Student Research Profile: Chelsea Nicole Paclibar

Meet Chelsea Nicole Paclibar, a senior biology major at PUC. She plans to continue on to dental school and specialize in orthodontics after graduation. For the last year, she has been participating in a research study on Alzheimer’s disease.

Who are you?
I’m Chelsea Nicole T. Paclibar and I’m a senior biology major. I plan to go on to dental school at Loma Linda University and specialize in orthodontics.

What did you do?
I participated in a research that studied the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and overeating. The hypothesis of the study was that overeating causes degenerative behavior in the nervous system. For this study, we grew C. elegans into healthy adults and collected their eggs after a few days. The eggs were then divided into six different conditions and a behavioral test was performed on the collected eggs. I was responsible for the data collection, which involved taking photos of the petri dishes containing the samples under a microscope, as well as measuring and calculating the length, thickness and volume of each specimen.

When and where did you do this work?
My research internship started in the fall of 2017 and will continue until spring of 2018. This work is supervised by Dr. Sung.

What did you learn?
I realized research work can be complex and overwhelming but also exciting because you get to discover new things and get to interact with people who you will work with towards accomplishing a common goal that can potentially create an impact in the world. I learned working on a research study requires a great deal of patience because data collection and analysis can take a while, thus, often leading to delayed results. I also learned working with other students can greatly enhance efficiency and allow for a better pool of creative ideas to approach the limitations we might have.

How did your experience at PUC help prepare you for this experience?
I’m a biology major and I’ve taken many required core classes and electives that provided me with the foundational skills and information needed to effectively do research. The Biological Foundation sequence prepared me very well and gave me the background knowledge to analyze data, to use a pipette and microscope, to prepare solutions, and to observe samples. Additionally, my Cell and Molecular Biology class equipped me with information on the cellular construction and development of the C. elegans allowing me to understand and evaluate its responses to the experiments and tests performed.

Meet Sydney Johnson, PUC’s Career Counselor

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “What are your plans after graduation?”

We hear these typical life questions focused on the future even from a very young age. The first, asked of young children, typically produces something predictable—firefighter, teacher, mommy, police officer, doctor. However, many times the second, asked of college students, produces anxiety, fear, trepidation, or hesitation. Or perhaps all of the above.

Being able to say with certainty what one’s plans are for the future is a gift few people are given as they enter their college years, despite it being one of life’s most important decisions. Or, perhaps, because of that.

Fortunately for PUC students, help is mere steps away. The college’s Career & Counseling Center provides an experienced career counselor, armed with training, career inventory assessments, personality tests, and plenty of brochures and information about potential employers and graduate schools. And in the thick of it all, happy to help students figure out their futures, is Sydney Johnston.

Name: Sydney Johnston
Title: Career counselor
Education: B.A. in liberal studies, California State University-San Bernardino; M.S. in counseling, Oregon State University
Certifications/Specializations: National certified counselor; California associate professional clinical counselor
Email: sjohnston@puc.edu
Employee since: 2013, but in the Career Center since 2016

What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend 75 percent of my time doing career counseling and the other 25 percent doing mental health counseling. As the only career counselor, I have a unique opportunity to ease students’ fears and answer the unknowns.

How did you get into this line of work?
During grad school, I completed an internship at two nonprofit organizations for women in transition who were going back to college or needed to find work to support their family after a divorce or coming out of a domestic abuse history. After grad school, I worked as career services director at Pioneer Pacific College in Portland, Ore. These experiences really showed me that helping people figure out their futures was a real joy for me.

When you’re not in this comfy office counseling students, where can we find you?
Oh boy, I’m out and about regularly, as I coordinate several major student events on campus throughout the year.  I’m in charge of the grad fair, the career fair, internship and job fair, and weekly workshops/clinics throughout the quarter.

Tell us about these events. They sound awesome!
They actually are pretty well-attended and we generally get positive feedback from students who participate. The grad school fair is pretty straight-forward: Various schools send representatives with information about their plethora of graduate programs.  

The career fair allows us to partner with department chairs to invite individuals who represent careers in every field we train for here at PUC. Many are alumni who want to share with current students their experience and success, and talk about how they got to where they are, to motivate the students. It helps students who are looking to explore other fields and are considering changing majors. For example, someone who’s not sure physical therapy is for them may discover during this event that occupational therapy makes more sense for them.

