Monthly Archives: September 2018

Meet Dean Gena Philpott

When you arrive at PUC and begin exploring your new home away from home, you’ll likely want to know just who is in charge of your living space. We’ve made that easy for you! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring all of our residence hall deans here on the blog so you can get to know them all. And if you need to contact them, feel free to reach out!

Name: Gena Philpott
Dean of: Andre Hall
Phone: (707) 965-7461
Dean since: 2004

So, what were you doing before you came to PUC?
I worked as the head dean of girls at Gem State Academy in Idaho for eight years. I also taught art and yearbook there.

What does a typical day look like for you?
The thing I think I love most about my job as a dean is even though we have regular daily duties, responsibilities, and meetings to attend as in any other job, the exciting thing about it is my day can change at a moment’s notice depending on what might be happening with a student or situation on campus.

But, in a typical day, I’ll double-check the nightcheck count to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for. Then I answer texts, messages, and emails. It’s during that process I typically find out about happenings that will be changing my intended schedule for the day. Some of those happenings may include a shopping run for food requested by RAs for an upcoming residence hall event; checking on an overflowing sink or toilet; running someone to a doctor appointment when Health Services is short on resources; mediating a fight between suitemates over who isn’t doing their part in keeping the restroom clean; listening to a students talk about their relationships and giving advice on how to handle or what to say in order to resolve something. There are truly a thousand different scenarios that could be all in my day’s work. Think parenting/mentoring to 580 young ladies—shared between four people 24/7.

What do you find most challenging about your work?
Finding balance in all things—between responding to above-mentioned extenuating circumstances, to students, to paperwork and disruptions in normal schedules, while still maintaining and carving out time for a marriage, family, friends, and a personal life.

What do you find most rewarding?
I love it when I see students maturing from freshman year to senior year—overcoming things that hold them back and learning to enjoy life and the new skills they are learning for life.

What are some of your hobbies?
I love traveling and exploring with my husband—from camping in wild places to discovering the awe of lava in Hawai’i. I also enjoy reading and attempting to make favorite comfort foods lighter in calories—although I have a hard time with that since most of my recipes start with a stick of butter. I find pleasure in art—from watercolor painting to ceramics to graphic design. I have some nerdier hobbies as well—maybe this isn’t the best place to go into those.

Besides the students (because we know they’re really the best thing ever), what do you love most about PUC?
Aside from getting paid to interact with young minds every day, I would say I love working with a team of colleagues who understand and support me as a dean. It helps to have people who know the job and can relate and tag-team in crisis situations. I also love that PUC is willing to have the hard conversations even when the PR surrounding the conversations aren’t always understood. Continually asking ourselves why we do things as a church and educational community is important for our growth both mentally and spiritually. I love the fresh eyes, energy, and pictures of Jesus that young minds bring to PUC.

Let’s travel back in time a bit. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was three, I had big goals to become a “cat farmer.” Ironically, I became allergic to cats at age 12, and I took that as a direct sign I should maybe look at a different career path. Then I wanted to work as a designer and graphic artist for Review and Herald. I was wowed by Harry Anderson, Lars Justinen, and Nathan Greene’s artistic work. But it wasn’t until I joined the residence hall staff in college as a student dean and worked for the English department I found my true calling—education. After spending a year as a taskforce dean and art teacher at Upper Columbia Academy in Washington State, I was hooked for life and haven’t looked back!

What did you study in college?
Like most college students, I changed my major many times but ultimately ended up with a double major, earning degrees in both English and computer graphic art with minors in religion and secondary education. I feel I have been able to use all the indecision and different major changes to lead me to be a better dean and educator—to serve my residents even better than I could have if I had been single-minded in my ambitions. I can reassure students changing career paths is ok, learning is a lifelong process and they can change it up as they grow and mature and gain new insights and interests.

So tell me what a dean has on her bucket list. Okay, okaylet’s not speak for everyone. What’s on your bucket list?
I’ll start with some fun things I have done already. I went to Hawai’i two summers ago—that’s where the lava comment above came from. It’s hard to describe the amazing emotional experience to see molten rock flowing, cooling, and actually creating more earth as we know it. If you didn’t understand the majesty of the creator, you see and feel it when you get a chance to witness it in person. The second thing I was able to do from my bucket list while there was swim in the open ocean with sharks—no cages. That was also a spiritual experience. Adrenaline-filled, yes, but still just amazing and I was truly awestruck. Something I would do again in a heartbeat.

And for the to-do bucket list, I would love to go to Europe with my husband—Switzerland, Austria, France, and Italy. I have been to Spain and Morocco years ago and would love to be able to explore more of all the historical places—too many to name. I would love to stay in one of those igloos with glass ceilings and view the northern lights in Alaska or Norway, and they have hotels in Norway where you can see the wolves—I always thought that would be cool, as well. And then there’s Bora Bora and Brazil … the list goes on!

