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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 Damariz 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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Nursing Professor Hannah Saravanakumar is Pacific Union College’s 2024 Educator of the Year

By Ally Romanes on May 31, 2024

Pacific Union College honored Nursing Professor Hannah Saravanakumar as the 2023-2024 Educator of the Year during Community on Thursday, May 23. With over 20 years of nursing education experience, she is a highly respected nursing professor who combines expertise in leadership, didactics, clinical and simulation experiences, curriculum development, and faculty mentorship. By creating a rigorous learning environment, Saravanakumar—fondly called “Professor SK” by her students—meets their academic needs through creative teaching techniques and hands-on experience that her students find engaging and enjoyable. She teaches with passion, with her class earning one of the highest scores of all nursing standardized testing—the ATI assessments.Saravanakumar’s interests include faculty training, pedagogy, social reconstructionism, and redemptive education. Throughout her career, she has remained an active member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Sigma Theta Tau International, and the American Nurses Association, mentoring nurses and educators nationally.She earned her bachelor's degree in nursing from a prestigious university in India. After completing her master’s from Washington Adventist University, she discovered her passion for teaching. Saravanakumar is currently an advanced doctoral candidate at Capella University, specializing her research in nursing education. Milbert Mariano, dean of the school of arts, humanities, and professional studies, gave a...
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Angwin to Angwish Sells Out for the Second Year in a Row

By Ally Romanes on May 29, 2024

On May 7, over 130 participants aged 9 to 71 ran Pacific Union College’s annual Angwin to Angwish 26K, 10K, and 1 mile kids run. The trails traversed through scenic areas around the Angwin forest, offering participants a mix of challenging terrains and beautiful views of the Napa Valley.Abraham Garrido has been Director of Angwin to Angwish for the last two years. The planning process involved establishing registration, coordinating with local authorities, organizing course routes, ensuring safety measures, securing sponsors, and promoting through different channels.Garrido secured sponsorships from Healdsburg Running Company, Mindful Movement Pilates Coach Naya, Heart and Soul Sports, Sportago, and Topo Athletic. Event funds help support various projects at PUC, such as athletic lockers, the cross-country team, and other needs within the college.“The response was overwhelmingly positive,” said Garrido. “We sold out for the second year in a row, and participants noted significant improvements from previous years. It was a fantastic event, and we believe the race is progressing well and growing in popularity.”To begin the run, the 26K began at 8 a.m., with the 10K following at 8:30 a.m., then the 1 mile kids run. For the 26K, Nathan Blosser from Santa Rosa, CA, won first place...
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PUC’s Nursing Program Scores High NCLEX Rankings

By Kimberly Dunker & Ally Romanes on May 28, 2024

The nursing program at Pacific Union College achieved a 100% NCLEX pass rate for the December 2023 graduates, demonstrating how PUC adequately prepares students for NCLEX and their career beyond. “As a leader of a nursing program it is the best feeling to know that you are providing your students with quality education that prepares them for success,” said Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences Kimberly Dunker. “The PUC nursing team is so excited about the students' accomplishment.” The department currently has an overall pass rate of 94% for the year and anticipates a 100% pass rate from the Winter and Spring quarter students' results. Dunker, and her team have worked hard with their students, making changes in their curriculum that best support graduates.They use readiness resources through books and products, which have been incorporated into the curriculum and mapped to ensure that students are prepared for NCLEX. In the last two quarters, the sixth quarter students' NCLEX readiness exam was 90% or higher. This demonstrates to the nursing instructors that their program adequately prepares the students for NCLEX with a 90% or higher predictability that they will pass their licensure exam.The lead professors for quarter six include Professor Nicolette...
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PUC’s Social Work Students Spring Into Action at The NASW Lobby Days

By Ally Romanes on May 24, 2024

The National Association of Social Workers Lobby Days is a two-day event that educates students and professionals about important legislation affecting clients and the social work profession. From April 21-22 in Sacramento, this annual event provided a tremendous opportunity for Pacific Union College’s social work students to learn more about the legislative process and speak with state legislators and their staff about important policy issues. PUC’s Psychology and Social Work Chair Damaris Perez and Social Work Assistant Professor Tuwan Ussery White took five of their senior social work students who have taken the Social Welfare Policy and Issues class. Coming together at the state capital, they joined more than 1,000 social work students from across the state. One issue they learned about was the legislative bills affecting the populations they work with. Perez shared that one example of the bills they support is providing menstrual products to incarcerated individuals. She continued by saying these products are not always available to people in jail or given enough, which can lead to other ailments. PUC students met with a regional state representative, legislators and staffers, including those of the office of Rep. Mike Thompson. They advocated for their team’s support on behalf...
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Justin Vital Receives Defensive Player of the Year in Cal Pac Conference

By Ally Romanes on May 22, 2024

Captain of Pacific Union College’s men’s volleyball team, Justin Vital, received the 2023-2024 Defensive Player of the Year in the California Pacific Conference. This season, he was named First Team All-Conference, averaged 3.49 digs per set (#1 in conference), and totaled 181 digs in 15 season games. Vital was also Nationally Ranked #3 in digs per set in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). “This recognition is an absolute honor,” said Vital. “I receive this award with gratitude and see it as the fruits of the work, grit, and relentlessness I strived to exemplify throughout my college career. The standard of consistency and discipline I set for myself preparing for this season helped me reach this honor. Being recognized as the top libero and defensive player in Cal Pac truly feels surreal.”Growing up in Miami, Florida, Vital started playing volleyball as a highschool freshman at Greater Miami Adventist Academy and continued on to attend PUC, where he is finishing up his degree in business administration with a healthcare emphasis. “I chose PUC because of the values the college upholds, as well as the academic programs and the ability for me to play volleyball at one of the highest levels,”...
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PUC Continues Its Mission To Serve With Love

By Ally Romanes on May 8, 2024

For years, PUC has dedicated time during the school year and summer break to serve communities in other countries. Faculty and students have previously traveled to Kenya, Fiji, and Brazil while also taking medical mission trips to Indonesia, Cambodia, Tanzania, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, PUC's nursing and health science department sponsored an annual mission trip to Mana Island, Fiji. From March 21-April 2, 17 students joined Nursing Professor Sandy Ringer to earn public health hours and provide non-acute care to locals in Fiji. With five hundred people living on the remote island, many lack healthcare. This year, Ringer and her team also brought along dentists to provide oral care and support for physical health needs. In 2023, PUC took two mission trips—the first to Fiji from March 24-April 4 and the second to Kenya from June 19-28. Under the leadership of former PUC Missions Director Fabio Maia and co-directors Biology Professor Floyd Hayes and Ringer, they took a group of students and Nicolette Piaubert, a PUC nursing professor, to provide health care services in Fiji. In Kenya, PUC students and faculty provided education and care to Masai girls who were forced into child marriages...
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