The internship and job fair brings recruiters from a variety of businesses to interview students. It opens doors that might not otherwise be apparent to students, and also gives them experience interviewing for jobs.  

The weekly workshops and clinics cover a myriad of topics, such as resume writing and editing, interview prep, how to begin and pursue a job search, how to create a LinkedIn account and how to use it, how to apply for federal jobs, and life after graduation. That last one is usually coordinated with the senior class and offers information on basic adult life skills not taught in college, such as employment, budgeting, credit, debt management, banking, housing, car leasing vs. buying, insurance, retirement accounts, and taxes. It’s geared toward students who are looking to move out on their own.

What do you love about your job?
Working with college students as they plan their future is fun, uplifting, and forward-focused. I love to help students relate personality and interests to possible careers, and I love walking students through this process of determining what it is they truly want, and what they’re willing to do to get it.

What’s the most challenging part of your work?
The hard part is when students come to me contemplating a change of major. They thought what they started doing was what they wanted but now they’re not sure. Sometimes students feel torn between what their parents want for them and what they’re realizing they want for themselves, and not doing what their parents want or expect can make them feel like a failure. I help students navigate all of this to figure out what it is they want to do and can do well. We look at where they can find jobs, how much more school, training, and time it will take to get there, and how much money they can make at that career. Those are the things that assure not only the student of which choice is the best one, but also reassures their parents.

So is what you do something that’s only helpful to college students?
Actually, no; I also use what I do as a recruiting tool. I sometimes go with enrollment to visit academies and do the Strong Interest Inventory assessment test with the high school students. I explain what it is and what to expect, then administer the assessment, then we talk about the results. I explain why certain fields come up a lot, and what traits the student might exhibit that gave them the results it did. Then they meet with one of our PUC recruiters, who talks about what PUC has to offer that can provide a path to those careers.

How do you keep up with everything that’s out there?
Something that gives me a unique benefit in this job is the three years I spent as the tutoring coordinator in the college’s Teaching & Learning Center. In that role, you know every professor, every program, every class. You know when classes are offered and know the catalog inside and out. It helps students with the projection of their future at PUC: How much time will it take if I change from A to B? Is it worth it? Do I want to be here another year?  

Also, during the grad fair I make it a point to connect with the program representatives and gather materials they bring for students, so I can at least know the basics of what’s out there and what will be expected in various areas of study.

Since we have a lot of students who continue on to Loma Linda University, it is helpful to attend their every-other-year training, where each LLU school presents on changes to their program.

What’s the most common question students ask you?
Probably the biggest one is “How do I find a job?” We help them begin that process and follow through on leads. Some students have resumes already but they need some additional work. That’s what we’re here for. I worked in business management for 15 years and I’ve hired and fired many people over that time. I know what employers look for and I know what they don’t want. I know what makes potential employees stand out, and I help the students who come to me learn those skills, too. Students need to know how to look professional when they apply for jobs. Cover letters, for example, are essential. Not everyone who writes a cover letter gets the job, but pretty much everyone who gets the job wrote a cover letter. Learning to be prepared for interviews and looking better on paper is what we do here.

If you could offer one piece of advice to college seniors, what would it be?
I know it feels like it, but you’re not the only one not getting a job. You’re not the only one getting rejection letters. It takes time, and it takes patience and it takes knowing what you’re doing. Knowing all the right stuff and doing all the right things doesn’t always lead to a job, but it does make it much more likely to happen. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

So, what are some fields students can focus on that have a higher likelihood of available positions?
Anything with the word healthcare, medical, computer, and engineering in the title or job description.

What about students who want to start working after an associate’s or bachelor’s degree instead of going on to a master’s or doctoral program? What kinds of careers should they look for?
We sometimes believe to be successful in certain careers and professions, that a person needs to get a master’s or a doctorate degree. This simply isn’t true. Maybe your strength is hands-on. Maybe your passion is doing the physical work, rather than analyzing and reporting it. There are plenty of jobs out there in a variety of fields such as, healthcare, medicine, communication, business, fine art, design, and so many others. The pay is good, and graduates can make a living wage. We need those people.

PUC in Pictures: Winter 2018 Edition

As we take a few days before starting spring quarter, here’s a look back at some of our favorite moments from the winter.