Any final words? Leave us with some wisdom!
Haha! I’ll do my best.

To be a dean is to be a life skills educator. What is taught outside the classroom can improve your academic achievements beyond what a person thinks they may be capable—from time management, to integrity, ethics, modesty, budgeting, healthy eating, sleeping, exercise and relationship habits. We try to slip ‘Adulting 101’ between all the o-chem and anatomy lectures. And I truly do love it.

You’re Invited to Visit Pacific Union College

The fall is a great time for you to start visiting college campuses to see what kind of school is the right fit for you. If you’ve never been to Pacific Union College, we invite you to come experience our beautiful campus in person. Whether you come on your own for an individual visit or attend one of our special College Days events with hundreds of other high school students, you’re guaranteed to have a great time. Visiting will give you a good idea of what it’s like to be a student here!

Why should you make an effort to visit PUC? There are so many reasons! During your visit, you will:

  • Tour the campus with a student ambassador
  • Meet with a professor in your major of interest
  • Sit in on a college class*
  • Discuss scholarships and financial aid options with a financial counselor
  • Talk with your admissions counselor about next steps
  • Worship with our campus community*
  • Attend social activities with other students*
  • Stay in one of our seven residence halls*
  • Eat a delicious meal in our Dining Commons
  • Experience the nearby town of St. Helena and Pier 39 in San Francisco*

*Available during all College Days events OR weekday visits by request (if possible)

There are two upcoming College Days events held this fall: The first is scheduled for October 14-16, 2018, and there will be another November 4-5, 2018. If you aren’t able to make it to either of those events or if you would like to visit on your own, scheduled individual campus visits are offered Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required; call (800) 862-7080, option 2 to make arrangements with our visit coordinator or email You can also fill out a visit request form on our website at

Pro tip: Check out our “Six Tips for Visiting Colleges” blog post for ideas on how to make the most of visiting a college campus you’re visiting for the first time.

Can’t make it here in person? No problem! Take a walk on campus from the comfort of your living room by taking PUC’s new virtual tour. Available 24/7, it’s a great way to take a look around PUC at your own pace.

Find where you belong at PUC. Sign up for your visit now!

Meet PUC’s Admissions Counselors

As the fall season gets underway, we want to introduce our team of amazing admissions counselors to you. These counselors represent PUC as they travel across the United States and you just might see one of them at your school sometime soon!

Angel Castillo

Angel Castillo is from Bell Gardens, Calif. He graduated in 2018 from PUC with a degree in communication with an emphasis in marketing communications. When he was a student, Angel was involved with a lot of student activities, including the Senate and Lifegroups, and he served as the vice president of the Student Organization of Latinos (SOL) Club and the student world missions coordinator. As an admissions counselor, he travels to Hawaii, Southeastern California, and the Pacific Northwest to recruit for the college. He loves sharing with students about PUC, and his favorite part about attending was the family atmosphere and “how important community is for everyone.”

Mayte Jimenez

Mayte Jimenez comes to PUC from just down the road in Fairfield, Calif. Mayte is a PUC alum and graduated with a B.S.W. in Social Work and an A.S. in Health Science in 2017. During her years as a PUC student, Mayte became heavily involved with the department of social work, the SOL Club, and the Graf Hall Girls, making “friends and memories for a lifetime!” Mayte works with students from Central California, the Atlantic Union, and Mid-America and is excited for PUC’s College Days events when we welcome hundreds of students to campus. Mayte says her favorite spot on campus is the Campus Mall right outside the Campus Center because “being able to study outside and sometimes run into friends as they were passing by to their next class or having them join me as I studied was my favorite thing.”

Nicholas Lapido

Nicholas Lapido was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he lived until he was eight-years-old. From then on, he’s never lived anywhere longer than five years so you could say traveling is in his nature! Nick graduated from Southern Adventist University with a degree in Religious Studies & Practical Theology in 2017. As an admissions counselor for PUC, he works with students from Northern California and several Adventist academies around the state. As a former southerner, he is the perfect counselor to also work with students from the Southern Union, which includes North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. When he’s not on the road, you can most likely find Nick at the caf on pizza days, or enjoying PUC’s back 40 property. He loves everything PUC’s unique location offers, saying, “It has something for everyone. If you’re a nature person, we have the back 40, and you could explore that forever and discover something new each time. If you’re a city person, we have Napa and San Francisco not far from us at all.”

