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...

Read Story

A Conversation with Winter Revival Speaker Aren Rennacker

By Becky St. Clair on January 18, 2019

Aren Rennacker is currently the youth and college pastor at the Calimesa Seventh-day Adventist Church. After graduating in 2007 from Sacramento Adventist Academy, Aren went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in PR and journalism from PUC in 2011, then his master’s in theological studies from La Sierra University in 2017.

One of four kids, Aren has myriad stories from his childhood, during which he dreamed of winning a spot on an NBA team.

He will be speaking during PUC’s Winter Revival, Jan. 22-25, and his theme is “Authentic.” We caught up with Aren so we could all get to know him a little better (how did he go from basketball star to youth pastor?) as we prepare to receive his insights on authenticity and God next week.

Read the full Q&A with Aren on our blog.


Read Story

A Powerful Voice: History Grad Receives Grants, Awards for Research

By Becky St. Clair on January 16, 2019

In the early decades of the 20th century, a baby girl was born to German parents in Ukraine. In 1957, that baby girl, now grown, immigrated with her family to the U.S. from Germany. In 2014, her granddaughter, Erika Weidemann, graduated from Pacific Union College with a degree in history, and has since won a number of grants, fellowships, and awards for her research on German-American history.

For her dissertation, titled "A Malleable Identity: The Immigration of Ethnic Germans to North America, 1947-1957,” Weidemann received research grants from the Glassock Center for the Humanities, the Society for German American Studies, and Texas A&M University. These competitive grants ranged from $500 to $5,000 and were awarded for the significance of her research topic.

Weidemann also won the Keeble Dissertation Award, given to the best dissertation project in the history department at Texas A&M, the German Script Award from the Quadrangle Historical Research Foundation for her work with German primary sources, and the Fasken Research Award, given to those who combine excellent research with a passion for teaching.

“The family connection got me interested in the topic at first,” Weidemann says, “but the research has become more fascinating the longer I study it.”

Weidemann first began...

Read Story

Halcyon—Encaustic: Guest Artist Diana Majdumar at Rasmussen Art Gallery

By Becky St. Clair on January 10, 2019

The Rasmussen Art Gallery on the campus of Pacific Union College will host the opening reception for an art show by guest artist Diana Majumdar on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 7-9 p.m. Majumdar’s work will remain on display in the gallery through Feb. 10.

Majumdar works primarily with encaustic painting, which utilizes beeswax with damar resin mixed in for elasticity.

“While it is melted, the wax can be applied with brushes, one brushstroke at a time, like you would with regular paint,” Majumdar explains. “Except wax begins to harden the second it leaves the hot plate, so I have to work fast.”

Though she graduated with a BFA in drawing and painting from Academy of Art University in San Francisco, art was never Majumdar’s career goal.

“It was actually my dad’s dream to be an artist,” she says. “His parents insisted he pursue a ‘useful’ profession, so he became an auto mechanic, but we often watched him draw or use watercolors casually at home.”

Years later, Majdumar recalls, both she and her sister took an entrance exam to an art school in Estonia—the only way to study art with proper instruction.

“Both of us failed,” she says, “but only our dad was devastated.”

Passing would have meant...

Read Story

Words to Notes: Honors Student Composes Piano Version of Jane Eyre

By Becky St. Clair on January 7, 2019

Many people have created movie adaptations of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre; there’s even a musical based on the Victorian novel. But few—if any—have attempted to capture their interpretation of the well-read romance on piano.

Until now.

Laurel Kwon, senior English major and Honors student at Pacific Union College, recently completed her final Honors project, for which she translated her understanding of Jane Eyre into a ten-minute piano composition.

“It was more difficult than I thought to write music based on a plot that’s already been written,” she admits. “I usually tend to just improvise and create a melody out of that, but it was actually quite fun to take on the challenge.”

Kwon has been playing piano since the age of five, and has grown up creating and composing at the keyboard whenever could. When she took “Victorian Literature in Britain” last year, Kwon felt compelled to delve more into Jane Eyre, crediting her professor, Dr. Linda Gill, with her interest, saying Dr. Gill “can transform boring rocks into blooming, fragrant flowers in her classes.”

As she contemplated her senior thesis, Kwon hit upon a unique idea: “I thought it would be fun to connect my English major side with my musical side,” she says....

Read Story

His Dream A Part of Theirs: Aviation Grad Manages Flight Training Center

By Becky St. Clair on December 27, 2018

Jordan Wareham graduated from Pacific Union College in 2004 with three separate degrees: a B.S. in aviation, a B.A. in international communication, and a B.A. in Spanish.

As he headed into his final year at PUC, the college’s registrar asked Wareham if he was going to declare aviation as a major as he had only two more classes before earning the degree.

“I never intended to pursue aviation as a degree,” he admits; “I intended to pursue a career in international development, but I kept enrolling in aviation classes because I really enjoyed them.”

Even though it meant a few quarters of extra credits, Wareham decided to go through with it.

