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Pioneers Profile: Olivia Crigler 

Coming from Hebron, KY. is shooting guard Olivia Crigler. She represents our women’s basketball team and feels extremely lucky to live in Napa Valley, where she can continue her passion for basketball while also- pursuing her love for photography. Being given the opportunity to have the best of both worlds has made Olivia’s experience at PUC so much more enjoyable.

What drew you to PUC athletics over another college? 

PUC was a breath of fresh air. The environment, faculty, and student body were all welcoming and genuine. It was a huge move for me to come across the country. I had never been to the state of California other than my visit to PUC in high school. The campus felt like home, and I am extremely lucky to be able to say I live in Napa Valley. Also, since PUC is liberal arts, they have my major, photography. That can be hard to find at other schools. I felt wanted by the basketball program and coaching staff when I was recruited. This was extremely important for me because basketball has always been such a huge part of my life. 

Walk us through a typical team practice. 

Typically, we have a good warm-up routine that includes stretching, shooting, and some sort of full-court drills to warm us up. With the season coming up we have been focusing on learning our defense, plays, press, etc. Scrimmaging is also an important aspect in practice so we can simulate games like speed and situations. We also have daily weightlifting to further prep our bodies for games. In pre-season (before the start of school), we were focusing a lot on conditioning to get into shape and skill work. With the season starting this month it’s time to take all of that and put it together.  

What are the core values of your team? 

This year the women’s team has a lot of fresh faces from the coaching staff to the roster as well. A big focal point that is expressed every day is the importance of hard work. “Nothing is given”, our coach says. We want to be the hardest working team in the conference. Another large core value is the importance of being a “family”. We are with one another every day and to be a successful team we have to play and work together. 

What is your favorite part about being part of your team? 

College basketball was always my biggest goal growing up. My dad played and coached college and he always told me playing college basketball were some of his greatest memories in life. I am so grateful to be able and have the ability to play my sport. Being on the PUC basketball team I enjoyed my college experience so much more. Being a college athlete is a very different experience than a non-athlete. We are given opportunities to represent our school, travel, compete, and make lifelong friendships with our teammates. 

How do you balance your time between school and sports? 

I would say this is the hardest part about being a student-athlete. With Covid taking away our season last year, there was so much time to focus on schoolwork. Now with a regular season, we have to balance homework, class, labs, etc. with all our practices, conditioning, weightlifting, games, travel, etc. It can be a lot. I think the thing that works for me is planning my schedule every day and making sure I hold myself accountable every day. I compare my class schedule with practices and games and pick the time I need to complete all of my work. Also, eating healthy and maintaining a good sleep schedule is crucial for excelling in the classroom and on the court. Schoolwork and basketball are my priority here at PUC. 

What advice do you have for students who are interested in being a student-athlete? 

If you are interested in playing college, love your sport, and dedicate yourself. That is what will drive you to be successful. Being a student-athlete has its challenges, but I believe it prepares you extremely well for life after college. It requires a lot of dedication and hard work, but the payoff is worth it if you love what you are doing. 

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

The best part about being a part of the Pioneers family is when the community supports us. With the addition of the Pioneer Posse, the athletes have been given chances to get involved with the student body and gain support for our season. Being a small school, support from the school at our games boosts us. PUC also gives the most support academically to athletes than I have seen anywhere else. They want to see the athletes succeed academically and athletically. 

Do you have a favorite athlete? If so, who and why? 

My favorite basketball players are Steph Curry and Larry Bird. As a three-point shooter, how could I not look up to Steph Curry? He has completely changed the game of shooting and inspires me to get better and push my shooting ability even further. My favorite pro basketball team is the Celtics. My dad is a fan, so I grew up watching their games. Larry Bird is a legend from the program and one of the greatest basketball players of all time. 

What are other things you are passionate about? 

My biggest hobbies outside of basketball are photography and different mediums of art. I have pages to post my photography work and also different art projects I do in my free time. PUC has actually given me a lot of different opportunities for both. I have been taking senior photos of PUC students, local families, and couples in the Napa Valley, and I photograph for a clothing business in downtown Napa. After college I would love to play overseas basketball for a few years, afterward being a travel writer and photographer or a sports photographer would be the ultimate dream. 

