Tag Archives: PUC alumni

Alumni Profile: Katie Aguilar

Katie Aguilar, who graduated in 2013 with a BFA in graphic design, currently works as a graphic designer on the creative services team at Netflix in Los Angeles, Calif. Below, Katie discusses her job at Netflix, her time at PUC, and advice she has for students wanting to follow in her footsteps.

katie-aguilar

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at PUC?

What stands out the most is learning to listen. Whether it was in a class, a meeting, or somewhere in the stillness of the Back 40, if I just listened, I learned something. There’s always someone with a different perspective or approach I would miss if I didn’t just quiet down and listen. I need reminding of that now and again.

Who was your favorite professor while you were at PUC and why?

That’s hard because I grew very close to my professors in the department of visual arts. Most of my PUC experience was spent in Fisher Hall, where my professors were really easy to talk to and always willing to help me through a project and oftentimes, life. So there isn’t just one, there are four. Shout-out to Milbert Mariano, Cliff Rusch, Haley Wesley, and Brian Kyle!

How did your time at PUC prepare you for your career?

It’s the little efficiencies I picked up along the way from my teachers or peers. Keyboard shortcuts, organization, timeliness, the importance of prioritization. It was really surprising when I got out into the “real world” how much those small things played such a big role in my day-to-day and made things run smoother.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job? The most challenging?

The most enjoyable part of my job is knowing I bring value to my team. We use these buzz phrases like “freedom and responsibility,” and it’s true, I have the freedom to work in a way that makes sense to me, the freedom to grow, to learn, to test new ideas and ask questions. My responsibilities to my team are for me to perform at my very best and I really enjoy being in an environment where I can thrive. That’s also the challenging part, I have the freedom to take my career where I want to, so it’s up to me to use my time wisely and make the most out of every opportunity.

What advice would you give for other young aspiring designers?

Some advice I’d give any aspiring designer:

  1. Talk to your professors! Get to know them! They’re such a valuable resource and can help you get through the creative fog you’ll inevitably have during projects.
  2. Be aware of what’s out there. Find out what other designers are doing, what new software is coming out that could improve or change the way you think about design.
  3. Don’t be afraid to try crazy ideas.
  4. Don’t limit yourself to one area of design. Lately all the job postings I’ve seen are looking for a jack of all trades. You don’t need to be an expert in every Adobe product but knowing some fundamentals can come in really handy later on.

Go for it! The only real limit to how far you can go is often set by you. Don’t be afraid of messing up or not getting the exact result you wanted. Just keep going for it. You’ll surprise yourself how far you really go.

Alumni Profile: Ashley Kim

Students at PUC are exposed to incredible opportunities which allow them to help make the world a better place. Ashley Kim is one of those students. As a communication major at PUC, Ashley met and took classes from journalism professor Susan Dix Lyons, from whom she learned about Clinica Verde and made a decision that has not only changed her life, but others around the world.

Ashley Kim

PUC alum Ashley Kim.

Currently, Ashley works as the Executive Assistant for Clinica Verde, a non-profit organization which focuses on preventive healthcare through a whole-health approach to care, beginning with nutrition education and sustainable farming by providing an organic crop production and agriculture learning space for the local community. In 2007, Clinica Verde opened a health clinic in rural Nicaragua and since then, they have provided over 55,500 medical consults, with their focus on providing care for the Nicaraguan mothers and children living in poverty. Their HIGHER Program takes interested students on medical trips to Nicaragua four different times during a year and are currently working with the PUC Missions Department to set up potential trips.

What was your major at PUC, and how did it prepare you for current job?

I was a double major at PUC, intercultural communications and Spanish. Both majors prepared me well for my position at Clinica Verde. Through my communication major, I learned the importance of communicating effectively and on a timely basis, which is so important when being in contact with multiple businesses or individuals via email, phone, or social media. Specifically in the intercultural aspect, I learned how people with different cultural backgrounds communicate in various ways. This has been especially helpful because working stateside yet having our clinic in Nicaragua, I have come in contact with individuals who carry different cultural communication styles and I was able to better navigate myself through conversation because of my knowledge of what may be culturally appropriate or not.  What I’m most excited for however, is going to Nicaragua and visiting the clinic in the near future and using my Spanish along the way.

