Category Archives: Academics

Meet Your Student Chaplain: Taylor Bothwell

By Ally Romanes

Did you know PUC has student chaplains? Taylor Bothwell is one of two student chaplains this year and she’s more than happy to help you in any way you need whether it’s praying for you when you’re in need of extra help, chatting with you about your spiritual journey, or just a smiling face around campus. Get to know a little about Taylor so next time you see her around campus you can say hi! 

What made you want to be a student chaplain? 

I wanted to be a student chaplain because having a strong spiritual life on campus is very important to me. Being a student chaplain gives me the opportunity to continue to improve and bring about change in that area. It also gives me a chance to interact with a lot of people.

What are you responsible for as a student chaplain?

Since the campus ministries team is all-new this year and we are building from scratch, we are still in the process of fleshing out responsibilities. In general terms though, as a student chaplain, I am here for the students of this school. Whether that be sitting and listening, helping start a new ministry, or running a Bible study, I want to be there for students in whatever capacity they need me for.  

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain? 

So far, my biggest challenge relates to the new-ness of the job. I am still trying to figure out where I am needed the most and the best places for me to pour out my energy.     

What advice do you have for someone that is struggling with their spiritual life? 

Don’t stop struggling with it. By that, I don’t mean to say that someone shouldn’t reach a place of spiritual peace and fulfillment. I mean that someone shouldn’t give up.  Keep asking the hard questions, keep pursuing answers. Don’t stop struggling just because it is hard or the people around you can’t answer the questions that you have. God can handle all of the emotions and baggage you have. Be willing to share it all with him and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others.

What about being a student chaplain has prepared you for your career and other aspects of your future?

I have no idea what I am going to do for a career. That’s a very scary thing to admit to myself, but at this point, I’m simply saying yes to the opportunities I feel God has placed in front of me. That being said, I believe being a student chaplain has given me the skills of working with a team, dealing with sensitive subjects, and being able to articulate my faith and what I believe. Regardless of where I end up working, those skills will benefit me for the rest of my life.

Where is your favorite place to eat in the Napa Valley?

Ooh! That’s a hard one! I’ve lived in the Napa Valley for practically my entire life, so I have lots of memories at the different restaurants here. If I had to pick though, I would say Gott’s. Of course, the burgers are always good and they have lots of fun seasonal options too. (Did you know it used to be called Taylor’s Refresher? Can you guess why it’s my favorite?)

What shows are you watching right now?  

I’m waiting for the final season of Madame Secretary to be released on Netflix. And while I’m waiting, I’m watching The Great British Baking Show.  

What is your favorite weekend activity?

I love driving out to the beach and hanging out with friends. Since I don’t always have time to do that, I’m always down for a game night in the dorm lobby (Taboo, Uno, Codenames, etc.).

What is a favorite class that you have taken at PUC?

Can I pick one class per department? I’ve taken so many I really like I don’t think I could choose just one! Cancer Biology, History of Western Art II, Elementary Differential Equations, and Business Law I are some of my favorites.  

 

Visit PUC This Winter!

Choosing what college to attend is a very important decision and one you shouldn’t make without doing a lot of research. There really is no better way to research colleges than by seeing the campus yourself. Grab your family or some friends and come visit PUC. Take a campus tour given by one of our student ambassadors, sit in on a class, chat with a professor, eat in our cafeteria, walk around the charming nearby towns of St. Helena or Calistoga, AND if you plan in advance, join us for any of the following upcoming and exciting events.

Pioneers Athletics Games

PUC has six varsity sports teams: cross country, basketball, and volleyball for women; and cross country, basketball, and soccer for men. Throughout the year, we invite you to our gymnasium, nicknamed the “Covered Wagon,” or our soccer field to join the Pioneers Posse and cheer on our teams. Here’s a short list of a few upcoming games; for the full schedule, visit pioneersathletics.com

  • Men’s Basketball vs La Sierra, Dec. 19, 7 p.m.
  • Women’s Basketball vs La Sierra, Jan. 9, 5:30 p.m.
  • Men’s Basketball vs La Sierra, Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.

