we wanted to introduce you to PUC’s new Chair of Nursing and Health Science, Kimberly Dunker. Having received her AS and BS from Atlantic Union College, she has been a nurse for 22 years and has worked in a variety of clinical care areas. Before coming to PUC this past fall, she was previously the dean of nursing at Fortis Institute in Nashville. Kimberly not only holds academic positions but is a SIGMA advisor and author for new nursing educators and served in accreditation roles. She is excited to expand the nursing department and give students more healthcare opportunities.

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

I am here at PUC to continue to lead the Nursing and Health Science Departments. I am hoping to elevate nursing practice for those that want to join the healthcare profession.

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

As the chair of nursing and health science, my programs are the gateway to allow those who want to seek healthcare the opportunity to do so. I am excited to expand the nursing program offering online opportunities.  

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

So far we really like anything that is vegetarian-friendly. This area has so many good restaurants it is hard to pick. The English Muffins at Model Bakery and incredible as well as the local cuisine in the St. Helena Farmers market.

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

I can sew. 

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

Trust in you by Lauren Daigle

Where is your dream vacation? 

A vacation is one where I don’t have to cook or clean. Would love to do that anywhere actually. I love to travel. The next place I would love to go is Germany, Austria, Switzerland to do the sound of music tour.

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

Cleaning up from the weekend and preparing for the upcoming week.

Benefits of Taking Summer Classes 

PUC offers a variety of summer classes, workshops, and seminars. Many high schoolers and undergraduates take summer classes because it gives them a head start on checking off their credits and ensures they graduate on time. Taking summer courses at PUC also cuts half the price on classes and boarding. Here are six other benefits of taking summer classes. 

Finish Gen Eds Sooner 

A great way to finish your general education courses sooner is by taking summer classes. This allows you to take up more mandatory classes your major requires from you during the regular school year.  

No Overloading 

Taking summer classes will knock out other courses you have to take during the regular school year, which can give you a lighter course load so you won’t have to worry about overloading on credits. 

You Can Graduate Early 

If you want to begin your college career sooner or want to finish undergrad faster, enrolling in summer classes can help you graduate sooner. Taking summer classes will help you check off your courses and lead you one step closer to graduating early. 

Fewer Classes

Since you’re required to take a number of credits each quarter, summer classes allow you to focus on just one or two classes at a time. No need to worry about juggling too many classes at once.

Explore Your Passions 

During the regular school year, you’re focusing more on core classes. Summer classes are an opportunity for you to explore your passions and take fun electives. You won’t only be earning credits, but getting the chance to see if you want to major or minor in your passions. 

Bump Up Your GPA 

Summer classes can help bump up your GPA and accelerate your academic career. Increasing your GPA will look great on college applications and can help you earn scholarships.

Check out PUC’s summer classes. To speak with someone from our admissions team, call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu

Meet Assistant Director & Chief Flight Instructor, Ji Yoon

With today being Teacher Appreciation Day, we wanted to introduce you to Assistant Director and Chief Flight Instructor Ji Yoon. We have been delighted to have her at PUC for the last year. When she’s not teaching- she enjoys spending time in nature and playing tennis.

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

I was looking for schools whose mission statements are in line with my values where I can provide hands-on training to aspiring young aviators. PUC was very high on my list of desirable choices. 

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

The opportunity to spend a lot of my time in nature where I can be myself under the thousand stars, meditate, and pray. 

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

Giugni’s Deli! It was the very first meal I had in town. 

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

People are surprised by the fact that I can rent & fly an airplane in Hawaii and do an island-hop myself. 

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

Light Switch by Charlie Puth because it’s the most played song on the radio lately.

Where is your dream vacation? 

Home where my Mom cooks for me.

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

On the tennis court.

The Value of Spanish Studies at PUC

Terah Ramos is a senior studying for a BA in Spanish Studies and a BBA in Marketing. When she first came to PUC as a freshman, she was a biology major, but that all changed when she found out about the study abroad program Adventist College Abroad (ACA). On a whim, Terah decided to study a year abroad in Spain and take that opportunity to learn Spanish Studies and found it practical because everything she’d learn could apply to her chosen career path later on. 

Terah generously answered some questions for us to learn more about PUC’s World Languages program. 

What do you like about the program?

I love my professors. They are extremely dedicated and profoundly knowledgeable. Not only are they good at what they do, but they are also very helpful and caring. I know people who just visit the professors in the World Languages and Cultures department just to have a chat. It’s easy to tell that the professors are passionate about their jobs and want you to succeed.

What are some important things you’ve learned from your program?

(1) Learning a language is one of the most rewarding things you can do – the idea that you are able to communicate with an entire group of people you would not be able to understand/converse with otherwise. I love speaking to people in Spanish and seeing their faces light up because it means that I’ve taken extra effort to understand them.

