Physics Students Assist with Research at National Lab

By Becky St. Clair on April 15, 2019

Last quarter, a few PUC physics students were given the opportunity to visit and assist with research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee. The idea was to give the students hands-on research experience in order to explore what research is like in a laboratory setting.

PUC is one of three collaborative institutions working with ORNL and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to investigate X-ray-induced charge transfer.

“This concept is not completely understood, due to lack of data,” junior chemistry major and trip participant Vola-Masoandro Andrianarijaona explains. “The research we’re doing seeks to better understand cosmic ray background.”

To do this, there are two different sets of measurements that must be considered: the rocket measurement (aka: “all sky survey”) and the laboratory measurement. The former is done by NASA, the latter by ORNL, using the same rocket.

“The laboratory measurement requires the ion beam to simulate the ions present in space that contributed to the data in the all sky survey,” Andrianarijaona details. “Then, the data from the all sky survey and the laboratory measurement will be compared to determine if the ion beam produces the same ions that are present in space.”

While at ORNL, Andrianarijaona and her fellow PUC students...

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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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Rational & Reflective: Students Produce Online Current Events Journal

By Becky St. Clair on March 18, 2019

Eventorum began as the brainchild of 2015 PUC alumnus David O’Hair. Over a breakfast conversation in Greece that summer, O’Hair proposed his idea to Howard Munson, chair of the department of history, and in January 2016, Eventorum became a reality. Today, the website, designed by students in a 2016 web design class taught by design professor Milbert Mariano, is a developing current events journal, highlighting student-written articles edited and vetted by the department of history.

Eventorum is an opportunity for PUC students to get additional academic writing experience on topics that interest them, are current with their lives, and can help better-inform our campus as a whole,” Munson explains.

Once a quarter, he meets with his students, who pitch ideas to the room. Once everyone settles on a topic, they set a deadline, and begin their research and writing process. The end goal is one article per student each quarter—source footnotes required.

“I stress the idea that our job is to draw attention to current events, with consciousness of relevant history, and to inform rather than advocate,” Munson says. “We strive to maintain objectivity and to avoid political polarization.”

Though there is no monetary motivation for getting an article published on Eventorum, Munson says...

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A Rich Future: Music Students Attend National Convention

By Becky St. Clair on March 18, 2019

Last month, the department of music took several students on a field trip to Anaheim for the 2019 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention. Asher Raboy, professor of music, vocalist, and PUC’s resident artist, organized the trip for two reasons. First, he wanted his students to gain insights into the kinds of employment opportunities that exist for music majors.

“There are a lot of jobs in music,” he says, “but the traditional jobs—classroom teaching and performance—are getting rarer. It’s important that our students experience the wealth of modern opportunities so they can make wise choices about their futures.”

Secondly, Raboy wanted his students to be energized by meeting successful professionals who are creative, energetic, and entrepreneurial by nature.

“At worst, our students can find a new and powerful purpose to their major,” he says. “At best, they start to network and make connections that last a lifetime.”

Though the event lasted six days, to avoid missing too many classes PUC’s students attended only for the weekend. During this time, they were able to attend concerts, talk with music professionals, listen to presentations, meet performers, and explore a plethora of products related to the music industry. NAMM exhibitors and presenters filled the entire Anaheim...

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Former Surfing Magazine Photographer Speaks at PUC

By Yucabeth Oyaro and Ellee Posner on March 4, 2019

Adventure photographer and PUC alumnus D.J. Struntz will speak for Career Day colloquy in the PUC Church sanctuary at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 7.

Struntz grew up in Angwin, graduated from PUC Elementary and PUC Preparatory schools, and graduated from PUC in 1997 with a degree in biology. He worked as a research biologist after college and planned to spend his career in marine mammal research.

However, his life took a surprisingly different turn and Struntz left his work as a research biologist to become a staff photographer for Surfing Magazine. In this new line of work, Struntz traveled the world and photographed every major surfer in the industry. His photos have been featured on CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC and CBS.

He explains becoming a photographer happened accidentally. “I was going on a surf trip with friends and took a camera for giggles and shot a photo an East Coast regional surf magazine ended up running,” said Struntz. “Eventually I started sending slides after cold calling surf magazine photo editors. Six months later I had a job offer.”

Struntz says his small-town upbringing set the tone for his current life. “[Angwin] was an incredible place to grow up and fostered my love for...

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PUC’s Social Work Program Ranked Most Affordable

By Becky St. Clair on February 28, 2019

Earlier this year, the social work program at Pacific Union College was ranked the most affordable at a private school in California by In their 2019 101 Most Affordable BSW Programs in America rankings, evaluated total program costs for both private and public institutions, selecting the schools with the lowest cost in each state. PUC comes in at more than $32,000 less than the state average for total program cost.

On their website, states, “As someone preparing for a career that involves saving lives, you’re not interested in saving dollars if it means compromising anything important in your education.” For this reason, they say, cost isn’t everything, “so you can be sure these programs are also top quality.”

PUC is noted for being consistently ranked as a leading liberal arts college by U.S. News & World Report since 2009, providing exciting opportunities for undergraduate research, and offering an outstanding student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1.

“Like its many other degree programs,” continues’s website, “Pacific Union College’s BSW program is rooted in value. This program seamlessly blends classroom theory with research and practical experiences to produce a well-rounded course of study that’s designed to prepare you to work with a variety of...

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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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Flawed Hero: Annual Civil Rights Lecture at Pacific Union College

By Becky St. Clair on February 25, 2019

Pacific Union College announces Dr. Ron Graybill as the speaker for the 2019 lecture of the Percy and John Christian Civil Rights Conference Center. Graybill has served his communities in a variety of ways over the years—professor, journalist, communications specialist, historian, editor, and pastor—and will draw from these varied experiences as he presents on his topic, “James Edson White: Flawed Hero.” The lecture will take place on Saturday, March 9, at 4 p.m. in PUC’s Paulin Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

“I’ll be presenting on the paternalistic racism which characterized most social action by whites during the late 19th century,” Graybill explains. “To do this I will be examining closely the story of the life of James Edson White, with emphasis on his pioneer evangelistic, educational, and humanitarian work among Mississippi Blacks during this era.”

Much of his lecture will be an elaboration of the premise of his book, Mission to Black America, originally published in 1971 with a second, updated edition released in February 2019.

“James Edson White’s evangelism story has significant application to current issues,” Graybill says. “We are in an era when the long-standing racism of much of American society has come more obviously...

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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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