Susan Dix Lyons was your professor at PUC how did that relationship lead to a job?

Susan Dix Lyons was my Newswriting and Reporting professor at PUC. Upon taking her class and seeing how invested she was in her students, I knew instantly I wanted to continue working with Susan in whatever way I could. A year after taking her class, I sent Susan an email with hopes to intern for her and Clinica Verde but I was very anxious because I didn’t have much experience at the time. Thankfully, Susan immediately responded with an excited and warm response that she would love to work with me and even mentioned a journalism piece I wrote during her class. Although I’m now graduated and working for Susan, I continue to learn from her on a daily basis. Just like when she was my professor at PUC, Susan guides me and helps me grow professionally and intellectually.

What has been PUC’s involvement with Clinica Verde over the years?

PUC students have been great supporters of Clinica Verde for the past few years! Several teams in Professor Michelle Rai’s Fundraising class launched successful fundraising campaigns to support the cause and PUC alums Daniel DeCaires and Suwanna Vantananan continue to serve the organization. PUC Senior Jayson Paw was also an intern for Clinica Verde last spring. In addition, PUC’s Off-Road Triathlon was developed in partnership with Clinica Verde and serves as a benefit to support the work the clinic does serving mothers and children living in poverty.

Clinica Verde 1

PUC alum Daniel DeCaires assists with a checkup at the clinic.

Tell us about the GivingGrid Campaign and its goals.

The GivingGrid campaign is one of our current fundraisers. Our goal is to raise $8,100 for our Prenatal Nutrition Program which supports expectant mothers, and provides them education about the care and nourishment of their babies during and after pregnancy. While $8,100 seem like a small amount, it will go a long way in Nicaragua. The program will work with pregnant women from rural communities to teach fetal development and maternal and child nutrition through presentations, activities, and use of our bio-intensive garden. We just completed our pilot of the program and our hoping to continue this work to transform the lives of the mothers and children we serve. The GivingGrid campaign is an interactive way our supporters can join our cause. Supporters simply click a square with the amount they wish to give and add a picture! Also, supporters who give $100 or more will receive an etched brick on the Clinica Verde grounds in Nicaragua.

If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?

If I could go back and tell my freshman self one thing, it would be to never be afraid of reaching out to our PUC professors. One of the greatest advantages of attending PUC is our professors truly care about their students’ success and want to help in whatever way possible. People may be surprised with how many opportunities I received by simply sending an email to a professor. I now have lasting, close friendships with many of my professors and know I can still reach out to them for help and they’ll always respond warmly.

Editor’s Note: Visit www.clinicaverde.org if you’re interested in learning more about Clinica Verde or how to get involved in the HIGHER program.

If you feel compelled to donate to the GivingGrid Campaign, you can donate at www.givinggrid.com/clinicaverde.

Alumni Profile: Andy Bishop

There are over 26,000 PUC alumni spread throughout the world, and we’re proud of each and every one of them and their accomplishments. Andy Bishop is a 2010 PUC graduate living in San Diego and working with various sports media outlets and organizations.

I asked Andy to share with us his experiences and advice for anyone looking into media-related careers.

You have two jobs; being a real-time correspondent for Major League Baseball (MLB) and a production assistant for Fox Sports San Diego. Tell us a little bit about both.

For my job with MLB, I work a majority of Padres games at Petco Park in San Diego. My main objective is to gather content for MLB and the two respective ball clubs, mostly pictures for their Twitter and Instagram accounts. I have the freedom to go around the ballpark and report on anything interesting or unique at any given game.

