Tag Archives: student profile

Faces of PUC: Karina Saavedra 

Karina Saavedra is a nursing student from American Canyon. She is a driven student who aspires to have a career that will always challenge her and feels like nursing is a perfect choice. Karina also enjoys doing calligraphy and spending time with her friends during her free time. 

 What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to one day be a CRNA: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. I love to challenge myself, and I have always aspired to have a career that will constantly challenge myself every day. I want to care for and save my patients’ lives. I want to be an advocate for them. I love working with people and giving them a reason to see another day! 

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

As silly as it may sound I wanted to work at Target. As a kid, I was obsessed with the idea of being a cashier at Target.  

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

The Pioneers family is naturally very welcoming and loving—I love this the most about being a part of the Pioneers family. From the moment I arrived on campus, I instantly felt at home with the numerous people that made me feel like I had a new family.  

 Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world is the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand. I went island hopping on all six islands of Phi Phi, and it was the most beautiful site in the world. I love nature as well as being in the water. I was able to swim in the ocean and the lagoons of various islands.  

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I am currently bingeing on Avatar. I love the show so much, this is my second time watching the entire series! 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I love to do calligraphy in my free time, so writing is something I am personally passionate about. Writing/calligraphy is something that’s helped me cope with my stress in college.  

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

Growing up around San Francisco, I do have some personal favorite places to go to. If you love to walk around and enjoy the scenery, I recommend taking a walk around Bernal Heights Park, Fort Point, or walking around Sausalito. If you love sweets and coffee like me, I recommend Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. There are also many countless shopping areas and restaurants all over the Bay Area!  

 

Faces of PUC: Dannica Roberts 

Coming to PUC from Honolulu, HI, Dannica Roberts is studying physical education. As an older sibling, she’s always been a nurturer and is really passionate about helping people which makes her a great fit here at PUC where students are encouraged to join service projects. Dannica is well-known for being “super sweet” so when you see her on campus don’t hesitate to say hello! 

What is your dream job? 

My dream job would be to become a pilot and a dentist for children. 

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

When I was young, I wanted to become a teacher, so my dream jobs have not happened yet. Eventually, I would love to learn how to fly a plane and maybe get some experience in the dentistry field. 

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

I receive so much love and support from the Pioneers family. 

What is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite places in the world are either the beach where I would be surfing or in another country, like Taiwan or Peru where I would want to help with community service projects. 

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I have been binge-watching Criminal Minds and I am so close to finishing all 12 seasons of it. 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am passionate about going out into the community and helping with service projects. 

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

I would recommend buying a ticket to go riding on the cable car around San Francisco and of course, visiting Ghirardelli Square. 

 

Faces of PUC: April Medel 

April Medel is a senior from Stockton, Calif., majoring in psychology with an emphasis in Spanish and pre-medicine. She is passionate about helping others and is dedicated to making changes in how the medical field treats minorities. April was sweet enough to answer some questions for us. We are truly blessed to have students like April on our campus!

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to be a doctor. Personally, it does not really matter to me what kind of doctor I end up being as long as I am able to make a difference in someone’s life physically and emotionally and being able to use my knowledge and resources to try and fix parts of the system that are broken, like the prejudice many minorities face while seeking medical care. 

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

I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was in the first grade!  Having the ability to help others and using the resources I have to help those in need is something I wanted to do since I was a kid and I am glad that my priorities have not changed. 

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

My favorite thing about being part of the Pioneers family is that I am given the opportunity to worship God at the end of a stressful week. Many schools do not offer that opportunity, and I feel like it is great how PUC students can all get together, praise God, and give thanks for another successful week. 

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world is definitely Yosemite. Yosemite is basically my second home and I have been going there since I was born. It is a place where I can shut out the world and just thank God for all the blessings in my life. 

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I have been watching Space Force and 100 Humans on Netflix. Space Force is such a cute show and I just love Steve Carell. 100 Humans is extremely interesting so if you are interested in research and random human behaviors, then you should definitely check it out! 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am really passionate about standing up against racism and making sure everyone is treated equally and with respect. The Black Lives Matter movement, standing up for women and LGBTQ+ rights, and helping immigrants and DACA recipients are stuff that I am really passionate about. 

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

I recommend going to Napa or to Pier 39 in San Francisco with your friends. If you want a bit more adventure, definitely check out Alcatraz in San Francisco or the Manchester House in San Jose. 

