PUC in Pictures: Winter 2017 Edition

With the close of another quarter here at PUC, we are taking time to reflect back on many of the great moments and memories. Below are just a few of our favorite photos from the past three months. Enjoy!

96 days till 🎓

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Cannot beat this 😍 📸: Robert Wilson

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PUC praise band 🙌🏼 #puccollegedays #pucpioneers

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Just another routine photo in the mustard fields … 🌾 📷: @camnmitch

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RememberFollow PUC on Instagram (@PUCNow) and browse through some of our hashtags for a closer look at student life at PUC. #PUCNow and #MyPUCReason are great places to start!

Class Spotlight: Biotechnology

Biotechnology students (like Charlene Wang’s classmates shown here) learn to use a variety of lab equipment.

Biotechnology students (like Charlene’s classmates shown here) learn to use a variety of lab equipment.

by Charlene Wang

From obscure fields such as the science of pharming, to popular controversial topics such as GM foods, biotechnology covers a vast variety of subjects. Introduction to biotechnology illustrates and teaches the various procedures and techniques behind significant scientific findings, such as the creation of DNA sequencing and the development of vaccinations. Though biotechnology did open up many topics, my experiences both in the class and in the lab were aimed primarily towards the medical field due to my choice in research topics and my own personal interests.  This course deals with real life applications of biology and problem solving.

One of the most important aspects of biotechnology is the way it is used to diagnose societal health issues, such as in the case of edible vaccines. Though vaccines are highly accessible in the U.S. and other western countries, this is not the case in impoverished third world countries. The lack of accessibility to protection for the impoverished led to the idea of edible vaccines through the injection of cloned genes into the chloroplasts of plants. This new technology aimed to produce crops that could orally administer vaccinations, allowing societies to cultivate and distribute their own vaccines in crops such as potatoes. Biotechnology seeks to provide solutions to societal and medical issues, constantly evolving to improve current human conditions. The course covered a wide variety of conflicts and solutions, including the development of genetically modified (GM) foods and creation of artificial proteins through pharming.

Biotechnology is a quickly developing field of science, eliminating problems in areas such as medicine. Much of biotechnology focuses on identifying and solving problems, such as understanding why experiments fail and how they can be modified. During the lab, I was introduced to new equipment and techniques while actively participating in research. We sought to find a connection between overeating and the development of Alzheimer’s in humans through the use of C. elegans, a model organism that shares Alzheimer’s genes with humans. Throughout the lab I was able to experience firsthand the importance of purification methods and the process of improving lab procedures through trial and error. The lab taught us how to use machines such as the autoclave, spectrophotometer, and the centrifuge, enabling us to measure optical densities of E. coli and stressing the consequences of lab errors such as contamination. In order to improve our technique and experimental procedure, we were given the opportunity to look through research articles to review and analyze newer procedures being utilized in other laboratories. Much of the time spent within biotechnology lab was funneled towards error analysis and learning from previous mistakes, teaching us how scientific research relies on building off of the past work of not only ourselves, but others as well.

Biotechnology was a unique course in the way it introduced new scientific discoveries and provided relatable real-life examples of how essential science is in our day-to-day lives. The laboratory allowed us to experience firsthand the obstacles and the successes that often come with research, as well as the importance of reevaluation. Overall, biotechnology was an enjoyable course I would recommend to anyone with an interest in seeing the practical applications of biological research.

To learn more about biology at PUC, visit the department of biology website.

Reflecting on My College Years at PUC

By Andrew Mahinay

College could be described as a roller coaster of emotions.

On one hand, looking at college in the perspective of a freshman can feel daunting like the hundred foot drop of Goliath: A gigantic 720 school days until graduation.

On the other hand, Looking at life in the perspective of a senior can feel exhilarating like the butterflies you feel after a speedy drop: Just around 180 days until graduation.

Currently, I am a senior. As I sit in a small room with yellow painted walls, I think of things I wish I had done more of in my earlier years of college. There are three specific activities I wish I had participated in more often.

  1. Intramurals – I wish I had done more intramurals because this is likely to be the last chance to strike a volleyball or shoot a basketball with my best of friends. Although I could still manage to participate in this these sports after college, it is the college atmosphere and playing with your closest of friends makes these experiences so amusing. One’s smile seems to never fade away when playing with friends.
  2. Dinner dates with friends – Notice I say friends? Dinner dates are not restricted to someone you have a crush on. Dinner dates refers to asking a friend to dinner to converse and catch up, to talk about events happening in each other’s lives. Grabbing dinner is a great way to strengthen the bond you have with your friends.
  3. Involvement in Student Senate – You ever want to make a change in your dormitory or even on campus as a whole? Senate gives you the opportunity to make your vision of change come to life. Having a say in what goes on in your dorm is amazing. Not only does it give you a voice, it gives you a chance to represent and advocate for your fellow residents, to hear their concerns, and make their needs known.