#Home 💚💛

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Professor Rusch showing off his skills. #art

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#BeMine!

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Remember—You can follow PUC’s official Instagram account (@PUCNow) and follow the Student Association on Snapchat (@puc.sa) for a closer look at student life at PUC.

We’re looking forward to another beautiful spring quarter with you at PUC! See you on April 1st! 

Choosing a Major in College

By Janae Bowman

Picking a college major can be a bit stressful. As an enrollment counselor, the number one question I get asked is, “Am I stuck with this major?” Don’t worry! Picking a major doesn’t lock you into an exact career for the rest of your life, but it does mean you will spend a lot of time with the subject you choose. So here are a few of my tips before you make a decision.

What is a major?

First off, what is a major? A major is a bundle of classes put together by a college in order to receive a degree. This bundle of classes will typically have a subject of your choice paired with some general education requirements.

Is picking a major important?

It can be important to pick a major sooner rather than later if you are interested in earning a professional degree after college. Some professional programs, like medical school, can have a list of prerequisites or certain courses you must complete before you even apply. (If you’re interested, take a look at the curriculum guidesheets for each major to see what classes are required and if there are any prerequisites for continuing on to a professional program.)

When to declare a major?

Most people think you must have your major picked out before starting school. When you are filling out college applications, most ask what your expected major is. It is okay if you don’t know what major you want to pick before you start. According to the U.S Department of Education, about one in ten students change majors more than once. During your first year of college, take time and figure out the field you want to be in. Usually, by your sophomore year in college, you will want to officially declare a major.

Most important tips for picking a major:

  1. Pick something you are interested in. You will be spending a lot of time in that field. So if you dislike what you are studying, you will be miserable and won’t be very motivated to finish.
  2. Evaluate your skills. What are you good at? It’s probably not the best idea to major in something you know you are weak in. If you’ve barely passed science classes during high school, majoring in a science is probably not the best decision. Go into a major being confident you will do well with most of the topics.
  3. Consider growth industries and do your research. Think about the skills you will have and how much those skills will be in demand by the time you are in the field.
  4. Look at what types of income you can receive from different jobs in your field. It’s hard to predict exactly what you will earn but it can give you a realistic idea of what your future may look like.
  5. Talk to people who are in the fields you are interested in. Ask them how they got there and tips they might have for students going into the field. It may open your mind and help you in making that major decision. They may even be open to you allowing you to shadow them and get a real glimpse into what the field is like.

Overall, don’t worry if you have no idea what to do when it comes to picking a major. You will be able to evaluate your interest in college, it just may take some time. Sometimes if you don’t pick a major, a major will pick you!

If you’re in need of some ideas for what your options are when it comes to deciding what to study at PUC, don’t hesitate to contact our team of enrollment counselors. They can talk with you about what’s available at PUC and what sounds like could be a good fit for you. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email enroll@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now.

Learn More About GNRL-296, Intro to Geographic Information Systems

This year, a new class is being offered at PUC, GNRL-296, Intro to Geographic Information Systems (GIS for short), taught by Peter Lecourt, the college’s new forest manager. Peter recently received his master’s in geographic information systems from the University of Redlands and has a passion for the environment. He is eager to share his knowledge with students at PUC. We asked Peter to tell us more about the class and why students should be interested in taking it.

Tell us about the class and why it’s significant that it’s being taught at PUC.
GIS is the use of computers to analyze and portray geographic information. Maps are key tools in many fields, and the vast majority of modern maps are made using GIS. PUC is one of just four Adventist institutions offering an undergraduate class in GIS, which is significant as GIS is a growing field important to many industries and disciplines.

What type of student should take the class?
Anyone interested in maps will enjoy this class. Specifically, the knowledge gained in this class will help students in the disciplines of environmental studies, business, emergency services, social work, and history.

Why should students take the class?
Aside from being a useful skill in many industries, digital map making is fun. Students in the fall 2017 class really enjoyed the hands-on experience playing with GIS in the lab period. At a light two credits, and offered in the evening, even the most demanding schedule can fit this class.

What can students hope to gain from taking this class?
The ability to create maps, as well as an appreciation and better understanding of cartography, and knowledge of a cutting-edge field.

What is your favorite thing about teaching this class?
Sharing knowledge of a discipline that many enjoy, yet didn’t even know existed. There are a lot of “light bulb” moments in this class as students see behind the scenes of how maps they have seen before are created.

