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PUC’s Back 40 Joins the Bay Area Ridge Trail

By Sarah Tanner on October 31, 2019

Sunday, October 20, marked the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newest section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, an extensive hiking route spanning from Calistoga in the north all the way to Gilroy in the south. The trail runs through PUC’s Back 40, and is part of a larger conservation effort that will eventually include 1,100 acres of protected forest lands.

PUC’s forest manager, Peter Lecourt, headed the dedication with a speech detailing upcoming plans for the forest. Along with informational kiosks and maps, plans for additional parking are underway, in an effort to make the natural beauty of the PUC area as accessible for recreation as possible.

Kellie Lind, PUC’s vice president for alumni and advancement, commented on PUC’s rich history with the surrounding land.

“Not only were many of PUC’s academic buildings constructed using lumber from the back 40, but last year 14 classes used the forest as part of their curriculum just during Fall Quarter,” she noted.

A number of Napa Valley officials attended the ceremony, including Napa Open Spaces District Vice President Barry Christian, Bay Area Ridge Trail executive director Janet McBride, county supervisor Dianne Dillon, and chairman of the board of Napa Supervisors Ryan Gregory.

Dillon commented on the importance and

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“The Broken Gospel:” Week of Prayer with Chaplain Kent Rufo

By Sarah Tanner on October 30, 2019

Pastor Kent Rufo led this fall quarter’s Week of Prayer with a powerful sermon series entitled, “The Broken Gospel.” Held in the PUC church, students gathered each morning of the week for an hour of worship, community-building, and scriptural study.

Beginning with Monday’s service, each meeting built upon the previous day’s message. Pastor Rufo quoted from Revelation 21:4, and explained his sermons rested on the premise found in the verse which holds that God ultimately wishes to do away with death, sorrow, crying, and pain. He noted that we all live in an imperfect world, plagued by these difficulties, and part of our journey as Christians involves learning how to navigate through these troublesome issues.

Pastor Rufo continued on Tuesday with the assertion that, as humans, we all cope. He listed a variety of “numbing agents” people typically turn to, but concluded the only true healing comes from God. He explained, “We only have one healer, and everything else is simply a substitute for true healing.”

Wednesday expanded this concept of healing to the Gospel, and Pastor Rufo explained the good news, or the essence of the Gospel, is that Jesus willingly became our brokenness so we would not suffer under its weight

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All About Community: #onePUC

By Sarah Tanner on October 8, 2019

PUC’s newly christened Community Speaker Series (familiarly called “Community”) held its opening convocation in the PUC Church on Thursday, Oct. 3. Previously called Colloquy, the goal of Community is indicated in its title: to build a network of close-knit relationships between students and faculty across the college’s campus. Essentially, it seeks to build “ONEPUC.”

After a Community Brief video featuring athletic director Richie Sillie detailing the upcoming week’s events, President Bob Cushman took to the stage to welcome new staff, faculty, and students, as well as recognize members of this year’s graduating senior class. Each group was asked to stand for applause as he recognized their role on the PUC campus.

As the audience settled into their seats, Student Association President Megan Belz read from Matthew 22:37-39 and concluded by praying over the church family. With the message of love at the forefront, a video of chaplain Kent Rufo played in which he reminded the campus that they are all members of one body that is committed to each other as the PUC family.

President Cushman then returned to the stage with a short, but impactful message that spoke to the heart of PUC’s goals as it looks towards a new academic year.

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PUC’s Videography “Crash Course” at the Oshkosh Camporee

By Sarah Tanner on October 7, 2019

This year’s Pathfinder Camporee at Oshkosh in Wisconsin hosted a film crew from PUC’s own department of visual arts. A group of four students, one alum, and faculty director Tim de la Torre were tasked with creating nine-minute videos to highlight five days of the annual pathfinder meeting, under the direction of Erik Stenbakken from Stenbakken Media. These “Day in Review” videos were displayed every evening, showcasing not only Camporee events and activities, but also the talents of the small film crew on hand.