 

Faces of PUC: Dylan Gray

Meet Dylan Gray, a marketing communication and emergency services major heading into his junior year at PUC. We asked Dylan what made him choose PUC, his answer made us proud to be Pioneers!

“I love PUC for many reasons but one of the biggest is the people. I love the friends I’ve made and memories we’ve created and I can say with full confidence I am where God wants me to be. I chose PUC mainly for financial reasons but once I got here I knew I really had no choice in the matter. God had already made the choice for me and I realized if it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill and he’s going to place me where I’m supposed to be.”

Dylan is a friendly guy and was happy to share a bit about himself. If you see him around campus, say hey!

What is your dream job?

To be honest I don’t really have one. One day I would like to work in fundraising and coordination with non-profits for disaster relief programs. There are a lot of things could do with my degrees but I just haven’t figured out a path I want to travel after college. I’m not worried about it though because ultimately it is not my decision, it’s all in God’s hands!

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

Quite a bit. When I was younger I wanted to go into Oceanography and marine biology. I love the ocean still but I can’t imagine myself in the field doing research all-day. I love the outdoors and I want to incorporate that into my work somehow as I move forward in life.

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

My favorite part of being in the Pioneers family is that I never feel excluded anywhere I go. No matter where I go on campus I am always running into people I know and finding different events to go to. It seems like no matter where I am on campus I am always greeted with a smile. I have made some of my best friends here. Not just the type of friends that you enjoy hanging out with then don’t talk to after you graduate, I mean the type of friends that I want at my wedding one day if I ever get that lucky. Truly good people.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

I grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Lake Tahoe in a little town called Cromberg. Living here for most of my life has left me with an affinity for the mountains and being out in the wilderness. one of my favorite places is a little lake up in the Plumas-Eureka National Forest called Wades lake. This lake is about twenty miles from any type of civilization along the Pacific Crest Trail. I love this place because when I go there it’s just super relaxing and offers a great time to reconnect with God through nature.

What show are you bingeing these days?

Well, I don’t have too much time to watch anything at the moment, but when I am not so busy you will definitely find me watching How I Met Your Mother. 

What is something you’re passionate about?

Worship and Ministry. The most important thing in my life is my relationship with God and I will take almost any chance to worship. I love worshiping with my friends and supporting them through the prayer group that we have started on campus. Click the link to read more about the group! https://blog.puc.edu/2020/02/13/prayer-in-numbers/ 

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

I am not much of a city guy but one of my favorite places is Coit Tower in SF. The views from the top are absolutely phenomenal! If you like the outdoors a little more, I recommend heading out to Point Reyes, it’s a gorgeous area and it’s right on the beach.   

 

Faces of PUC: Emily Smith 

This lovely lady is Emily Smith. Emily comes to us from Lake City, Florida, and just finished her freshman year studying biology and management for medical professionals while and next year will be taking on the role of event coordinator for the Pre-Med/Dent Club. After an unusual ending to the school year, Emily kindly answered some questions about herself. 

What is your dream job? 

I would love to be a doctor! Currently choosing between being an OBGYN, ER, or surgeon. 

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

I have always wanted to work in the medical field. I had a phase where I wanted to be a nurse because a lot of people in my family are nurses. Then I switched to wanting to be an esthetician because I love skincare! 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am really passionate about health and that includes skincare, fitness, diet, and overall wellness. God gave us our bodies and we owe it to him to keep it in the best shape we can! 

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

I love how inclusive the Pioneers family is. The campus is not very big, so it feels like one big family. Everyone is super friendly, and it feels like a second home. 

What is your favorite place in the world? 

Costa Rica! I lived there for 8 months when I was 7, and I loved it! It is such a beautiful place with loads of culture! 

What was the last book you read? 

The last book I read was “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. A very inspirational book! I highly recommend it! 

What is your favorite type of food? 

I love any type of food, as long as it is vegan and full of flavor! 

What is your favorite Bible verse? 

My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I love this verse because it comforts me when I have big decisions to make. It is comforting to know that God is in control and that he has my best interest at heart. 
Thank you, Emily, for sharing a bit about yourself with your Pioneers family! We can’t wait to see you soon!

It’s OK Being A Super Senior

By: Ally Romanes

A person can make all types of plans for their perfect college experience, but sometimes things turn out differently than you planned, life’s funny like that. One plan most students enter college with is the idea that you’ll finish your degree in four years. For a lot of people, this is totally doable. However, some students take longer. It’s actually very common to take a fifth year to finish your schooling. 

