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PacificQuest 2019: Middle Schoolers Experience STEM at PUC

Posted by Larissa Church & Becky St. Clair on July 18, 2019

Pacific Union College held its annual PacificQuest program June 23-28, welcoming two dozen high-achieving middle school students to campus for five days of fun-filled and exciting learning in STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math. The program is designed to provide gifted students with the opportunity to explore college-level courses and encourage them to pursue a college education.This summer, PacificQuest offered students three exciting hands-on classes: Chemistry, Computer Programming & Game Development, and Technology.“This year’s PacificQuest group was fantastic,” says Aimee Wyrick, chair of the department of biology. “One of the biggest values of this experience is that students get to know people from other schools and expand their horizons. They get a chance to learn beyond the typical topics covered in the classroom, and get to work with like-minded students on fun projects.”Chemistry, taught by Kent Davis, chair of the department of chemistry, explored the idea that properties of matter are a consequence of the three-dimensional shapes of molecules.Computer Programming & Game Development, taught by Chantel Blackburn, associate professor of mathematics, gave students the opportunity to learn about coding through an introduction to the computer language C#. Students created their own versions of the popular 1990s computer game, Minesweeper, brainstorming...

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Community Care: Local Nursing Grads Share Their Stories

Posted by Becky St. Clair on July 12, 2019

It’s no secret Pacific Union College’s largest program is nursing, and that the department thrives on preparing medical professionals for successful, productive lives of service and care. Whether they are working in the operating or emergency room, hospital or clinic, PUC nursing grads enter the workforce with confidence, experience, knowledge, and a heart both for the people they treat, and for those they work alongside. “These new grads embrace our mission of inspiring health, wholeness, and hope,” says Susan Collins, talent advisor in talent acquisitions at Adventist Health St. Helena. “When we hire them, they continue expressing that kindness through their patient care. We are blessed they are now a part of our team.”Additionally, many of these PUC nursing alumni choose to stay in the area, having developed relationships with medical clinics, hospitals, and residents in the valley, and established connections within their field. This gives them the confidence to enter their roles with spirit and energy from Day One.“I find the PUC new grad is eager and ready to learn,” says Heather Anderson, department nursing director for MedSurg and surgical unit at Adventist Health. “They embrace the challenges the day brings and learn from each event and encounter.  We...

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Physics Students Present Posters at Conferences

Posted by Becky St. Clair on July 12, 2019

In May, several PUC physics students attended two conferences by the American Physical Society (APS). At both events, students presented posters.“My Dad has a Ph.D. in physics, so even as a kid I had a fascination with the topic,” says Joseph Yang, who presented a poster with fellow student Dayton Brown. “Beyond that, I have always had a fascination with the nature of matter and the engineering mysteries physics creates. It's fun and highly conceptual which is right in my ballpark.”Yang and Brown attended the 50th annual meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. Their poster presented research on molecular bond measurements, the abstract of which is expected to be published in the Bulletin of the American Physical Society.“Attending and presenting at conferences is an important way to keep current in your topics of preference,” says Vola Andrianarijaona, professor of physics at PUC. “The students will not be able to understand everything they hear, but they will be aware of the advancement from first-hand researchers, they will attend sessions alongside Nobel Prize winners, and will be inspired by other posters and student work. It is a form of education that cannot be achieved by staying on...

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Education and Inspiration: A Conversation with PUC Alum, Alex Dunbar

Posted by Sarah Tanner on June 25, 2019

A self-titled “people person” with the singular goal of making a positive impact, PUC alumna Alex Dunbar has done just that since her graduation in 2014. After majoring in exercise science and completing an A.S. in health sciences, Dunbar then attended Loma Linda University School of Public Health, where she received her master’s degree in health education and promotion in 2017.Dunbar now works as a community education specialist in the public health branch of Shasta County’s Health and Human Services Agency, where her talents are directed primarily toward community education regarding the long-term effects of adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs. As the Strengthening Families Collaborative coordinator, Dunbar tackles issues such as neglect, abuse, and household dysfunction on a daily basis, and works to inform the public about the health risks associated with ACEs.Her involvement in this field is the culmination of a years-long process of education and inspiration.“My career actually took off before I even started working in the health field,” Dunbar explains. “PUC was not only where I received an education, but also where I received the opportunity to be an enrollment counselor. That experience trained me to be successful in my field when it comes to working with...

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Pacific Union College Graduation Weekend 2019

Posted by Becky St. Clair on June 14, 2019

Pacific Union College, Napa Valley’s only four-year college, will host its annual commencement exercises Friday, June 14, through Sunday, June 16.The college will proudly award 330 associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees to 309 graduates. The largest departmental groups are the nursing and health sciences (170 graduates from the Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs), business administration (42), communication (21), and psychology & social work (21).In addition, four graduating students are Maxwell Scholars: Michael Caster, management for medical professionals major; Alexander Chang, chemistry (biochemistry) major; Lauren Chang, English writing major; and Laurel Kwon, English writing major. Maxwell Scholars are recognized as incoming freshmen for their outstanding academic achievement, and are awarded a renewable scholarship based on their unweighted cumulative GPA and test scores.“We are excited to honor and celebrate our graduates and the future that lies ahead,” says Robert Cushman Jr., PUC president. “I look forward to meeting graduates, families, and friends here on beautiful Howell Mountain, where nature and revelation unite in education.”In the class of 2019, 17 students will graduate summa cum laude; 18 magna cum laude; 50 cum laude; 4 with honors. After California, which is home to 272 graduating seniors, Washington State and...

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