Alumnus returns for music and education
by Becky St. Clair
Malek Sheen graduated from PUC in 2019 with degrees in English and Spanish. Though it was his intention to return and earn his master’s in education, the pandemic convinced him to wait a year. When he came back to PUC in the fall of 2021, he enrolled in both the education and music programs.
“I chose my areas of study based both on what I could give to others, and what would make me the best version of myself,” he says. “I wanted to be a well-rounded person, and I wanted marketable skills that I could use to give back to the world. PUC was the best choice for me in that regard.”
Sheen, who was not raised Adventist, was born in Los Angeles, and lived with his mom and grandpa. He attended public high school, and after his sophomore year his mom could see he needed a change. She told him he could choose to go to the Army and Navy Academy or he could attend Monterey Bay Academy. Sheen chose the latter, and as a result, was introduced to Pacific Union College.
“Knowing what I know now, I see that God’s hand was in that move,” Sheen says.
Despite never having access to a piano growing up, Sheen’s grandfather was a pianist and had a small keyboard he let him use. Sheen was determined to learn the instrument, and has now been playing for eight years. Upon arrival at PUC, Sheen signed up for piano lessons, and though he eventually decided to work toward an associate’s degree in music, he wasn’t able to finish while working on his first two degrees. So, when he returned for his master’s, he was determined to also complete a music degree.
“Once I get my credentials I should be able to teach English, Spanish and music in public school, private school, or abroad,” Sheen says. “But there’s a lot of room still for God to show me my path, and I’m open to wherever he leads.”
Though he knows he could have gone elsewhere to get his master’s degree, Sheen says it was never a question that he would return to PUC.
“PUC has been home to me, and I’m tethered here,” he explains. “I grew up attending public school and it was so easy to get lost in the crowd there. But here, it’s possible to be someone. There are so many opportunities to grow as a person, not just academically, but spiritually, as well.”
Sheen says he’s learned a lot at PUC, but when asked to name one thing he’s learned that will really stick with him, he responds without hesitation: “God.”
His college roommate was a friend from MBA, and Sheen says his roommate gave him space to question things, and opened the door for him to explore who God is.
“He did it without trying,” Sheen adds. “He wasn’t trying to push Christianity on me; it was just who he was, and honestly, that made it an even stronger pull toward God. It just felt natural. I can thank PUC for giving me many opportunities to develop myself, but none, in my opinion, are as valuable as giving me the chance to learn to walk with God. That’s something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.”
For more information about music at PUC, visit puc.edu/music.