As a fifth-year senior or a super senior as we are often called, I just wanted to take a moment to say, it’s okay to be a super senior! 

When I realized I needed to stay a fifth year to finish my degree, I felt a little upset and embarrassed. A lot of people are ashamed of taking a bit longer to finish school. There’s almost a stigma to it, like taking an extra year means you’re not as intelligent or didn’t take school seriously or just didn’t plan well. But I was wrong. My personal experience shows having extra time in college can actually be a positive thing. It gives you more time to prepare for the real world and to figure out plans for after you graduate. 

For me personally, this extra year has been a true blessing. It’s allowed me to figure out who I am as a person and what I want to do with my life. It also allowed me an opportunity to work in the marketing office helping with social media and various marketing tasks, which is great since that’s what my degree is in. I’m not sure I would have had this opportunity had I not been an older student, as fifth-year seniors tend to be more mature and given more responsibilities. (My boss told me to say that last part, I swear I’m not bragging!)

There’s a perk too. Student discounts are a fantastic way to save some money and I’m definitely not sad about still getting them!

So whether you’re on track to finish in four or you end up sticking around a little longer, just know, it’s ok! Everyone’s journey looks a little different. It doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you work hard for your goals. 

 

The “You” You’ve Needed to Be: An Interview With Two Graduating Music Students

By Becky St. Clair

Matthew Guevara, trumpet major, is set to graduate in June with a degree in music performance and having completed the requirements for the pre-veterinary program. He’s finishing up his final quarter from home in Vallejo, California, where he’s sheltering-in-place with his parents, brother, and sister. 

Kelley Polite, voice major, completed her coursework for a degree in music performance in March. Her plan this quarter was to spend time with family and friends and do some traveling while she waited for graduation in June. Instead, she’s sheltering-in-place with her parents and brother in Oakley, California, where she’s lived all her life.

We will definitely miss these students with their fantastic sense of humor, easy laughter, cheerful attitudes, and significant contribution to our ensembles and music program as a whole. 

Congratulations, Kelley and Matt! Please come back and perform in Paulin Hall again very soon!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Matt

When I was around four or five years old, my family went to visit some family in Pennsylvania for a couple of weeks. Because it was a long trip, we took our dog, along with her favorite toy. During play one day, her toy was thrown into the street and of course she chased after it, but she was hit by a car in the process. Her back legs were broken and I remember watching my aunt and my mom bandage her up and try to splint her legs, and I knew at that moment I wanted to do that. I was going to be a veterinarian. 

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Kelley

When I was a kid I really wanted to be a veterinarian. I had my own little doctor kit I would use on my stuffed animals. But after I found out what you had to do to help animals that were hurt and how hurt they could be, I knew it wasn’t for me and my dream went to being a baker. I even thought about going to culinary school for it.

When did you first realize you loved music?

Matt

I don’t know that there was anyone moment when it was revealed to me; it’s just always been part of who I am. Even before I was born my parents were always playing classical music and I was born into music. It’s just always been there.

Kelley

I’ve always loved music, but I think the moment that I fully recognized it was when I watched The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway when I was 18. It was the first musical I saw live and it’s my mom’s favorite musical so I grew up listening to the music and watching the movie adaptation a lot. I almost cried when I heard the first opening notes from the orchestra and continued to just be so emotional throughout the show. Experiencing the orchestra, singing, and dancing in person changed everything for me. It was like seeing the music come to life and it got me thinking that I’d love to have a job making music and giving the experience I had to someone else.

How did you settle on which instrument you wanted to major in?

Matt

As I said, I’ve always loved and been around music, and through the years I’ve tried my hand at several. I can play the piano–which was my first instrument–trumpet, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, tuba, euphonium, and French horn. 

The funny thing is that for most of my early childhood, I thought I was going to play drums. The summer before fifth grade we traveled to Nicaragua to see family and I spent the entire trip bragging to my cousins about how I was going to be a drummer. Then, two weeks before school started, my dad showed me a video of someone playing the trumpet, and I suddenly knew that was what I wanted. I was going to play the trumpet. I never looked back.

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 12.58.57 PMKelley

Voice wasn’t really an option for me until I was 17. My first instrument was the piano and it was only after my brother had started playing did I see how cool it was and when my brother stopped playing my parents really pushed me to continue. While learning piano, I also took up the flute in elementary school and played until high school when I switched to playing mallet percussion. I took piano for eight years before making the decision to quit because I didn’t have enough time and the passion to play wasn’t there anymore. After that I didn’t think of taking lessons again until my parents suggested it. 

