Tag Archives: puc student profile

Senior Spotlight: Ethan Blanca

Ethan Blanco will be graduating this June with a degree in Liberal Studies. From Bakersfield, CA, Ethan originally intended to enroll at his local community college. However, not a month before the school year was to start, he learned that many of his local church friends were enrolling at PUC. That was the only thing that motivated Ethan to attend PUC instead.  

Do you remember what stood out to you the most when you first arrived on campus? 

What stood out to me the most when I first arrived on PUC’s campus was the atmosphere. The green and opulent plant life, for one, was stunning to me. I come from Bakersfield, which is certainly not known for its natural green beauty, so I was excited about the change of scenery. The sense of a close-knit community was another theme of PUC that I noticed almost immediately upon arriving. 

What has been your favorite class? 

My favorite class was EDUC-447-01 – Classroom Management with Professor Penaflorida. As someone going into the education field, it was a class that I already knew would be important for my career. However, the way Professor P involved all the students in their own learning and promoted safe and creative discussion was an amazing experience.  

What is something you want to accomplish before graduating? 

I hope to complete the rough draft for a novel I have been writing for six years. Coupled with this novel, I want to add detail to the creative writing of the fantasy world the novel is based in. The hope is that there will eventually be many different stories written about it. 

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

My favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family is the connection that I have bridged with my professors. Many professors here at PUC have helped mold me into the person I am today, and I am both proud and thankful for that fact. I am confident that the relationships I have built over the four years I have been a part of the Pioneers family will not go away after I graduate. 

Recommend a restaurant in the Napa Valley and what people should order. 

Giugni’s Deli is a great sandwich shop off St. Helena Highway. The portions of the sandwich are quite generous. If you wanted, you could eat the sandwich in halves for two separate meals. Plus, there are a lot of ingredient options. If anything, I was overwhelmed with how many choices I had. 

What are you going to miss the most about PUC? 

What I will miss the most about PUC are the people. I have made many connections with friends that will certainly stay with me for years to come. Many of my friends are also committed to the creative writing projects that I am involved in. It is because of them that I have gained the confidence and ideas that have helped shape my novel. 

Faces of PUC: Ashley Castro-Rodriguez

Ashley Castro-Rodriguez is studying theology and minoring in communications. Coming from Salem, Oregon. She chose PUC because she received scholarships and guidance from her advisor, Pastor and Professor Wibberding. He explained and showed her how the Theology program worked and made her feel welcome. Ashley shared that the admissions team was also super welcoming and helped guide her through the entire application process. Living in the PNW, she found the campus pretty and reminded her of home.

What is your dream job? 

Anything relating to Pastoral Ministry, knowing I am making an impact being able to help people.

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

I never really knew what I wanted to be as a kid, it always changed. It wasn’t until I understood how my mom had studied Theology and was going to be a pastor for the Oregon conference, that I realized that was even an option.

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

How easy it is to be involved in things, and the people you get to meet because of it. Being able to go from class to working at the grind to working at the campus ministries office to running to orchestra practice and seeing so many different familiar faces makes my day.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Anywhere as long as I’m with my friends and family

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

Eternals, because a) ancient history, b) the music (more specifically the song “Friends”), c) super cool superheroes (and Harry Styles). But as a main character, I wouldn’t want to be an innocent bystander who doesn’t know what’s going on. 

What is something you’re passionate about?

Music! I listen to a lot of music styles, and I love live music and the impact it can have. Whether I’m leading, playing bass for worship, or simply listening. Ministry and Jesus too, they tie together and are a big part of my life.

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

The Petrified Forest in Calistoga is pretty cool and makes for a nice hike