Shining Bright: A PUC Student’s Journey to Excellence in Academics and Personal Development

By Ally Romanes on April 26, 2024

There were a plethora of reasons why sophomore student Tiffany Do committed to Pacific Union College: the Christ-integrated education, serene campus filled with nature, closeness to home, and generous financial aid—to name a few. However, the most significant motivator in this decision stemmed from her campus visit before attendance. Do glimpsed an invaluable interactive learning experience through meeting with the friendly faculty and students within the science departments. Now, as a biochemistry major in the pre-medicine program, the biology department and faculty have greatly contributed to her academic life. "Studying at Pacific Union College has been a worthwhile investment toward my education and future," said Do. "The rigor of the classes contributes to my strong understanding of the sciences and the magnificent wonders of the human body. Additionally, the information-dense STEM lectures and long lab hours propels me to develop effective, efficient study methods necessary for medical school. Most importantly, the conversations with my professors centered on various scientific phenomenons—many of which unintentionally derive beyond what we are studying in the classroom—have been fascinating and greatly contributed to my academic enrichment."Dean of the School of Sciences and Associate Biology Professor Aimee Wyrick-Brownworth met Do in the first few weeks of...

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PUC’s Film Department Wins Four Awards at Sonscreen Film Festival

By Ally Romanes on April 23, 2024

The film department at Pacific Union College traveled to Loma Linda, California, to attend the Sonscreen Film Festival from April 4-6. PUC Visual Arts Chair Rajeev Sigamoney, PUC Visual Arts Professor Tim de la Torre, and 16 film students celebrated their competing films alongside several alums who showed their love and support. Some alums also had their work submitted to the festival and helped with other films. The Sonscreen Film Festival is an opportunity for PUC film students to get off campus and bond with each other. Since the festival began in 2002, it has been a right-of-passage for film students. PUC had nine films play in the festival, with three winning awards. Film student Josue Hilario won Audience Choice for his work Inner Space. For the Jury Awards, Megan Lira won the Achievement in Visual Style for her film Evelyn, and Minority Report by Dylan Sails received the Achievement in Writing award. A memorable moment for the film department was seeing PUC Visual Arts Department Chair Rajeev Sigamoney accept the Sonscreen Vision Award. He was presented this lifetime achievement award for his support and work with the festival over the past 20+ years. Though Sigamoney cringes over being old...

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PUC Offering New Scholarship to Students with Highest Financial Needs

By Sheann Brandon on April 22, 2024

PUC is now offering a full-tuition, four-year scholarship—The Pioneer Promise—to students with excellent character, strong academic achievement, and high financial need—furthering the college’s commitment to ensuring all aspiring students have the opportunity to receive a quality, Christian education.“Adventism has a rich tradition of providing high quality education, which allows significant generational improvement,” said Gene Edelbach, PUC vice president for enrollment, marketing & communication. “With Pioneer Promise, every Adventist student or student wanting an Adventist education—who have financial need, reasonable academic ability, and good character—could now be guaranteed a bachelor’s degree or higher at Pacific Union College.”While many people might be passionate students with a desire for higher education, the reality of affording college may be unimaginable and unattainable—the Pioneer Promise Scholarship was created with those students in mind; to remove financial and socioeconomic status barriers from an educational path that previously was completely blocked.This scholarship is open to on-campus freshman and transfer students. Eligible students will need to be enrolled full-time and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher.PUC is committed to supporting students seeking an affordable college education through a range of financial support, including several new innovative scholarships—the Science and Math Enhancement Scholarship, STEM Scholarship, and Musical Excellence...

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PUC’s Nursing Department Provide Health Care in Fiji

By Ally Romanes on April 18, 2024

Last year, former PUC Missions Director Fabio Mia came to the nursing department at Pacific Union College and proposed a mission trip to Fiji for the nursing students. Before the pandemic, Mia and Sandra Ringer, PUC nursing assistant professor and online director, had discussed the possibility of taking students. Still, Ringer wanted to offer a course encouraging participation. When she became BSN director, Ringer wished to provide a mission opportunity combined with fulfilling clinical hours for the RN to BSN program’s Community Health Nursing course.This year's second annual trip to Fiji to provide healthcare was both a mission trip and an academic course, encompassing PUC’s mission entirely—Learn with Purpose, Rise in Faith, and Serve with Love. From March 23 to April 2, 17 students, Ringer, and Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences Kimberly Dunker (who went as the cook), joined four physicians, one PUC staff member, two dentists, and other helpers. The team cared for approximately 225 medical patients, providing the people of Fiji with biometrics, glucose checks, and medical history. Additionally, they assisted 130 dental patients with their needs. PUC’s students served the people of Fiji with love; learning with real purpose by applying their knowledge of community health...

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Connect Ministries: Expanding a Community of Worship & Fellowship Across the Pacific Union

By Ally Romanes on April 4, 2024

Connect Ministries at Pacific Union College is an outreach ministry consisting of several individual teams of students passionate about Jesus and sharing His love by providing a worship experience. Their vision is Connecting One another, Nurturing New friendships with Everyone, and Collaborating Together in Ministry.The mission is to reach out to communities in the Pacific Union Conference and minister to them through praise, worship, and the word of God by uplifting their spirits and letting them know that PUC is supporting them. Each team can provide services such as leading out in church services, youth events, and other programs where they can inspire other young people to become worship leaders themselves. The goal is to connect with young people and showcase PUC’s presence and complete support.PUC Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing, and Communication Gene Edelbach tasked Enrollment Counselor and Connect Ministry Director Glanelle Marie Ejurango to take on this ministry this school year. Ejurango was perfectly suited for this task—with her mother a pastor, she was trained in ministerial work from a young age and didn’t stop her involvement in multiple ministries until she attended PUC.Applying all her years of training and ministry involvement, she laid the foundations for how...

