Tag Archives: faces of puc

Faces of PUC: Rennard Ezra Villanueva 

Rennard Ezra Villanueva is a social work major from Bakersfield. Majoring in social work is perfect for him since his dream job is to help children, teens, and young adults find their purpose in life. We are grateful to have a student like Rennard Ezra, who is passionate about inspiring others and being an advocate for them.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to work with children, teens, and even young adults as a school social worker or youth counselor in finding their identity and purpose in life. Although a job like that may not offer a lot of money, if any, the joy and satisfaction of helping others are priceless in comparison to anything this world has to offer. Young people, including myself, often struggle to find their self-worth because of the business of life and end up struggling to solve many of their problems. I want to be an advocate for them, inspire them, and help reveal their true worthiness and great potential to them and the world around them. I want to be a valuable addition to their support system, something I never had when I was growing up.

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

When I was a kid, I had no clue what I wanted to be. To be honest, I was too focused on playing Minecraft with my friends and simply trying to avoid responsibilities, but if I were to pinpoint what it was that I wanted in life, it would probably be to walk in the footsteps of my parents because of the hard work they had to put in to immigrate to the U.S. and build a life for me.

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

The openness of faculty members would probably be my favorite part because they are always willing to meet you at the level you are at. Your needs are always met to the best of their ability to provide for your needs whenever you make it known to them.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place in the world is Puerto Princesa, Palawan in the Philippines. Going there as a kid with my family, I fell in love with the beauty of the island. Sadly, I was only there for a few days, but I got to experience some great features found on the island that was quite unforgettable. 

What show are you bingeing these days?

I just finished bingeing the two seasons of the Doom Patrol and the first season of Invincible. Doom Patrol is by far the weirdest superhero show that I have ever seen, but I do not regret watching it. Invincible, on the other hand, breaks many superhero show stereotypes and brings on a dynamically new perspective. 

What is something you’re passionate about?

My primary passion is being an advocate for the voiceless and helping others. Rock climbing is one of my biggest passions. Fun fact, it all started in the bouldering cave in the gym. The thrill and excitement of chalking up your hands and feeling the rush in my fingers when I climb are what keeps me coming back to the wall and going out for a bouldering session.

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

I recommend going on a hike to the top of Mount Saint Helena and seeing the beautiful Napa Valley, but my go-to on a Sabbath afternoon is to go hiking on the trail to Table Rock. On the trail, you will always be able to see Napa Valley, and the best thing is that the trailhead is only a 30-minute drive from campus.

Faces of PUC: Christianne Andrianarijaona

This week’s Faces of PUC is Angwin local, Christianne Andrianarijaona. She is a third year biochemistry major who wants to pursue dentistry and is passionate about singing. We are blessed to have a sweet student like Christianne a part of our Pioneers family. 

What is your dream job? 

My dream would be something challenging, but one that still gives me peace in mind because of the good hours and organized schedule. That’s why I would want to go into dentistry. I know the patients and colleagues I’d meet along the way would be life-changing.

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

Haha, when I was younger, I wanted to be a professional singer, something very close to Tori Kelly or Beyonce. I have pretty bad stage fright and nerves, so I’ve gone against pursuing that.  But I must say that compared to now, I had a much more creative and open mindset. As a college student, I overthink often and I tend to go overboard with my creative thoughts, which ends up being overwhelming.

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

PUC is a very close-knit, small family meaning that you’ll find long-lasting friends and be able to see God through people. That’s what I like most about the Pioneers family. Everybody knows everybody.

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world would either be anywhere quiet and spacious, whether it be outdoors, a museum, library, Chan Shun, or wherever my family is.

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

If I had to be trapped in a movie for a day, one of the movies I would choose would be Mrs. Doubtfire. Just watching the plotting, setting, and revealing unfold would be so entertaining. 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am passionate about singing, though I haven’t been pursuing as much as I wish. But it’s something that I love doing and am decently confident with.

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

Hmm, I would say Round One in San Jose. It’s a cute little arcade with bowling allies and karaoke rooms. The only thing that’s not very affordable is the ride there and back, but that’s Bay Area for you.