I had always liked to sing and was in choir all through elementary and high school but always felt too small and shy to commit to lessons. Then when I was 17, my dad found a studio in Walnut Creek and convinced me to take a trial lesson with a couple of instructors. I clicked with one of them–Nancy was her name–and I took lessons there for about a year and a half until it closed.

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Describe a music-related experience that changed your life.

Matt 

When I was in high school, the music department took us to Disneyland where we recorded a film score. I’d never had an experience like that before, and I suddenly realized I could do more with trumpet besides casual church playing. Everything I thought I knew about music shifted.

Kelley

In my senior year of high school I was in my school’s performance of The Sound of Music. It was the first musical I had ever done and I will always cherish it. I had never acted or auditioned for a show before so it was all new and scary to me. It was a huge learning and growing experience for me but I’ll never forget it. We practiced for almost a year and I put everything I could into rehearsing and the two performances we did.  

Tell us about someone whose positive influence has helped you get to where you are today.

Matt 

Definitely my trumpet teacher in high school, Ian Cochran. My old trumpet was falling apart and not playing well at all, and I desperately needed a new one. One night my dad came home with a Stradivarius trumpet–the gold standard–and he said I could have it if I took actual lessons and got serious about learning the instrument. I agreed. 

I remember my first lesson when Cochran asked me what my goals were. I said I didn’t know and he just started playing crazy things I didn’t even know were possible. I was awestruck. He made it look easy and it was remarkable. Even looking back now I realize how amazing he was, and he was only 25. He started showing me how to do some of the crazy things he’d done, and in every lesson I learned something new. He pushed me to where I am today and I wouldn’t be here without him and the time he took to get me here.

Kelley 

I’m lucky to be able to say that I’ve had so many people help me to become who I am today and I feel bad to only choose one. So I’m going to cheat and say, two people. 

Singing-wise, Chalena and Chanelle have given me the most push to get me out of myself to sing. I’ve never told them, but ever since I met them I’ve always looked up to them. Their voices have just been my goal. They have the type of voice and presence on stage that when they sing you gotta listen. When I started wanting to sing in the praise band they took every opportunity to shove a mic in my hand and say, “Sing this.” No matter how much I protested they wouldn’t take no for an answer. And I think that’s the kind of push I needed back then because after that I can’t remember saying no. It was a shift in myself that I don’t think I fully recognized until now but their pestering and pushing has gotten me to where I am today.

How did you choose music as a major?

Matt 

I started out as a biology major, but it quickly felt like something I’d been pressured into doing and I wasn’t enjoying it. It didn’t seem to fit completely. When I realized what did fit, it was music. Music was something I enjoyed wholly and it helped me through some tough times those first few months of college. I realized that if music helped me, it could help others, and I could be the conduit, so I declared a music major. You never know what someone is going through, no matter how happy they seem, which I fully understand. I know music can touch people in ways nothing else can, so every time I give a concert, I have a little prayer in my head: “Let my music show the light at the end of the tunnel to those who need it.”

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What surprised you about college?

Kelley

What surprised me most about college is how different it was from how people said it would be. I had teachers and my brother telling me senior year of high school how hard classes would be and I got it drilled in my head that it would be so serious and hard all the time. Then I got here and realized I hadn’t been told about all the fun I would also have! Don’t get me wrong: the classes were hard and I had to study and practice a lot, but I also had so. much. fun. I’ve met so many people who are really important to me now, done things I wouldn’t have done otherwise and have grown so much. I’m really happy with the time I’ve spent at PUC.

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Tell us about a class you weren’t sure you’d like but that ended up teaching you something invaluable.

Matt 

Orchestration. I expected it to be just “okay” but I had such a blast in that class and I learned so much. I find myself now writing random stuff, orchestrating random pieces. It was a really useful class in the end, and I’m glad I took it.

Kelley

I hate to say it now (especially since Matt just did) because I actually really liked the class when it was done, but…Orchestration. It’s funny now because there were three of us in the class and none of us said much, but I learned a lot. Initially I didn’t know what to expect but there was a lot more to it than I thought. Learning about each family of instruments and how to write for them individually and collectively gave me so much more appreciation for orchestras and bands. I listen to each now with more comprehension and admiration for what is happening during pieces. 

Before we all had to go into social isolation, what were some of your favorite on- and off-campus activities?

