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PacificQuest 2019: Middle Schoolers Experience STEM at PUC

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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Robert A. Cushman Jr. Officially Installed as PUC’s 23rd President

By Larissa Church on April 20, 2018

In July of 2017, Dr. Robert A. Cushman Jr. became the new president of Pacific Union College. On April 20, 2018, the college officially installed Cushman as the 23rd president in a special inaugural ceremony, succeeding Dr. Eric Anderson.The inauguration began with a procession of distinguished guests, including trustees, faculty and staff, representatives from other Adventist schools, and student representatives, among others, with many of them bedecked in colorful academic regalia. The PUC Church was filled with faculty, staff, students, community members, and family and friends, welcoming Cushman and celebrating the college’s history and future.The ceremony included music from Vox Pro Musica, the PUC Chorale, the Brass Quintet, and a special presentation from The Beatitudes, a 40-minute cantata based on Matthew 5 and composed and conducted by Asher Raboy, PUC resident artist.Several responsive readings involved notable dignitaries in attendance, including Dr. Gordon Bietz, associate director of higher education of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists; Dr. Ronald Carter, provost of Loma Linda University; Diane Dillon, Napa County supervisor; Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and member of the PUC Board of Trustees; Bradford Newton, executive secretary of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists...
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Peter Katz Honored as PUC’s 2018 Educator of the Year

By Larissa Church on April 10, 2018

Prolific author of academic articles. Honors program faculty member. Amnesty International faculty sponsor. Campus philosopher. Ninja warrior. Community cat whisperer. These are just a few of the descriptions of Dr. Peter Katz that were shared when he was named the 2018 Educator of the Year. During the annual colloquy program at Pacific Union College on Thursday, April 5th, students, faculty, staff, and administration celebrated with Katz as he was recognized with the award for the first time. An 2010 alumnus of the college with degrees in English literature, European history, and music, Katz has taught at PUC since 2015 and currently serves as assistant professor of English.Each year, the Educator of the Year award is selected by student vote. The recipient’s identity is a closely-guarded secret only known by a small, select group of people before joining an impressive list of past winners whom have all left an incredible mark on PUC and the lives of countless students.“I love seeing the students choose a new, young faculty member like Peter as their Educator of the Year,” says PUC academic dean and vice president for academic administration Dr. Nancy Lecourt. “He is challenging them to work hard and think in new...
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Class of 2018 Celebrated During Senior Recognition Colloquy

By Larissa Church on March 16, 2018

On Thursday, March 15, the PUC Church sanctuary was filled with the sounds of energy and excitement as the Class of 2018 was celebrated during Senior Recognition Colloquy.After the processional, Dr. Bob Cushman, the college’s president, offered his congratulations to the senior class, acknowledging their accomplishments during their time at PUC, and also extended a warm welcome to the rest of the congregation.Dr. Kent Davis, chair of the department of chemistry, gave the morning’s Scripture reading of 1st Corinthians 12:31, followed by a formal introduction of the Class of 2018 by Dr. Nancy Lecourt, academic dean and vice president for academic administration. As she shared statistics regarding the class, audience members cheered for their respective departments that were represented. Of the 265 soon-to-be graduates, 95 will earn associate degrees while 184 will receive bachelor’s degrees. The top five programs are comprised of biology (17), communication (19), health sciences (21), business (29), and nursing (108). Approximately one-third of the class is receiving a degree cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude. The class hails from 17 different states and six countries from around the world, with the youngest being just 19-years-old while the oldest is 53-years-old. Dr. Lecourt praised...
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#FacultyFriday: Meet Christy Mantz

By Larissa Church on January 26, 2018

Meet Christy Mantz, instructor of social work and service-learning coordinator at PUC, for this week’s #FacultyFriday. Ms. Mantz has taught full-time at PUC since 2016, after teaching at the college during the 2009-2010 school year. Previously, for several years she worked as a senior probation officer for Napa County, after working as a deputy probation officer and probation assistant.A resident of Napa County for nearly 14 years, Ms. Mantz has worked with a wide variety of non-profit and community based organizations, and continues to collaborate with local programs to manage PUC’s service-learning program. Always interested in work with youth and families, she has worked collaboratively with school officials, drug court programs, child welfare, foster families, substance abuse treatment centers, and a variety of residential treatment facilities across Northern and Central California.Name: Christy Mantz Title: Instructor of social work Email: Faculty since: July 1, 2016Classes taught:Intro to Social Work, History and Philosophy of Social Welfare Institutions, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, and Social Welfare Policy. I also coordinate the service-learning program at PUC, so I develop relationships with community agencies in Napa and Lake counties, and support faculty as they incorporate student projects with these agencies into their syllabi.Education:...
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PUC Hosts Annual Pioneers Invitational Academy Basketball Tournament

