Faculty & Staff

Progress | October 2009

October 2009

By Larry Pena

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After over a year as a student worker in the office of Student Financial Services, Jessica McPherson has moved up to the big leagues. Now a graduate with a B.A. in English and a minor in religion, Jessica is pulling down the benefits and exorbitant salary of a full-time PUC staff position as the administrative secretary and financial aid technician for Student Finance.

There's a lot to learn about the campus's newest staffer, but to speed the process along she laid out the five most important things, in no particular order, in an interview with Progress.

She's a part-time waitress.
In the evenings Jessica slings pizza and pasta at local hot spot Pizzeria TraVigne in St. Helena. She's been working there a year-long enough to be come familiar with the regulars. "I see a lot of people from campus come in-most of them are good tippers," she says, laughing. "Those who aren't know who they are."

She's learning new skills.
Living in California and working in the restaurant business, Jessica recently decided to take up Spanish lessons using the Rosetta Stone program. She's also started learning the guitar, being a long-time admirer of female singer-songwriters, like musicians Adele, Jaymay, and Rejina Spektor. "I'm terrible at both right now," she says.

Her first love is literary work.
As her earned degree might suggest, she enjoys working with words. In her spare time, she works as a freelance writer and copyeditor and hopes to eventually enter a career in the publishing field. "Right now it's more of a hobby that I would like to do more of," she says. "But every so often it pays pretty well."

She's an artist at heart.
Jessica recently finished a pottery and ceramics course at St. Helena's Nimbus Studios with local artist Will Callahan. The two also worked together last spring on PUC's production of "Clay Feet Wire Wings" - Jessica was part of the fluid ensemble cast and Callahan created many of the play's stunning set designs.

She's a globetrotter.
A native of Phoenix, she moved to Riverside, California, in 2003 and to PUC in 2005, and from there has seen the world. Not everyone can manage doing Paris and Oahu in one summer, but Jessica pulled it off in style this year. A jaunt to Monterey Bay is coming up soon, to be followed by a visit home to Arizona. "I guess I'm really addicted to traveling," she says. It's an expensive habitÖ but her new PUC staff salary should help.

Colleagues & Departments

Biology & Religion
Aimee Wyrick, biology, and Myron Widmer, religion, attended the Geoscience Research Institute's (GRI) second Conference on Teaching Origins. The meeting was held in early August in Colorado Springs. Aimee presented a paper entitled "Using surveys to start the conversation on science and origins." They participated in an all-day fieldtrip including a visit to an historic fossil quarry where "type" specimens of T. rex and other "really cool" dinosaurs were excavated. Aimee also had a chance to drive to the top of Pike's Peak - which she calls "quite an experience!!"

It will come as no surprise that the "ictoria Mukerji" noted last month was actually "Victoria."

After traveling in Serbia/Bosnia/England/France/Italy, Mei Ann Teo ended the summer with a most interesting country ó Canada. She was in Montreal at the end of August for the Montreal World Film Festival, where her short film NOT HERE screened to standing-room-only cinemas.

The Music Department welcomes two new faces to our musical team. Dennis Hunt is teaching percussion, trumpet and banjo through PCCA and shares his expertise with the college students by teaching Percussion Techniques and directing the Big Band ensemble. Joy Fackenthall joins the PCCA and music department team as a piano instructor. Her husband, Peter is the new PUC Prep principal. At the annual River Festival in Napa on September 6, Asher Raboy was awarded the Key to the City of Napa by Napa Mayor Jill Techel and commendations from Representative Mike Thompson, the Friends of the Napa River, and Assemblywoman Noreen Evans. Raboy started the River Festival, which is the Friends of the Napa River's biggest fundraising event, 20 years ago.

Gladys Muir went on a mission trip to North Peru with dental students from LLU, a pediatric nurse practitioner, and a few doctors. As the certified nurse-midwife of the group, Gladys saw women for OB and gyn complaints; she found a 2.5-kilogram pelvic/abdominal tumor in one lady who had walked over five miles for care. They were able to arrange and pay for her to have it removed.

The Records Office is pleased to announce that Jonathan Bradley has joined our team as the new Assistant Registrar/Degree Audit Coordinator. Many of you already know Jonathan because he has worked for PUCís Public Safety Department for the past 11 years and is a PUC alumnus with a BA in Communication. In his new role, he'll deal with degree audits, graduation and diplomas, transfer credits, and veteranís benefits.

Visual Arts
Alexander Carpenter presented a paper, "'Glocal' Adventism, Social Media, and the Jesus Meme," for the Global Internet Evangelism Network, sponsored by the GC and NAD in Orlando. He was also a production assistant on a short live action film, The REAL Escape, that will be shown at the Columbia University graduate film festival.