(2) Language is closely tied with culture – it’s impossible to learn a language without understanding the cultures that speak it. As with every language, Spanish is full of colloquialisms. For example, “Aguas!” is a slang phrase commonly used in Mexico – essentially meaning “look out!” in English. The term stems from the time period before modern sewage treatments in Mexico when people would shout a warning (“Aguas!”) before throwing their dirty water out the window. Mexico has a ton of cool slang phrases like these, which kind of give you an understanding of the history and humor of the culture that make it into a widely used modern language. This is just an example from Mexico, but there are unique sayings that differ with each Spanish-speaking country!

What class have you enjoyed the most, and why?

My favorite class was definitely Advanced Language Studies taught by Professor Gregorutti. I’m really interested in Linguistics, so this class constantly blew my mind. We learned about language acquisition – how humans are able to become aware of and understand language. It was so insightful and philosophical!

Can you give any advice to high school students who are interested in pursuing a major in World Languages? What should they expect or prepare for?

If you’re planning to pursue a Spanish Studies or another World Languages major, you’re likely going to spend a year abroad. It’s very important to stay open-minded, embrace mistakes, and become accustomed to discomfort. It is more than worth it!

Why would you recommend this program?

I would recommend this program because of its practicality. When paired with another major (which is doable and even encouraged!), a language major not only prepares students for communicating in the workforce but everyday life as well. I feel that other majors may not be as applicable or usable in the real world as instantly as a language major.

Can you share any advice with students interested in your major?

Practice what you’ve learned as often as you can – find someone you can talk to in your target language/share the information you’ve learned in class. It doesn’t hurt to supplement this major with a minor or perhaps even another major, and most importantly – keep an open mind!

Visit our website to learn more about the Department of World Languages. Our admissions counselors can answer any questions you have. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu to speak with one of our team members to see what the world languages program can offer you. 

Faces of PUC: Alexis Jenna Torres 

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

What is your dream job? 

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

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

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

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

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

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

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

What show are you bingeing these days? 

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

What is something you’re passionate about?

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

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

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

RA Feature: Misael Bernard 

Coming from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, is history, political science, ethics, and pre-law major, Misael Bernard. With it being his first year as an RA for Newton Hall, he loves everything about the work he does. If you know Misael, you know how kind, warm, and funny he is; and how his character is the perfect fit for being an RA. 

To learn more about what being an RA is like, Misael generously answered some questions for us to share his RA experience. 

Tell us about being a RA. What are your responsibilities, and what does a typical shift look like for you?

Being an RA is an interesting job and it’s something that you really don’t know what you’re getting yourself into when you first get into the position. As an RA, you’re basically responsible for a wide array of things from the well-keeping of the residence hall to the safety and well-being of the residents in the dorm itself. In many ways, you’re the student with the most experience on campus and in the dorm itself. A typical shift is usually the whole day from when you wake up until you go to sleep. You see something in the dorm that’s broken, you try your best to see if you can fix it or call someone who can fix it, to fix it. Someone on your floor is locked out of their room because they forgot their keys when going to the bathroom (it’s happened many times), you have to go and get them into their room or find another RA who’s in the dorm to help that student out. An RA is there to assist the residents in the dorm but not necessarily babysit them.

What values have you learned by being a PUC RA?

Responsibility is definitely the biggest value I learned as an RA here at PUC. As an RA, you’re not only responsible for the dorm itself but the people in it. Their safety, their well-being, etc. is what you signed up for when you applied to be an RA. Now, you’re not the resident’s personal therapist or babysitter, but you’re the one they can go to in order to get the help that they need. You’re there to direct them to the TLC for when they need to get tutoring for a class they’re not doing so well in, or even show them where health services are so they can get over-the-counter medication or mental health treatment. 

How do you balance school and being a RA?

Being an RA comes second. I am first a student on campus and I make sure that my school and life come first. Being an RA sort of fits into my schedule because it’s something that I do in the evening when I don’t have classes. 

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? What do you enjoy the most?

The most difficult aspect of being an RA is reaching out to residents that don’t want to be reached out to. It’s always difficult seeing a resident that you want to reach out to in order to make sure they’re in tip-top shape mentally and spiritually. 

How do you incorporate spiritual life with your residents?

In Newton, we incorporate spiritual life by having a new weekly event called power-up and that’s where residents join on our Instagram live and join us for a weekly power-up and an encouraging devotional. Every Tuesday we have floor worship and that’s where we have a little devotional and worship time with the residents on our floors. Every Thursday we have dorm worship and that’s where the whole dorm comes together to have worship in the lobby.

How do you build a community in your hall, and with other residents?