Get To Know Assistant Professor of Theology Laura Wibberding 

Laura Wibberding has been teaching at PUC for the last five years. When she first visited PUC, she loved the campus and shared, “As an Oregon native, I thought there was too much sun =)” Teaching at PUC has been one of the most meaningful jobs for Laura. She loves getting to know the students and learning about the history of our college. We’re glad to have Laura at PUC and see our students enjoy her classes. 

How long have you worked at PUC? 

I’ve worked at PUC for about 5-years now, although most of that time I was an adjunct. This year I started as a regular faculty. I’ve enjoyed growing into my relationship with PUC, learning more about the college and the students as I do. 

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

Our family moved here in 2017 when my husband started teaching and knew I wanted to be a part of this community. Honestly, teaching at PUC is one of the most meaningful jobs I could imagine.

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

All the Pioneers, of course! Actually, both kinds. I love getting to know students. You guys are all insightful and creative. And I love Adventist history, so those Pioneers make me happy, too. There’s a story behind every building name on campus and a lot of the street names, too. I love being part of it. I also love that we don’t just inherit a legacy- we choose how we want to direct the future. 

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

I’m actually not the most adventurous with eating out. We discovered our kids like Pizzeria Tra Vigne and often go there. But my favorite place to eat is my own kitchen.  

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

I used to use my church history degree to create drama programs for our churches. I have tubs of Renaissance-era costumes and props I made for those, and I keep daydreaming about pulling them out again. Maybe if life slows down a little, I’ll get to that! 

What song are you listening to on repeat lately? 

The one I can’t get out of my head is “Surface Pressure” from Encanto.  

Where is your dream vacation?  

I love old architecture and art and especially ruins. I picked Rome for our 20th-anniversary trip, and what I’d love to do next is see Spain or Greece. 

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

Doing laundry. Sunday is for all the work I couldn’t get to during the week, but it’s also family movie night with the kids, so there’s balance. 

RA Feature: Keren Castro 

This week’s RA feature is Keren Castro, a senior photography major from Rehoboth, MA. She is RA for the third floor of Andre Hall and, depending on if she’s working at the front desk, she is the first face you see when you walk into the dorm. With this year being a first-time RA, she’s enjoyed getting out of her bubble and getting to know her residents and other students. 

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

Being an RA isn’t really a shift, it’s a full-time job. Just like being known as a student, I’m also known as an RA. And part of being an RA is doing room check every night. You have a hall partner, so you do switch off nights. We also do worships, dorm worships with the rest of our staff and Dean and hall worship with our floors. Being an RA also means coming to school early and getting training and preparation for the student body. Another side job to being an RA is that you’ll also work desk shifts. Greeting people in and out of the dorm, getting tasks done, and being a friendly face.

How many years have you been an RA? Why did you want to become an RA? 

This is my first year being an RA. It’s interesting because I didn’t really look for the position, Dean Philpott reached out to me about it. But when she did bring it up to me, the first thing I thought about was my RA freshman year. Eryn Pongs, the sweetest person I know, made me feel at home. I didn’t know anyone coming to PUC and I moved across the country for PUC. So, coming here was an adjustment, but Eryn made me feel welcomed and cared about. And if I could do that for someone else, that would be the greatest privilege of being an RA.

What values have you learned by being a PUC RA? 

Compassion is probably the greatest value I’ve learned so far being an RA. Checking in on my residents and seeing how they’re doing, hearing about their day/week. When residents feel like you care, they feel special. I’ve also learned a lot about communication and teamwork. This isn’t a job you can do by yourself. And having a team beside me to cheer me on or lift me up is the best thing there is.

How do you balance school and being a RA? 

Something the deans taught us during our training is that we are students first. So that means being on top of my studies. When I’m not working desk or in class or being an RA, I try to get everything else done. I set hours for myself and give myself breaks when needed.

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

I would say the most difficult aspect of my job is putting myself out there. I’m very much an introvert and so this job is a learning curve, going out of my comfort zone. Initiating conversation is something I must think about a lot. But something I enjoy the most is getting to know new people that I probably wouldn’t have done on my own. It’s fun to get out of my bubble sometimes. Also, I loved being on retreat with all the other RAs. Creating a community within ourselves and opening up to each other is a bond I’ll forever be thankful for.