Chris Romero

Chris Romero hails from Southern California; specifically Altadena. He graduated in 2017 from PUC with a degree in Business Administration. Many of the Adventist academies he visits are in Southern California, which allows him to connect back to his roots. He also travels on recruiting trips to the Southwest, Columbia, and Lake unions. His favorite thing about PUC is the community atmosphere, and he also loves hiking with friends to Inspiration Point on PUC’s back 40 property. For all four years of college, Chris worked in the Admissions office, assisting the counselors and helping with College Days, which inspired him to want to be a counselor himself. “I chose to come to PUC because the people are welcoming and the environment is beautiful. I chose to stay and work here because I believe in the product. I believe in the quality Adventist education PUC produces and I love being able to help students figure out what they want to do in life.”

Meet Dean Lunelle Bertresse

When you arrive at PUC and begin exploring your new home away from home, you’ll likely want to know just who is in charge of your living space. We’ve made that easy for you! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring all of our residence hall deans here on the blog so you can get to know them all. And if you need to contact them, feel free to reach out!

Name: Lunelle Bertresse
Dean of: Graf Hall
Phone: (707) 965-6522
Dean since: 2013

So what were you doing prior to accepting a position as dean here at PUC?
I was working as the head girls’ dean at Milo Academy in Oregon.

What does a typical day look like for you?
It’s hard to pin down a typical day—you never know what you’re going to get! But my morning always starts with a debate with myself: Breakfast, or an extra 20 minutes of sleep. Once that’s settled, I do my devotions, go to my office, goof off at some point with my students, and then get back to work. I have a bit of personal time in the afternoon (Sherpa Kitchen, anyone?), come back to the office in the evening for my second shift, and end my day with a little cereal, Netflix, and a book.

Tell me what you find most rewarding about what you do.
I love seeing the growth in the students. Being and becoming a young adult is a journey, and seeing the students hit those milestones and having that connection with them is the best. I also absolutely love those sit-down chats where we crack open life situations and get into the nitty-gritty.

All right, let’s get personal: What are some of your hobbies?
I love music and the fine arts, whether it’s singing at church or going to a concert or a play. I also enjoy reading, hand lettering, watching sports (Go Miami Heat!), and exploring cities.

Sounds like you really love your life! What is it you appreciate most about PUC?
I love the night skies here. Back home the city lights are extremely bright, so I love to stargaze up at the PUC airport. I also loooooove my coworkers. They keep me grounded and they are the best to hang out with.

College students get asked a version of this all the time, so now it’s your turn! What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was four, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer, then a Supreme Court judge. I also wanted to be an archeologist/ballerina/interior designer/party planner—all at the same time. Dream big, people!

So where did you choose to attend college, and what did you study?
I studied social work at Southern Adventist University.

Since we’re looking at the past, what are some things on your bucket list you’ve already checked off?
Visiting a tiger sanctuary (Thailand), learning how to double dutch jump-rope, and going to Italy.

Is there anything on your list you’re still working toward?
Yes! I still want to participate in an archaeological dig in Egypt, learn how to trapeze, see Hamilton, and start my own non-profit (that one’s another story for another time).

You mentioned you enjoy reading. Tell me about a book you’ve read that changed your life and/or worldview.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It really broke down and helped me see the love God has for us. The one and only book that has made me cry like une bebe.

Okay, let’s stick with the media theme: What’s one of your favorite movies and why?
Oh golly! That is such a hard question as it changes constantly. Currently, it is The Greatest Showman. Putting the true character of the real-life P.T. Barnum aside, I love the message of the movie: There is beauty in diversity; be accepting and loving. And the soundtrack? Every. Song. Is. Gold.

PUC in Pictures: Summer 2018 Edition

While there’s no question we prefer our campus during the school year, when it’s at its busiest with all of our students, faculty, and staff present, there’s still plenty of fun to be had at PUC during the summer! These past few months, we’ve welcomed middle and high school students to campus for PacificQuest and Publication Workshop; many of our students, faculty, and staff have traveled around the globe on mission trips to Belize and the Amazon; and over 50 classes were offered, one of which included a biology research trip to Alaska! All this in addition to just having fun in the Bay Area adds up to a pretty fun summer. Here are just a few of our favorite memories from Summer 2018.

5 Tips for Having the Best Move-In Day Possible

With New Student Orientation just a few days away, we hope your packing and planning is well underway! Once you arrive on-campus, it can quickly become overwhelming when you think about everything you need to do. Here is a short list of what you can start with to get the important things taken care of first.

Unload Your Car and Meet Your Roommate

First things first: get your car unloaded and meet your roommate! If possible, schedule your arrival times together so your parents can meet too. Keep an eye out for PUC faculty, staff, and students in PUC shirts, helping students move in. That’s called Porter Power and there’s always a great group of helpers every year! Don’t get caught up in unpacking and getting your room organized just yet though because there’s plenty you need to take care of!