PUC’s History Club: Mixing Learning & Fun

Isai J. Martinez recently finished his junior year majoring in History with European Emphasis and minoring in Film and Television, and was this year’s History Club president. The History Club used to be department-based and usually included history and pre-law majors- but Isai and the rest of the club officers wanted to change that by opening up the club more to be an event-based club with fun events throughout the year.

As president, his role was to network with others and brainstorm with his team to bring amazing events and projects to the club. To learn more about the history club, Isai answered some questions for us. 

What made you decide to become the president of the club? 

This year, I accepted the post to be the president of the history club because, during my freshman year, the president of that year wanted to expand the club more. However, due to Covid-19, we were forced to cease any idea of it. I was very lucky to be chosen to take over the club and be able to present new ideas.

What were your goals for the History Club this year? 

We want to expand alongside the Pre-Law Society in order to bring more recognition to the club and establish new traditions that the History Club can be leading for a long time.

What are some exciting activities or events you have planned? 

My favorite event that we have planned is Foreign Film Night. We will be choosing films from around the world like a Japanese Studio Ghibli film, a Zombie-Historical Korean film, a Nollywood film, or a Mexican film from the ’60s. We will pick two movies and the students will be able to decide over a vote on Instagram what movie they will like to watch that movie night. 

Other events include a surprise trip during spring quarter and a special project that everyone (in-club or no club) can be involved in and we will announce that more information later. 

What is your favorite part about being in the History Club?

Honestly, my favorite part has been getting to know the rest of the history majors and working really well with the History professors. They don’t bite! They are the most approachable and charismatic group of people I have met. 

Convince me to join the History Club in five sentences. 

This year, the History Club is opening up more to become a bigger and more diverse group of people. We want people to learn and appreciate history and what better way than watching movies from around the world with your friends. We have so many things planned for those who want to be super involved and for those who want to casually participate. The History Club is open to all. We want you to know that History Club is there to have fun and that’s all!! 

Follow them on Instagram and we hope you join the History Club next year!

Meet Amanda Garcia: PUC’s Executive Assistant for Marketing & Communication

Amanda Garcia graduated from PUC in 2017 with a degree in environmental studies. After receiving her degree, she spent two years in our biology department as a lab coordinator. Since December 2020, Amanda has taken on the role of executive assistant for marketing and communication. She loves PUC, which shows by the amazing work she does for our college.

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

I have lived in Angwin for 15 years. I heard PUC had a great biology program. I want to help the college in any way I can because PUC has helped me with my career journey, and I am soooo thankful! I feel God has guided me to this position, especially this year because I lost my previous job due to Covid-19. I am so thankful to PUC for this opportunity! 

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

The best thing is that we are all taught by God. I really enjoyed my teachers praying before classes. I really felt comfortable, and it was nice to see my teachers doing that! There is a lot of outreach PUC provides from the church, chaplain’s office, and clubs, which helped balance school, social, and spiritual growth for myself.  

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

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto

645 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

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

I knit and crochet! This summer, I completed a 5ft crochet blanket! With God’s guidance, I want to work with tigers someday for wildlife conversation.   

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

Rascal Flatts – Bless the Broken Road. I love Country Music. 

Who is someone you admire and why? 

My Mother! She is the kindest person with such a big heart and such a strong woman! She gives of herself entirely to her family. She loves the Lord and has shown me how to be a responsible, respectful, honorable, kind, and strong person for Christ’s Glory! 

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

Eating an Omelet and watching Call the Midwife! 

Bible Verses to Read During Finals Week 

It’s the last finals week of the year! With the exams, projects, and papers that need to be taken and submitted, we know how stressful and overwhelming you may be feeling. When feeling this way, read these Bible verses to find comfort, hope, and strength during finals week.

1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:33-34 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalm 55:22 – Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 62:8 – Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. 

Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Give all your worries and stress to God. He will take care of you and get you through the end of the school year. Your PUC family will be here praying for you and giving any support you need. 

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.

Coaches Corner: Melissa Barton

Coming from Denver, CO., is PUC’s Men’s Volleyball coach Melissa Barton. This year was her second season coaching, with the previous coaching at Union College in Lincoln, NE. Melissa coaches to win while also having fun in the process. She believes effort beats talent, so she trains her team to always give a hundred percent.

Melissa kindly answered some questions for us to learn more about her and her team. 

What makes PUC athletics different from other colleges and universities? 

