Rebuilding Their Futures: Alumna & Faculty Win $30K Grant for Refugee Work

By Becky St. Clair on May 17, 2018

During the summer of 2017, Cristian Pancorbo, assistant professor of Spanish at Pacific Union College, coordinated a trip to Lebanon with students from PUC, La Sierra University, and Loma Linda University. Hosted by Middle East University (MEU), the group worked with the Syrian refugee population in Beirut for a month.In addition to working alongside the students, Pancorbo was also conducting research for a project he was working on with his now-wife, Shanna Crumley, an intercultural communication and Spanish alumna of PUC currently finishing her master's degree at Columbia University (New York). In Lebanon, Pancorbo interviewed as many refugees, teachers, and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees as he could, asking about the needs of refugees there."My passion is working with underrepresented communities," says Pancorbo. "When you look at the big picture you see large numbers and a lot of need, but you don't really know what's happening on the ground with refugees. Throwing money onto the refugee canvas didn't help; they need access to education, so they can get access to jobs."His research fed into A4Ed, a social enterprise founded by Crumley, Pancorbo, and a third co-founder, Gemma Torras Vives, a classmate of Crumley’s at Columbia University. A4Ed is a platform based...

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One in a Billion: Department of Chemistry Receives Donation for New Equipment

By Becky St. Clair on May 16, 2018

PUC’s department of chemistry is grateful to two generous donors who helped the department acquire a microwave plasma atomic emission spectrometer (MPAES). The MPAES can measure the amount of over 60 elements in many types of samples, and is sensitive enough to detect one part in a billion. So, what does this mean in real life?“Atomic spectroscopy is often used to evaluate heavy metals, such as lead and mercury in environmental samples like soil and water,” explains Dr. Robert Wilson, associate professor of chemistry. “It is also used to determine if lead is in the paint in children’s toys or measure mineral content in food.”Wilson also says the software for the MPAES is very easy to understand and use, which means students with little to no lab experience will be able to operate a state-of-the-art instrument on their own, offering them valuable independence in the lab.“The measurement process is very fast,” says Wilson. “It only takes about one minute per sample, and several elements can be measured simultaneously.”It’s not just the chemists who can benefit from this equipment; Dr. Kent Davis, chair of the department, foresees partnerships with other scientists, too.“We aren’t the only ones who see a use for...

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Discovering Potential: Internship Fair Opens Doors for Students

By Becky St. Clair on May 15, 2018

Sydney Johnston, career counselor in the Career & Counseling Center, put a lot of time and thought into organizing this year’s internship fair.“An event like this open doors for students to find internships or jobs, either after graduation or during their time here at PUC,” Johnston says. “It also provides PUC connections with our community so we can partner more with local and Bay Area businesses as we show them what our students have to offer their companies and organizations.”So, on Wednesday, May 9, the Career & Counseling Center hosted an internship fair in the Dining Commons. Over 40 students stopped by the tables and talked to most, if not all, the recruiters present. Participating organizations included Auberge Resorts, Army Healthcare Team, Lake Berryessa Park Ranger Program, U.S. Navy Chaplain & Medical Programs, Oakville Grocery, Meadowood Luxury Hotel, and OfficeTeam, an international employment agency.“I want to see if I can find anything to further my chances of getting started in my career,” says Etienne Herholdt, freshman emergency services major, who stopped by the fair on his way to lunch. “I plan to become a paramedic firefighter, and it’s nice to have the chance to see a few options without ever...

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Niels-Erik Andreasen Speaks on the Joy of Christian Education

By Becky St. Clair on May 10, 2018

In 1970, a Danish scholar and professor by the name of Niels-Erik Andreasen arrived on the Pacific Union College campus. He taught religion on what he refers to now as "that holy hill" for seven years before moving on to Loma Linda University (Loma Linda and Riverside, Calif.), Walla Walla University (College Place, Wash.), and finally, Andrews University (Berrien Springs, Mich.), where he served as president for 22 years—the longest-serving and first internationally born president there—until his retirement in 2016. Andreasen and his wife, Demetra, have returned to St. Helena, Calif., in their retirement, and on Thursday, May 3, Andreasen presented for Colloquy in the PUC Church. His topic was The Joy of Christian Education."I have a confession to make," he began. "There's nothing I would rather have done in my life than teach and study. And if I could live my life over again, I'd return to college and sign up as a freshman right now. You may be eager to get out, but I'm eager to return." There is safety in the student life, Andreasen pointed out, urging students to enjoy it, as he used to do in his college days. He recalled that in Denmark, they celebrated...

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PUC Film Student Wins SONscreen Award for Experimental Work

By Becky St. Clair on May 8, 2018

"When I was a little boy, I saw 'Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace' and it blew my mind. Ever since then, I have wanted to make movies."Julian Ybarra, senior film and tv production major from Houston, admits there is some humor to that statement, because he doesn't even like that movie anymore."It's completely unrepresentative of what I want to do," he says. "I want to direct and make movies, but not blockbusters. I want to create literary movies."Ybarra has already started making this dream a reality, focusing on film in his major of choice. At the beginning of April, Pacific Union College had six student films nominated for awards and showing at SONscreen, an annual film festival created and sponsored by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD). One of these films was Ybarra's experimental film, "Genesis.""My film is a meta narrative for one thing," Ybarra explains. "It's a story wherein the characters aren't representative of themselves, but of characters in a badly written story." Ybarra actually appears in his own film as the director."For another thing, I don't shoot in video," he says. "The film is all stills for the most part until the very end....