With Fox Sports San Diego, I work on a show on which I primarily help produce a weekly feature. This involves everything from coordinating a shoot to working as a second cameraman to assisting with editing on the backend. Additionally, I do miscellaneous projects for the crews producing the Padres games on a daily basis.

Andy (left), in action.

Andy (left), in action.

Describe to me what it took for you to get to where you are.

In a word, persistence. A ton of people want to work in the sports industry; there just aren’t that many jobs. I didn’t exactly help my pursuit by moving to San Diego right after attending PUC, without establishing much of a connection base beforehand. It’s taken me five good years of work experience to get a solid network and to get my foot in the door with some big companies.

Something else I can’t stress enough is support. It would have been easy for me at times to just give up and settle for a job in another industry. I can’t tell you how many amazing friends and family members have encouraged me throughout the process. They have believed in me when most others haven’t, and that’s been essential in my growth as an on-air personality.

How did your major at PUC prepare you for both of your jobs?

The importance of preparation is one of the biggest things I took away from my business and communication majors. I had to do a lot of speeches and presentations in college, and like most people, I would feel the nerves a bit. But the times when I really knew my material and took it to heart were the times I performed better. The same goes for when I’m doing something on camera now. While I have certainly gotten a lot more comfortable talking when the pressure is on, I am far more articulate and confident when I’ve done my homework.

One other component that my studies in communication taught me was to smile. Not enough people do it. Most of us naturally don’t smile and are fairly monotone when talking in front of people. So it’s something you definitely have to work on. You really have to critique yourself and make it point to think about smiling. It becomes a lot more natural over time.

Describe your typical work day.

I have lot of variety in my work days, which is good because I’m not the greatest at sitting in an office cubicle all day. I’m definitely at my best when I’m on the move in some form or fashion.

Most days on the job I do a decent chunk of work from the office: phone calls, emails, editing, meetings, etc. Normally a day or two a week I’m able to head out into the beautiful city of San Diego and help with shooting a feature for Fox Sports. About every other week I’m going to Padres games and roaming around the ballpark at night. In time, I definitely want to do more work out of the office.

Andy Bishop 2

What have you done so far in your professional career that you are most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of the fact that I have stayed true to myself. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to prove yourself to people and/or trying to please people. I have certainly gone through stages where that took more of my focus than it should have. But thankfully, there has been a good maturation process for me in knowing who I am and what I can offer.

A big part of why I’ve been able to stay true to myself is that I’ve been continually humbled and grounded. This is not to say that I’m a complete failure (only a partial one), but I’ve lived long enough to know I’m not the greatest thing since fish tacos. I lot of awesome experiences and individuals have helped me keep a pretty good head on my shoulders.

In the sports industry there is SO MUCH arrogance, ego, and individualism. As a man of faith, I’m very driven to be the opposite of that. I certainly have to be confident and persistent in what I’m trying to do, but man, there is a bigger picture. So along the way I am very committed to sharing others’ awesome stories, creating and sustaining good relationships, and appreciating the journey.

If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?

I would tell my freshman self to be more active in pursuing jobs and internships while in school. I just didn’t realize how hard it was going to be after college to 1) find work and 2) establish myself. There are zero Adventist connections in the sports media world, and about 99.9% of the people have never heard of Pacific Union College. That was a bit of a barrier. I would have been better off getting connected in San Diego earlier, or at the very least doing some sort of summer internship or job in a bigger sports market.

With that said, I’m not much of a woulda, coulda, shoulda guy. So I’m thankful for the solid education I got while at PUC. I’m better off because of the process that it has taken to get here. I’m doing a lot of fun things in the city that I love and feel called to be in. While I still have a long way to go, I’m confident that some really good things are to come in the near future.

What advice do you have for students considering getting into sports broadcasting/reporting?

Only do it if you love it. I started at PUC thinking I was going to pursue medicine, but then in spring quarter my freshman year I found what drove me. Thanks to Rosemary Collins’ Intro to Speech Communication class I realized I felt a certain ease when speaking in front of others. Everything that went into it – the research, the memorization, talking to myself in front of the mirror, sharing stories/speeches to the class – got me excited. Nearly a decade later it is similar types of opportunities with reporting and broadcasting that drive me professionally.