Go to the Finance Office

If you haven’t already, you will need to get financially cleared before classes start on the 24th. The longer you wait, the longer the lines get at the Finance office, so it’s a good idea to head there first thing on Wednesday (especially if your parents come up with you!) to get this out of the way.

You may be able to get everything taken care of before you even get to campus. Talk with your financial counselor ahead of time to see what you need to do to get cleared. Call (800) 862-7080, option 1 or email to talk with a counselor now.

Get Your ID Card

Your ID card is going to be one of your most important PUC possessions. You will use it to buy books, pay for meals in the cafe, buy beverages and snacks at The Grind, and check in and out of Colloquy. Once your stuff is unloaded, head down to the Dining Commons to get your photo taken and receive your brand new, shiny ID card!

Get Your Textbooks

You can find all your textbooks for the quarter at the PUC Bookstore. You can even pre-order them ahead of time so all you’ll need to do is stop in and pick them up. Get started now at  

Organize Your Room

You’ll have several days to get your dorm room organized, so don’t feel like you have to do it all right away if you like to take your time. If you need some inspiration for how you can help make your dorm room the best on your hallway, check out the “Dorm Decorating on a Budget” and “Tips for an Organized Dorm Room” blog posts for some ideas to help get you started! Make sure you coordinate with your roommate ahead of time to know who’s bringing what so you don’t end up with duplicate items like two toasters (because who needs that?).

New Student Orientation is going to be packed full of new friends and fun. For the full Orientation schedule, visit Get ready for your best year yet!

We’ll see you on the 19th!

Meet Dean Rebecca Seibert

When you arrive at PUC and begin exploring your new home away from home, you’ll likely want to know just who is in charge of your living space. We’ve made that easy for you! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring all of our residence hall deans here on the blog so you can get to know them all. And if you need to contact them, feel free to reach out!

Name: Rebecca Seibert
Dean of: Winning Hall
Phone: (707) 965-6285
Dean since: 2016

Let’s start at the beginning: What were you doing before you became a dean here?

I actually worked in Winning Hall as a resident assistant from 2005-2008, but just prior to starting as PUC staff, I was serving as the chaplain at Thunderbird Academy in Arizona. Prior to that, I was a teacher and assistant dean at Fletcher Academy in North Carolina for seven years.

So what does your day typically look like?

Being a dean means there isn’t a set pattern for the day, but most days I get to the office and do the daily paperwork, and then I tackle whatever task I need to for that day, whether it be following up on student issues, making sure dorm maintenance is getting taken care of, scheduling my staff, or planning residence hall programming. I also serve on several committees so my afternoon may have meetings as well. Then, if it’s my night off, I head home to hang out with my husband and pets (two cats and two dogs). If it is one of my nights on, then I take a little personal time in the afternoon and head back to the office between 6 and 7 to be available for students until around 11 p.m. or midnight.

And what is it that you love about your job?

When you are able to make a breakthrough with a student that struggles, and see their life change for the better, especially when it comes to their relationship with the Lord, that is one of the best things.

We know deans are constantly on the job, but when you have spare time, what are some of your hobbies?

I love reading and watching movies.

What do you love most about PUC?

PUC feels like home to me. I have loved it from the moment I became a student here in 2004, and I have been incredibly blessed the Lord brought me back here. I love my coworkers and I love being a part of something that has the power to change lives.

When you were a kid, what was it you thought you’d be when you grew up?

I remember wanting to be a math teacher when I was a kid. I got to be that for a while at Fletcher, but by the time I was in college, I wanted to a dean at the college level, and the Lord brought me back to PUC to do just that.

So what was your major here at PUC?

I got a B.S. in natural science with an emphasis in physics.

All right, let’s get a little personal: Tell me something you obsessively collect.

My husband and I collect movies. We have over 350 now and almost 100 seasons of various TV shows. One of the reasons I love to collect movies is because there are so many different things you can enjoy about a good movie, and I love to watch my favorites over and over again. It’s also a nice hobby to have because my husband has some major health issues, so we can’t go out a lot. Movies give us a way to escape for a bit and enjoy something new and exciting.

Wow, that is a lot of movies! Do you have a favorite?

One of my favorite movies is the older BBC Pride and Prejudice mini-series. I love the era, and I love that it has such a wonderful story without all the nonsense Hollywood seems to think is necessary for “good” storytelling. It is just a clean and beautiful look at a time when things were less complicated. Plus, Austen was such an amazing writer, and I love how she developed the characters and their interactions, and the BBC production really held true to that.