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PUC Spring Break Mission Trip to Fiji a Success

By Becky St. Clair on May 7, 2018

Over the week of Spring Break in March, nearly 40 PUC students volunteered their time, energy, and muscles on a small island in the country of Fiji. Together with a few students from La Sierra University and the three student missionaries already on-site from PUC and one from Walla Walla University, the young adults built housing for student missionaries who regularly serve the 400 people who live on the island. "We've done mission trips to this location five times now," says Fábio Maia, service and missions coordinator. "We try to build relationships with the people there, rather than just doing something, leaving, and never going back."In addition to building housing and providing Vacation Bible School for the kids, the group had two doctors, two dentists, and two dental hygienists accompany them to offer basic care to the island residents. Thanks to a partnership with the local ministers of health and education, everything went smoothly."I wanted to go to Fiji because I'd heard so many other students who went in the past say it was the best mission experience they'd ever had," says Erika Dalida, senior health communication and pre-professional major. "I had no expectations except that it was going to...

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#YouBelong: Student Association Confronts Real Issues

By Becky St. Clair on May 7, 2018

"I felt judged for going to church on Sunday."This was one of several authentic admissions made to a group of around 150 students, faculty, and staff in the Fireside Room on Wednesday evening, May 2. The crowd was gathered to hear and learn from the honest perspectives of three current PUC students who did not grow up Adventist. It was the first event in the #YouBelong PUC Talks series, a new concept focused on conversation and discussion."Last year, student officers created a diversity statement," explains Megan Weems, Student Association (SA) president. "The basic idea is there are no disclaimers from the love, sacrifice, and salvation of Jesus Christ."Looking for something more meaningful than a document, the current SA officers and senators began a plan for productive campus conversations on belonging."I'm proud of our students for leading and participating in conversations about challenging topics that impact us all," says Bob Cushman, PUC president. "They have demonstrated civil discourse is not out of their reach, and I enjoy observing their interactions as they confront these important cultural issues."Prayer sets the tone of each event, followed by connection activities, panel discussions, and moderated conversation."There's a difference between tolerance and acceptance," says Alma Musvosvi,...

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Campus Center to be Renamed Hoshino Center

By Becky St. Clair on May 3, 2018

Ask anyone, and you’ll get variations on a theme, but it’s impossible to relive the history of Pacific Union College without including Rita Hoshino, ’79, in a significant way.This is why, on Saturday, April 21, during Homecoming Weekend, approximately 100 of Rita’s friends and family gathered in the Campus Center to honor, remember, and celebrate Rita. Ice cream and strawberries were served, and members of the Hawai’ian Club performed two hula numbers by the fountain in front of Paulin Hall to close the event.It was during this event Kellie Lind, chief advancement officer, officially announced the Campus Center will be renamed the Hoshino Center, in honor of Rita, who dedicated her life to mentoring and supporting students.“This event was a beautiful celebration honoring Rita’s contributions to PUC, and a chance for her friends and family to remember her with stories of the past and plans for the future,” says Lind. “Current college administration is committed to permanently recognizing Rita’s contribution to campus life at PUC for more than 25 years. We want to continue her legacy.”Rita graduated in 1979 with a bachelor of science degree in art and began working at the college immediately. She served students as a professional...

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Robert A. Cushman Jr. Officially Installed as PUC’s 23rd President

By Larissa Church on April 20, 2018

In July of 2017, Dr. Robert A. Cushman Jr. became the new president of Pacific Union College. On April 20, 2018, the college officially installed Cushman as the 23rd president in a special inaugural ceremony, succeeding Dr. Eric Anderson.The inauguration began with a procession of distinguished guests, including trustees, faculty and staff, representatives from other Adventist schools, and student representatives, among others, with many of them bedecked in colorful academic regalia. The PUC Church was filled with faculty, staff, students, community members, and family and friends, welcoming Cushman and celebrating the college’s history and future.The ceremony included music from Vox Pro Musica, the PUC Chorale, the Brass Quintet, and a special presentation from The Beatitudes, a 40-minute cantata based on Matthew 5 and composed and conducted by Asher Raboy, PUC resident artist.Several responsive readings involved notable dignitaries in attendance, including Dr. Gordon Bietz, associate director of higher education of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists; Dr. Ronald Carter, provost of Loma Linda University; Diane Dillon, Napa County supervisor; Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and member of the PUC Board of Trustees; Bradford Newton, executive secretary of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists...

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Peter Katz Honored as PUC’s 2018 Educator of the Year

By Larissa Church on April 10, 2018

Prolific author of academic articles. Honors program faculty member. Amnesty International faculty sponsor. Campus philosopher. Ninja warrior. Community cat whisperer. These are just a few of the descriptions of Dr. Peter Katz that were shared when he was named the 2018 Educator of the Year. During the annual colloquy program at Pacific Union College on Thursday, April 5th, students, faculty, staff, and administration celebrated with Katz as he was recognized with the award for the first time. An 2010 alumnus of the college with degrees in English literature, European history, and music, Katz has taught at PUC since 2015 and currently serves as assistant professor of English.Each year, the Educator of the Year award is selected by student vote. The recipient’s identity is a closely-guarded secret only known by a small, select group of people before joining an impressive list of past winners whom have all left an incredible mark on PUC and the lives of countless students.“I love seeing the students choose a new, young faculty member like Peter as their Educator of the Year,” says PUC academic dean and vice president for academic administration Dr. Nancy Lecourt. “He is challenging them to work hard and think in new...

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