I would also encourage people to keep an open mind about what their career calling is. I think it’s best to keep some options open and try different things. Thankfully, what I dreamed up my freshman year has proven to be what’s best suited for me. As you get more experience during and after college, you have to find your niche and form a personal brand of sorts. But ultimately, I feel you should just be who you are and work your tail off to get what you want. Don’t forget that the most satisfaction professionally will come from the relationships you create and the moments you share with others. Don’t be so concerned about the fast track to success.

Alumni Profile: Tad Worku

At PUC we encourage our students to take chances, strive for their dreams and find where God is leading them. Tad Worku’s journey led him back to PUC where he’s combined his inspiring musical gift with his desire to help and uplift his community. This February 28th he will be performing with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and all proceeds from the concert will go directly to fund a free health clinic sponsored by PUC.

We spoke with Tad and asked him to share a little about his journey.

You’ve graduated before, what degrees do you hold and what are you going to school for currently?

I have a degree in Business Marketing and an Associates Degree in Nursing. I am currently in the BSN program and I finish in June!

Why did you choose PUC?

PUC has always been home for me. I was born at St. Helena Hospital and grew up in Angwin. I had great memories growing up around PUC and when it came time to choose a college, it was a pretty easy decision to make.

Tad Worku

Music is a huge part of your professional life, tell us about that.

My journey with music has been a very interesting one. After I graduated in 2008, I moved to San Francisco to pursue a career as a professional musician. I got my first break in 2009, when I was given an opportunity to headline at Yoshi’s San Francisco. We sold out the show and from there things started to pick up. Over the next few years, I performed multiple shows, wrote music for other artists, and finished a full-length album.

During this time, I began to question the direction I was heading as a pop/soul artist. There were things that didn’t fit with what I valued and I found myself conflicted. I had always dreamed about making a successful career out of music, but something deep down inside was telling me that this wasn’t the direction for me. This was a time in my life that really tested my faith and after wrestling with the situation, I decided to walk away from my completed pop/soul album and return the substantial amount of tour funding I had just received. I started praying about what I would do next and doors opened for me to study nursing. A few weeks later I was back at PUC taking pre-requisites to get into the Nursing program.

While in the Nursing program, I began writing music again, this time with strong Christian themes and stories that reflected my recent journey. Soon, I had developed enough songs for a new project and began to see possibilities opening back up in the area of music. Through a long list of providential encounters, I found myself talking with Michael Morgan, the director of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, about performing this new Christian project with the Oakland Symphony. He thought this would be a great idea – and the rest is history as they say.

Love Is All

Tell us how you plan to use both your music and healthcare skills.

At first, I had absolutely no idea how music and healthcare could be related. It wasn’t until I started sharing my vision of using music to contribute towards a larger cause that I began to discover how these two areas might be related. I remember sitting in Mark Ishikawa’s office (Director of Alumni Relations at PUC) and telling him about my vision of using music to really live out the Gospel. During our conversation, Mark mentioned the work that Adventist Medical Evangelism Network was doing, providing free medical, dental, and vision clinics for high risk populations. This idea inspired me to see how music could fit into this model. I decided to use all of the proceeds from my music to help fund and build an infrastructure to do this type of medical mission work on a larger scale.

My goal is to use the resources and influence provided through music to help create an infrastructure and build a network of providers for the purpose of giving much needed medical services to those in desperate need. My plan is to develop this concept into a model and duplicate it in as many different places as possible.

What inspired you to come up with the idea for the Love is All concert?

After giving up my career in pop music, I decided whatever I would do next would be something connected to my faith and values. I chose Nursing because it would give me the ability to directly serve those in need. When the opportunity presented itself to get back into music, I knew exactly how I wanted to use my stage. I knew that connecting the proceeds from the concert to a free clinic for those in need would be a powerful way of showing what the Gospel of Jesus Christ looks like today. This was my motivation behind the idea.

