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PUC and Andrews University Collaborate on Massive Minesweeper Game

By Sarah Tanner on May 15, 2019

A quintessential 1990s computer game, Minesweeper is making a comeback in a big way during this year’s PacificQuest at PUC, a program designed for middle school students interested in STEM fields. It includes a number of interactive workshops, including, this year for the first time, the Minesweeper project. A life-sized version of the popular game is in the works as a collaborative project from the departments of engineering and mathematics at PUC and Andrews University.

Professors Chantel Blackburn of PUC and Wayne Buckhanan of Andrews have put the best and brightest of their respective departments on the job, and are working on perfecting the game board. Those playing the game will find a grid of identical squares, a number of which secretly contain “mines.” The player is then directed to choose a square; if it contains a mine, the game ends, whereas if it does not hold a mine, a number will appear in the square displaying the amount of nearby squares containing mines. This information is then applied by the player as they attempt to uncover more safe squares. To win the game, the player must select all the safe squares without mistakenly choosing a mine.

Creating a life-sized version of...

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Study Tour Mission Trip to Kenya

By Becky St. Clair on May 14, 2019

Mission work and academic credit is perhaps an odd yet really cool combination. Over spring break, a group of 30 students from PUC served in Kenya on a mission trip, along with several faculty and staff. The group helped with the construction of a secondary school for women and painting a new non-denominational Bible training center, along with teaching Vacation Bible School at a primary school and assisting in a nearby health clinic.

The African environment also offered a wealth of learning opportunities of organisms, species, and ecosystems, quite different from what students were used to studying in Northern California. As a result, they were given the option of receiving credit for either Field Biology or Vertebrate Biology, both taught by Floyd Hayes, professor of biology and one of the faculty who went on the trip.

“It was a spectacular trip!” Hayes raves. “I’m pleased PUC provides many opportunities for students to travel to distant destinations, learn about diverse environments and cultures, serve developing communities, and share their love of God with others.”

See more photos and read more about the trip on PUC’s blog.

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Pieces of the Valley: PUC Hosts Napa Valley Film Festival Film Camp

By Becky St. Clair on May 1, 2019

In June, Pacific Union College, the Cameo Cinema, and Napa Valley Film Festival will host their annual film camps for high school students in the North Bay Area. Taught by professors in PUC’s department of visual arts, this popular summer intensive is sponsored by the Cameo in St. Helena and the NVFF as a way to inspire and encourage young people to go big with their creativity in film.

“Everything is filmed here in the valley and works together,” explains Rajeev Sigamoney, chair of the department of visual arts and film instructor. “The NVFF is the biggest film festival in the region, the Cameo is the valley’s signature theater, and PUC is the one place that does film education and has the resources to support an event like this. It’s a perfect partnership.”

The film camp covers two weeks in June, first a narrative camp from June 17-21, where students learn to tell a fictional story in film from start to finish, and secondly the documentary camp, where students film mini documentaries about local prominent figures. Prior to the first camp, in May, Sigamoney holds a two-day writing workshop to develop the scripts that will be used in the narrative camp; the...

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PUC Students Host Leadership Symposium

By Sarah Tanner on April 29, 2019

March 8 marked PUC’s first-ever student-led leadership symposium at Howell Mountain Elementary School in Angwin. Honors students taking an interactive class in leadership theory were given the opportunity to work with fifth- through eighth-grade students in an effort to put the principles they studied into practice. Marlo Waters, associate academic dean & registrar at PUC, guided her honors students in developing a handful of interactive modules which were then modified to best serve the middle school students.

PUC’s student participants devoted a good deal of time over the course of a handful of weeks to developing the best approach in guiding the Howell Mountain students toward a deeper understanding of leadership.

“The ultimate goal of the symposium was to cultivate a sense of leadership and capability in each of the elementary students though the modules the honors class designed,” Waters explains.

The event’s activity stations focused on trust building, ethical decision-making, and building self-confidence. The tagline for the event was, “Leaders build trust. Leaders make good decisions. Leaders have confidence. I am a leader!”

The idea behind this workshop came about as Waters discussed various hands-on projects for the class. The idea of service-oriented leadership resonated strongly with her honors students, and working with...

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PUC Archivist Makes a "Remarkable Discovery"

By Eric Anderson on April 26, 2019

Recently, Pacific Union College’s archivist, Katharine Van Arsdale, found the missing page of a crucial handwritten document, long-thought to be lost. This discovery (or re-discovery) completed an academic detective story many years in the making.

In 2015, Van Arsdale examined what appeared to be a letter from Ellen G. White in a small metal cabinet designed to store maps. She noted the letter (dated 1882) was incomplete and lacked a signature, although someone had written in pencil the author was Mrs. White, co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. In January of this year, several scholars examined the document, immediately recognizing the Adventist leader’s distinctive style, penmanship, and spelling.

After fielding questions from denominational archivists and scholars from around the country, Van Arsdale was determined to learn more about the letter. She conducted a thorough inventory of the college’s historical materials and, much to her surprise, found the rest of the letter, complete with signature. The second page of the densely written letter had been separated from the first and stored for years in a different file.

“I was delighted the letter was preserved,” she says, “but mystified by how it was organized.”

According to Van Arsdale, one of her predecessors, Gary Shearer, first found...