At PUC you can tell that we are in a season of growth. Everyone has the same goal in mind and that is to better our program. I believe that is what sets us apart right now. 

How do you keep your players motivated during the season? 

Motivation for my players is easy, they all have such a strong love and passion for the game, they just want to play. They are very self-motivated because they enjoy what they do.

What values do you instill in your players? 

Respect is one of the biggest values. As well as discipline, I hope people can see a difference in my team. 

What do you enjoy most about being a coach?

I love all the memories made and seeing my players light up with joy when they get that kill, or ace, or whatever good thing they did. It makes my heart happy. 

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

My players know that I am always there for them. On and off-court whether it is volleyball-related or not. They know that I will always have their back with everything, 

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

My athletes are regularly involved in helping the sports teams out on game day. I also have several men on my team that play instruments for vespers and church. My team is very charismatic and loves to show up to the SA events. 

How do you incorporate spiritual life within your team? 

My team has worship on Monday’s lead out by myself. And on every other day of the week the players, each take turns in leading out in a quick devotional before each practice. This allows them to talk about what they believe in, and what is important to them. 

Why should prospective students choose PUC over another program? 

They will be joining a family, not just a school. 

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

My favorite thing is getting to know the athletes as more than just players on a court. Like I said we become a family. 

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

I enjoy doing other sports, exploring random cities, watching movies, and driving around in my truck listening to country music. 

Study Tips For Finals Week 

The time has come to start preparing for finals again. You’ve probably developed the study habits that work for you- or could still be trying different methods to see what’s more successful for you. However you study, we wanted to share some tips to help you ace your exams. 

Check Your Exam Schedule

Check when, where, and what time each exam is. You never want to be in the position of being late for an exam. Sometimes exam times change, so make sure with your professor when your exams will be. 

Know Your Priorities 

After organizing the timeline of your exams, know what you have to study first. It might be for the first exam you have- or the hardest final for you. It’s good to know this in advance, so you don’t use up study time during finals week. 

Establish Your Study Spot 

By this time of the school year, you probably already know where your study spot is. Especially during finals week, your study atmosphere needs to keep you motivated and productive. It could be the library, student center, department lounge, or even your room. 

Set The Tone 

Set the tone for your study session. Have your playlist ready if you work better with music. Remove all noise and distractions if you need a quiet environment. The library is a great place to study because there are tables and cubicles that allow you to have a space for yourself. It’s all about what’s right for you to stay in the zone. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help 

Do not be afraid to ask for help. Your professors are there to help you, so take advantage of their office hours and bring up any questions or concerns during class or after. Your classmates are also there to help you out. (If you study better with people, have a good study group where you can stay focused while having little distractions.)

Keep Snacks & Water With You

Keep yourself fueled up with enough snacks and waters that will keep you awake throughout your study sessions.

Get Enough Sleep 

Please, please, please get enough sleep! As much as all-nighters are popular in college, your body and mind have to rest. Getting enough sleep will help you do even better on your exam. 

Pray & Believe In Yourself 

Praying is a powerful thing to do. It’s amazing what God can do during your exam by helping you remember the things you’ve studied to give you that reassurance that you are going to be okay. You also have to believe in yourself. Remind yourself that you got this! 

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.

Serve With Love: PUC Travels to Kenya

This past spring break, 22 students, two professors from PUC, and five parents, went to serve in Kenya. They traveled to Kensington Hall Oloosinon Girls Secondary School (with about 150 students) to deliver 18 laptop computers and a projector. PUC students trained five out of eight teachers on how to use the laptops since most of the teachers were unfamiliar with computers but were eager to learn. Professor of Biology Floyd Hayes organized this mission trip for the fourth time and shared that his favorite memory from this trip was seeing the joy in the eyes of the teachers as they learned how to use their laptop computers. 10 of the computers will be in the computer lab they planned to set up before the students returned in April. Computer training will be a game-changer for the students, providing them with crucial skills that will help them find jobs and interact with a complex modern society.

PUC students training teachers how to use laptop computers

A laptop was also donated to a clinic where the group constructed the foundation of a new building at the Africa Mission Services Community Health Clinic and Birth Center. Nursing Professor Nicolette Piaubert and PUC students assisted in delivering five babies at the clinic- one baby was named Nicolette, and another was named Christie in honor of nursing student Christie Sumner. Several students assisted Dr. John Hiss and his wife Rita, a nurse (and parents of PUC student Nathan Hiss), with a few dozen patients in the clinic’s outpatient offices.

