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Celebrating the Pioneer Spirit at PUC Homecoming

By Cambria Wheeler on May 1, 2015

Pacific Union College’s alumni family numbers over 26,000 people, and each individual makes an important impact in their own community. Each year, Honored Alumni awards are given to graduates who demonstrate the best of this Pioneer Spirit. Though they finished their college experience in different generations, each Honored Alumnus had something central in common: a passion for answering God’s call to be a light in the world. On April 17 to 19, 2015, alumni and friends of Pacific Union College gathered at “Our College on the Mountain” in Angwin, Calif., for a special and unique Homecoming Weekend recognizing the trails of service blazed by the many dedicated graduates of Pacific Union College. During a weekend full of special events, eight individuals were recognized for their exemplary service with Honored Alumni and Honored Pioneer awards at a Friday evening dinner in their honor. The 2015 Honored Pioneer recipient was Adu Worku, M.A., M.S.L.S. Worku received the award, which is given to a non-graduate for exceptional service to the college, in recognition of his exceptional dedication to the power and freedom of education. The director of library services at PUC since 1985, Worku’s path to the Nelson Memorial Library began in northwest...

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Future Educators and Employers Connect

By Amanda Navarrete and Cambria Wheeler on February 18, 2015

Education Days, an annual networking event for graduating education majors, took place at Pacific Union College’s campus on February 2-3. Organized by PUC’s department of education, the two-day event brought principals and administrators from schools and conferences within the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to PUC’s Angwin campus. The employers met and interacted with this year’s group of graduating early childhood, elementary, and secondary teachers. The first evening began with a dinner banquet, where students and potential employers interacted with one another in a less formal setting. During the banquet, the seniors each presented their own personal reasons for teaching, and the area that they are credentialed to teach. The next day, graduating seniors had the opportunity to interview with potential employers in a more formal setting. The department of education has seen incredible growth in recent years, as more students choose to pursue a career as a teacher. PUC offers Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Education degrees, bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education and liberal studies, and an associates degree in early childhood education. In addition, the department offers training for multiple subject credentials, single subject credentials, and the Clear Credential program for California, as...

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Sigamoney Helps Bring "Old Fashioned" to the Big Screen

By Cambria Wheeler on February 13, 2015

On Valentine’s weekend, the film Old Fashioned opens in theaters nationwide. The independent film is an inspiring look at dating and relationships, focusing on developing grace-filled, lifetime love. Viewers can choose to see Old Fashioned instead of the Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation opening the same weekend in part thanks to the creative collaboration of PUC film professor Rajeev Sigamoney. Sigamoney has been a member of the PUC faculty since 2012, but his friendship with Old Fashioned director, writer, and lead actor Rik Swartzwelder goes back much longer. “The first film set I ever visited back in Maryland was a short film Rick was shooting,” explains Sigamoney. The two grew closer after Sigamoney, who started his career as an engineer, moved to Los Angeles in 2002. They began meeting each week to discuss films, faith, and the challenges of working in the film industry as artists and as Christians. Sigamoney is listed as a co-producer on Old Fashioned because of the core role he played in the creative development of the script and edit of the film. “I first read a draft of Old Fashioned in 2003,” Sigamoney describes. Over the next decade, Sigamoney gave notes on multiple revisions script...

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Student Bradon Schwarz Serves with Extreme Mobility Camps

By Cambria Wheeler on December 23, 2014

Bradon Schwarz, a PUC business administration sophomore, didn’t choose to get involved with Extreme Mobility Camps, Inc. Instead, he was born into the organization. And from day one of his involvement, he’s seen God leading him step by step. Extreme Mobility Camps, also known as XMO, was founded by Bradon’s parents, Bryan and Mindy Schwarz. Since the ministry’s earliest days when the Schwarzs were young Union College graduates working with Christian Record Services, XMO has provided exciting, adventure packed experiences to the blind and visually impaired. In the fun-filled environment of skiing, snowboarding, waterskiing, and surfing, the camps also provide a great opportunity to share God’s love. From childhood, Bradon participated in the life changing work his parents began. (His sister Marleigh, who attended PUC before transferring to Loma Linda University to study dental hygiene, is also involved with the ministry.) “I grew up with blind people around—it was just normal,” Bradon shares. As a kid spending time with the blind at XMO’s wintertime camps, Bradon was a “little buddy” to many of the blind campers. While he admits to being a bit of a pest, Bradon was able to look beyond the camper’s impairments and to find the many...

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Nursing Students Screen Vision and Hearing at Local Adventist Schools

By Amanda Navarrete and Cambria Wheeler on November 5, 2014

Squirmy kindergartners and healthy first graders aren’t typical patients for nursing students used to interacting with sick or injured people in hospital settings. However, on a series of schooldays in October, bachelor of nursing students taking a Community Health course visited a series of private elementary schools to screen the hearing and vision of each student. The Community Health course is part of PUC’s bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) curriculum, and the service-learning opportunity at the local schools gave students a chance to be hands-on and apply what they learned in the college classroom to the elementary classroom. The BSN students conducted screenings at Pacific Union College Elementary in Angwin on October 14, Napa Christian Campus of Education in Napa on October 15, and Foothills Adventist Elementary School in St. Helena on October 21. “Learning it in the classroom is far different from actually doing it with a kindergartener,” shares Susan Allen, D.N.P. Allen, professor for the Community Health class and a former school nurse, saw the screening as a great opportunity for both college and elementary students. Unlike public schools, private schools like these don’t have free screenings in certain grades. Catching hearing and vision problems early can...

