Academic Spotlight: Music

The world is listening. Find energy and passion in new opportunities and challenges as you develop your artistic, technological, and entrepreneurial skills to make profound contributions to the future of music.

The department of music at PUC gives students a place to better understand, appreciate, and perform music while preparing them to use their talents in the professional world. Take courses from knowledgeable faculty who have toured the world and performed in places like Carnegie Hall, and discover how you can start your career in music under their expert guidance.

Programs offered:

  • A.S. in Music
  • B.S. in Music
  • B.S. in Music: Composition Emphasis
  • B.S. in Music: K-12 Teacher Training Emphasis
  • B.S. in Music: Performance Emphasis

A Student’s Perspective

“Being involved in a music ensemble relaxes me. It allows me to step outside of the daily struggles and focus on something I love, and I love that a lot of it is worship music. It’s an escape, it’s worship, and both are really valuable.” — Kayley Wilson, music major

Fast Facts

  1. Fully Accredited The department of music is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music, and a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the national honor society in music, through its Theta Zeta chapter.
  2. Ensemble Options Students can join ensembles on campus that include the symphonic wind ensemble, orchestra, and a touring choir.
  3. Collaborative Environment Music students have partnered with film students to produce original scores, utilizing the department’s composition studio.
  4. Prestigious Faculty Music faculty have impressive resumes, including working as assistant director and concertmaster of the New England Symphonic Ensemble and music director of the Napa Valley Symphony; and have toured Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, China, Southeast Asia, the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and performed in famous places like Carnegie Hall.
  5. Scholarships Available The $1,000 renewable Campus Impact Scholarship is for students participating in PUC orchestra, wind ensemble, iCantori, or Octet.

What You Can Do With This Major

While many graduates with music degrees work in the creative industry, they are by no means limited to that arena. There are many career paths you might be interested in.

  • Church music director
  • Conductor
  • Copyright administrator
  • Finance
  • Healthcare
  • Music librarian
  • Music producer
  • Music therapist
  • Music video producer
  • Solo/Symphonic performance
  • Sound technician
  • Teaching

Learn more about the department of music at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about PUC’s music programs, or the other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!

A Conversation with Bethany, PUC’s Campus Chronicle Editor

By Becky St. Clair

Bethany greets everyone who enters her office with a warm smile and an enthusiastic handshake, immediately establishing herself as a confident, approachable professional. You may never guess she was only a freshman when she was elected to the position.

Many characteristics set Bethany apart from other students, not the least of which are her thoughtful eloquence, competent leadership, and gracious demeanor. One of the few non-seniors to serve as the editor-in-chief for the Campus Chronicle, Bethany filled her role with gusto and poise, framing a vision and skillfully guiding her team as they made that vision reality. Here, Bethany reflects with us on her year serving PUC as its lead student communicator.

What inspired you to pursue being the CC editor?

Since 2015, I’ve intentionally taken a yearly risk or challenge to learn a new skill, travel somewhere new, or understand a subject. So, selfishly, I had so many ideas and plans for what the CC could become it was impossible to resist the challenge.

What did you find most rewarding about your CC work?

It is incredibly rewarding to see writers hone their craft, learn to edit and critique their work, and publish articles with which the campus resonates. It’s a really special thing for the CC to be the platform from which to affirm students’ hard work and accomplishments. As a campus, we’re stronger when we support each other, I believe, and I love that the CC can be a part of that process.

You’ve talked about growing your team and your vision for building the CC; tell us about your own personal growth as editor.

I’m a very evidence-based person and I like to know something is certain. Being editor is very uncertain. Last-minute things happen, budget changes, writers drop out, deadlines are missed. Having faith that things are possible even through uncertainty makes it possible to achieve a desirable outcome.

I have also gained a sense of self-assurance in this job. Being pushed to do something foreign and difficult shows me what I’m capable of doing, and I see my team members experiencing this as well.

Who is someone who has had a major impact on your leadership?

Professor Lynne Thew, as the CC faculty advisor, is a stickler for details and holds herself and our editorial team to a very high standard. Through example and mentoring, she’s taught me that a leader sets vision but also steps into the nitty-gritty process of seeing that vision through. I’m deeply indebted to her, both as a friend and role model.

What are some things you’d list under “accomplishments” as editor?

  • Growth of editorial team: from 5-10 members to 20-25 members
  • Consistent schedule this year: 12 issues
  • Competitive in the David L. Apple Awards
  • Transitioned to traditional newspaper format
  • The majority of stories published are on-campus news
  • Recognized by faculty in Letters to the Editor
  • Increased social media recognition on campus
  • Increase in both alumni and on-campus donor support

In what ways would you say this position gave you confidence and strength as a person and a leader?