Tell us why this cause is so important to you.

I believe our generation has the ability to make a huge impact on this planet and also share the good news of the Gospel in creative and innovative ways. I want to create or contribute to an infrastructure that helps my generation dream about ways we can impact this world. I know this event is just a small seed, but my hope is that people would be inspired by this and help the story continue far past this event.

You have a very interesting professional story transitioning from music to healthcare. In what ways have PUC faculty and staff helped you get here?

I have received so much support from PUC faculty and staff. When I decided to come back to school, I talked with the Nursing department about what it would take to get into the program and they were extremely helpful and encouraged me along the way. Laffit Cortez, the former chaplain, gave me an opportunity to speak for Student Week of Prayer to share how I ended up back at PUC. Both Mark and Walter Collins (Vice President for Advancement) mentored me and helped me develop the framework for the Love Is All Concert and Clinic. There are so many others who have been such a big support and encouragement to me.

If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?

I probably would have told myself not to be afraid to completely follow God.  Back then, I thought I would miss out on a lot if I chose to follow God completely.

What are your plans for 2015?

I want to finish recording an album. I have waited for the right opportunity and resources to come together and I think it is finally the right time to get it done. I plan on doing more concerts and health clinics and I am also exploring some opportunities to begin working as a nurse.

Tickets for the Love Is All concert are still available! Visit tadworku.com to purchase yours and for more information.

Alumni Profile: Karisa Lowe

When people talk about doing anything you can imagine with your degree they really mean it!

Karisa Lowe graduated from PUC in 2008 with a degree in Public Relations and Journalism. Since graduating, she has founded her own publishing company and published several children’s books.

We asked Karisa to share about her experience at PUC and what life is like as a children’s book author.

What inspired you to start writing children’s books?

I’ve always been interested in writing books, but originally full-length novels. After graduating, I dabbled in newspaper writing and decided I liked creative writing more. But by the time I decided to try creative writing again, I hadn’t done any kind of writing for a while. Writing a children’s book seemed like a much less daunting task than sitting down and cranking out an 80,000 word novel, so I decided to start with that. After I wrote the first book, I started reading it at schools and bookstores just to get some feedback and I ended up really loving the interaction with kids. It was very rewarding and I fell in love with the whole process and everything came together from there.

Kari 1

How did you come up with the idea for your books?

When I decided to start writing children’s books, I really wanted them to have a purpose. I was reading a ton of books to my nieces and nephews and started realizing there a ton of cute books, but more often than not, I would get to the end and think, “is that it?” I felt like a lot of books were missing that lesson, morale, whatever you want to call it. Basically, something teachable for kids to take away from the book. So I came up with one specific scene for a dentist book and decided to make a series of kids books that tackle first encounters (first trip to the dentist, first trip on an airplane, etc) and eventually just important topics close to my heart, like nutrition. I built the entire series off of this purposeful concept.

Arlo

Describe your typical work day.

On a typical work day you’ll usually find me checking and filling orders, making sure inventory is up to date, at the post office mailing out orders, making and editing marketing materials, brainstorming new marketing and sales opportunities, booking events, etc. Honestly, I could probably write an entire page of things I usually do on a typical day. If I have “nothing” to do, then I’m doing something wrong. When you work for yourself, you never run out of things to do.

How did your major prepare you for this endeavor?

I studied both Public Relations and Journalism at PUC. I always thought I would end up in journalism but I have definitely ended up using my public relations knowledge more. Since I published my books through my own small publishing company, I do everything myself: marketing, sales, vendor relations, etc. Typically, authors just want to write and sell the manuscript, which is much less work than the way I’m doing it but also requires them to share a large chunk of the profit. With my public relations skills I know that I’m capable of doing a lot of the non-writing tasks myself and I’ve made it into a profitable business.