Matt 

I absolutely loved nightly room checks as an RA, when I got to see all my residents. I love those guys–they’re my second family. The friends I’ve made here at PUC are brothers to me. When we went off-campus we’d usually go to the movies, ice skating, or grab some food in Napa. 

Kelley 

I liked to check out lots of different places in the area, but the only real regular spot I went to was the Friday farmer’s markets in St. Helena. My roommate and I went almost weekly to get coffee and a pastry, walk the market, and just chill. I did have favorite places to study, though; my usual spots were The Grind, the Napa RoCo, and the third floor of the PUC library. 

What is one of your favorite pieces you’ve performed, and why?

Matt 

Definitely and without hesitation Alexander Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto in A-flat Major. I’m a romantic classical performer–that’s how I can express myself the most and it’s what I like to play. I love all the romantic arts and music, and this particular piece combines everything I love: The technical difficulty, the range, the dynamics. You have to have it “just right” to sound good, otherwise, it’s just a blob of everything and it’s not pretty. Making it pretty is what makes it different, and I love it. It’s the piece I was most excited about for my senior recital, actually, and the piece I’m most sad I can’t perform for a while.

Kelley 

My all-time favorite piece I’ve performed is The Monk and his Cat by Samuel Barber. I remember getting the music from Dr. Wilkes (my voice teacher) and looking it over and being so excited that I got to sing a song about a cat and it is, like, a “serious” piece of music. It was supposed to be a challenge piece for me and something she thought I would like. Me, not being so observant, thought, “Ok, two pages and in English: No problem.” Then Ellen (my accompanist) pointed out that there was no time signature and the piano played something totally different than what I would sing, and I panicked. But learning the piece was so fun and learning to portray the story of the song made me absolutely fall in love with it. If Dr. Wilkes would’ve allowed it I would’ve performed that song everywhere.

Speaking of performing, Kelley, because you finished the quarter before COVID-19 made gatherings impossible, you were able to give your senior recital. How did it go?

Kelley
Funnily enough I don’t remember much about it! When I perform I put myself into this mode where I give everything that I can and for some reason it makes me blackout until I’m done, lol! I do remember how relieved, overjoyed, sad, and full of disbelief I was when I was done. I had so many emotions because it’s the moment I had been preparing for since sophomore year when I started with Dr. Wilkes. I couldn’t believe that I had done something so huge before, and sad that it was over. 

There were three things that I was really worried about before my recital. I worried about the French set that I was doing because that is the hardest language for me. The second was one of my German pieces. It was the newest piece of music for me and for the life of me I couldn’t get it committed to memory. The other thing I worried about was the thank-you speech I gave. I never like doing speeches, public or otherwise, so it was really tough for me. I went onstage with a written-out speech and when it came time to talk it stayed folded up in my hand the whole time. 

The thing I was most proud of was how I held myself on stage and handled doing a whole concert by myself. Second to that was my performance of My Dear Marquis at the end of my recital. I was so anxious to see how people would receive it and see me go all out for that song. I had so much fun with that piece and I loved that the audience didn’t know where I was going with it.

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And Matt, you actually didn’t get to do a senior recital–yet! Are you going to come back and show off your skills when we can gather again?

Matt

Ha! I sure hope so. I worked really hard on all of my music, and I was really looking forward to performing the Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto. Raboy has mentioned to me that they want me to come back next year and give my recital, and I hope that works out.

Let’s talk about how COVID-19 affected your senior year. I know that’s a challenge because it’s pretty much turned everything upside-down for everyone, but what has affected you most, do you think?

Matt 

Honestly, it’s plagued my life. It took away my degree recital, my last quarter of college…if I’d known last quarter was the end of normal college, I would’ve done some things I now won’t get to do. I don’t know if I’ll see some of my friends again, and I don’t get to perform my senior recital–at least not before the school year ends. I already had Senioritis, and now the whole online education thing has made motivation even more difficult. In some ways there seems to be more pressure, in other ways less…it’s just a whirlwind experience that I can’t say I’m enjoying!

Kelley 

It’s been a really strange period for sure. I had no idea what was really going on with COVID-19 until I heard that other colleges were being shut down and even then I didn’t think it was that serious. I had just performed for my last General Student Recital and was preparing to take part in the NATS [National Association of Teachers of Singing] singing competition and do my drama final (two things that I was really excited for) that weekend, and 3 days later I’m moving out of my dorm room. I had to deal with so much information at once with finals being online and leaving college so suddenly that it honestly didn’t feel real. It felt rushed and incomplete. I was sad about leaving the music building for the last time. It’s been the building I’ve practically lived in since I started in college. 

