By Becky St. Clair on June 11, 2019
Maria Rankin-Brown, who has served for the last four years as chair of the department of English at Pacific Union College, will find herself in a new role this summer, serving as associate academic dean for the college.
An English professor for over 20 years, Rankin-Brown has taught at PUC since 2006. During this time, she has served as composition program coordinator, Publication Workshop presenter and then co-director, and department chair. Prior to her time at PUC, Rankin-Brown taught English as a second language for multiple organizations, developing curriculum and managing tutors and instructors. In addition, she has taught public speaking, composition, and communication courses.
“I’ve been a student at PUC, a faculty member, a chair, and a co-director of a summer program, giving me insight into multiple arenas on campus,” she says.
Rankin-Brown values trust as a key component to relationships and strongly believes in working hard to develop and maintain transparency within and across departments. She also values collaboration, taking into account different people’s strengths to benefit the whole.
“My experience on Academic Senate has been transformative,” she asserts. “Watching the department chairs work together to problem-solve and support one another to work to provide students on campus with the best academic
By Becky St. Clair on June 11, 2019
In July, Milbert Mariano, currently professor of graphic design in the department of visual arts at Pacific Union College, will transition into a new role at the college. After nearly 25 years of teaching graphic design, 12 of those as department chair, he has recently been named the college’s new vice president for academic administration and academic dean. Mariano fills the role following Dr. Nancy Lecourt’s retirement after 40 years at PUC.
Having also spent four years as a student here, Mariano’s intimate knowledge of and love for the college goes back nearly three decades. He holds two B.S. degrees—one in advertising design and one in studio art—and an M.F.A. from Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
“Milbert is an established leader on campus,” asserts Dr. Bob Cushman, president. “He has credibility and trust with faculty and staff, and as chair he built a department culture that was collaborative and inclusive; a model we want to share and develop across campus.”
Over the years, Mariano has served in several capacities on campus beyond his teaching and chair roles. Taking a deep and abiding interest in every area of campus, he has served on several student committees as advisor and sponsor,
By Sarah Tanner on May 21, 2019
Recently, a handful of PUC students attended a science-based conference for women. Its focus was on fostering young women interested in the STEM field and its various career options. Female students across PUC’s science departments were encouraged to attend the event and learn more about opportunities for growth in their area of interest.
Junior chemistry major, Vola-Masoandro Andrianarijaona left the conference with a bolstered sense of potential.
“With the help of mentors, and as long as I am willing to work hard, I can become a scientist,” she asserts. “Successful people overcome adversities and do not let those adversities get in the way of their aspirations.”
Andrianarijaona also enjoyed the opportunity to meet other undergraduate women with goals similar to her own.
“I think it is important to get as many people involved in science and research as possible,” she says. “In the past, women were not encouraged to enter the fields of science.”
Andrianarijaona feels the long history of criticism and discouragement has undoubtedly prevented many intelligent individuals from making significant scientific discoveries.
“This is quite unfortunate,” she says. “Bright minds, male and female alike, can contribute to scientific exploration and progress. By focusing events on women, we can work to reverse the idea that
By Sarah Tanner on May 16, 2019
Senior photography major Sam Delaware is making waves in the visual arts world after a successful second showing at the Sony Photo Competition in London this year. Passionate, talented, and on the verge of a blossoming career in photography, Delaware shared some details about his experience in England as well as his goals as he looks towards graduation this quarter.
When asked how he first became interested in visual arts and photography, Delaware joked about stumbling upon some of Ansel Adams’ old equipment.
“In reality, the story’s less of a story and more of a slow burn,” he explained. “In high school I started to notice and consume work being made from photographers that were working in the long-term documentary format on projects that took shape over many years.”
Delaware decided to work toward doing the same at the end of high school and continued with it over the course of the last couple years in college. As his hobby turned into a potential career, Delaware began to actively participate in photography competitions and quickly garnered acclaim in the field. Three years ago marked his first experience with the Sony Photo Competition, where he won an award and began learning how to market
By Sarah Tanner on May 15, 2019
A quintessential 1990s computer game, Minesweeper is making a comeback in a big way during this year’s PacificQuest at PUC, a program designed for middle school students interested in STEM fields. It includes a number of interactive workshops, including, this year for the first time, the Minesweeper project. A life-sized version of the popular game is in the works as a collaborative project from the departments of engineering and mathematics at PUC and Andrews University.
Professors Chantel Blackburn of PUC and Wayne Buckhanan of Andrews have put the best and brightest of their respective departments on the job, and are working on perfecting the game board. Those playing the game will find a grid of identical squares, a number of which secretly contain “mines.” The player is then directed to choose a square; if it contains a mine, the game ends, whereas if it does not hold a mine, a number will appear in the square displaying the amount of nearby squares containing mines. This information is then applied by the player as they attempt to uncover more safe squares. To win the game, the player must select all the safe squares without mistakenly choosing a mine.