How do you incorporate spiritual life with your residents?

This is a big thing for me because I am a pastor’s kid and I’ve loved getting to know what it’s like to have a relationship with God. But I also respect that not everyone who comes to PUC is Adventist or even Christian. On our halls, each RA has their own bulletin board and on mine, I’ve put a Prayer Request envelope. It was my goal from the beginning to start praying for the girls on my hall, the girls in the dorm, the staff we have, and myself as well. I want to be a spiritual mentor for these girls, and I want them to know that someone is praying for them. Sometimes if they can’t make it to put it on my board, they’ll tell me when I do room check. And I pray for them individually before I go to bed. Also, a lot of people from PUC follow me on my Instagram. And I make sure to reflect Christ there as well. When I have time, I’ll post small devotionals on my stories and people have told me it helps them a lot.

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

I try to connect with them as much as possible. I ask about their games if they’re athletes, I help those in the same department as me, and most importantly hall worship is a time I like to have discussions with them on larger topics. 

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

My favorite thing about being part of the PUC family is having the same goal in mind: showing others who Christ is and developing friendships and relationships, establishing that community. Without that common ground, we wouldn’t get anywhere.

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

I kind of relate it to being a camp counselor. Know it’s one of the hardest jobs to have but also the most rewarding. You’re going to be on the front line, and everyone will be looking at you to see how you’re doing your job but knowing you’re making an impact in someone’s life or being an example to others makes it all worth it. If you’re nervous to apply for the position, talk to the Deans or one of the current RAs, and we’ll help you navigate through the process. Interest in becoming an RA is on your heart for a reason and I think it’s worth it to investigate those feelings that you’re having and the leadership growth that comes with it.

What are you looking forward to this year? 

Something I’m looking forward to most this year is planning worships and getting to know the Deans more. When I was a resident myself, I was intimidated by them. I saw them as leaders that I didn’t know how to approach. And now working beside them, I know they’re someone I can talk to whether it be something serious or just wanting to create a friendly connection.

Meet Student Chaplain, Andres Borrero 

Andres Borrero is one of PUC’s student chaplains this year and is making sure to provide students with the best worship experience thus far. He loves being able to serve others and do so while keeping God a part of everything he’s involved in. Andres wants everyone to be involved in any way they feel comfortable and be able to see how God works through all of us. Don’t hesitate to talk to Andres if you want to participate in worship or be a part of his team! 

Share with us what being a student chaplain means to you. 

Being a student chaplain, for me, means being part of a team. A team in which we work together weekly to help provide opportunities for students to come together to worship and praise God. Not only that but I am responsible for overseeing many music and technology aspects for many of our programs. I do so by helping manage those aspects which are something I love to do, especially with Student-led programs, which is what has drawn me over the years. 

What made you want to be a student chaplain? 

For the last 3 years I have been the music chaplain of the school, and music, specifically praise music, has always been a big part of my life growing up. This year I am passing my torch as this is my last year, but very much still involved. Although I am not a music chaplain anymore, but a student chaplain, I find that now I am able to look into more aspects around school in which I can be a part of and not just music. In other words, now having more time than I used to, I now can use that time to focus on other ministries. 

What are your responsibilities? 

Currently, my responsibilities are managing the AV team for each service or program, which includes slides and presentations, sound, and live streaming. Also as I go through the transition of passing the torch of music chaplain I am currently training the new music chaplain. Lastly and one of my most important jobs especially for the other team members, is I am here for anything, if someone needs to talk just about life, or struggling, or would want bible studies, or simply just needs help with a program, I am here to do so. 

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain? 

Currently, I do not find many challenges quite frankly. One I might find is, as students it can be hard to come together to have meetings, which would be very helpful weekly. But we are all current students which can make it quite hard sometimes. 

What do you hope to accomplish as a student chaplain this year? 

I hope to leave this school better than I got here, from the religious aspect on campus. I believe we are quite on track to do so, and especially with music, I would like to create a concrete system by the end of the year that can be used for the years to come and create less stress for students. 

What about being a student chaplain has prepared you for your career and other aspects of your future? 

