Alumni Profile: Karisa Lowe

When people talk about doing anything you can imagine with your degree they really mean it!

Karisa Lowe graduated from PUC in 2008 with a degree in Public Relations and Journalism. Since graduating, she has founded her own publishing company and published several children’s books.

We asked Karisa to share about her experience at PUC and what life is like as a children’s book author.

What inspired you to start writing children’s books?

I’ve always been interested in writing books, but originally full-length novels. After graduating, I dabbled in newspaper writing and decided I liked creative writing more. But by the time I decided to try creative writing again, I hadn’t done any kind of writing for a while. Writing a children’s book seemed like a much less daunting task than sitting down and cranking out an 80,000 word novel, so I decided to start with that. After I wrote the first book, I started reading it at schools and bookstores just to get some feedback and I ended up really loving the interaction with kids. It was very rewarding and I fell in love with the whole process and everything came together from there.

Kari 1

How did you come up with the idea for your books?

When I decided to start writing children’s books, I really wanted them to have a purpose. I was reading a ton of books to my nieces and nephews and started realizing there a ton of cute books, but more often than not, I would get to the end and think, “is that it?” I felt like a lot of books were missing that lesson, morale, whatever you want to call it. Basically, something teachable for kids to take away from the book. So I came up with one specific scene for a dentist book and decided to make a series of kids books that tackle first encounters (first trip to the dentist, first trip on an airplane, etc) and eventually just important topics close to my heart, like nutrition. I built the entire series off of this purposeful concept.

Arlo

Describe your typical work day.

On a typical work day you’ll usually find me checking and filling orders, making sure inventory is up to date, at the post office mailing out orders, making and editing marketing materials, brainstorming new marketing and sales opportunities, booking events, etc. Honestly, I could probably write an entire page of things I usually do on a typical day. If I have “nothing” to do, then I’m doing something wrong. When you work for yourself, you never run out of things to do.

How did your major prepare you for this endeavor?

I studied both Public Relations and Journalism at PUC. I always thought I would end up in journalism but I have definitely ended up using my public relations knowledge more. Since I published my books through my own small publishing company, I do everything myself: marketing, sales, vendor relations, etc. Typically, authors just want to write and sell the manuscript, which is much less work than the way I’m doing it but also requires them to share a large chunk of the profit. With my public relations skills I know that I’m capable of doing a lot of the non-writing tasks myself and I’ve made it into a profitable business.

How did your classes and professors at PUC help prepare you to write children’s books?

My Public Relations and Journalism teachers gave me confidence in my writing skills, which gave me the confidence to go out on a limb with this venture. My PR classes have turned out to be an invaluable asset. I never thought I would be writing press releases or marketing plans, but plans change! I’m so glad I paid attention despite thinking I wouldn’t necessarily go into PR. And if I’m a little rusty on something, I know I can still contact professors Lynn Thew, Michelle Rai, or Tammy McGuire and they always come through for me.

What are your plans for 2015?

2015 is an exciting year already! I’m in the process of signing a contract for a distributor for Early Ink Press, which will be key in expanding sales to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers. I’m also working on some non-Arlo children’s books with my illustrator Edmund Boey, which we’re really excited about.

Kari 2

If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?

I would tell myself that it’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life. You’re young and still figuring out what you like and what you’re good at. I ended up switching majors four or five times throughout my freshman year until I settled on Public Relations and Journalism halfway through my sophomore year. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just enjoy the experience.

Check out Karisa’s books and publishing company at www.earlyinkpress.com.

5 Things We’re Looking Forward To In 2015

There are a lot of things we’re looking forward to this year at PUC, but here are a few events in particular we’re really excited about!

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Tri-Campus Retreat
January 16-19, 2015

Tri-Campus Retreat is an annual tradition where students from PUC, La Sierra University, and Loma Linda University get together for a weekend full of nature and worship at Camp Wawona in Yosemite.

PUC students served in Fiji this past summer.

PUC students served in Fiji this past summer.

Spring Break Mission Trips
March 20-29, 2015

This spring break, PUC students will be serving at health clinics in Nicaragua and Brazil, and volunteering at a Navajo reservation in Arizona. Interested in going on one of these trips, or making a donation towards them? Visit the links below.

Nicaragua – Clínica Verde
Brazil – Amazon River
Arizona – Project Pueblo

Melabi Amponsah shared her message with PUC for Student Week of Prayer 2014.

Melabi Amponsah shared her message with PUC for Student Week of Prayer 2014.

Student Week of Prayer
April 20-24, 2015

Each quarter, students are blessed with a wonderful Week of Prayer with an inspiring guest speaker but for the spring, students hear from their peers about how God has worked in their lives by sharing personal testimonies.