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Rasmussen Art Gallery Openings

If you’re interested in seeing some incredible works of art, you won’t want to miss the Rasmussen Art Gallery. Several times a quarter, a new exhibit opens at the college’s on-campus art gallery, which often features students, faculty, and other local artists. The opening reception is a chance to meet the artists, mingle with other guests, and enjoy some tasty snacks while appreciating the talent on display. If you can’t make it to one of the opening receptions, check with your tour guide to be sure to stop by and spend some time browsing during regular open hours. 

  •  Natalie Ciccoricco, Awaking West, Jan. 11-Feb. 9
  • Faculty Art Show, Literatura, Feb. 15-March 15 

For more information, visit the Rasmussen Art Gallery Facebook page

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Paulin Hall Music Concerts

PUC’s department of music has many concerts throughout the year; all of which are free to the public. The college has several ensembles that frequently perform, and there are usually multiple student recitals each quarter. For the Christmas holiday, there are several concerts we hope you can join us for! 

  • Christmas Candlelight Concert #1, Friday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m.
  • Christmas Candlelight Concert #2, Saturday, Dec. 7, 4 p.m.

Contact the department of music for more information; call (707) 965-6201 or email music@puc.edu.

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Join Us For February College Days!

Several times a year, we host special visitation events called College Days. College Days is a jam-packed event where you will experience PUC with other visiting students. In addition to campus visit standards like touring the campus, talking with a professor in your major of interest, and eating in our Dining Commons, it’s a great opportunity to get a glimpse into what it’s really like to be a student at PUC as you stay in one of the residence halls and attend social and academic events. 

We hope you can make plans to join us for College Days on February 9-11, 2020. Register now! For more information about College days and other ways to visit, check out puc.edu/visitors.

 

We can spend hours explaining what we think makes life at PUC so unique and honestly, we really would be happy to, but nothing beats experiencing it firsthand, so schedule your visit today! 

Before you arrive, be sure to apply and send in your admissions documents for a quick acceptance! It will make your visit even more special as you officially become a member of the Pioneers family.

 

Take A Look at PUC’s Scholarships​

It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of paying for college. The thing is, all PUC students, 100 percent, receive at least one form of financial aid. Our finance team is committed to working with you and your family to be sure the opportunity of an Adventist education is possible whether it’s through scholarships, grants, or helping you understand the loan options available to you so don’t feel discouraged by the sticker price! 

PUC offers scholarships based on a variety of factors, including leadership, participation in music groups or athletic programs, and of course high GPA and high test scores. There are also scholarships available depending on your program of study, like the Adventist Mission Scholarship, available to theology and education majors. Visit puc.edu/scholarships to see all available scholarships. 

Here is just a preview of a few merit-based scholarships available. 

President’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA)

    – 3.75-4.0 GPA or 29+ ACT / 1350+ SAT 

    – $13,000 / 4-Year Total: $52,000

Dean’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA) 

   – 3.5-3.74 GPA or 26+ ACT / 1200+ SAT

   – $12,000 / 4-Year Total: $48,000

Trustee’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA) 

   – 3.25-3.49 GPA 

   – $10,000 / 4-Year Total: $40,000

Founder’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA) 

   – 3.0-3.24 GPA 

   – $9,000 / 4-Year Total: $36,000 

For high-achieving students, PUC offers the prestigious Maxwell Scholarship, worth up to a whopping $116,000. Students meeting qualifications receive full tuition based on their unweighted cumulative GPA and test scores; requirements are a 3.9-4.0 GPA and a 34+ ACT or 1500+ SAT. 

There are also several other PUC scholarships worth checking out, like the Legacy Scholarship for students whose parents attended PUC, and the Mostert Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes students for selected leadership roles held during their junior and/or senior years. 