Creating a life-sized version of
By Becky St. Clair on May 14, 2019
Mission work and academic credit is perhaps an odd yet really cool combination. Over spring break, a group of 30 students from PUC served in Kenya on a mission trip, along with several faculty and staff. The group helped with the construction of a secondary school for women and painting a new non-denominational Bible training center, along with teaching Vacation Bible School at a primary school and assisting in a nearby health clinic.
The African environment also offered a wealth of learning opportunities of organisms, species, and ecosystems, quite different from what students were used to studying in Northern California. As a result, they were given the option of receiving credit for either Field Biology or Vertebrate Biology, both taught by Floyd Hayes, professor of biology and one of the faculty who went on the trip.
“It was a spectacular trip!” Hayes raves. “I’m pleased PUC provides many opportunities for students to travel to distant destinations, learn about diverse environments and cultures, serve developing communities, and share their love of God with others.”
See more photos and read more about the trip on PUC’s blog.
By Becky St. Clair on May 1, 2019
In June, Pacific Union College, the Cameo Cinema, and Napa Valley Film Festival will host their annual film camps for high school students in the North Bay Area. Taught by professors in PUC’s department of visual arts, this popular summer intensive is sponsored by the Cameo in St. Helena and the NVFF as a way to inspire and encourage young people to go big with their creativity in film.
“Everything is filmed here in the valley and works together,” explains Rajeev Sigamoney, chair of the department of visual arts and film instructor. “The NVFF is the biggest film festival in the region, the Cameo is the valley’s signature theater, and PUC is the one place that does film education and has the resources to support an event like this. It’s a perfect partnership.”
The film camp covers two weeks in June, first a narrative camp from June 17-21, where students learn to tell a fictional story in film from start to finish, and secondly the documentary camp, where students film mini documentaries about local prominent figures. Prior to the first camp, in May, Sigamoney holds a two-day writing workshop to develop the scripts that will be used in the narrative camp; the
By Sarah Tanner on April 29, 2019
March 8 marked PUC’s first-ever student-led leadership symposium at Howell Mountain Elementary School in Angwin. Honors students taking an interactive class in leadership theory were given the opportunity to work with fifth- through eighth-grade students in an effort to put the principles they studied into practice. Marlo Waters, associate academic dean & registrar at PUC, guided her honors students in developing a handful of interactive modules which were then modified to best serve the middle school students.
PUC’s student participants devoted a good deal of time over the course of a handful of weeks to developing the best approach in guiding the Howell Mountain students toward a deeper understanding of leadership.
“The ultimate goal of the symposium was to cultivate a sense of leadership and capability in each of the elementary students though the modules the honors class designed,” Waters explains.
The event’s activity stations focused on trust building, ethical decision-making, and building self-confidence. The tagline for the event was, “Leaders build trust. Leaders make good decisions. Leaders have confidence. I am a leader!”
The idea behind this workshop came about as Waters discussed various hands-on projects for the class. The idea of service-oriented leadership resonated strongly with her honors students, and working with
By Eric Anderson on April 26, 2019
Recently, Pacific Union College’s archivist, Katharine Van Arsdale, found the missing page of a crucial handwritten document, long-thought to be lost. This discovery (or re-discovery) completed an academic detective story many years in the making.
In 2015, Van Arsdale examined what appeared to be a letter from Ellen G. White in a small metal cabinet designed to store maps. She noted the letter (dated 1882) was incomplete and lacked a signature, although someone had written in pencil the author was Mrs. White, co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. In January of this year, several scholars examined the document, immediately recognizing the Adventist leader’s distinctive style, penmanship, and spelling.
After fielding questions from denominational archivists and scholars from around the country, Van Arsdale was determined to learn more about the letter. She conducted a thorough inventory of the college’s historical materials and, much to her surprise, found the rest of the letter, complete with signature. The second page of the densely written letter had been separated from the first and stored for years in a different file.
“I was delighted the letter was preserved,” she says, “but mystified by how it was organized.”
According to Van Arsdale, one of her predecessors, Gary Shearer, first found
By Josette DeToure on April 25, 2019
Early the morning of April 4, 38 film students, alumni, and professors from PUC’s department of visual arts packed themselves into a bus and drove to Riverside, Calif., for the annual SONscreen Film Festival. Since its establishment in 2002, this festival gives Christian filmmakers a chance to mingle and showcase their work. Adventist schools around the country gather for the festival, from Walla Walla University in Washington State, to Andrews University in Mich.
“I think overall it was probably the strongest set of films I’ve seen in quite awhile,” says film professor and department chair Rajeev Sigamoney. “I think it was mentioned it’s the highest amount of submissions the festival has ever seen; close to 100.”
Sigamoney feels taking students to SONscreen is a bonding experience, no matter what happens, and it builds a special community between the film students, even across school programs.
“It’s the closest equivalent us filmmakers get to a basketball tournament,” he says with a chuckle, “so whether you win or you lose, I think it’s a good experience. Over the last couple of years we’ve created strong relationships with students from other schools and you get to see them again when you attend each year. It’s a really