It’s not easy to take on opportunities that look too enormous to manage, but as a result, I have a greater dignity in and understanding of my capabilities, as well as a greater measure of self-respect. So, as a female leader, I’ve also felt more empowered to inhabit a space of leadership without feeling like an imposter.

This experience also taught me the power of a hard-working team. We have incredibly talented students from many departments working on the CC, and as a leader I recognize now that our strength lies in unity and common vision.

Why do you think it is important to allow student voices to be heard—even when those voices may be challenging the status quo and making some people uncomfortable?

Freedom of speech is an incredible privilege Western journalism has had a right to for some time. In the age of “fake news” and constant ideological propaganda, I think it is important for students to develop an ability to think critically, compose an evidence-based argument, and approach an issue from a valid angle. Proverbs says, “in a multitude of counselors lies wisdom.” I like to think that a variety of opinions, albeit sometimes uncomfortable ones, helps us collectively to arrive at a measure of truth.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Stay humble. Leadership is not a status symbol but a call to serve. You’re there to make your team shine and call out their potential to accomplish a worthy goal. Admit your mistakes, seek advice from trusted mentors, and don’t recklessly dismiss their wisdom for the sake of novel theory. Also, be kind and love your team. If you care about your team members beyond what they can do for the team, that’s the definition of love.

We’ve come a long way in the last couple of decades toward gender equality in the workplace, but there are still some challenges women in leadership positions face. Which challenges do you think are the most crucial to address?

It is crucial to address the imposter syndrome many women feel in positions of leadership—myself included. Especially if women come from a religio-social conservative background, they feel their position of leadership is not valid, is not recognized by their spiritual community, or is tangential to their expected social role. It will be a continuous challenge for women to boldly inhabit their space of leadership, and serve their team with poise.

Academic Spotlight: Chemistry

PUC’s department of chemistry is known for students receiving high MFT (Major Field Test) and ACS (American Chemical Society) standardized exams and offering incredible research opportunities, year after year. Students are well prepared to go into a variety of fields, including those in medical, dental, pharmacy; as well as graduate and other M.D./Ph.D programs.

Programs offered:

  • B.A., B.S. in Chemistry
  • B.S. in Biochemistry

Special Recognition

In 2017, students voted and selected Dr. Kent Davis for the prestigious annual Educator of the Year award. Davis has taught at the college since 2002 and serves as a professor of chemistry, and is one of the college’s beloved professors, as is evident by this award.

Check out our Q&A with Dr. Davis on the Admissions blog to get to know him a little more!

Fast Facts

  1. The department provides courses suitable for pre-professional curricula including pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-dental hygiene, pre-nursing, allied health, and more.
  2. More than 30 students are employed in the department of chemistry each year as lab instructors, stockroom assistants, readers, computer specialists, and tutors, helping students gain valuable real-life skills they can apply to future careers.
  3. Science Presentations And Research for Kids, or SPARK, is a program that connects PUC students with local elementary, middle, and high school students under the umbrella of science. The idea is to send small groups of PUC students into schools to give age-appropriate demonstrations and explanations of various aspects of science. SPARK is supported and sponsored by professor Aimee Wyrick, chair of the department of biology, and Dr. Kent Davis, chair of the department of chemistry, who help the students coordinate with local schools and oversee the demonstrations provided.
  4. The chemistry department’s state-of-the-art microwave plasma atomic emission spectrometer (MPAES) can measure the amount of over 60 elements in many types of samples and is sensitive enough to detect one part in a billion. And unlike most schools, you can use this machine in labs yourself—no waiting around for a TA to do it.

What You Can Do With This Major

Chemistry is a popular choice among students looking to go into the medical field but it also offers career paths in research and many other areas.

  • Dentistry
  • Environmental chemist
  • Forensic chemist
  • Medicine
  • Patent lawyer
  • Pharmacist
  • Quality control chemist
  • Research chemist
  • Scientific information services
  • Teacher
  • Veterinarian

Learn more about the department of chemistry at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about PUC’s chemistry programs, or the other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!

My Life-Changing Year Studying Abroad in Spain

By Angela J. Wilensky

Growth. Independence. Relationships. Culture. Beauty. These are some of the words that come to my mind when I reflect on my incredible, unforgettable, life-changing study abroad experience. When the opportunity to write this blog post was presented to me, I more than happily agreed. However, I’ve definitely hit a wall: I have too much to say. I’m serious! I haven’t been able to organize my thoughts, thus postponing my submission. It’s just that I feel like I’ve lived more of my life in the past 8.5 months than I have in my first 19 years. I know all of this might sound a bit dramatic, but I don’t know how else to express how transformative this year has been for me. Here I am at the end of my course here, and I can honestly say that this has been the best year of my life thus far.