Visit puc.edu/scholarships to see all available scholarships. If you have questions about what you might qualify for, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of financial aid counselors, who can give you a financial aid estimate that shows what it might cost for you to attend PUC. Call (800) 862-7080, option 1 or email studentfinance@puc.edu to talk with a counselor now.

 

What I Should Be Doing: An Interview with Music Alumnus Brennan Stokes

By Becky St. Clair

Brennan Stokes graduated from Pacific Union College in 2013 with a degree in piano performance. Having discovered a love for composition while studying with Professor Asher Raboy in the department of music, Stokes chose to continue his education at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, graduating in 2019 with a Master’s of Music in composition. Today he maintains a teaching studio in San Francisco’s Sunset District, passing on his love of music to the next generation of pianists. 

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How did you discover your love for music?

My parents are both musically inclined; they both sang in the church choir, Mom took piano lessons as a kid, and Dad plays the trumpet. They started me in piano lessons when I was in kindergarten, but there was always music in our house. I just took it and ran with it.

How did you settle on the piano?

It was the first instrument I learned, and it was a match from the start. I really liked it, and according to my teachers, I showed some promise for it, so I kept playing. Piano just made sense to me. 

How did composing become part of your musical life?

I always assumed I was going to be on one side of the page. I knew I was going to learn it, research it, analyze it, but I never considered creating it myself. When I found out I had to take a composition class for my degree, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but after our first assignment I realized how magical this process is and I fell in love with it. I continued to take classes with Professor Raboy even after the requirements were done. Creating new music was incredibly exciting for me. 

Tell us about your studio.

I teach 30-35 students a week, all between the ages of 5 and 13. My schedule is very flexible; since most kids are in school, I am relatively free during the day. I start teaching around 3 p.m. three days a week and teach until 8 p.m. I enjoy what I do. I consider myself very fortunate to be working in my field, teaching young musicians.

When you’re not teaching kids to create music, you create music yourself. Describe your approach to practicing.

Really, it starts slow. Paying attention to fingerings becomes essential; training my hands to do smaller tasks automatically. Then I focus on rhythm, hand by hand, figuring out what each part of the piece sounds like, then I put it all together. A valuable tool Dr. Wheeler gave me is reverse practice. If you only ever start your practice at the beginning of a piece, that’s always going to be the strong part. But if you start at the end, which is often the hardest part, you ensure the end is also strong. Then you feel even more comfortable with the piece. 

What is the difference between hearing a piece and playing it?

It’s a totally different experience to hear a piece than it is to see what the hands have to do to make the piece happen. You may feel like you know a piece after listening to it multiple times, but when you sit down to actually play it, you realize there are little rhythmic or harmonic nuances you didn’t realize were there. For example, the harmonies in some Chopin and Rachmaninoff pieces are super crunchy. It sounds like you’re playing something wrong and you check the notes three times, but that’s really what it is. You learn it, and suddenly it’s not crunchy anymore; it works. 

Aside from providing a way to make a living, how has studying music contributed positively to your life?

The last several years I’ve been getting into poetry and it has turned into a cycle of self-enrichment. I read poetry and feel like it was meant to be an art song, so I create some vocal music to go with the poem. Also, music allows me to meet really incredible people from all over the world. Music is the most universal thing; it doesn’t matter where you come from or what language you speak, you can bond over music. I love how it brings people together.

Who is your favorite composer to play, and why?

I’d say Chopin and this relatively new 20th century English composer named York Bowen. Chopin changed the game for solo piano. Yes, it’s technical, but once you get it in the fingers, it becomes so fluid and so natural. There’s playfulness, there’s sadness, and the composer’s intentions are really clear. Bowen utilizes really rich harmonies and has a bit of a jazzier feeling. I don’t think he’s well known but he’s written a ton of music; in particular, his preludes and ballads feel really nice to play.

Who is your favorite composer to listen to, and why?

There are two to whom I constantly return: Ravel and Beethoven. I have yet to encounter a piece by Ravel I’m not stunned by. He was a wizard of music and his chamber and orchestra music is stunning. Every instrument’s shape and technique is magic because he thought about more than the obvious ways to use the instrument. He utilizes every aspect of shading to get different tone colors and sounds.