Wareham always knew he would attend PUC, since his parents were professors at the college, but when it came time to make a real-life decision, the truth was he felt PUC was the best choice for him.

“They gave me the most flexibility,” he says. “The only way I could complete three majors was to carefully schedule my classes; I don’t think I could have done that anywhere else. They had the right programs, the right classes, and they facilitated the plan of study I was looking for. It was absolutely the...

Read Story

Conservation Easement Final for Pacific Union College Forest

By Becky St. Clair on December 21, 2018

ANGWIN, California – Pacific Union College (PUC), the Land Trust of Napa County (LTNC), and CALFIRE are pleased to announce the permanent protection of 864 acres of priority forest land in Angwin, California. Working together, on Dec. 20 they closed a conservation easement (CE) on land currently owned by PUC. The forest will continue to belong to the college, but the easement will permanently eliminate the potential for residential, commercial, and agricultural development of the property.

The PUC forest has been used by students, faculty, and the community for over 100 years, and the college wants to maintain and manage this use in the future. With this CE, the college will be able to ensure ongoing use of the forest for research, classes, and student projects.

“PUC’s forest abuts both the 800-acre Las Posadas State Forest, and a Land Trust property,” explains Peter Lecourt, forest manager for the college. “This easement will create over 1,750 acres of contiguous protected land.”

In recent years, PUC had considered selling their forest lands to generate funds to support their primary mission: education. The college changed course when it learned about the option of working with LTNC, the Wildlife Conservation Board, and CALFIRE to sell a CE...

Read Story

PUC Welcomes New Chaplain Kent Rufo

By Jennifer Tyner on December 19, 2018

Pacific Union College welcomes Pastor Kent Rufo as its new campus chaplain, a position he will assume on January 1, 2019. Pastor Rufo comes from Downers Grove Seventh-day Adventist Church in Illinois, where he has served as lead pastor since 2017. Joining Pastor Rufo in ministry to the PUC community is wife Anna, daughter Madison, and son Jadon.

“Together with the Northern California Conference, we have been involved in an extensive search for a chaplain for over six months, having received applications from across the globe and reviewed over 100 candidates," explains Jennifer Tyner, vice president for student life, enrollment, and marketing. “We are very excited about the vision and passion Pastor Rufo will bring to PUC.”

In his role as campus chaplain, Rufo will support the college in creating a vital and vibrant atmosphere for spiritual growth. Together with the Campus Ministries and Student Life team, he will promote students’ faith development by their engagement in worship, discipleship, and service.

“My life was changed during college. I transferred to one of our sister schools from a state university. I had no intention of becoming a Christian. Two guys from my dorm adopted my roommate and me as ‘prayer targets.’ They...

Read Story

True Community: PUC Team Volunteers at Chico Clinic/Fire Shelter

By Becky St. Clair on December 18, 2018

On Thursday, Nov. 8, the Camp Fire, what is being billed as perhaps the most devastating fire in the state’s history, began ravaging Paradise, California. That same day, the East Avenue Church in Chico opened its doors to evacuees.

“I arrived at the shelter on Friday afternoon, looking for a way to help,” says PUC alumna Kallie Griffin, who is now a pre-med student at California State University Chico. “I noticed a woman walking around in scrubs, so I introduced myself and asked how I could help.”

As Griffin does not yet have any medical certifications, she was given the role of organizing and helping to lead the church-turned-shelter-turned-clinic. Over the ensuing four weeks, the church sheltered over 200 evacuees, most of them elderly, as Paradise has a high population of senior citizens.

“We created a way of charting patients and ordering prescriptions with a Google Document, then created a way for us to internally communicate through walkie-talkies and a group chat,” Griffin explains. “As the days progressed, we were able to get more and more medical volunteers and were soon running a 24/7 clinic out of a gymnasium behind the church.”

The clinic/shelter quickly grew to include six military tents, portable showers and...

Read Story

Athlete Scholar Award Given to Cross Country Team Member

By Becky St. Clair on December 14, 2018

Antonio Robles, member of the Men’s Cross Country team at Pacific Union College, has been selected for the Athlete Scholar Award by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Only around 50 student athletes across the U.S. were selected to receive this award, which recognizes students involved in an athletics program that participates in the NAIA, and who has a GPA over 3.5.

“There are a lot of athletes doing great in school,” Robles says. “I am happy I was considered to be recognized with this award.”

The junior biology major wasn’t expecting to hear anything from the NAIA once the season had ended, so receiving congratulations for an award just before he headed home for Thanksgiving was a nice surprise.

“This award has given me motivation to keep going and excel academically,” he says.

It isn’t easy being a student athlete; being part of the cross country team requires dedication even before the school year starts, and involves waking up at 6 a.m. for practice, then on race day driving over eight hours to run for a little over half an hour.

“With this award, I feel like everything has been worth it,” Robles says. “Of course, my parents were happy and proud...

Read Story