Interested in taking GNRL-296? The two credit class is available this coming spring quarter on Mondays from 6-6:50 p.m., with a lab on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m.

Peter Lecourt, who also works as the college’s forest manager, will be teaching GNRL-296.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Katharine Van Arsdale

Katharine Van Arsdale is a Texan-turned-Californian who loves books. This is appropriate, considering her profession: She is one of our team of librarians here at PUC who helps students and other faculty find what they need. Katy adores her two cats, Mochi and Meeka, and has a passion for history. Without further ado, introducing: Katharine Van Arsdale!

Name: Katharine Van Arsdale
Title: Special Collections Librarian
Email: kvanarsdale@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2015

Classes taught: Information literacy sessions for all kinds of cool classes in different departments

Education: B.A. English, Andrews University; MSLS Library & Information Science, Catholic University of America; M.A. History, Catholic University of America

What made you decide to be a librarian?
I’m a special collections librarian at an academic library, which is honestly my dream job. The “special collections” part means I get to work with rare books and archives full of old letters and photographs and diaries. It’s all the coolest stuff in the library. I knew I wanted to do this job when I was a kid and I visited museums. I saw all the interesting objects hidden behind glass and I thought to myself, “I want to be the one who has permission to touch all the historic things.” So that’s what I do now every day, and it’s great. The best part is that I work in an academic library’s collection, which means that I’m making these rare books and fragile photographs available to student researchers. I’m taking the cool exhibits out from behind the glass and sharing history with PUC, and I love that.

What are some of your hobbies?
I’m obsessed with National Parks. My life goal is to visit and hike in every National Park. California is a great state for this, because a lot of the most beautiful parks in the United States are here within driving distance of PUC.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in Texas, and until I was about 10 I spoke with a thick Texan drawl. It’s totally gone now. Well, mostly.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
I love the campus. There are trees and flowers everywhere, and the views are always changing as you walk across the campus because it’s hilly. Many of the buildings are historic, and they have very interesting architecture. The campus is also special because it’s close to wilderness and city, mountains and ocean. From PUC, we can go for a hike in the forest preserve, or we can take a day trip to San Francisco. It’s all nearby.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
I love standing on the steps to Irwin Hall when the sun is setting. You get such a gorgeous view of the campus and the sky.

What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is “The Count of Monte Cristo” because it’s a glorious revenge tale but also a classic book, so you feel very cultured and smart when you finish reading it.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
If you have questions or problems with any stage of research or study, you can text the library. Did you know that? It’s true! We have a Text-a-Librarian number so you can get help even when you can’t come to the library. Try it—the number is (707) 948-6639!

#FacultyFriday: Meet Milbert Mariano

PUC’s department of visual arts has been led by the same very capable chair for a dozen years now. Milbert Mariano, native to SoCal, taught for four years at Andrews University in Michigan before moving back to the West Coast and joining the visual arts faculty at PUC. He’s an outdoor enthusiast like none other and enjoys pretty much any activity that involves being outside. Without further ado, let’s get to know Milbert Mariano.

Name: Milbert Mariano
Title: Professor of Graphic Design
Email: mmariano@puc.edu 
Faculty since: 1995

Classes taught: Typography, Publication Design, Interactive Design, Environmental Graphic Design, among others.

Education: MFA, San Francisco Academy of Art; BS, Pacific Union College

Highlighted professional activities:

Juror for the Napa Lighted Art Festival and the Napa Art Walk

What made you decide to be a teacher?
After getting my design degree at PUC, I had the opportunity to teach at Andrews University. I realized that teaching was my calling while I was teaching there. A few years later, PUC called me as they were expanding their design program. I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of helping grow. I’ve been teaching ever since and chairing for the past 12 years.

What are some of your hobbies?
I love food, travel, running, and 80s trivia.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I can solve a Rubik’s cube and do a New York Times crossword puzzle (Mondays only) in about 8-10 minutes.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
The community of faculty, staff, and their families. We work and go to church together, and live relatively close to each other. I think it’s important to find and build community wherever you are.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Anywhere in Fisher Hall/Visual Arts Department. It’s like my second home.

What’s your favorite book?
“Les Miserables”

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
PUC’s a great place to put in your 10,000 hours. So work your rear off, and make yourself at home.