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PUC Film Program Attends Annual SONscreen Film Festival

By Josette DeToure on April 25, 2019

Early the morning of April 4, 38 film students, alumni, and professors from PUC’s department of visual arts packed themselves into a bus and drove to Riverside, Calif., for the annual SONscreen Film Festival. Since its establishment in 2002, this festival gives Christian filmmakers a chance to mingle and showcase their work. Adventist schools around the country gather for the festival, from Walla Walla University in Washington State, to Andrews University in Mich.

“I think overall it was probably the strongest set of films I’ve seen in quite awhile,” says film professor and department chair Rajeev Sigamoney. “I think it was mentioned it’s the highest amount of submissions the festival has ever seen; close to 100.”

Sigamoney feels taking students to SONscreen is a bonding experience, no matter what happens, and it builds a special community between the film students, even across school programs.

“It’s the closest equivalent us filmmakers get to a basketball tournament,” he says with a chuckle, “so whether you win or you lose, I think it’s a good experience. Over the last couple of years we’ve created strong relationships with students from other schools and you get to see them again when you attend each year. It’s a really...

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“The Best Professor I’ve Ever Had:” Robin Vance Named Educator of the Year 2019

By Becky St. Clair on April 25, 2019

PUC’s 2019 Educator of the Year (EoY) was announced during Colloquy, and Dr. Robin Vance, professor of biology, received the award for the second time. The first time he received the award was in 2009.

Vance has been teaching at PUC since 2001, when he accepted an offer to join the faculty in the department of biology. Previously, Vance taught for 12 years at Union College in Nebraska, including chairing their Division of Science and Mathematics. He brings with him bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from Loma Linda University, and a Ph.D. in physiology.

The EoY is chosen by the students. They vote for professors who have had tremendous impact on their lives. The award is always a surprise when it is announced, and is always received with resounding applause and cheers. During this event, the previous year’s EoY, who this year was Dr. Peter Katz, professor of English, presents a speech, and both colleagues and students of Vance took some time to “roast” the much beloved professor.

“Dr. Vance’s tests are always challenging,” said Jefferson Richards, biology major and pre-med student. “For example, those of you who have taken Systems Physiology have experienced the joy of the infamous multiple multiple choice, where...

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Sparking Connections, Building Community: PUC’s Student Week of Prayer

By Sarah Tanner on April 25, 2019

For five days each quarter, PUC hosts Week of Prayer, a time when students, faculty, and staff gather for daily worship services. Spring quarter marks the annual student-led Week of Prayer in which two student speakers share their testimonies each day. With 10 speakers featured in total, all of the messages shared during Student Week of Prayer speak to the campus’ vibrant spiritual life in their own unique ways.

Biochemistry major and sophomore honors student Emma Tyner reflected, “Student Week of Prayer is such an important event. Not only are we given the opportunity to take time each day to worship, but we also get to do it surrounded by our closest friends.”

Each 50-minute meeting opened with a handful of praise songs followed by an introduction to the speaker. A wide variety of students across departments, years, and academic interests joined to lay hands on each speaker as they were prayed over before they shared their messages.

Each sermon featured a personal testimony interwoven with a discussion of a corresponding Bible character. Monday opened with Amber Sanchez in the morning and Joseph Santos in the evening, both seniors and majors in theology. On Tuesday, Carlos Piedra and Jamie Nelson shared their stories....

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Student Art Exhibition to Open at Pacific Union College

By Becky St. Clair on April 15, 2019

The department of visual arts at Pacific Union College welcomes the community to their annual student art show, April 18-June 16. The opening reception is at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, in the campus’ Rasmussen Art Gallery.

Several students will display original art pieces in the show, in a variety of media. Marina Maia, freshman fine art major, will have three pieces on display, all of which she completed during her winter quarter drawing fundamentals course.

“One of them, done in pastels, is a surrealist piece of a blue eye melting into clouds,” Maia explains. “It was inspired by a photo a friend of mine sent me of his eyes. I told him that the undertones of his eyes reminded me of those in the clouds after the rain cleared, so I made this to prove it.”

Professor Rajeev Sigamoney, chair of the department, says that the student art show is an opportunity for students to realize that what they’re doing is actually serious, professional work.

“Often, it’s easy to think of college coursework as just an exercise in academia,” he says. “But when your homework ends up showing in an art gallery, gets seen by hundreds in the community, and receives criticism...

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PUC Celebrates 110 Years in Angwin for Homecoming Weekend

By Sarah Tanner on April 15, 2019

April 19-21 marks PUC’s 110th Homecoming Weekend, a time when alumni across the years are invited to gather and celebrate their shared time on the hill. Homecoming Weekend often features special presentations, campus tours, and activities to spark memories of years gone by. Previous years have featured popular “PUC Talks,” a campus version of TED Talks, among other informative activities.

Homecoming 2019 promises a number of interactive and exciting festivities. After registration on Friday afternoon, alumni are invited to take part in a guided driving tour of the PUC forest. For those service-minded alumni, a presentation on PUC’s thriving missions programs will also take place on Friday evening in the Fireside Room. Visiting alumni are invited to join students for vespers in Dauphinee Chapel at 8 p.m. as well.

Following a Sabbath morning breakfast, a special feature presentation entitled, “A Mountain, a Pickax…a Health Resort? Stories from the Making of PUC,” will be offered in the church sanctuary. Alumni interested in the life and letters of Ellen G. White should stop by the Maxwell Reading Room Exhibit in the Nelson Memorial Library and peruse White’s recently uncovered letter to J.O. Corliss from May of 1882.

Sabbath afternoon features honored class...

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