#FacultyFriday: Meet Sandra Ringer

Some people aren’t sure what they want to do with their lives, even while they’re studying in college. But Sandra Ringer, the newest member of the department of nursing, has known virtually all her life what her career would be. We sat down with Professor Ringer to learn more about her and her passion for what she does. Welcome to the team, professor!

Name: Sandra Ringer
Title: Assistant Professor of Nursing
Email: sringer@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2018

Fall Quarter Class: Theory & Clinical for Nursing III (NURS 125)

Education: A.S. in nursing, Southern Adventist University; B.S. in nursing, Grand Canyon State University; M.S. in nursing with an emphasis in leadership in health care, Grand Canyon University

Where was home before now?

Prior to coming to PUC, I lived in Alberta, Canada, where my husband, David, was the administrative residence hall dean at Burman University. The licensing and visa laws for out-of-country schooled nurses were complicated so I could not get my nursing licenses immediately. The situation prompted me to go back to school. I worked in the IT department at Burman University while going to school full time.

Why did you choose to teach at PUC?

Short answer: God’s leading. Here’s a longer answer! It became evident to my husband and I that becoming licensed as a nurse in Canada was not going to happen for a long time and I was very concerned about being out of clinical practice. We began to earnestly pray for God’s leading. I considered moving back to the U.S. while my husband was in Canada, but neither of us liked that very much! There were several viable job options we found, but either they fell through or we felt strongly that we needed to wait. This past spring, staff members at PUC began talking to us about job possibilities. We felt God leading us toward this fantastic school. It’s also a bonus we are now only seven hours from our oldest son!

You obviously really love what you do; what originally drew you into nursing?

At the age of 10, I found an old book on our bookshelves called “Whispering Halls.” It was about a nurse and her journey at Washington Adventist Hospital in the 1940s. There was something in this book that lit a spark regarding the nursing profession, and I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be a nurse.

What about when you’re not in the classroom or your office? What are some of your hobbies?

Traveling and exploring new areas, cooking, baking, singing, reading, and spending time with my awesome family.

One last thing: What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?

I am a certified scuba diver! I love to snorkel or scuba dive in warm-water climates.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Kiwon Kwak

We’d like to introduce you to Kiwon Kwak, PUC’s newest faculty member in the department of exercise science. He brings to the position his experience in personal training and a passion for physical health that spills over into everything he does. As a graduate of PUC, he’s familiar with our campus and our hill, and we are happy to welcome him back as an instructor. Welcome home, Kiwon!

Name: Kiwon Kwak
Title: Instructor of Exercise Science
Email: kikwak@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2018

Fall Quarter Classes: Elementary Weight Training, Physical Fitness, Fitness for Life, Physiology of Exercise, Intro to Kinesiology

Education: B.S. in exercise science, Pacific Union College; M.S. in kinesiology—exercise science, California Baptist University

What drew you into your current profession?

To be completely honest, I didn’t know I wanted to become a professor until fairly recently. During my time at PUC, I worked as a tutor for the Teaching & Learning Center and loved helping students learn and building relationships with students. I wanted to not only help my tutees (yes that is a real word) academically, but also mentor them through life with relationships, jobs, passions, hobbies, etc. After I graduated from PUC, I went straight into personal training and coaching, and really enjoyed educating and teaching people about fitness and health, but got frustrated with the business side of training. I still continue to train individuals in my free time, but my true passion lies in teaching future generations about strength and conditioning, exercise physiology, and health/fitness.

Why did you choose to teach at PUC?

During my senior year here, I remember my professors telling me they could see me going to grad school to do research or possibly even teach. At this point I hadn’t even thought about applying or going to school and was focused solely on training. I remember on graduation day I was talking to my exercise science professors, telling them had I applied for graduate school and wanted to go into teaching, and they had nothing but words of encouragement for me. They even jokingly said they might see me back at PUC one day—and here I am! I’m glad to be back and I hope to educate and inspire my students to pursue their passions, just as my professors at PUC did for me.

So you’re not new to the area, but what are some things that have changed between when you were a student and now?

Nothing major has changed since I’ve been here, and I appreciate that. The one thing that did surprise me was they serve real meat in the market. I never thought I’d see the day!

When you’re not in the classroom or your office, what do you enjoy doing?

I have a bunch of different hobbies. The biggest one is definitely working out. If I’m not in my office or teaching a class, I’m most likely in the weight room. I’m also a bit of a nerd, so anything related to tech, computers, gaming, and movies I really enjoy. I also love the outdoors, so as many weekends as I can, I try to go camping, white water rafting, fishing, boating, recreational shooting, and exploring nature.

So what were you doing prior to coming here to teach?

For the past three years I’ve been living in Loma Linda, running my own personal training/strength and conditioning business while attending grad school full time.

Tell us something we may be surprised to learn about you.

I was actually born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the U.S. when I was about five years old. I started kindergarten here so I basically grew up here, but during my childhood I grew up speaking both Korean and English. Nowadays, I mostly speak English and consider that my primary language, but I do speak Korean somewhat fluently. Unlike many Korean Americans I know, I’m not very big into Korean culture such as KPOP and Korean dramas, but I do enjoy Korean food, including Korean BBQ!

#FacultyFriday: Meet Aimee Wyrick

Professor Aimee Wyrick is one of PUC’s most popular faculty. She specializes in ecology, herpetology, and paleontology. She advises students studying biology, pre-dentistry and pre-dental hygiene. Professor Wyrick helps students connect what they learn in the classroom to the outdoors; students in her classes regularly participate in service-learning projects and/or field trips to local areas of interest, including working on invasive species removal and restoration projects with the LTNC, Napa Chapter CNPS, Bureau of Reclamation, Tuleyome Napa, and PUC. For the past 10 years, Professor Wyrick has been the Biology Club sponsor, planning fun and educational events and trips to Albion for one of PUC’s most popular clubs.