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College Sees Largest On-Campus Enrollment in 19 Years

By Cambria Wheeler on October 31, 2014

Pacific Union College’s full residence halls and busy academic buildings are the result of a remarkable increase in retention. Following the October 12 census date, when the college analyses fall enrollment data, PUC is reporting the highest on-campus enrollment since 1995. This fall quarter, 1,634 students are enrolled at PUC’s Angwin campus. Adding off-campus programs such as the RN-BSN program in Napa brings the college’s total enrollment to 1,674 students. "We are blessed that so many students and their families have chosen Pacific Union College,” states Jennifer Tyner, vice president for enrollment management and marketing. “PUC's outstanding academics and Seventh-day Adventist faith community make it an excellent investment, and I am excited to see what we will accomplish this year as we fulfill the college's unique educational mission." The college is especially proud of the high number of students who chose to return to PUC to continue their undergraduate education. "The return of such a high percentage of last year's freshmen, sophomores, and juniors is a great indicator that PUC is continuing to provide the excellent, Christ-centered education we promise,” comments Nancy Lecourt, Vice President for academic administration and academic dean. “The high impact learning practices and incredible faculty mentoring...

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Inspiring Creativity at the 24th Publication Workshop

By Cambria Wheeler on September 10, 2014

Budding journalists, designers, videographers, and editors from throughout California and Hawaii travelled to Pacific Union College for the 24th annual Publication Workshop September 2-4, 2014. The workshop provided high school and junior high students with training and inspiration to make their academy yearbooks, newspapers, and other publications shine. Students from the 20 academies that attended returned to their schools with what Publication Workshop director Milbert Mariano describes as “targeted, practical training and useful tips for jumpstarting yearbooks, newspapers, and video yearbooks.” Students learned how to utilize design and photography software; strengthen writing, design, and photography skills; and edit video yearbooks. Industry professionals and PUC professors, including recent educator of the year John Nunes, presented the training sessions. Nunes, a professor of business administration, led workshops on project management and team building for publication editors. “Be consistent and simple,” were the lessons Rheanna Garcia took away from the Workshop. Garcia, the designer of San Fernando Valley Academy’s yearbook, appreciated the presenters’ real-world advice. “They were really helpful since they were all designers who knew what they were doing,” she said. This year’s workshop marked the tenth year Mariano has led the workshop. At the closing program, Mariano, chair of the department...

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Young Students Preview College at PacificQuest 2014

By Cambria Wheeler on July 28, 2014

Academically outstanding students in grades seven to nine got a weeklong taste of college life from July 20-25 at PacificQuest, PUC’s annual summer program. During the week, the 19 PacificQuest campers lived on-campus and experienced college-level coursework. “The mission behind PacificQuest is to provide academically gifted junior-high students with an opportunity to collaboratively explore topics that they may not have the opportunity to engage in otherwise within the traditional school curriculum—all while getting a small taste of PUC campus culture!” shared PacificQuest Academic Director Tauva Hellie. Students participated in two courses, a core class and an elective option. This year’s core class was Music and Storytelling, taught by Rachelle Davis, professor of music and chair of the department of music. The course explored the fundamental elements that are used to express emotion and tell stories through music. At the awards program on July 25, groups of students demonstrated what they had learning by sharing short videos that utilized carefully chosen music. In addition to the Music and Storytelling course, students chose between The Legacy of Graphic Design: Leave Your Mark and Physics: Beyond a Mere Observation, both challenging and inspiring options for the budding intellectuals in attendance. In The Legacy...

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PUC Introduces the 2014 Maxwell Scholars

By Emily Mathe and Cambria Wheeler on July 22, 2014

Among the incoming freshman coming to Pacific Union College in September are five exceptional students who have been chosen as this year’s recipients of the Maxwell Scholarship. Named for PUC’s iconic presidential couple, Dr. Malcolm and Eileen Maxwell, this prestigious award is given to students who show outstanding academic achievement, exceptional leadership experience, and a commitment to Christian service. The Maxwell Scholar Program awards recipients a $15,000 renewable scholarship for all four years they attend PUC. Alexander Chang of Grass Valley, Calif., dedicated his high school career at Pine Hills Adventist Academy (PHAA) to scholastic, athletic, and extracurricular success. The Grass Valley, Calif., native was student association president his senior year, starting new programs like PHYSICS (Pine Hills Youth Spiritually Invigorating Campus Soldiers) and a Kicks 4 Kids shoe drive. During high school this natural leader also won awards in multiple sports and captained the basketball and flag football teams. Alex has been on six mission trips since 2006, assisting with construction projects, medical and dental services, Vacation Bible School, and Week of Prayer programs. He also succeeded scholastically as a member of the National and as the recipient of PHAA’s top academic awards in multiple subjects. Alex is looking...

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PUC Admissions Website Receives Awards

By Emily Mathe and Cambria Wheeler on May 28, 2014

Pacific Union College’s new mobile friendly admissions website, launched in February, has been recognized for achievement in both design and marketing. Most recently, the website garnered a 2014 American In-house Design Award from Graphic Design U.S.A., an organization that sponsors multiple graphic design competitions. The In-house Design Award spotlights the outstanding work by in-house designers, recognizing them both for their talent and for the challenges they face and the unique value they bring to their institutions. The In-house Design Award competition receives more than 4,000 submissions each year from design teams that work within the institutions they serve instead of at design agencies, with a very select 15 percent recognized with a certificate of excellence. Pacific Union College received a certificate for the admissions website as well as a congratulatory letter to the college’s administration. In addition, the website is eligible for publication in the In-House Design Annual, with a circulation of over 100,000 professionals. Earlier this year, PUC’s admissions website won a silver award from the 29th Annual Education Advertising Awards, sponsored by Higher Education Marketing Report. Of nearly 2,000 entries, PUC was amongst the 146 institutions granted a silver award and was one of only 31 winners in...

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