PUC Enrollment Counselor & Alum Summits Mt. Whitney

By Ally Romanes on July 15, 2024

At 11 am on June 20, Abraham Garrido, PUC enrollment counselor and alum, summited Mt Whitney—the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, with an elevation of 14,505 feet. Along with his friends and recent PUC alums Bianca Le’Giu, Tyler Williams, and his brother Pablo Garrido, it took them exactly five and a half hours to make it to the top.By running 50-60 miles (or 8-12 hours) a week and completing multiple ultra-marathon races, this consistent training mentally and physically prepared him for these summits. While this was his first time running up to 14k feet, he’s reached 11k feet in some of his races, this trek was still much harder than his other races.The inspiration behind this escapade and the reason he started running was from his little brother Pablo. “Seeing him go on incredible adventures in the mountains inspired me to run,” shared Garrido. He also mentioned that the running community being supportive and his excitement to explore attracted him to the sport.“The most memorable part of this adventure was completing it with my brother,” said Garrido. “Being inspired by him for years and finally completing an adventure we had talked about for years was truly memorable.”Before summiting...

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PUC Hosts First Global Health Symposium, Attracting Professionals, Students, and Community Members

By Sheann Brandon on July 11, 2024

Pacific Union College, in collaboration with Loma Linda University School of Public Health (LLU SPH), hosted its inaugural Global Health Symposium in May, diving into the complexities of global health issues through dynamic discussions, interactive breakout and poster sessions, and an insightful keynote speech. Approximately 85 people registered for the one-day, campus event, spanning a diverse group of professionals, including doctors, nurses, community members, and students.According to Global Health Director Nancy Jacobo, the symposium was inspired by several needs: to raise awareness around global health and careers in the field, highlight PUC’s 4+1 Global Health Program, and ultimately, attract a new generation of global health students and future practitioners.“We hope that attendees came away with a sense of the importance of being aware of health outcomes and health disparities that exist in our communities and abroad,” Jacobo said.During the symposium, participants had the opportunity to engage with seven booths focused on specific health topics, including the NCC initiative on homelessness, Blue Zones, Advent Health’s mobile clinic, and more. Dr. Gilbert Burnham, a Johns Hopkins University emeritus professor of International Health with extensive medical experience working abroad, gave the keynote speech titled “Global Change: Looking at Now and Tomorrow through a...

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PUC Bids Farewell To Vice President for Student & Spiritual Life Dr. Ryan Smith

By Ally Romanes on July 9, 2024

For the last two years, Vice President for Student and Spiritual Life Dr. Ryan Smith made tremendous changes to Pacific Union College. Smith stepped into the role at a critical time as the college was moving forward with its new vision and future plans following the COVID-19 pandemic. He realigned departments, worked to change the Teaching Learning Center into the Student Success Center, supported dorm remodeling projects, improved the athletics program, and served as the role of chaplain for a year while the campus worked to fill the position. His dedication to students and the connections he made will be missed. “Ryan has a unique blend of wisdom, experience, compassion, and presence,” shared PUC President Dr. Ralph Trecartin. “I have often felt that he was the perfect team member one would want to work with. We agreed on most things after discussing various viewpoints, and we could disagree with smiles and laughter, parting as respected colleagues when this happened. Ryan helped PUC and me tremendously over the past two years. While I fervently wish he would continue on our team, I understand that someone like him has endless new opportunities."Smith’s career spans from student life and academia in the Seventh-day...

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PUC Students Showcase Shrek The Musical

By Ally Romanes on June 25, 2024

Pacific Union College students from various departments showcased Shrek the Musical in the halfway-renovated Paulin Recital Hall on May 24, 26, and 27. The stage adaptation of the DreamWorks Pictures movie Shrek, the musical follows the plot with 20 songs written for the show that include ballads, classic Broadway songs, and funky dance numbers. From building sets and designing costumes to directing and producing, PUC students ran the entire show. The character of Shrek was performed by music major Milton Perez, with his sidekick Donkey played by theology major Jacob Duran. Madeline Eastman, a biology major, had the lead role of Princess Fiona, nursing major Gabe Llanell-Vararaj played Lord Farquaad, and Dragon was performed by psychology and music major Kyra Grant. Perez brought the idea to perform this musical to co-director and co-producer Leila Beltran (who played one of the three blind mice). With other musicals in mind and unsure of what to showcase, PUC SA President Kaitlyn Nakanishi, co-director/producer and choreographer, encouraged Beltran to say “yes” to Shrek the Musical—and she’s glad she did!  Being a part of the production team, Beltran coached the cast on their lines and movements, helped with music direction, and organized rehearsals, which was...

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PUC Sophomore Student Leads On and Off Stage, Encouraging Musical Community

By Ally Romanes on June 25, 2024

Leila Beltran decided to attend Pacific Union College for two reasons: she heard the education department was one of the best in the Adventist school system, and she knew she thrived in a smaller community. With an interest in developing relationships and realizing she wouldn’t like to go to a college or university where everyone was just another face in a crowd, PUC was the community for Beltran to receive support and make meaningful connections. Beltran will soon complete her sophomore year of liberal studies and earn a music associate's degree. Within this school year, she has made a tremendous impact in the music department by being the president of the music club and co-directing and co-producing PUC on Broadway and Shrek the Musical. With a love for musicals and hearing students' interest in putting on a show, Beltran dedicated time to making these productions happen and considerably accommodating her cast and crew to give the community enjoyable shows. She didn’t always have a passion for musicals, aside from knowing the famous musicals Hamilton and Wicked, but not much beyond that. Movie soundtracks and music in general were something she enjoyed, but she couldn’t call herself a theater kid since...