Beethoven takes his time with his surprises. What he did to change musical form is a reminder that if you feel like doing something, you can. He’ll pull a fortissimo out of nowhere or move through his harmonies in an unexpected way. His sonatas are really rich; one movement is fiery and passionate then another is lyrical and serene. It’s incredible to realize you don’t always have to do the same thing all the time. He reminds me to come back to things that are good and innovate. I’m still looking back to these masters and finding ways to influence my music-making process. 

What is something you want to improve about your musicianship, and what are you currently doing to move in that direction?

Right now, rhythms and the finer points of notating what I want, maintaining my ear to get the intricate harmonies I love. I constantly have to work at how I put the complicated pieces together in the way I want them. During my first year of grad school, I took a musicianship class, and it was insane but incredible. Walking out of that class, my ear was so much sharper than it had been walking in. I still use techniques from that class to keep track of what has happened in a piece and what I’m doing next. 

What is the highlight of your career thus far?

Definitely my first composition recital in November 2017—the first time I heard one of my pieces performed. I had composed two songs for mezzo soprano, violin, cello, and piano, and I was terrified. I’m so used to being in the driver’s seat, and it was terrifying to be the composer just sitting in the audience watching four other people do my music and having zero control over what happened.

It was an immense learning curve handing my music over to other musicians; what I think works initially may not actually work after a second pair of eyes looks it over, especially when I’m composing for instruments that are not my primary. I also learned that how performers interpret music is also a part of the creative process.

A lot of people came up to me afterward and said it was amazing. It was a moment when all of my fears of not being good enough vanished. To be positively received by an audience was wonderful, but for my music to be positively received by the musicians playing it was even better. It was confirmation I was doing what I should be doing.

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If you could change one thing about society’s perception of classical music, what would it be?

I wish more people understood if you have the context of 20th century music, it will make more sense. The 20th century saw a lot of horrible things happen, and that’s reflected in dissonant 20th century music. It’s not necessarily pretty to listen to, but if you understand what they’re trying to say you don’t necessarily disagree with it. It takes a moment to transcend what you’re hearing and realize what the composer is saying; for example, a minor key with shrieking strings can express how a Polish composer feels about the Holocaust. If you understand what it is they were experiencing or reacting to, it contextualizes their voice and makes the music more accessible. 

How do you deal with performance anxiety?

I read a book on performance anxiety and the author said if you don’t get nervous, if you don’t feel anxious or get a boost in energy (whether positive or negative) before a performance, it’s apathy. You don’t really care. If you’re nervous before you perform, it means you want to do a good job and perform to the best of your ability to make sure what you put out there is wonderful. That really changed my way of thinking. I’ve learned to recognize what happens to me and where my nervousness affects me the most, then find a way to adjust. I try to fully relax my body and tell myself I’m going to give a wonderful performance. I reassure myself I’ve practiced, I’m ready, and I’m a good enough musician to find my way through the performance. This is music and music is fun, and sharing it with others should be enjoyable. That nervous feeling just means I’m doing the right thing. I’m doing something that matters to me. And that’s how it should be. 

 

Get Started on Cal Grant

Hey California seniors! We hope you’re enjoying this new(ish) school year! It may seem early but it’s never a bad time to start thinking about applying for Cal Grant. 

What is Cal Grant?

Cal Grant is a financial aid program administered by the California Student Aid Commission that provides aid to California undergraduates, vocational training students, and those in teacher certification programs. The short version: A Cal Grant is money for college you don’t have to pay back!

Cal Grants can be used at most colleges in California. If you’re planning on attending a private non-profit California college like PUC, Cal Grant is worth up to $9,084 per year. That’s over $36,000 to help pay for four years of college—and it’s free!