Being able to take charge and shape my interpersonal skills has definitely been a by-product of being a chaplain for four years now. I now currently work in a mental health facility and can see every time I go to work how these tools that I have gained from being a chaplain I now use for my work and how I approach the mental health patients. 

What advice do you have for something who is struggling with their spiritual life? 

Get involved! I myself struggle spiritually even now sometimes, and as humans, I believe it is not bad to do so. But get involved whether you might agree completely with God or not. Getting involved can show you Jesus in so many ways! From the teams you work with to seeing how everything is processed and how we involve God in all we do. There is always room for more on our team! 

What do you love about PUC? 

PUC has such a family setting. I would walk out of my dorm and head over to the grind and I always knew everyone I passed, and they knew me! That family aspect where we really know each other is so much fun. Because of that, so many people loved to get involved and support each other when they are not, which is what I love so much about this school. 

What is your favorite weekend activity? 

On-campus: Definity vespers! Being a part of the rush of the whole program and when I am able to sing and lead, being able to create an atmosphere for my fellow students.

Off-campus: Going to baseball games! I absolutely love baseball!

Faces of PUC: Isabella “Abbey” Esperanza

Meet Isabella “Abbey” Esperanza, a sophomore pre-nursing student from Vacaville, CA. She shared that she chose to attend PUC because of its location in Napa Valley and heard that PUC has a really good nursing program. Abbey is passionate about personal growth and wants to be the best person she can be. 

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to be a nurse practitioner because I want to be able to help the community. 

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

When I was young, I wanted to be a bunch of things, but I always knew I wanted to be a part of a team. 

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

My favorite thing about PUC is that everyone is so welcoming. The professors and campus staff are all so helpful and want us to do well. The campus is also quiet and calm, which makes it easier to get work done. 

Where is your favorite place in the world?

This is a hard question because each destination provides a different and special experience, but my favorite place is Destin, Florida. I would even live there one day! I love the beaches and vibes I get there. 

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 Mamma Mia because I love the movie and how it is based in the country of Greece. 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am passionate about personal growth. I want to become the best person I can be. 

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

A place I would recommend visiting is San Francisco because it is a fun city with fun activities such as shopping, good food, beaches, and more. There is always something to do on a night out! 

Freshman Feature: Marguerite McHenry

Coming all the way from Newnan, GA., is freshman film student Marguerite McHenry. Growing up in a little city an hour outside of Atlanta, a friend of hers told her about PUC’s film program and how amazing the screenwriting professor was. With her first year here, Marguerite shared how the film program has exceeded her expectations and is so glad she took her friend’s advice- as are we. We are so happy to have Marguerite a part of our Pioneers family!

What is your dream job?

I want to be a writer/director and run my own film production company.

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

I wanted to be a cowgirl/rockstar/author when I was little. I guess writing is still a thing in my life, even if those other dreams have gone away with age.

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

Everyone on campus is really friendly and nice. I think it’s a great community to be a part of.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Literally any bookstore with a good selection. I could spend hours in Barnes and Noble.

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

Either National Treasure or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Both seem really fun and interesting worlds to play a part in.

What made you decide to attend PUC?

A friend told me that their film program, and specifically, their screenwriting professor was amazing. So far, the program has exceeded my expectations so I’m glad I took their advice.

What is something youre passionate about?

Legally Blonde is one of the most important movies of our age.

Who is someone you admire, and why? 

Someone I admire a lot is the director Taika Waititi. He has written most of his films and is an amazing storyteller who brings pieces of himself to every project while also making his work very relatable and universal. If I can make films in my professional career that are even half as cool as his, I would be very happy.

Q&A With Nursing Professor Jenna Park

PUC’s nursing program is our largest department. Offering a two-step program in A.S. and B.S.N., and a B.S.N. program for registered nurses, students come from all over the country to gain real-life experience, receive hands-on training, and be mentored by caring, dedicated professors. 

Jenna Park is one of PUC’s nursing instructors who teach first-quarter nursing students. As a PUC nursing alum, she enjoyed her college experience so much that she decided to come back and teach the future generation. 

What is your favorite thing about teaching in your department? 

I’m relatively new at PUC as a professor, and I love all the support I get from my department. I also love the class I’m teaching, as I see tremendous growth in the students.