For one, I went completely out of my comfort zone: I have never moved outside of the Bay Area, I live only about an hour or so from my college, and I have never really been away from home AND my family for more than a week. So when I made the decision to move to a country whose official language I don’t speak, whose culture I know nothing about, and with people whom I’ve never met, I was blindly strapping myself into a rollercoaster. As you can probably imagine, it was 100 percent the wildest, most loop-filled, most fun and exciting ride I’ve ever been on, and I’m so proud I survived it. I learned Spanish; I traveled to 11 countries (and learned to travel with just a carry-on, something unheard of for me); I made some of my BEST friends, both American and Spanish; and I managed to grow in my relationship with God.

Staring with my studies; I mean, how cool is it to completely immerse yourself into a new culture and learn a completely new way of communicating? Personally, my main reason for studying abroad in Spain was, in fact, to learn Spanish. Everything else that came with it was just an extra bonus. I spent many months taking conversation, composition, grammar, and test prep classes, as well as some fun extracurriculars such as Flamenco, Folklore, Translation, and Health. Plus, I interned in the kitchen and taught ESL to first and second graders. Needless to say, I kept myself busy while having an absolute blast. And to top it all off, I received my DELE B1 official certification (Feel free to Google that on your own time)!

Straying a bit from all of the Spanish talk, I also traveled to so many new places both in and outside of Spain! My school took us on some amazing trips to locations all over Spain, Gibraltar, and Morocco, and I was able to do some independent adventuring in Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, England, France, Austria, and Malta. Experiencing the cultures of other countries has changed my perspective on life as a whole, as well as has given me a greater appreciation for everything I have back home in California.

Speaking of everything I have back home, I can’t even fathom how lucky I am to have met all of the people I did. Right at the beginning of the school year, the whole Adventist community in our area went on a campus ministries trip in the middle of Spain, and I was lucky enough to meet so many Spaniard right off the bat. Throughout the year, my friendships with them only grew better, and I know I now have lifetime friends here. Plus, I built strong relationships with my professors and other school faculty—relationships I will cherish forever. Of course, I also became extremely close to the other ESDES students from all of the different Adventist universities. I met some people this year that really did change my life, and they are a huge part of the reason I loved my year abroad.

To close, I found myself a lovely community of God-fearing church members with whom I felt comfortable, safe, and welcomed. My favorite Bible verse is found in Matthew 5:16, and it says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” I’m incredibly humbled and blessed I was able to sing and share God’s goodness in that church with those beautiful people. I’m just so moved by the fact I can now glorify my God with a wider range of people because I’ve learned another language. I know this isn’t the type of “wow factor” most people would expect from a study abroad experience, but it truly made an impact on me and my time in Spain. I’ve never had to rely on God more than I’ve had to this year, so I really am thankful for everything I experienced on this remarkable journey.

Well, I’ve certainly written more about my experience than I was asked to, but I guess, in short, I just want to say if you’re even considering studying abroad in the slightest, go. One year abroad will not ruin all of your plans of graduating on time and getting on with life as soon as possible. Just slow down; there’s no rush. Study abroad now while you still have this incredible opportunity (before it’s too late and you really do have to get on with life). You won’t regret it. Regardless of how your experience goes, whether you’re abroad for just a summer or for an entire three quarters, you will grow and learn so much about yourself, and that in itself should be enough a reason to make that final decision to turn in those papers and hop on your flight to your new home.

PD Quería decir gracias por todo, España. Te echaré de menos y te prometo que regresaré algún día. Te quiero muchísimo.

Academic Spotlight: English

The department of English at PUC is home to students with a love for language, literature, and philosophy. Students gain experience and training in detailed analyses, writing, and expression through a wide variety of literature, linguistics, and writing courses to prepare them for graduate research, writing, teaching, and countless other possibilities.

Programs offered:

  • B.A. in English, British and American Literature Emphasis
  • B.A. in English, English Education Emphasis
  • B.A. in English, Writing Emphasis

Special Recognition

In 2018, students voted and selected Dr. Peter Katz for the prestigious annual Educator of the Year award. A 2010 alumnus of the college with degrees in English literature, European history, and music, Katz has taught at PUC since 2015 and currently serves as an assistant professor of English.

Check out Dr. Katz’s #FacultyFriday profile on the Admissions blog to get to know him a little more!

Fast Facts

  1. For students who qualify, the department of English at PUC offers membership in Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors society. PUC’s chapter promotes literacy and hosts literary activities throughout the year. Students also attend and present their work at the annual Sigma Tau Delta international conference each year.
  2. Each year, students from the department of English collaborate with students in the department of visual arts to produce Quicksilver, PUC’s annual art and literary publication. Majors in each department are editors.
  3. The department offers a variety of interesting classes, including Acting I: Fundamentals, Themes in Literature: Travel Narratives, Shakespeare in Performance, Development of the Novel, Creative Writing: Short Story, Literature for Adolescents, Approaches to Poetry, and many more.
  4. English majors have the option of completing an internship or a capstone project their senior year. Read “My Summer Working in PUC’s Nelson Memorial Library Archives” to hear about one student’s experience interning cleaning, digitizing, and curating an exhibit of early 20th century PUC magic lantern slides for PUC’s special collection.
  5. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for English majors is $56,000, which is right on trend with the average salary for all occupations in the U.S.