How to Apply for Cal Grant

Applying for Cal Grant takes just two easy steps! To be considered for a 2020-21 Cal Grant award, you must complete the following requirements by March 2nd:

  1. Submit a 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA)
  2. Ensure that a certified GPA is submitted to the California Student Aid Commission 

GPAs are accepted only if certified by a school electronically or submitted by using the CSAC official GPA verification form. No transcripts are accepted.

Helpful Links

 

Faces of PUC: Kharolynn Pascual Smith

Kharolynn Pascual Smith has been working as an admissions counselor for the past 10 months. Her focus is mainly on students interested in transferring to PUC, so if you’re thinking about transferring or know someone who is, Kharolynn is the perfect person to reach out to. Let’s get to know a little more about Kharolynn! 

What brought you to PUC? How/Why did you decide to work here? 

An interesting conversation brought me to PUC somewhat unexpectedly. I decided to work here because I value Adventist Christian education at all levels and believed I could use my experience and abilities to help students. 

What is the best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

I appreciate the diversity and contributing to a shared purpose, vision, and mission.

 Where is your favorite place to eat in the Valley and why? 

Il Posto Trattoria in Napa. The food is freshly made and tastes great, it’s casual with unpretentious service, and I don’t have to save up for months to eat there.

 What is something you can do/want to do that might be surprising for people to learn? 

I’d like to do a jungle canopy zipline tour, which is surprising because I’m quite terrified of heights. 

 What is one song you’re listening to on repeat lately? 

I tend to repeat entire albums rather than just one song. Recently, I’ve been listening to a Yo-Yo Ma album of Bach Cello Suites a few times a week. It’s peaceful.

 Who is someone you admire and why? 

I admire people like Job in the Bible who have experienced extreme adversity and retained their trust in and praise for God in spite of everything. My grandmother and my friend, Mike, are two examples.

 Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings you can find me …

Enjoying the chance to sleep until I wake up naturally rather than being forced awake by an alarm, then doing something leisurely, like reading, knitting, or baking.

 

 

 

 

How to Build Relationships with Your Professors

Ally Romanes

One of the great things about studying at PUC is the student-to-teacher ratio. Unlike larger classes in bigger universities, PUC gives students the opportunity to get to know the faculty and build relationships with them. This allows students to not only get the help they need but build lasting and meaningful relationships. 

Faculty at PUC are well known for going above and beyond to not only help their students succeed in class but in their everyday lives as well. They care about your future and want to prepare you for the real world. Building a relationship with your professor allows them to know who you are, and that can only help when it comes time to ask them to write you a letter of recommendation! Go out of your way to get to know your professors and let them get to know you as well. That will not only change how you learn in their classes, but it will also benefit your college experience. 

Here are some tips to help you build relationships with your professors, and guess what? They’re really simple!  

Introduce Yourself

Let your professors know who you are beyond roll-call. Go up to them and introduce yourself. 

Be Respectful 

Make sure you know how to address your teacher. If they prefer being called Dr., Professor, or even their first name, make sure you address them as they have told you.

Side note: Put your phone down! (unless they ask you to use your phone for class).

Participate

You don’t need to sit in the front row or raise your hand every time a question is asked. Just show you are paying attention and do your part when it comes to group activities. Who knows, you might even get called on, so listen and be prepared. 

Write Professional Emails 

Treat being a student as a job. Don’t write an email to your professor as if you were texting a friend. Students who write professional emails stand-out to faculty. Use the subject line of the email to let make your questions or concerns clear. Some faculty teach more than one class, so use that subject line to show what you need. 

Be clear in what you need in the body of your email. If you need to schedule a meeting with your professor, have a concern with your grade, or didn’t understand something in the homework, be up front about that and be specific in what you need. 

Communicate

Take the time to talk with your professor about what you want out of the class. If you are struggling, let them know. Ask them for advice on how you can improve. 

Check Office Hours

Faculty put their office hours on the syllabus for a reason! Take advantage of their hours and get the help and advice you need to excel in your classes. Never worry about bothering them, that is what they are there for.