Many classes in the department of visual arts require the use of specific, expensive equipment. While PUC is blessed to allow students access to the very best, virtual learning posed a bit of a problem. How would students complete their projects while so far away from the resources they’ve grown accustomed to using? Instructor of film & television production Tim de la Torre and assistant professor of photography Brian Kyle decided to carefully pack-up and ship super-8 film cameras to their students so they were able to complete their projects remotely.
de la Torre has also personally sent students iMacs from the school’s computer labs, cameras, and filmmaking gear and knows his fellow professors have sent students from photography and printmaking classes packages of tools and equipment to complete their assignments. He says he knows at least one student went so far as to take an entire ceramics wheel home back in March!
de la Torre speaks for everyone at PUC when he says everything is going to be better once all students are back on campus but for the time being, he and the rest of the department are committed to providing their students with the same level of care and attention they receive in the physical classroom. “We are making this online thing work!” says de la Torre.
Learn more about the department of visual arts at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about these programs, or the other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email firstname.lastname@example.org get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!
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!
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.
Having completed Spanish for Health Care Professionals last quarter, nursing student Ralph Edward Valdez from American Canyon is putting it to good use! Last week he reached out to share his recent experience.
“I applied for the Medical Reserve Corps since my nursing class doesn’t have clinicals this quarter and was assigned to work as a Nurse at a COVID testing site (they provided appropriate training to all students from the MRC) in Napa. And started work a couple of weeks ago. This past Saturday, none of the staff could speak Spanish, so upon arrival, I immediately told them I would handle all translations. I was able to successfully explain the process to the Spanish speaking patients! More importantly, I was able to keep in particular, one of the patients, from panicking and feeling overwhelmed with their situation. Up until now, I hadn’t really fully understood the importance of being multilingual, especially in a setting such as this.”
We wanted to learn more about Ralph’s experiences at PUC and volunteering and he was kind enough to chat with us!
First of all, you’re a nursing major so I assume you want to be a nurse! Have you always wanted to be one?
Once upon a time, I wanted to go to med school to be a pediatric oncologist. It wasn’t until the end of my senior year in high school that my senior project mentor told me about one of her own son’s battle with cancer. She said that undoubtedly, despite the negativity of the situation, the nurses never ceased to be beacons of hope for not just her son, but their whole family. She said it was the nurses who were at her son’s side every day that kept them with a positive outlook.
What has been your favorite class you’ve taken at PUC so far?
I’ll preface with that I haven’t had many classes at PUC, what with being a transfer student, and all that. My favorite class would be a toss-up between Spanish for SPAN 105 with Profe (Doctora) Gregorutti and BIOL 102 with Dr. Vance. I had them during different quarters.
You volunteer at a COVID testing site in Napa, what made you decide to do that?
Truthfully, I did not expect to be working on the frontlines. I happened to be watching the local news when the reporters were talking about the opportunity to work with the Health Corps in California. I immediately expressed my interest and fill out the necessary forms. I thought I would get called into work at a local hospital or a clinic working with ‘non-COVID’ patients, doing simple tasks like taking general vitals and working with RNs and CNAs. The next thing I knew, I was offered an assignment to work at the then soon-to-open drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. It definitely took me by surprise, but I took the offer. Of course, I was a little bit apprehensive at first, but during our first meeting, it was great to see all of us on the medical staff establishing the process for testing, crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s.
Can you describe your typical work shift?
My typical shift begins with me signing in and checking/logging my temperature. Then myself and the rest of the “swabbing” team washes our hands and get donned in full PPE. We then head on to the designated “hot zone,” prep our station for swabbing, and begin. We work in two-person teams with one person performing the swab and the other prepping and safely packaging the samples. Most of the time I’m the one assisting, but I occasionally perform swabs myself. The testing site tests on average, about 350-400 people a day, with my shift typically completing 200+ of the tests. Afterward, we clean up our station, gather the tests, and head over to the decontamination zone where we take a mini chemical bath, doff our PPE, and wash our hands again before checking/logging our temperatures and signing out.
What has been the most valuable thing you’ve learned during your time there?
The most valuable thing I learned was how, especially in our community, the importance of being bilingual. It’s one thing to ease people’s potential fears with illnesses, but it really put things into perspective for me when I encountered my first patient who could only speak Spanish. They were evidently fearful, having not heard much from the news. Everything they’d heard was pretty much secondhand from people who could translate for them, but none of the medical professionals. I worked with the RN to explain the whole situation to them, all the way to how to interpret their results, what to expect, and more, making sure to note how their culture would be impacted by COVID-19. Once I explained everything, of course, there was a little apprehension, but overall they were happy they could finally understand what was actually going on around them, and what to do/how to interpret their test results.
You said you just completed Spanish for Health Care Professionals, was that required for your degree or did you decide to take it for another reason?
SPAN 105 is not required for my degree, but I thank professor Lorie Johns for making it known to me that it was an option. I took Spanish classes in elementary and high school, so I was versed in textbook phrases and whatnot, but not with regards to health care. Given that a big part of the demographic in Napa is Spanish-speaking, I figured that it would be best that I learn healthcare-related lingo.
Being bilingual clearly came in handy during the past few months at the testing site. Can you tell us about that experience?
I kind of explained it above already. I’ll add, however, that I’m the only Spanish speaker available to work on Saturdays. I can only imagine what it would be like to go and have an invasive test done, all the while with no one being able to explain the process to me. It’d definitely be a scary experience
What advice would you like to give other students?
Broaden your horizons! Understand that, especially in the healthcare field, it’s not just about the Golden Rule (Treat others the way you want to be treated). There’s also the Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” This is a big difference between cultural competence and cultural humility. This doesn’t just apply to healthcare as well. Live it in your day to lives. Be mindful of others.
Ok, now a couple fun questions.
Tell us your favorite movie, book, song.
Favorite movie(s) since it depends on the genre
Call Me By Your Name (the film adaptation of Andre Aciman’s book)
Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice in English): A Japanese anime film that discusses the difficult topics of depression, bullying, suicide, and love.
What are you binge-watching right now?
As an avid fan of anime, I usually am binge-watching most shows that are being simulcasted each season.
The first place you’d like to eat out at once it’s safe to do so?
Anywhere I can get Korean BBQ! Right before the pandemic, I was actually planning to go with some friends of mine.