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“Something Just Clicked.” PUC Returns to Fiji for Seventh Year of Missions

By Sarah Tanner on April 11, 2019

In March, a team of twenty-five students took a ten-day mission trip to Mana Island, Fiji, marking the seventh year of missions to this particular location. Fabio Maia, PUC’s missions coordinator, accompanied the students, along with two PUC alumni, both dentists, and Dave Carreon, pastor at PUC Church. The group provided medical and dental care, constructed housing, and led a week of prayer and VBS for local students.

“This community is built on faith,” remarked Brian Nguyen, junior business major and pre-med student, on his second Fiji trip. “The children start and end their day singing worship songs, and they spend their Sabbaths learning about God. They really inspire me to incorporate faith deeper in my daily life.”

A typical day on Mana Island began at 7 a.m. with a group breakfast and devotional. Students then divided into three rotating teams focused on medical work, construction, and teaching or VBS activities. At the end of the day, PUC students organized games or went swimming with local children.

“We prioritized the kids,” said Maia. “If they needed attention or wanted to play, we stopped our work, because ultimately, we were there for them.”

Short term missions are often criticized for failing to establish lasting and

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Scott Nelson Inspires PUC to “Dream, Dare, Do”

By Sarah Tanner on February 28, 2019

Colloquy on Feb. 21 marked a special visit from orthopedic surgeon and medical missionary Scott Nelson. The father of a current student and a PUC alum himself, Nelson spent his time onstage encouraging students to step outside of their comfort zones and participate in Christian service, using anecdotes and experiences from his own life to explain why mission work is a crucial aspect of Adventism.

Nelson shared some of the more poignant memories of his time on the island of Hispaniola, notably his involvement with relief work after the 2010 earthquake that threw the country of Haiti into chaotic devastation. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of injuries he witnessed in first few days after the disaster, Nelson decided to extend his time in the country from a few days to nearly six months.

“We began operating throughout the day and night,” he noted. “During that time, I was not in control, I was far from the normal support of family, and I just had to depend on God. Living there for those six months taught me what was essential in life.”

He went on to compare his story to that of Abram in Genesis. Nelson explained that, like the biblical

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PUC Education Days Connects Graduates with Careers

By Sarah Tanner on February 14, 2019

Over thirty years ago, PUC’s Education Days was founded as a convenient way of connecting graduating education majors with potential employers in both the Adventist and the public school systems.

PUC’s third party administrator and field services coordinator, Debra Murphy, explained, “The goal of the dinner is to introduce our teaching candidates to future employers in a fairly intimate setting. We hope to foster conversations that ultimately lead to our students securing jobs after graduation.”

To ensure a wide variety of employers are present, superintendents and principals from all across the Pacific Union Conference are invited to the event. In all, five states are represented at the Education Days dinner including California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. A job fair also took place the following day, allowing students who could not attend the dinner to speak to potential employers in a less formal setting as well.

In addition to a variety of representatives from the Adventist education system, public school officials also seek out potential employees from PUC. Murphy noted, “School districts we have directed teaching contracts with include Napa, St. Helena, Calistoga, Santa Rosa, Pope Valley, Konocti, Lake County, Fairfield, and Vallejo, as well as principals from the local

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Senior Night Celebrates Graduating Athletes

By Sarah Tanner on February 13, 2019

Thursday, Feb. 7, marked the PUC men’s and women’s basketball team senior night, a time when senior student athletes are recognized for their contributions to the college’s athletics program. Basketball is not the only sport to hold senior night celebrations, however; throughout the year, the men’s and women’s cross country, men’s soccer, and women’s volleyball teams all host their own ceremonies to show their appreciation for their respective student athletes.

“Senior Night was really nice,” says junior volleyball player Katie Williams. “We have four seniors this year, so all of us underclassmen made them posters and little gift bags for the night. Our coach also made sure to include a short story about each senior team member as a way of recognizing what she has done to make our team what it is. The way everyone was included and honored was a really special way of showing how much we’ll miss them after graduation.”

Other teams feature different versions of celebrations. Cross country runner and senior Nephtali Marin noted, “Instead of having a traditional senior night like other teams, the men’s cross country team usually holds a banquet instead.”

Organizing gifts and sharing a meal as a team are

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A Legacy of Equality: What Martin Luther King Means to PUC

By Sarah Tanner on January 24, 2019

January 17, 2019, marked PUC’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Colloquy, a time when students and staff alike are encouraged to reflect on King’s influence on both the American conscience and in their own lives.

President Cushman opened with an apt quote by King, saying, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” He then went on to explain this year’s colloquy would be slightly different than previous years, in that the discussion regarding King’s legacy would be expanded to celebrate the ways in which his life and teachings have impacted all students and faculty at PUC.

The audience was treated to the college’s gospel choir’s vibrant performance of “Faithful is our God” before Tammy McGuire of the department of communication took to the stage to introduce the day’s speakers. A discussion panel of seven professors, faculty, and students were invited to join McGuire at the front and take part in explaining how King had impacted their own lives and experiences. Included in the panel was Sharon Mapes, associate vice president of finance, Joseph Scott, psychology major, Greg Schneider, professor of psychology and social work, James Cephas, professor of psychology

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PQ Rise To Offer Science Experiences for High School Students

By Sarah Tanner on January 24, 2019

PQ Rise will be held for the first time during the summer of 2019 as an extension of PUC’s popular PacificQuest science experience. PacificQuest initially began as a program designed for middle school students. The immersive PQ Rise experience was created as a next-step program for those interested in STEM fields, aiming to provide freshman and sophomore high school students with a hands-on introduction to the sciences.