How did your classes and professors at PUC help prepare you to write children’s books?

My Public Relations and Journalism teachers gave me confidence in my writing skills, which gave me the confidence to go out on a limb with this venture. My PR classes have turned out to be an invaluable asset. I never thought I would be writing press releases or marketing plans, but plans change! I’m so glad I paid attention despite thinking I wouldn’t necessarily go into PR. And if I’m a little rusty on something, I know I can still contact professors Lynn Thew, Michelle Rai, or Tammy McGuire and they always come through for me.

What are your plans for 2015?

2015 is an exciting year already! I’m in the process of signing a contract for a distributor for Early Ink Press, which will be key in expanding sales to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers. I’m also working on some non-Arlo children’s books with my illustrator Edmund Boey, which we’re really excited about.

Kari 2

If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?

I would tell myself that it’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life. You’re young and still figuring out what you like and what you’re good at. I ended up switching majors four or five times throughout my freshman year until I settled on Public Relations and Journalism halfway through my sophomore year. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just enjoy the experience.

Check out Karisa’s books and publishing company at www.earlyinkpress.com.

Alumni Profile: Jasmine Kelley

Here at PUC we have some amazing alums doing everything from helping to animate feature films to publishing children’s books. Jasmine “Jassy” Onya’e Kelley graduated PUC in 2012 with a degree in Photography and Graphic Design. Recently she decided to use her degree and her creative skills to start her own business selling handmade, all natural skincare products.

We sat down with Jasmine and asked her some questions about starting her own business and her time at PUC.

Jassy 1

1. You recently started your own business – Did you ever think that was something you would do?

It’s something I have always wanted to do, but I didn’t have the confidence back then to actually start it. Sometime after college I started working for small business owners who inspired me to start my own business. I saw how happy and successful they were and I wanted the same thing – to be successful on my own.

2. Describe your typical work day.

After waking up, I write down a list of tasks I need to complete before the day is over in my day planner. Tasks like making products, completing Etsy orders, shipping orders, posting on social media, taking inventory, and responding to emails.

3. How did your major prepare you to start your own business?

Having the knowledge of photography and graphic design helped me have control over my style, which fonts I want to use, how they will work with my aesthetics, etc. Being able to photograph my products in certain light using different backgrounds any time I want without relying on others is nice. It’s great being able to do it all by myself.

Jassy 3

4. How did your classes and professors at PUC help prepare you for starting your own business?

My classes at PUC helped me realized which paths I wanted and did not want to take. I knew I loved web design, but I lacked certain skills with coding and I did not have the patience for it. I loved designing books, layouts, and covers and being able to create something new, but I lacked the ability to design with a pencil and found my skill through the computer. I discovered my strengths and weaknesses and in turn what I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.

My photography and design professors really inspired me to stay on top of my game, to always take the time to go above and beyond and to check everything twice, to make sure my work was clean and understandable and that my presentation was strong. I also noticed my design professors had their own design projects outside of teaching and I loved seeing how they found time while still being amazing teachers. One particular marketing professor inspired me when it came to advertising and putting myself out there. I learned a lot in that class and it was one of my favorite GEs to take.

5. Have you had any support from the faculty and staff at PUC?

Yes I have had lots of support from my college professors. Some gave me feedback when I had doubts about which design approach to take with the look of my business and several have actually purchased some of my products! They didn’t have to, but it makes me feel special knowing they are proud of me and their support truly means a lot!

Jassy 2

6. What advice would you give PUC students who are considering starting their own business?

Even if you have your doubts, just go for it and don’t let anyone stop you. I didn’t read a book on how to start a business – I just did it. It all came together in a matter of months and I learned a lot more as my business grew. You don’t always have to go by the book. Every business is different. Use your resources, try new things, take advice from people you look up to, ask questions and most importantly, take action.

7. If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?

I would tell myself to stop doubting, ask more questions, and to just try.

Check out Jasmine’s Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/onyaenaturals.