Tag Archives: communication degree

To the Pioneers, With Love

A sincere love letter to the students of PUC from a guest lecturer
By Patrick Vogelpohl

In 2009, I drove a dying Honda Civic up Howell Mountain Road to teach my first class at Pacific Union College. I was a former real estate marketing manager and a freelance writer. I lived in a demanding marketplace filled with unforgiving bottom lines and deadlines.

But my first son was about to be born. My wife and I needed the money. Michelle Rai, the chair of the communication department and now a dear friend, needed someone to teach newswriting at the last minute. She took me to a classroom on the first floor of Irwin Hall, introduced me to about 25 young adults, and then left the room. The students and I smiled at each other for a few seconds until I began to lecture.

Strange things began to happen right away.

As I talked, the students paid attention. They took notes. They smiled at me some more. If they talked to classmates, it was about newswriting. At the end of class, some asked me questions about my lecture. Others simply welcomed me to the college. I thought I was being punk’d, but I wasn’t. These students were friendly and sincere. It was, for lack of a better word, weird.

I drove down Howell Mountain Road and thought, “That was the most pleasant work experience I have ever had.” So I kept going back. I eventually served as an assistant professor of communication. I even taught in the English Department. I became co-director of Publication Workshop and was an advisor for the Campus Chronicle. I got to introduce Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder at Colloquy. Currently, I’m serving as a guest lecturer in a public relations course.

Vogelpohl, center, surrounded by four of his most attractive students. Note their dewy skin.

Vogelpohl, center, surrounded by four of his most attractive students. Note their dewy skin.

In my time on the hill, I’ve learned a few things about PUC’s exceptional students. If you are an incoming freshman, here’s what you should know about your peers:

1. PUC students are active members of the Adventist church. Some are conservative Adventists. Some are liberal. Most students, however, regularly tend to their relationships with God. They go to (and enjoy) church on Saturday, as well as residence hall worship or other prayer groups. When a PUC student wrestles with her or his faith, their friends still accept them as a fellow child of God.

2. PUC students have fantastic skin. It’s not even fair! Maybe it’s because of the plant-rich diet. Maybe it’s all the rest on the Sabbath. Every PUC graduate could earn a modeling contract based on their skin alone. Could your skin be healthier? Then get up here. By the time you leave, your skin will be best described as “supple” or “visually delicious.”

3. PUC students are serious about learning. The vast majority of students actually attend class. The vast majority does homework. Group work gets done. Are there some slackers on campus? Sure. Do students work harder in some classes than in others? Of course. This a college filled with young adults, not study-bots. But I would argue that slackers don’t last too long at PUC. Why? See #4.

4. PUC students are ridiculously active. They study. Then they play on intramural sports teams. They play instruments. They double-major. They have jobs. They have internships. They learn to play instruments while at their internships. They have terrific conversations in the Dining Commons. They feed the homeless. They take day trips to San Francisco and the beach. If these kids weren’t so friendly and attractive, they would be annoying.

5. PUC students are very good at dating. First, they are friends. Then they attend vespers together. Nine years later, they have two law degrees, three kids, a cocker spaniel named Gary, and a nice house near the beach.

6. PUC students live long lives. I once met an alumnus that was 177 years young.

And finally, PUC students look out for one another. They even look out for their professors. I have had students bring me food and snacks during marathon grading sessions—students that weren’t even in my courses. When my kids have been sick, other students prayed for them without my asking. They just did it. Stuff like this doesn’t happen often in most jobs. But it can absolutely make the worst days seem brighter.

In short, you will go to school with the best people you will ever meet. Get up here. Fast.

What Can You Do With a Communication Degree?

By Michelle Rai, Chair Michelle Rai
PUC Communication Department

What can you do with a communication degree?

It’s a question I get asked regularly. Actually, my friends and family members asked me that same question when I attended PUC back in the day.

The answer is this: you can do anything with a communication degree. Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of the careers our communication graduates are in now: PR/marketing director, lawyer, TV news anchor, medical doctor, filmmaker, computer engineer, teacher, pharmacist and more. The list goes on and on.

Why? The top skills employers are looking for include: 1) Communication skills 2) Problem solving/critical thinking skills and 3) Interpersonal/teamwork skills. In other words, you need to write well and know how to talk to people. You need to figure things out on your own. And you need to work with others to achieve results.

And guess what? All of those skills can be honed — dare I say perfected — by majoring in communication.

We cross-train all of our majors in newswriting and editing, intercultural communication, research and more. We require internships and help students hand pick the best experience for them, whether it’s implementing social media strategies for a fashion designer in San Francisco or working alongside the public relations team for the San Diego Chargers. We help you gain hands-on experience that you’ll never find at a big university. And to top it all off, our professors are a tight-knit group of professionals who are experts in their fields.

Check out these excerpts from unsolicited messages (that’s right, I didn’t ask for these emails!) from our communication graduates:

“I am proud to say that PUC greatly cemented the confidence I have in the necessary skill sets that I now see are key to getting through law school. All of the education I received at PUC was QUALITY, and when comparing stories with people who went to the big state schools I am doubly thankful I attended a place where professors really care about your well-being, education and post-graduate life.”
–COMM department graduate attending law school

“We had our first test week. Super stressful, but it went well. And, I just wanted to let you know my COMM degree helps in medical school. Besides communicating with others, we even covered similar topics, such as kurtosis and skews from Dr. McGuire’s Comm Research class!”
–COMM department graduate attending medical school

“I’m just writing to let you know that my first month went very well! I have caught errors in copy on the second proof before they go to print, and that makes me feel like I’m doing something right. I’ve been using many of the skills I learned in our department, and I’m very grateful for the time [my professors] took to work with me and develop my potential. I feel very fortunate to have gotten a job in my field so soon after graduation.”
–COMM department graduate working at a communication and publishing firm

So what can you do with a communication degree? I believe the better question is: What can’t you do with a communication degree?