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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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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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