I don’t like saying this but I felt like I was robbed of the things that I was expecting to do during this time. I was planning on doing some traveling during the gap quarter I had. See friends in L.A., a road trip to Seattle and maybe go up to Canada, stay out in the Santa Cruz mountains with my auntie and live life a little slower. But instead I’m confined to my house with my family who works during the day so I can’t really bother them and a weekly shopping trip to look forward to. I’ve missed a lot over this time and some days I’m sadder over it and other things than usual, but I’ve also gained different perspectives during this quarantine so I choose to focus on those and make something positive out of what I am given. 

Tribute time! What final words do you want to leave for your teacher?

Matt

Sheesh I don’t even really know where to start. Actually that’s a lie. Freshman year was really rough for me because of some things that were happening outside of school. Early on, Dr. Davis could tell something was up and she was there to help pull me out of it, not only as a musician but just as a person. She encouraged me to never lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel and that’s something I keep in mind every single day. 

I was also a pretty shy guy when it came to performing, and she pushed me out of that shell. She would always tell me that a good trumpet player has to act like you’re the best person on the stage at any moment, even if that’s not how you feel. She made me learn to be confident and command the stage, and that’s something I also keep in my mind. 

 

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As for Raboy, oh man… He pushed me in ways I didn’t know I could be pushed hahaha. He was tough but it was always to help me become a better trumpet player, especially the last year of college. Originally my degree recital had an entirely different repertoire that I wasn’t too enthusiastic about, and he was helping me prepare for it. He could tell I wasn’t feeling the rep so he told me to go out and find pieces I want to play, so that’s what I did. I practiced them for a while, got pretty confident in how I was playing, and then we started having weekly coaching sessions. I remember that first session. I went in thinking I would be ready to play the show in a week, but man he broke the pieces down in a way that made me reevaluate that, which of course is a good thing. I was happy with how I was playing, but after even just a few sessions, Raboy had me feeling like Wynton Marsalis on that stage. 

Both Davis and Raboy pushed me to become the musician I am today and I promise you I wouldn’t be here without them. They were tough when they needed to be, and a friend when I needed one and for that I will be eternally grateful. I hope that I’ll be able to pass that forward someday.

Kelley

Aw man, I can’t even begin to express how much thankfulness and love I have for Dr. Wilkes, but I’ll try. I met Dr. Wilkes in a time where I needed someone like her in my life. With her big aura and personality that you could literally feel the moment you stepped into her office. She gave me a safe space where I could work and experiment without fear of anything. She basically took the small, introverted girl, put her in front of a mirror, and slowly but surely showed her what she could do and be. She essentially said, “This is what I see, and I’ll help you see it too.” She gave me the pieces, tools, and education that would get me there. 

Dr. Wilkes, if you ever read this, know that you have taught me so much more than how to sing and I’m so so so grateful for everything that you have done for me. I only wish to one day have the same aura you do that people can feel when they enter the same space as me. 

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So, let’s move away from school for a minute. What are some of your hobbies? (When we’re not sheltering-in-place that is!) 

Matt 

Baseball, basketball, soccer…anything sports-related. Actually, speaking of sports, I have a shoe collection, too, which is probably my biggest hobby. It’s mostly Nike, except for the dress shoes, and I have almost 70 pairs now, still in their original boxes. I wear all but four pairs on a regular basis; those four pairs are limited editions I don’t want to mess up. For dress shoes, I prefer Italian-made. They’re just better quality.

Kelley 

I love to read. I haven’t had the time since I started college, but that hasn’t stopped me from buying books over the years. I also really enjoy watching period films and old movies and musicals. Baking is a big favorite of mine, too.

What plans do you have as soon as life resumes a bit of normalcy? 

Matt 

I’m actually taking next year off and working at the SPCA in San Francisco, then I’m hoping to get into UC Davis’ dual program so I can get a degree in music rehabilitation as well as veterinary medicine. My plan is to combine them in my career, which many people don’t realize you can do–veterinary medicine and music? But a lot of times the animals who come into the clinics are really scared, hyped up, and anxious. I want to be able to use music to help them relax and comfort them, and then ultimately help heal them.