PUC students at the REVO rummage sale last year.

PUC students at the REVO rummage sale last year.

REVO
TBD

Short for revolution, this student-led ministry raises money each year for a specific cause through a variety of events, like a Color Run, fashion show, and rummage sale. Since 2008, PUC has raised close to $50,000 for causes such as Love146, Project Pueblo, ADRA, and the Napa Valley Food Bank.

Natalie Robles is all smiles at graduation.

Natalie Robles is all smiles at graduation.

Graduation
June 12-14, 2015

Of course we’re always sad to see our seniors leave, but we’re excited to see what plans God has in store for each and every one of our graduates!

Filling Out the FAFSA

Most of you, I imagine, are just about spent when it comes to filling out applications. Whether it’s a college application, scholarship application, or possibly a job application, the last thing you want to do is have an entirely different one to fill out. But the reason you should fill out this application? The potential for free money. Filling out the FAFSA gives you access to grants, loans, and work study funds that are provided by the federal government. Many states and schools also use FAFSA for their individual financial aid programs. There are different deadlines for each school to receive your FAFSA, so it’s good to have it filled out as soon as possible. Some of the funds are done on a first-come-first-serve basis, so it’s important to fill this early so you may be eligible for Cal Grant and Pell Grant.

Think of the FAFSA as one of those free giveaways you see in the mall. You answer a few brief questions about yourself and then you’re entered into a raffle for whatever the prize may be; the difference being, EVERYONE who enters in this “raffle”, wins.

Let me preface this step-by-step process by saying if, at any time, you are asked to pay for submitting your FAFSA, you are not at the right place. FAFSA stands for FREE Application for Federal Student Aid and can be found at fafsa.gov.

Before you start, here are the items you will need:

  1. Your Parents. Unless you plan to file as independent, you’ll need your parents with you for certain information.
  2. Your Federal Student Aid PIN. This will act as your electronic signature. You can then use this each of the following years you fill out the FAFSA. Your parents may also need to create a PIN. Go to http://pin.ed.gov/PINWebApp/pinindex.jsp to get started.
  3. Your Social Security Number, your Permanent Resident Card (if you have one), your W-2 or any records used to show money earned for the previous year, and finally your tax records. If you haven’t filed your taxes for this year, you can give estimates of your tax information but you’ll need to update your FAFSA once you do file. (This may be where your parents come in handy.)

Now you’re ready to fill out the FAFSA:

  1. The first set of questions is fairly basic in asking for personal information. Name, address, date of birth, favorite color (not really though).
  2. The second section of questions is financially based. You’ll need to use your tax return from the previous year. For example, this year (if you’re applying for 2015-2016 school term) you’ll need 2014 tax information. If you haven’t filed those, then you can make an estimate based on the previous year unless your financial information has dramatically changed.
  3. You can list up to 10 schools that you wish to have your FAFSA sent to. You can send the FAFSA to these schools even if you haven’t applied or been accepted to them. If you are considering more than 10 schools, you can add more after submitting the original application. If you want to have your FAFSA sent to PUC, include our school code, which is 001258.
  4. Lastly, use your Financial Student Aid PIN to sign your form. Your parents may also need to enter their PIN.

If you need additional information about what you are filling out, there will be helpful icons to the right of the application as you go through. Also, there is a new chat feature which allows you to speak with a knowledgeable agent if you need assistance. You can also contact our Student Finance office and talk with one of our Financial Counselors if you have questions about the FAFSA or other financial related questions. They can be reached at studentfinance@puc.edu or at 800.862.7080 option 1.

Below is a helpful video that goes into a little more detail about how to fill out your FAFSA.

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.

PUC & LSU Are Coming to You!

Throughout January, PUC and La Sierra University will be hosting financial workshops across the state (as well as in Arizona and Hawaii) to help you learn how you can afford an Adventist college education. We’ll cover the FAFSA, Cal Grant, scholarships available at both schools, and where else you can look for scholarships to help pay for college. This is a great opportunity to learn about your financial options. Don’t miss out!

Visit http://www.puc.edu/admissions/finance for more information about the workshops and addresses for each location.

Workshop Dates

La Sierra University will be hosting the workshops in Southern California and Arizona. More information regarding those workshops can be found at http://www.lasierrapucworkshops.com/.

If a workshop isn’t being held in your area or you aren’t able to make it to one, consider scheduling a visit to PUC to sit down and talk with one of our Financial Counselors. They can go over your financial options with you and put together an estimate where you can see how much per month it would cost for you to attend PUC. Learn more about visiting PUC at http://www.puc.edu/admissions/visit.

Editor’s note: This is dated material and does not necessarily reflect how the student financial services office at PUC and the financial process currently operates. Please contact your financial counselor for more information.