Sophomore film and television major, Adam Adreveno, helped the team navigate the many challenges that entail when filming among a group of 50,000 people.

“My job was basically to do what needed to be done as quickly as possible. I would go out to film different stories ranging from ‘Camp Life’ to ‘Woohoo: Fun Stuff to Do’ and then edit them together if I had time,” he continued, “I learned how to manage long days and pressure in order to deliver a specific video that needed to be completed by a deadline. Working at the Camporee was like a crash course on how to make good videos quickly.”

Alum Gabriela Talavera mirrored Adreveno’s sentiments about working under constrained timing.

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From Pioneer to River Cat: PUC alum announces for Sacramento’s MiLB team

By Sarah Tanner on August 13, 2019

PUC alum Justin Smith graduated in 2006 with a degree in business and a passion for sportscasting. The voice of the Pioneers during his college years, Smith developed a love of announcing that recently helped land him a position with the Sacramento River Cats as a regular announcer for their minor league baseball games.

“I’ve been interested in announcing since my senior year of high school,” Smith explains. “My experiences at PUC taught me the basics of speaking loud and clear to a large crowd, and having an Adventist education is something that helps you wherever you go.”

Each River Cats game requires five or six hours of intense focus, including time before and after the game to run through scripts, become familiar with the batting line-ups, and prepare for the first pitches, national anthem, and interactions with other announcers.

When asked what his favorite aspect of announcing is, Smith said it was the fact that he could share his skills with his local high school, and contribute to their basketball and volleyball games.

“I get the most joy from announcing at Sacramento Adventist Academy’s games. My primary focus is on that school. The River Cats position is a great opportunity, but I find

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Alumni Spotlight: Danielle Nelson, Ph.D.

By Sarah Tanner on August 6, 2019

Danielle Nelson, a psychology student from PUC’s graduating class of 2014, just received her Ph.D. from Palo Alto University after extensive hands-on training at Stanford University and the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.

Reflecting on her time at PUC, Nelson recalled the training she received in the fields of statistics, clinical work, and research as being on-par with the instruction her peers from Ivy League institutions received.

“I worked closely with Dr. Bruce Bainum on a research project that examined social eating behaviors in women,” she says. “We went on to present the project at the Western Psychological Association Conference in 2014 and won the Psi-Chi regional award for the research. Many undergraduate students do not have the opportunity to helm research in such a substantial way, but PUC provided that opportunity, which helped me monumentally in my doctoral training.”

In regards to her time at Stanford and the Children’s Hospital, Nelson quickly climbed the ranks to work as a neuropsychological assessor for children with learning disabilities in mathematics, and worked in the pediatrics department at the L.A. hospital in the Assessment, Consultation, and Evaluation track.

Nelson’s choice to pursue a Ph.D. was also largely influenced by her experiences at PUC.

“After working with my professors

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PUC Alum Lands Residency at Harvard

By Sarah Tanner on July 31, 2019

Biochemistry major and member of PUC’s graduating class of 2015, Daniel Amponsah has become the first Loma Linda University graduate to accept a residency at Harvard Medical School after completing his courses in medical school this year.

Amponsah credits professors such as Aimee Wyrick in biology and Marie Pak in chemistry for preparing him for the challenges medical school presented. While at PUC, he also participated in a variety of non-academic activities that helped take his transcripts to the next level--extracurriculars such as participating in student government, being a chemistry TA, and working with the Gospel Sabbath School on campus.

As he reflected on his time at PUC, Amponsah encouraged current medical school hopefuls to “always study hard and do well, as cliche as that sounds. Challenge yourself while in college, participate in events, and remember to have fun.”

He continued, “Work hard, study hard, pray hard and everything will work itself out.”

As he looks towards the future, Amponsah plans to complete his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital with the title of Harvard Clinical Fellow. He is currently focusing on internal medicine and hopes to specialize in interventional and structural cardiology.

“I am looking forward to amazing learning opportunities from some of the top

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

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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The Next Generation: PUC Students Attend Women in Science Conference

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

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PUC Student Recognized at Sony Photo Competition in London

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

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