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Kelley 

As of right now I have two things that I really want to do when this is all over and things are more normal. I want to have a get-together with family and friends and be able to stand next to them and hug them instead of the current 6-feet rule and no touching. I would also like to just wander around any and all stores that would be open then so that I can just experience shopping with others again. 

Work-wise, my dream career is to be an actor. I would love to be on-stage in opera, musical theatre, or both. Also, if I ever got the opportunity to voice a Disney princess I would so do it, no questions asked. But as of right now I don’t know where I’m going. I’m looking for jobs with theatres and other performing opportunities that could get me in the right direction. It’s a little scary right now but I’m finding my way. And I’ll stick to music while I get there.

If you could go back to Freshman You and encourage them, what would you say?

Matt

There’s a lot I would say. Something like, “Don’t let the naysayers get in your head. There’s gonna be a lot of challenges, but just push through. Never give up. Don’t take anything for granted–take the chance. Do it. You don’t want regrets later.”

Kelley 

I would tell her that even though it has been a rough year there are better things coming. “What happened this past year was a lot and it’ll take a while to feel normal and happy but it’s coming. Experiences and moments that will build you back up and then make you grow–grow into the you that you’ve been needing to be. It’s coming, I promise, just wait.”

 

 

A Day In The Life of A Remote-Learner: Drew Biswas 

Hey friends! My name is Drew Biswas. I am an exercise science major with a minor in business and I wanted to share my “routine” for life taking online classes!

So I say “routine”, however, I definitely listen to my body a lot more nowadays. These are really crazy times so if my body says we need an extra hour of sleep then I oblige. Regardless, this is generally how it goes.

7:00 a.m. – Wake-up time. I usually don’t eat breakfast as soon as I wake up but I’ll make some tea just so I’m in a habit of putting something in my digestive system. During this time I take a shower, study my bible, pray, and do some chores around the house.

8:00 a.m. – Prepping for classes. If the weather is good I like to take my desk set up outside so I can soak up that good vitamin D while I get prepared for my classes ahead and hang out with my dog Barry (Named after Barry Allen, the DC superhero The Flash, ironically because he looks really goofy when he runs)!

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9:00 a.m. – Classes start. From now until about 3 p.m. I have most of my classes. I usually eat lunch at noon, my family is half Indian so we have a ton of good Indian food at home.

3:00 p.m. –  So speaking of living in an Indian house, we have to have tea time at three, so everyone in the house stops what we’re doing so we can relax for a quick 15 and enjoy my mom’s chai (who is the nurse the mug refers to)!

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3:30 p.m. – I live in the Bay area so there are a lot of great hiking spots to social distance at! Barry loves coming with me so he can run and stretch his legs for a little bit, and there are always great views!

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5:00 p.m. – Family dinner is a must for the Biswas house. My mom, grandma, dad, and I all sit and chat about work and school with each other while eating my mom and dad’s amazing cooking (thanks parents!)

6:00 p.m. – This is usually the time for finishing any additional homework, studying for tests and quizzes, or reminding Barry that he’s handsome! (he has some self-confidence issues).

9:00 p.m. – Since it’s starting to get pretty warm here I usually try to do my runs in the late evening. After this, it’s time to hit the showers and hit the hay!

And that’s my day! Routine is totally important but my tip is, don’t push yourself too hard to achieve the impossible! I’d like to encourage all of you to go at your own pace. Life is super crazy right now, but every day makes me more and more excited to see you all again very soon PUC family!

 

Faces of PUC: Kryslyn Maldonado

For this week’s edition of #FacesOfPUC we are going to get to know a little about Kryslyn Maldonado. Kryslyn comes to PUC by way of Chicago and is a sophomore studying social work. When she’s not in class or studying you can find her assisting the coaches at a Pioneers game or helping out in the chaplain’s office.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to work as a social worker in an adolescent inpatient facility.

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

When I was younger, my desire was to be involved with people and help them. I know it sounds really cliche but I’ve always empathized with people who struggle with mental health. I’ve always wanted to change the negative mental health stigmas and share with people how important one’s mental health is. 

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 being able to spend time with some amazing people. 

Where is your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place in the world is downtown Chicago. I’m from Chicago and the best memories I had growing up were made there. 

What show are you bingeing these days?

Currently, I’m not binge-watching anything, but when I do have time in my schedule I’ll binge watch The Office and Parks & Recreation for the 100th time. 

What is something you’re passionate about?

Something I’m really passionate about is ministry. I really love planning and participating in events that bring people closer to God. 