“It gives bright and inquisitive students an opportunity to learn new subjects from college professors,” notes Floyd Hayes, professor of biology and PacificQuest instructor. “It also is designed to inspire students to attend college and pursue their passion in this field.”

While the program seeks to encourage students to explore biology as an academic and career option, the ultimate goal of PQ Rise is to better prepare students for life in college.

Vola Andrianarijaona, professor of physics and previous PacificQuest instructor known to all as ‘Dr. Vola,’ explained many students asked for another program after attending PacificQuest in middle school.

“Many students kept in contact on social media, and shared an interest in attending PacificQuest even after their age made them ineligible,” he explained. “PQ Rise allows these students to continue pursuing their interests in the science

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Being Truly Known: Friendship Expert Shasta Nelson Speaks at Colloquy

By Sarah Tanner on November 19, 2018

Shasta Nelson, author, speaker, and one-of-a-kind friendship expert shared insights about building lasting relationships at PUC’s November 8 Colloquy. Nelson’s resume is impressive, as she has appeared on the Today Show, been featured in numerous national magazines, and has contributed to the New York Times and the Huffington Post. She has also published two books, Friendships Don’t Just Happen and Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness.

In her own words, Nelson explained a “friendship expert” is much more than an extrovert’s desire to make acquaintances.

“Whether as a pastor who was training and facilitating small groups, an author who has written two books about healthy friendships, or a speaker who teaches and trains others to respond to their loneliness, my entire career has been devoted to relationship growth and health,” she says. “Having studied friendships, loneliness, and relationship health for the last ten years, while running a company devoted to helping women build better friendships, and traveling the country hearing the stories of growing loneliness, my favorite thing to do is turn around and share what I have learned.”

Her devotion to sparking connections between people has blossomed into an exciting career in which Nelson has honed her

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Pioneer Connect: PUC Prepares to Launch New Alumni Platform

By Sarah Tanner on November 13, 2018

Pioneer Connect is the result of roughly two years of brainstorming, planning, and organizing by members of PUC’s alumni and advancement office. When asked to describe the background and reasons for Pioneer Connect, Nic Miller, a database manager for PUC, leaned back in his chair and nodded.

“Two summers ago, we really started thinking about a platform or point of connection for our alumni to get in touch with junior and senior students preparing to enter their professional careers. We are located only 70 miles north of all the amazing tech innovation in the Bay Area, and that realization really sparked the idea of connecting with our alumni, not just there but in all fields,” he explained.

In seeking out methods to bring Pioneer Connect to life, Miller explained they came across Graduway, a vendor that provides predeveloped platforms for alumni management. It was perfect. In avoiding development costs, PUC was able to invest in the platform and officially began piecing together what would ultimately become Pioneer Connect.

“Once the site was up, we decided to run a pilot program with a select group of alumni, and their initial reactions have all been positive,” Miller smiled.

Similar to sites like

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Preparing Students for the Future: PUC Offers Opportunities for Career Success

By Sarah Tanner on October 30, 2018

Thursday, October 25 marked PUC’s workshop with Marcie Hronis, self-proclaimed public-speaking enthusiast and former Miss America contestant trainer. In just over an hour, Hronis explained the keys to successful conversations with potential employers, providing tips, tricks, and real life examples of how to excel in the arena of corporate interviewing.

In her presentation, titled, “Interview Training: How to Stand out From the Rest,” Hronis detailed the steps of preparation needed to swing any discussion in the interviewee’s favor. She began by highlighting the importance of creating what she termed an “awesome list.”

“How do you make any employer fall in love with you?” she asked. “You put together ten amazing, unique things about yourself, and weave them into the interview. The goal is to be able to answer any question using at least one of the things on your list.”

Hronis emphasized these qualities need not be related to your academic career or workplace goals.

“It can be anything that makes you stand out, whether it is something special about your family heritage, a charity you’re involved in, or volunteer work.”

In addition to creating an “awesome list,” Hronis encouraged students to come up with three

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PUC Holds Annual Grad School Fair

By Sarah Tanner on October 30, 2018

Thursday, October 18, marked the return of PUC’s annual grad school fair. Professionals from nearly twenty graduate schools filled the dining commons side rooms from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to meet with students and answer any questions the prospective applicants might have raised.

Olivia Nash, a representative from the University of the Pacific, explained their graduate programs are ideal for PUC alumni, as the schools share many similarities, including class size, strong faculty interactions, and the small college environment.

“We come to PUC every year because we know their students are focused, engaged, and very motivated to learn,” explained Nash. She also mentioned of all the characteristics they look for in future UOP students, they especially seek out those who are willing to collaborate with faculty and driven to achieve.

Diane Sus of Saint Mary’s College of California mentioned this was the institution’s first time visiting PUC, as they are looking to broaden their horizons and expand the pool of students that attend the school.

Sus listed a number of programs Saint Mary’s hopes will attract PUC applicants, including their master’s program in counseling, along with courses in teachers education. She also mentioned their school offers specializations that allow,

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