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Meet PUC’s 2023-2024 Student Association President: Kaitlyn Nakanishi

By Ally Romanes on March 15, 2024

Senior Kaitlyn Nakanishi has previously been a member of the Student Association at Pacific Union College. With a deep love for the college, she wanted to help make a difference in student’s social life following the COVID-19 pandemic where so many students were online and campus culture vanished. Motivated by that feeling, she ran for Student Association president last school year and has been serving that role since the start of the 2023-2024 academic year. Nakanishi believes the most important part of her role is facilitating discussions between the administration and students. “I want to ensure that PUC continues to be student-centered because that is what initially made me fall in love with this school,” she shared. Being SA president involves many meetings and conversing with different students, which she enjoys. Another important part is ensuring that the many operations of SA run smoothly, providing students with safe spaces to grow socially and spiritually. She loves her SA team and feels blessed to be surrounded by such talented and hardworking individuals.SA executive Vice President Olivia Brown provides Nakanishi with fantastic support; they are often sounding boards for each other. They have had many long talks in their shared office, and...

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In Service and Faith: The Inspiring Journeys of Two Couples in Adventist Education

By Laura Gang on March 14, 2024

For more than 140 years, Pacific Union College has been a pillar of education, preparing and supporting students for lives of service and leadership. Many alumni have embarked on remarkable journeys of faith and service, particularly as teachers. Among those educators are two couples who stand out as examples of the enduring impact of Seventh-day Adventist education and mission. In addition to their shared beginnings at PUC and a deep commitment to their faith, these couples have embraced their roles as educators, shaping hearts and minds with a passion driven by their faith in God and an unwavering dedication to excellence. Both couples expressed gratitude to PUC for giving them a strong educational foundation. They attributed their success as teachers to the guidance and mentorship of numerous professors, especially those in the education department, who supported them academically and spiritually.Matt and Kim Bennie work at Redlands Adventist Academy, where they take their responsibility as educators seriously. Each day, they strive to instill a love of Christ in their students.“My hope is that students feel God’s love and embrace their true identity of being children of God,” Matt said. “As students create in the classroom, we can connect all lessons back...

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PUC on Broadway: Bringing People Together

By Ally Romanes on March 13, 2024

From February 3-4, PUC on Broadway was showcased at St. Helena High School Performing Arts Center. People braved the winter weather to watch, but the cast believed it was well worth it. PUC on Broadway is the product of people coming together to try something new. The show was a production where performers sang songs from different Broadway musicals. Where a musical has one cohesive plot–they took Broadway songs and put them out of context. This musical show is the brainchild of PUC’s Student Association President Kaitlyn Nakanishi. Just two weeks after the Jericho Road musical showcased at the college campus, she put up posters advertising auditions. She invited PUC student Leila Beltran as co-director to help choose songs, coach the performers, and be the musical director. From there, they hit the ground running and created the program. Nakanishi was the co-director, producer, and choreographer for PUC on Broadway. She choreographed every single movement and production of the show. Ronnie Zanella, a PUC music professor, and Mika Palitang, a junior biology and music major, were their accompanists; with Jeremy Hadley and his team as the sound and lighting crew.They held auditions two weeks before Thanksgiving break, had rehearsals in between Thanksgiving...

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America in Crisis: Dwight Nelson’s Message of Warning and Hope Amid Division and Threats to Religious Liberty

By Laura Gang on March 12, 2024

Dwight Nelson, the longtime Seventh-day Adventist pastor of the Pioneer Memorial Church, recently retired after 40 years there. Yet, retirement hasn’t dimmed his passion. Instead, he is focused on living on the brink of eternity, the soon return of Jesus, and the undeniable challenges facing America—specifically, religious liberty and the dangerous rise of Christian nationalism.“I’m grateful to be coming to PUC—because I believe young adults are the strategic key to waking America up to this critical moment in history,” Nelson said in an interview. “We as a nation are fractured on practically every level of life and culture—racially, spiritually, economically, politically, socially—and I’m convinced the young are God’s essential endgame move to bring healing to America.”On March 1-2, Pacific Union College hosted the Northern California Conference’s (NCC) annual Religious Liberty Summit. The event centered on three powerful messages from Nelson and breakout workshops featuring several prominent presenters, including two Superior Court judges, a community organizer, the chief of staff for a California state senator, and a historian. The weekend event culminated in a panel discussion, fostering thought-provoking conversations on pressing religious liberty issues.NCC has sponsored religious liberty events for several years—three annually on this vital cause. These include the spring...

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PUC Gains Approval to Expand Nursing Program to Sonora

By Laura Gang on March 4, 2024

Pacific Union College recently announced that it received state approval for a new nursing training partnership with Adventist Health Sonora. The PUC education center will further the college's goals of growing its nursing program and help meet the rising need for highly qualified healthcare professionals in the Tuolumne County area. “In order to expand nursing education to rural areas, hospitals must partner with nursing schools,” said Kimberly Dunker, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at PUC. “Because of the long-standing history between our Adventist organizations, we are able to not only partner but share the same values and beliefs for nursing education and talent acquisition.”The Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) program will be open to Adventist Health employees and prospective students in the area looking to move into the nursing field. Pre-nursing classes will begin in April. The nursing program will commence in September.The California Board of Registered Nurses (BRN) and the Education Licensing Committee (ELC) approved the addition of 18 students to PUC’s nursing program at the Sonora site. This hard-won achievement results from a two-year collaborative effort by PUC and Adventist Health to establish a new nursing education center in an underserved area. Though California will...

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