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

Each quarter is one cohort together, and as they advance in the program, they advance together. The comradery within the cohorts is pretty neat to see.

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

There is freedom for me to start my classes with a word of prayer and a verse of the day. I can also share spiritual experiences I’ve had with my patients in my personal clinical stories.

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

PUC grad nurses, including myself, have been working on the frontlines to fight COVID-19, whether it’s in the ICU, ER, or vaccine clinics. But we honestly can’t wait for all this to end.

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

When I was a student at PUC years ago (not sure if it’s still relevant now) nursing students were known to disappear after getting into the program. We’re always studying and going to clinicals!

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

New students can look forward to an intense amount of work and reading! But mostly, students can look forward to putting everything they’ve learned and will learn into practice to provide care for patients not only physically but also spiritually and mentally. 

Advice From Professor Park: 

“I would ask them to seek what motivates them to be a nurse and let that be a true drive-in pushing through with the program. Students are always surprised by how intensive the program is, so being efficient with time management and knowing the best study and learning habits beforehand may be helpful. And lastly, it’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to ask for help, whether you seek help from the TLC, the counseling center, your professors, or your classmates. Nursing is really hard! We’re all here to help our students.”

Visit our website to learn more about the department of nursing. Our admissions team can answer any questions you have. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu to speak with one of our admissions counselors to start learning about what PUC’s nursing department can offer you. 

Introducing PUC Registrar, Susan Walters

Meet PUC’s new registrar, Susan Walters. She always wanted to work at PUC, so when the opportunity presented itself- she had to take it. Not only does she join our PUC family, but her two daughters as well. Susan has lived all over California- from growing up in San Jose to spending her adult life in Southern California and living in Lodi for the last four years before coming to Angwin. We are pleased to have Susan and her family with us!

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

I always wanted to work at PUC, and when the opportunity came for me to come here, I took it. Two of my girls will be attending PUC this Fall quarter. They will both be in the dorms.

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

The Pioneers family is very supportive and wants everyone to succeed, so they do their best to help out. 

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

I haven’t really eaten out much, but I do like the Himalayan Kitchen in Saint Helena.

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

I love listening to contemporary Christian music…even if it isn’t Sabbath.

What is your dream vacation? 

I want to go to Bora Bora and stay in a hut on the ocean.

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

Drinking coffee and reading. 

RA Feature: Jaclyn Clark 

This week we’re highlighting the third floor RA for Winning Hall, Jaclyn Clark. She is a first-year RA from Lancaster studying social work. Jaclyn wanted to be an RA to be more involved with campus life, and from doing nightly room checks, planning worships and working the front desk, she has done just that. Her caring, helpful, and nurturing personality is what makes her the right person for the job. 

Why did you want to become a RA? 

I wanted to become an RA to be more involved this school year but also be like an “older sister” to the girls on my floor and help out in any way, shape, or form.

What values have you learned by being a PUC RA? 

I would say, so far, I’ve learned to be respectful and understanding, especially when different situations arise, but also to reflect Christ’s character in everything I do. 

How do you balance school and being a RA? 

I would say that how I balance both school and being an RA would be: time management. Having time management has helped me so much, in the sense of me staying on my assignments and getting them done on time while being to work shifts when I need to and having free time afterward. 

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

For the most part, it hasn’t been too difficult, but there are times when I doubt myself and wonder if I can do it, but I just try and think positive as much as I can and of course, be there for others as well. The enjoyment of being an RA is being able to interact with the girls on my floor and just ask them: “how they’re doing” and see how their week is going in general.

How do you incorporate spiritual life with your residents? 

By asking them if they have prayer requests and inviting them to either dorm/hall worship. A cool thing we did for the 3rd Floor was add a prayer wall, so if the girls have prayer requests, they can add it on there and pray for the other girls on the floor as well.

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

By building relationships with them and just by getting to know them on different types of levels and continuing to learn each time. 

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

That it feels like another “home away from home”, and you definitely get a sense of community here at the campus.

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

That they should definitely do it if they want to be more involved with campus life, but it also gives you the opportunity to meet a lot of cool people as you go through the process! 

What are you looking forward to this year? 

I’m looking forward to “learning as I go” this school year while being an RA, and making new memories with my friends.