By Larissa Church on January 23, 2018

Over 350 academy student athletes, their coaches, and sponsors from 13 academies throughout California participated in the annual Pioneers Invitational academy basketball tournament at Pacific Union College, January 17-20.Game play began early Wednesday morning, January 17, and culminated in the championship game late Saturday night, January 20, played on center court. On the women’s side, the Spartans from Rio Lindo Adventist Academy in Healdsburg, Calif., defeated the Eagles from El Dorado Adventist School in Placerville, Calif., 44-39. For the men, the Capitals from Sacramento Adventist Academy in Sacramento, Calif., beat out the Spartans from Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, 54-32.Other tournament participants included the Eagles from American Christian Academy in Citrus Heights, Calif.; the Cavaliers from Central Valley Christian Academy in Ceres, Calif.; the Vikings from Fresno Adventist Academy in Fresno, Calif.; the Titans from Lodi Academy in Lodi, Calif.; the Mighty Cypress from Monterey Bay Academy in Watsonville, Calif.; the Knights from Napa Christian Campus of Education in Napa, Calif.; the Gators from Newbury Park Adventist Academy in Newbury Park, Calif.; the Cougars from Paradise Adventist Academy in Paradise, Calif.; the Eagles from Pine Hills Adventist Academy in Auburn, Calif.; and the Falcons from Pacific Union College Preparatory School in...
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PUC Students Challenged to Stay #Woke, Engage in Conversations

By Larissa Church on January 22, 2018

On Thursday, January 18, for the opening Colloquy of the new quarter, former PUC alumna and instructor of psychology Allison Musvosvi spoke to a crowded sanctuary. In her talk, titled “#woke?”, she shared narratives from her childhood upbringing in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Botswana, and her experience immigrating to the United States. She also encouraged the audience members to have hard conversations surrounding race and privilege. Musvosvi currently works as a research analyst at ILLUME Advising, LLC.Musvosvi recounted having her understanding and concept of race broadened after moving to the United States and learning about Latinos, Native Americans, and other ethnic groups, and noticing the color of her skin and her country of origin made people classify her differently. She told the story of her first day of school in America, when her teacher spoke very slowly to her after class and asked whether she had food. Musvosvi realized the teacher assumed she might need help, based on their concept and bias of Africa, her accent, and the fact that she was thin.“Sometimes our shallow understanding of the issues can actually be harmful and hurtful, and sometimes just as harmful and hurtful as spewing out some of the other hateful epitaphs...
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A Conversation with Dr. Kent Davis, PUC’s 2017 Educator of the Year

By Larissa Church on January 19, 2018

On April 27, 2017, the PUC Church sanctuary was packed full of students, faculty, and staff, all excitedly awaiting the announcement of PUC’s next student-selected Educator of the Year. As PUC tradition states, the winner is a tightly kept secret known only to a few people on campus and is announced at the annual Educator of the Year Colloquy. When Dr. Kent Davis’ name was announced, there was loud and extended applause for the ever popular chemistry professor and department chair. As he sat in the seat of honor on the platform, the audience was treated to funny stories from his wife Rachelle Davis, a fellow PUC faculty member in the department of music, and touching stories from a few close students. Not everyone has the privilege of taking classes from Dr. Davis, so we asked him a few questions to get better acquainted with the man behind the 2017 PUC Educator of the Year award. Describe your typical work day. I generally arrive at my office around 8 a.m. I make final preparations for my class at 9 and then go teach it. Afterwards I talk with students, make assignments covering the material from class, do other administrative tasks,...
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PUC Alumni Return to Share Wisdom and Success Stories with Students

By Larissa Church on November 20, 2017

Four Pacific Union College alumni bestowed their wealth of knowledge and advice to the campus community in a special Colloquy program on Thursday, November 16. Dr. Eliazar Alvarez, ’84, Angelica Ramirez Dull, ’82, Scott Wendt, ’85, and Dr. Vaughn Browne, ’85, were the honored presenters for the morning, speaking about how a PUC education helped get them to the successful places they are today.Dr. Eliazar Alvarez studied chemistry with a biochemistry emphasis at PUC, and went on to graduate from the School of Medicine at Loma Linda University. He has been practicing family medicine for over 20 years, and currently is part of Wheatland Medical Associates in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Alvarez shared his story as an immigrant from Mexico and the obstacles he overcame, and reminisced about his time at PUC. He worked at the front desk for Newton Hall and appreciated the college’s remote location, which he believes encourages students to become closer to one another. He appreciates that at PUC he made friends from all over the world and to this day he remains friends with many of them. “Open yourself to other cultures, you only risk expanding your mind,” Dr. Alvarez encouraged. “Remember in Christ there is...
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Church Luminary Dr. George R. Knight Speaks for Annual Adventist Heritage Colloquy

By Larissa Church on October 31, 2017

Dr. George R. Knight spoke for Pacific Union College’s annual Adventist Heritage Colloquy on Thursday, October 26, in remembrance and celebration of the historic roots the Seventh-day Adventist Church has with the Protestant Reformation. Knight is a leading Seventh-day Adventist historian, author, and educator, and considered to be one of the most influential voices within the denomination for the past three decades. He is also an alumnus of PUC, a graduate of the class of 1965, and professor emeritus of church history at Andrews University. Dr. Nancy Lecourt, academic dean and vice president for academic administration, took to the podium to welcome students back to campus after a week-long hiatus due to the wildfires in Napa County, saying, “It’s great to see everyone back on campus.” She then brought up J.R. Rogers, director of recruitment and fire chief for the Angwin Volunteer Fire Department, along with 16 volunteer firefighters, most of whom are PUC students, faculty, and staff. The audience clapped and cheered their appreciation in recognition of the volunteers’ tireless efforts and heroics during the recent fires. Rogers reported how the department assisted with fighting both the Atlas Peak and the Tubbs fires, during which many AVFD volunteers worked...
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