Nursing Professor Nicolette Piaubert (L) and nursing student Christie Sumner (R) with newborn babies named after them

During the trip, PUC students hosted Vacation Bible School for four days, where they enjoyed teaching and interacting with 75 students and witnessing 13 of those students baptized by Pastor Vuong Tran.

Students leading out in Vacation Bible School

The group also had the chance to spend two and a half days on safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, observing thousands of mammals plus many interesting reptiles and birds. “The highlight was seeing the big cats, including a few dozen lions, three cheetahs, and two leopards. The Maasai Giraffes and African Bush Elephants were also spectacular,” said Hayes. “This was my fourth trip to Kenya, and each time, I experience new sights and sounds. As a wildlife biologist, observing the iconic wildlife of Africa up close and personal has been the highlight of my career. I always feel like I’m in heaven! But not quite. It’s not safe to walk among the big animals, so I look forward to walking safely among them in heaven.”

Panthera Leo (African lions) 
Masai giraffe

With this being the fourth mission trip Professor Hayes organized, he shared that this one was different from the previous trips in that they donated laptop computers to a school. “Mission trips provide a wonderful opportunity for students to interact with people from another culture to learn how much we share in common and to realize how variable our opportunities are. I hope the students will realize how fortunate they are to have so many opportunities that are unavailable to many people who live in impoverished communities. That they will become more sensitive to the needs of those people, and that they will take advantage of the opportunities they have in life to help make the world a better place for others.”

It’s incredible to see the impact these mission trips give our students. To watch them lead and serve with love is an amazing sight, and we could not be more proud of the group that went to Kenya this past spring break. “I highly recommend participating in PUC’s homeless ministries, going on at least one mission trip, and becoming a student missionary in a developing country,” said Hayes. “Mission service is a life-transforming experience!”

Climb Into The World of PUC’s EMS Club

The EMS Club is a student-led organization with the goal of teaching students skills in emergency medical care while engaging in fun outdoor activities. Gil Fayard is the president of the club and organizes and leads all club activities with the help of his team. He also leads weekly meetings to brainstorm and plan their upcoming fundraisers and events with my fellow officers. Gil thoughtfully answered some questions for us to learn more about the EMS Club.

Tell us about the EMS Club. How did this club get started?

The EMS club is a student-led organization here at PUC with the goal of teaching students skills in emergency medical care while engaging in fun outdoor activities. During the fall quarter of the 2019-2020 school year, some friends and classmates of mine noticed that there was no club to represent the emergency services department. We felt our field of study and interests were not represented by the PUC student body at the time, so this motivated us to start our club! Our vision is to build community by doing fun outdoor activities and teaching emergency medical skills applicable to those activities.

Can anyone join the club? 

Yes! Anyone may join the club. Students of all majors and standings are welcome. 

What do you hope to accomplish with the club this year?

An important goal I have for this club is for us to stay active. I want to host a variety of events throughout the school year so that we can build a community of students with similar interests, values, and the desire to learn emergency medical skills. 

Can you share with us any upcoming activities or events?

We have some exciting events for the rest of the school year. Rock climbing trips, movie nights, a minimalist survival camping trip, a snowboard/ski trip, pre-vespers, and white water rafting are all activities we are wanting to do.

How does the club incorporate spiritual life? 

The spiritual life within our club is heavily based upon the combination of friendship and God’s creation. We strengthen our spiritual lives by embracing our club’s sense of community while enjoying the beauty and opportunity of the outdoors. 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the EMS Club?

I love brainstorming with my team and seeing our ideas transform into real events. It reminds me of how capable we are, and I get satisfaction from events that are fun, educational, and constructive for students. 

Convince me to join the EMS Club in five sentences.

The EMS club here at PUC is a student led organization that invites all. We are passionate about teaching students new and exciting skills in engaging ways. From rock climbing and rafting to bleeding control, and CPR, we got it! To make things better, our events will have minimal to no cost due to our efficient fundraising efforts. College is all about learning new skills, getting out of your comfort zone, and making friends, so EMS club is for you!

Follow the EMS Club on Instagram to stay up-to-date on activities, events, and trips.