Community starts with room checks every night from the very first day of school up until the last day of school for the quarter and the year. It starts with the interactions that we have with our residents and it grows to the residents having something in common, their RA. From there, they go on to having interactions with one another. Sometimes community is from the residents themselves where they have connections to one another from outside PUC and they grow their connections here at PUC. 

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

Favorite thing about being a part of the PUC family is the fellowship and the uniqueness of that fellowship that you gain here on campus. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a college or university campus that’s had the type of fellowship like how they do here at PUC. Of course, it’s unique because we’re on a mountain but it’s a fellowship that is unique to PUC. There’s no other campus that I know of that has this fellowship and because of that fellowship, there is a sense of belonging here at PUC. 

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a RA?

In simple terms, be ready for anything and everything. You’ll get calls in the middle of the night to go and unlock a room because a student locked themselves out and their roommate is sound asleep. You’ll get calls to help fix someone’s sink in the middle of the day because the faucet broke. Just be ready for anything and everything. 

What are you looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to impacting all of my residents in a positive way and making them feel appreciated and welcomed in Newton. When I was a freshman and I first moved in, my RA made me feel welcomed and like I belonged. It made the kickoff of my college experience something that was amazing and great. 

Q&A With Katrina Blue, Associate Professor of Theology & Christian Spirituality

PUC’s department of theology offers a greater variety of courses in the general education program than other theology departments. Our faculty has a tremendous gift helping our students think about God, the word, and the world. Through discussions and prayer, students develop and grow in their faith. 

Katrina Blue, Associate Professor of Theology and Christian Spirituality, loves having the opportunity to help students think about their faith and what it means to them personally. To give you more insight into the strong community within this department, Katrina kindly answered some questions for us. 

What is your favorite thing about teaching in your department?

One of the things I enjoy about the PUC Theology Department is that we have a clear mission to equip our students and prepare them for ministry with a strong practical emphasis. It is a tremendous gift to be able to impact someone’s thinking about God, to help them develop and grow in their faith, to open the mind about God, His Word, and the world. I love having the opportunity to help students to think about their faith and what it means to them personally. There is the academic/knowledge aspect of learning new things and also the personal growth aspect: both are important. It’s great to get to work with such committed people who love the Lord. 

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

I love the genuine caring spirit amongst my colleagues. Each one is gifted in teaching. They are kind people, courteous, generous, creative and spiritual. We all bring something unique to the table. When we gather to talk, discuss, and pray we are a harmonious group. The Spirit is present. We are able to have vibrant discussions, we listen to each other, and we grow. I cannot speak for other departments as I only know ours, but I do believe that together, we make a great team!

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

PUC’s Theology Department is unique because we offer both Greek and Hebrew to our majors which is an excellent preparation for the Master of Divinity and gives students a solid basis for understanding God’s Word. We also offer the integrated “Lab church” to students ranging from freshman to seniors. This practical, hands-on experience, integrates majors with our local pastors and lay ministry leaders who are mentoring them for ministry and service.

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

Many of our students go on to complete the MDiv program at Andrews, which they are very well prepared for by taking our degrees at PUC. Many have become pastors, chaplains, church planters, or work in various ministry fields building the kingdom of God. We are honored to have been a part of their spiritual journey in Christian leadership and ministry.

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

When I attend professional meetings each year with fellow religion and theology faculty from all over the country and world, so many have come over to tell me that they began their career as a teacher/scholar at PUC, and the warm memories they have of our school. They want to know which office I am in, and of course, what courses do I teach? They are surprised at the great variety of courses that we offer in our general education program and for our majors, much more than other religion/theology Depts. Truly, this is a great Department that is known and loved by generations of people who have taught and studied here. Religion faculty at other schools continue to express their appreciation and support for us. We have a solid academic and teaching capacity. Historically, the PUC Theology Dept. is also known for the Des Ford controversy which happened about forty years ago. I have seen a lot of healing take place over this. It was incidental that it happened at PUC with a visiting scholar, it could have happened anywhere.

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

Students receive personalized attention. They can learn and grow in our regional context with close interaction with professors and local pastors. That counts for a lot as students are able to make strong connections, and receive excellent training opportunities which have helped launch careers. The church has a great need of young servants of God, women and men. All are called to work in the Father’s vineyard: the world. We also support students who are taking a dual degree or double major. If you do not want to become a pastor, but would like biblical and theological training alongside whatever other professional degree program you want to pursue, we are here to support you also. Whatever your calling in life, adding a theology or religion major can equip you for a life of ministry in whatever field you will end up working in. So many have told me, “Oh, I wish I could study religion/theology,” when in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Why not take the opportunity now while in college?

Visit our website to learn more about the department of theology.

Faces of PUC: Silvia M. Sosa

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

What is your dream job? 

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

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

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

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

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

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

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

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

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

What is something you are passionate about? 

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

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

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