What You Can Do With This Major

Let your love for the written word lead you to become an English major, where you have endless opportunities for your future career. Not sure what you can do with this major? Check out some careers PUC graduates have below.

  • Copywriter
  • Editor
  • Grant writer
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Marketing coordinator
  • Scriptwriter
  • Teacher
  • Technical writer
  • Technical/production assistant

Learn more about the department of English at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about PUC’s English programs, or the other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!

Academic Spotlight: History

PUC’s department of history focuses on more than just wars and politics. The goal is for each student to develop a clear understanding of human events and the values and attitudes of humanity from the time of ancient Sumer, Egypt, and China to our present civilization.

Programs offered:

  • B.A. in History, American History Emphasis
  • B.A. in History, European History Emphasis
  • B.S. in Social Studies
  • B.S. in History, Political Studies, and Ethics
  • B.A. or B.S. in Global Development Studies
  • Minor in History

A Student’s Perspective

There are a lot of fun things history students can get involved with at PUC.

Read “Seeing the East Coast with the PUC Department of History” by Marielle G. to hear about her experience taking a history study tour to Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Read “The Pre-Law Society at PUC” by Andrew M. to learn about this special club and his experience serving as the club’s president.  

Read “My Internship at PUC’s Nelson Memorial Library” by Ryan C. to hear about his internship working in the college’s archives as an intern, putting together a special exhibit for Homecoming Weekend.

BONUS: Check out “Great Places to Study on PUC’s Campus” to see photos of the department of history’s student lounge.

Fast Facts

  1. The department of history often hosts study tours over the summer. Recent destinations have included Japan, Washington, D.C., England, and Greece.  
  2. The Pre-Law Society offers students guidance in the process leading up to law school, advice and valuable insights to help with LSAT preparation, and connects students to a network of practicing attorneys who are willing to answer questions concerning law school.
  3. History students have the opportunity to have their work published in Eventorum, the department’s online current events journal. The journal strives to present under-reported topics from around the world, such as voting corruption in Venezuela and the U.S. opioid epidemic. The published articles not only help strengthen students’ resumes but they also help improve and advertise their writing skills.
  4. Sophomore Redi Degefa, a history major, recently interned in Washington, D.C., for Congressman Mike Thompson, the representative in Congress for California’s 5th district, which includes Napa Valley. Read “A Day in the Life of a Capitol Hill Intern” to hear about her experience!

What You Can Do With This Major

Armed with top-notch research and writing skills, graduates of PUC’s department of history have gone on to work within many different fields. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking about your options!

  • Lawyer/Paralegal
  • Librarian/Archivist
  • Medicine
  • Museum curator/Manager
  • Politician/Legislative staff
  • Public policy
  • Publishing
  • Researcher
  • Teaching

Learn more about the department of history at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about PUC’s history programs, or the other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!

Academic Spotlight: Physics

PUC’s department of physics allows students studying physics and engineering to conduct cutting-edge hands-on research, working closely with caring professions to develop a deeper understanding of the physical universe.

Programs offered:

  • B.S. in Biophysics
  • B.S. in Physics
  • Minor in Physics

A Student’s Perspective

“I came from a state school where their department of physics was huge and overwhelming. I rarely got one-on-one attention from my professors and my chances of doing research were very small. I came to PUC and suddenly all of these opportunities opened up for me. I got a job at the Young Observatory and could research and travel, even as a student. I am so ridiculously grateful for PUC!” – Ellie Vargas, physics graduate

Fast Facts

  1. Physics professor Dr. Andrianarijaona has received two National Science Foundation grants, allowing the department to collaborate on experiments with prestigious national laboratories including Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge, giving PUC’s undergrad students exclusive access to experiments and scientists across the country.
  2. The department of physics has a computer-operated telescope for students to use and has a computer-based physics laboratory. The department also has a state-of-the-art 3-D imaging device students have access to for conducting research.
  3. Physics students are offered a variety of employment opportunities within the department to enhance their resumes and experience, including tutors, readers, and lab assistants. This provides great experience as well as solidifying the knowledge gained in coursework.
  4. Job prospects for students who study physics look good! Employment of physicists and astronomers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What You Can Do With This Major

There are many different career opportunities for graduates with a degree in physics.

  • Medicine
  • Environmental science
  • Teaching
  • Civil engineering
  • Computer engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Research
  • Aircraft/Automotive industries
  • Aeronautic engineer/astronomer
  • Military
  • Data analyst
  • Software developer

Learn more about the department of physics at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about PUC’s physics programs, or the other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!