While there are opportunities I wish I had taken advantage of, I am extremely glad I did the following:

  1. Candidate for SA – During my junior year in college, I ran for president of the Student Association. This process was not easy. During the campaign process, I found myself wishing I had more time to study. Looking back now, I am glad I decided to run for SA President because the experience taught me how to campaign but also balance academics with extracurricular activities.
  2. Seeking out job opportunities – Earning your own money is such a great feeling. I still remember the time I received my first check. I feel independent and more responsible knowing I no longer have to ask my parents for money. Getting a job and making your own money also allows you to experience the tasty food Napa Valley has to offer!  
  3. Service projectsBerkeley Homeless Ministry, a student ran service project, has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Joy and meaning arise from helping others who have limited opportunities or cannot help themselves. I have met some of the most genuine people through this ministry. Service project opportunities are something you’re not going to want to miss out on when you’re at PUC.

Overall, college has been a collage of memories and great times. The likelihood of enjoying or dreading college all depends on what you choose to do with your time. Are you going to look for ways to connect with others? Or are you going to sit in your room? The choice is yours. Just like a roller coaster, you never know what direction college life will take you. Be proactive and participate in different activities. I can wholeheartedly call PUC my second home and I am forever thankful for everything this institution has provided me. Best of luck as you explore the different opportunities college has to offer!  

andrew-mahinay

Here’s Andrew hard at work at the public relations office at PUC!

Student Internship Profile: Amanda Garcia

Amanda Garcia uses a small syringe to feed a goldfinch chick.

Amanda uses a small syringe to feed a goldfinch chick.

Meet Amanda Garcia, a senior environmental studies major. Last summer she completed her internship at the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County in the Song Bird Clinic. Her goal is to someday work as a wildlife conservationist at Yellowstone or Yosemite National Park.

Tell us about your internship.

 As a volunteer intern, I properly prepared and cleaned bird cages for the hatchings, juvenile, and adult song birds. I gave oral medicine to the towhees, finches, and scrub jays.

What did you learn during your internship?

There needs to be a lot of people involved in order for the Center to run smoothly. At all times, there needs to be three people at the center to feed the small and large hatchlings every 30 to 45 minutes, one person to give medicines and stitch up birds that have been attacked by cats, and one person to feed and take care of the juvenile and adult birds and help with the birds of prey. I learned the diet of different bird species, and I learned how to mend broken legs and stitch up wounds.

How did PUC help prepare you for this experience?

The Vertebrate Biology class helped me identify the different species of birds found at the Center and helped me know what habitat they can be found in, to better know how to take care of them. The Biological Foundations labs helped me to record information accurately about the behaviors of the birds so the next volunteer could continue care for the birds, and knowledge of a microscope helped me to find any worms or parasites in the fecal samples in order to give the proper medicines to the birds.

To learn more about biology at PUC, visit the department of biology website

What is PUC College Days and Why Should You Go?

By Leanna Arredondo

Trying to choose a college can be fun, but also extremely stressful. The truth of the matter is, the memories from college are ones you will remember forever, so making a conscious decision for where you attend is crucial. College Days at PUC makes this not only easier, but a whole lot more exciting. As a recent graduate, and now a PUC enrollment counselor, I am excited to share more about this experience with you!

What Should You Expect?

PUC is located just minutes from one of the most well-known destination spots in the country, Napa Valley. Surrounded by picturesque views, our “campus on the hill” is where it all takes place. Whether you are traveling by plane, car, bus, or train (who knows), PUC does their best to accommodate you. Upon arriving, you will make your way to Winning Hall, our main residence hall, where you will check in with our enrollment team and receive your rooming assignment and schedule for your stay.

Depending on the dates of your specific College Days experience, the activities will differ. However, this April, you will take a tour of the campus, eat dinner with current PUC students, play some fun games, and end the night with an ice cream social! Think you’re finished? Not quite! You can also look forward to attending a couple classes of your choice, a financial aid workshop, spending time in our storybook town of St. Helena, and touring the beautiful city of San Francisco!

What Should You Bring?

If you are anything like me, you feel the need to pack your entire life into a suitcase for whatever trip you’re embarking on. However, lucky for you, I am going to give you a list of essentials:

  • A sleeping bag, travel mattress pad, pillow, and towel.
  • A comfortable pair of shoes is KEY for this trip. We do live on a mountain, so tennies or flats would work perfectly. This is especially important for those of you checking out our hiking trails!
  • Personal toiletries are important; however, we do have the College Market where you can purchase items from, as well.
  • Extra cash isn’t a requirement, but who doesn’t want some chocolate directly from the Ghirardelli Factory in San Francisco? Let’s be honest.
  • Athletic gear for our open gym is optional.