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

Since I’ve been going to school here, I’ve been obsessed with boba. One place I recommend to visit in the Bay Area is Boba Guys in San Francisco! 

 

Creative Outlets: An Interview With Student Musician Alexis Keller

Becky St. Clair

Hailing from Loomis, California (near Sacramento), Alexis Keller is a nursing major in her junior year who also happens to be both a fabulous violinist and a successful competitive water-skier. Not only is she a first violinist in the PUC Orchestra, but she plays second violin in the college’s string quartet as well. 

Alexis was gracious enough to share her passion and insights with us so we could share them with you. Without further ado, meet Alexis!

When did you start playing the violin?

I started playing the violin when I was three years old. Interestingly enough, the school I went to at the time required everyone to learn how to play the violin. After the violin teacher left the school, my mom, who is also a violinist, continued to practice with me at home and took me to private violin lessons.

What kept you interested in that particular instrument?

I have continued to be interested in and play the violin because I love the medium of emotional expression it creates, the ability to connect with others through the language of music, and the opportunity to worship God through music. Also, in my unbiased opinion, the violin is one of the most beautiful-sounding instruments and truly emulates the human voice.

Because of my experiences playing the violin, I have had opportunities to connect with lifelong friends, perform famous orchestra pieces, and play in performances around the world.

Aside from learning the violin, tell us about your experience with music as a young person.

Music was a big part of my life growing up. From as early on as I can remember, I was brought along to my mom’s orchestra dress rehearsals and concerts. I grew up listening to the orchestral works of Beethoven, Dvořák, Mahler, and Haydn (to name a few), both at my mom’s orchestra concerts and on the radio station when my parents drove me home from school. At the age of seven, I joined the Sacramento Youth Symphony and continued to perform in the orchestra for the next decade until I graduated high school at age 17.

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What makes music valuable to you here at PUC?

I am very grateful for the opportunity to continue making music at PUC because I am surrounded by a community of like-minded students and professors who share the same appreciation for music and passion to share that love of music with others. The environment PUC’s department of music has created pushes me to become a better musician and provides a creative outlet for a much-needed break from my studies!

What is your favorite piece of music you’ve ever performed, and why?

Definitely Accolay’s Concerto No. 1 in A Minor. This piece holds a special place in my heart because it was my first time soloing with an orchestra. It was a really great experience to go through the process of working with the orchestra and conductor to create the performance and then share that with my family and friends.

 How do you balance study and music?

Finding time to practice can be very difficult, which is one of the reasons I am so thankful to be in orchestra and quartet. Without these scheduled times, I am not sure I would so frequently play my violin. The best way to balance my busy schedule is to remind myself how important it is to take time for myself and what I love to do, like making music.

Okay, so heading a completely different direction, tell us about your other, non-musical hobby.

Competitive slalom waterskiing is definitely a less conventional sport, but one I absolutely love doing. I started skiing and competing around the age of seven after much convincing from my mom to enter a tournament. After that first tournament, I was hooked. I loved competing against both my personal score as well as the other girls in my division and the constant challenge to complete the next pass as the rope was shortened. I have won many local tournaments and received medals when I traveled throughout the U.S. for regional competitions.

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What’s one class here at PUC in which you feel you’ve learned the most?

My nursing classes definitely feel like information overload a lot of the time, but they have all taught me so much. My favorite nursing class that I’ve taken was Nursing 4. It was a transition phase from the first year of nursing school to the second. I felt this class really helped me grow my critical thinking skills and prioritization of patient care.

What is something you want to accomplish before graduating?

I hope to make a positive impact on the PUC campus in a way that emulates God’s love. Additionally, my goal is to start working as a nurse while I get my BSN next year.

What is something you’ve already accomplished?

I am proud of getting into the nursing program, my work as a coordinator for the collegiate Sabbath school, and my opportunities to connect with students as an RA. I am glad to be involved in campus life because it has taught me skills of leadership, teamwork, and communication I will continue to develop after graduation and into adulthood.

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What is your career goal, and why?

I want to get my nurse practitioner license. I chose nursing as a career path because I was drawn to the interactions with patients, the opportunity to better the physical and lifestyle health of individuals, and to be in a setting where I am constantly learning new things.

Okay, final and clearly most important question: Tra Vigne or Villa Corona?

I prefer Tra Vigne over Villa Corona. Though Tra Vigne is more expensive, it has a lot of vegan options such as the make your own pizza, Beyond Burger, and piadinas.