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PUC Celebrates the Class of 2024

By Ally Romanes on June 24, 2024

Pacific Union College was delighted to celebrate the 245-student graduating Class of 2024 from June 14-16. The consecration service on Friday night kicked off graduation weekend at the PUC Church. The program was led by graduating class members, with Executive Vice President Sitraka Andrianarijaona welcoming family and friends. Professor of Communication Dr. Tammy McGuire addressed the congregation as the chosen speaker for vespers, where she discussed the fullness of uncertainty. Former PUC Pastor Mark Witas returned to campus to share the word for Sabbath church service. In the afternoon, Tad Worku, mission coach at Inland Empire Health Plan, spoke during the nursing graduate recognition service and was followed by the Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Kimberly Dunker, who presented awards and pins to the students who completed an associate, baccalaureate, and MSN degree in nursing. Family and friends then continued celebrations afterward at the Dining Commons for the President’s Reception. Among the graduates, 177 were from the nursing and health sciences departments, 16 from the psychology and social work department, 15 from the business administration department, 10 from the chemistry department, and eight from the communication and world languages department. From completing essays and giving presentations...

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PUC’s Second Annual High School Essay Contest Winners Announced

By Ally Romanes on June 19, 2024

The English department at Pacific Union College recently announced the winners of the second annual Emerging Voices of the Pacific Union. The English department received an influx of essays in which contestants were asked to write about a moment they were changed. “We received 90 essays, and judges were greatly impressed by the quality of submissions we received,” said Milbert Mariano, PUC dean of the school of arts, humanities, and professions. “Through a blind judging process, where the judges had no idea who or where the essay was from, it was a difficult decision to choose just three winning entries and several honorable mentions.”After attentively reviewing all the essays, PUC chose the following winners:...

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The 20th Annual Diogenes Film Festival Celebrates PUC’s Film Program

By Ally Romanes on June 19, 2024

The Visual Arts Department at Pacific Union College celebrated their film students at the 20th Annual Diogenes Film Festival. On May 30 at the Cameo Cinema in Saint Helena, 120 audience members watched 22 films by 18 filmmakers. In previous years, the department welcomed judges outside campus, but this year, the judges were kept within the faculty of PUC. Some of the winners included Sam Birsky, who received the Orsons Disciple; Dylan Sails and Melanie Klinedinst, who won the Audience Choice Award for Minority Report and Kateryna Popravkina for What Is This Feeling? Sails also received Best Screenplay for Before Next Winter, and Klinedinst won Filmmaker of the Future. PUC's film program emphasizes students learning to articulate their own concepts and stories and produce them at the highest quality. Visual Arts Chair Rajeev Sigamoney and Professor Tim de la Torre assist during production when needed but give their students the freedom to edit their projects as they see fit and support them as they make their vision come to life.Some projects, such as the senior thesis, took the entire school year to make, while others, like the freshmen projects, were completed over 2-3 weeks. “Seeing films screened in a professional...

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Double Major Student Excels in the Music & Psychology Programs

By Ally Romanes on June 13, 2024

When Kyra Grant was in high school, she traveled to Pacific Union College for a basketball tournament and felt a connection. Knowing she wanted to attend a smaller college in California, Grant decided to pursue her undergraduate education at PUC.  Grant is a double-major sophomore who first started as a biology pre-med major and realized after two quarters that this was not her calling. With an aptitude for psychology and an understanding of how and why people work, Grant decided to major in psychology. Additionally, she’s loved listening to or playing music since she was little. With this passion, Grant felt called to pursue the joy music brings her instead of devoting time to a major she didn't feel was her own. PUC Professor of Music Ronnie Zanella said that Grant was born with perfect pitch, a brilliant musical mind, and a natural talent. Zanella enjoyed teaching Grant Music Theory, generally the most feared class in any music department. But for Grant, there was nothing to fear, as she easily completed the class with straight A’s. “She is the type of student who always seems eager to tackle new concepts, showing interest and asking questions when she is still grasping...

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PUC Psychology Students Attend and Present at The Western Psychological Association Conference

By Ally Romanes on June 11, 2024

18 Pacific Union College students—alongside Damaris Perez, PUC chair of psychology and social work, and professors Tuwan Ussery White, Michael Jefferson, and Libna Arroyo—attended The Western Psychological Association’s (WPA) annual conference in San Francisco from April 24-28, benefitting from the opportunity to network with students, faculty, and researchers from other institutions. Students spent their time meeting with professional psychologists and graduate school representatives and attending presentations on the latest research and advances in psychology. The diverse research presented at WPA allowed PUC students to explore various psychological topics, stimulate new ideas, and ultimately, remind them why they chose a career in psychology. PUC psychology students Catherine Garcia and Dania Guerrero presented their research on levels of extraversion, cell phone usage, and the impact on mental health; later, they answered questions after their presentation. With over a year of research work, Garcia and Guerrero’s study focused on college students and their usage of cell phones and depression. They found the PUC student body to be the main inspiration for this study. From their observations, they noticed several students on campus who were outgoing, friendly, talkative, and preferred to be in the moment tended to spend less time on their phones and...

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