Why Is This Important?

Before attending PUC, I remember how stressed out I was about choosing a college that would not only offer great academics, but a spiritual and welcoming atmosphere, as well. When I found PUC, I was nervous about a few things. I wasn’t Adventist, I really loved the city, and I had never lived so far from my parents. This is why visiting is so crucial. During my visit to PUC, I was able to talk to my enrollment counselor, get my financial aid questions answered, talk with an advisor for my major, meet several current students, worship with the community, visit some of the surrounding cities, and get a feel of what the campus was all about. College Days will change everything folks. Don’t second guess an opportunity to experience what could potentially be your home away from home.

Where Can You Get More Information?

Ready to visit? All you need to do is go to our Visit page on the Admissions website, scroll down to the College Days section, and click on the “Sign Up for April 2017” button. Here, you’ll be able to choose what classes fit your interest, and if you know any of our current PUC students, request to dorm with them during your stay. It is as easy as that! I look forward to meeting you!

Your last chance for a College Days experience this year is coming up April 9-11. Don’t miss out!

Student Research Profile: Daniel Newport

Daniel Newport studied the effect of chlorogenic acid on C. elegans lifespan.

Daniel studied the effect of chlorogenic acid on C. elegans lifespan.

Meet Daniel Newport, a senior biology major. Last summer, Daniel conducted research at PUC. He plans to attend graduate school at CSU East Bay for a master’s degree in cell and molecular biology.

Tell us about your research. 

I formulated and implemented a lifespan assay on Caenorhabditis elegans by exposing them to glucose, which shortens their lifespan. The goal of the study was to measure the effectiveness of the compound chlorogenic acid, an inhibitor of glucose absorption, in attenuating the effects of glucose on lifespan.  

What did you learn during your research?

I learned there is an immense amount of reading required in order to understand the basics of a topic, let alone enough obtain information to formulate an entire experiment. I had to read a handful of papers just to verify the correct volume of one reagent in my media. However, the process was extremely fun, because you gain so much information on cellular processes, common statistical methods, and cutting edge research in published journals. After a while you learn what questions haven’t been answered, and you begin thinking about how you can answer those questions yourself! Research can be long and tough, but implementing critical thought, controlling an experiment, and studying life was exhilarating.

How did PUC help prepare you for this experience?

Classes like Cell and Molecular Biology and Systems Physiology equipped me with a basic, yet cohesive understanding of cell, tissue, and organ mechanics I found invaluable. This gave me a hunger for more information on cell systems, and led me to ask serious questions to Drs. Wyrick and Sung. They were consistently available for ideas and help honing in on research topics; the magnum opus of the department of biology is the care and interest professors like Wyrick and Sung provide to students.

To learn more about biology at PUC, visit the department of biology website

My PUC Story: Dominique Townsend

By Andrea James

Dominique Townsend is currently a junior at PUC, studying English with an emphasis in literature and a minor in writing. Dominique decided to attend PUC after visiting during College Days when she was a high school senior. In her words, “It just sort of clicked. It felt like homesomewhere where I was comfortable.” She applied and was accepted to PUC, receiving the Maxwell Scholarship and entering the Honors program.

DT

So far, Dominique has thrived at PUC. She gets plenty of support from her teachers and classmates. In the Honors program, she gets to “experience a wide range of classes that are taught in interdisciplinary ways” to help her connect what she’s learning with her life and her future.

Dominique sees PUC as quiet yet connected. She appreciates the close, familial atmosphere of the PUC community. In her words, “We might not always know all of the goings-on in each other’s lives, but when something happens to one of our own, we band together to share their joy, sympathize with their sadness, and protect their rights to be who they are.”

Her favorite part of PUC is that “every day [here] is like having [a] mountaintop experience with God. We’re literally at the top of a mountain, and it’s beautiful. I think all of the nature and the scenery up here just points right back to our Wonderful Creator.”

Dominique is a very active and passionate member of the PUC community. She’s the president of PUC’s chapter of the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, and the secretary and co-founder of Thaumatrope, a club focusing on serving others. She’s also the head editor of Quicksilver and works as a teacher’s assistant in the department of English and occasionally tutors at the Teaching and Learning Center.

Dominique has clearly made use of the opportunities and resources available at PUC. She has pushed herself to achieve, to be creative, to improve spiritually, and to use her talents and skills to help others.

She says, “Looking back on my life, I think my college experience will probably be the period of the most change for me. I’ve made new friends, [I’ve] experienced a lot more things, I’ve picked up some new hobbies, I’ve seen myself grow academically and spirituallyand I think that those are positive aspects I’ll take out into the world when I graduate.”