Name: Aimee Wyrick
Title: Associate Professor of Biology and Chair, Department of Biology
Email: awyrick@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2004

Classes taught: Biological Foundations III, Flowering Plants, Conservation Biology, Philosophy of Origins, Geology, Home Greenhouse Gardening, Organic Vegetable Gardening, Research in Biology/Environmental Studies

Education: B.S. in biology, from Pacific Union College in 1996; MSc. in biology with an emphasis in paleontology, from Loma Linda University in 1998; MSc. in organismal biology and ecology, from the University of Montana in 2004

What made you decide to be a teacher?  

I don’t think it was a decision so much as it is who I am! As a kid, I would make tests and quizzes for myself to take just for fun. I’ve always been curious and love to learn new things. Sharing my knowledge and excitement about the natural world with students brings me great joy.

What are some of your hobbies?  

Cooking, gardening, travel, anything outdoors, and trying new things.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?  

I was first exposed to biology and PUC as a toddler. My dad was a TA for several classes and would bring me to his labs—while he taught the class, I hung out in a crib at the back of the room. Teaching biology at PUC is my destiny!

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?

Most faculty and staff live in Angwin and most students reside in the dormitories—the advantage is we can more easily establish and nurture relationships with each other. I love our location and the community but it’s more than “just” a beautiful place with cool people. The whole (PUC) is definitely greater than the sum of its parts (place + people).  

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

I really enjoy sitting on the patio outside the Grind while enjoying a hot drink with my friends.  For me, an almond milk latte elevates an already beautiful setting and gives me a chance to unwind for a moment.

What’s your favorite movie?  

The Princess Bride (yes, really!).

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?  

Be willing (and able) to delay gratification. You will have to put in a lot of work and effort that won’t necessarily pay off for several years. Getting a good grade in a class is one thing but actually knowing and understanding what you’ve been taught is the long-game. Focus on that.

Professional activities:


Pacific Union Conference Science Teacher’s In-service, Ontario, CA, January 2018

   Title: “Teaching origins: The importance of accuracy, attitude, and honesty

Geoscience Research Institute Second Conference on Teaching Origins Conference, Colorado Springs, Colorado, August, 2009

   Title: “Using surveys to start the conversation on science and origins.”

Annual meeting, Montana Chapter American Fisheries Society, January, 2001

   Title: “Fish and frogs: Can they coexist?”

Conference on Biology and Conservation of the Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris), March, 2000

   Title: “Columbia spotted frogs in Montana: Status, threats, research priorities, and proposed University of Montana research program.”


Pilliod, D.S., B.R. Hossack, P.F.Bahls, E.L. Bull, P.S. Corn, G. Hokit, B.A. Maxell, J.C. Munger, and A. Wyrick.  2010. Non-native salmonids affect amphibian occupancy at multiple spatial scales. Diversity and Distribution 16(6):959-974.


Communication Grant ($6000), GC Faith and Science Council, 2018

   Funding for: development and installation of a creation trail on the PUC campus

Summer Sabbatical ($2349), Pacific Union College, 2015

   Funding for: development of “solving real-world problems” for the ENVR 360L curriculum

Service-Learning Fellowship ($400), Pacific Union College, 2015

   Funding for: development of a service-learning project for BIOL 325

Margaret Huse Faculty Research and Development Grant ($1200), Pacific Union College, 2012

   Funding for: Field research on Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris)

Herber Faculty Grant ($2000), Pacific Union College, 2011

   Funding for: attendance at the Geoscience Research Institute Field Conference for SDA Church Administrators, Banff, Alberta Canada

Mini-Sabbatical ($500), Pacific Union College, 2010

   Funding for: development of Biology and Environmental Studies Capstone course

Margaret Huse Faculty Research and Development Grant ($2000), Pacific Union College, 2009

   Funding for: attendance and presentation at the Geoscience Research Institute Second Conference on Teaching Origins Conference, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Herber Faculty Grant ($2500), Pacific Union College, 2006

   Funding for: attendance at the Geoscience Research Institute Field Conference for SDA Church Administrators, Colorado

USGS – Biological Research Division Amphibian Monitoring and Research Initiative ($15,000), 2000-2002

   Funding for: “Predation and other pressures on the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) in a high-elevation system, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana”

USFS – Region 1 SLIC ($3000), 2000-2002

   Funding for: “Inventory and monitoring of all amphibians and reptiles in Region 1 Forests”

Research Joint Venture Agreement – Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute (USDA Forest Service) ($3000), 1999

   Funding for: Pilot study “Fish effects on the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris)”

Field Research Grant – Loma Linda University, Department of Natural Sciences ($3000), 1997-1998

   Funding for: “Plant taphonomy of the Mono Lake drainage basin”

#FacultyFriday: Meet John Duncan

A several-time presenter in the U.K., today’s #FacultyFriday feature is a man of few words but much knowledge and experience. Dr. John Duncan, professor in the department of biology here at PUC, has a real passion for plants and marine life. Nature is Dr. Duncan’s primary source of recreation, and for this reason he very much enjoys PUC and its surroundings. Introducing: Dr. John Duncan!

Name: Dr. John Duncan
Title: Professor of Biology
Email: jduncan@puc.edu  
Faculty since: 2000

Classes taught: Human Anatomy, Developmental Biology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Advanced Anatomy, and Medical Terminology

Education B.S., from Andrews University in 1991; Ph.D., from Loma Linda University in 1998

What made you decide to be a teacher?

Before I finished my dissertation, I got a job teaching in an osteopathic school in the anatomy lab. I found I enjoyed the interaction with the students. Then I gave a few lectures at LLU and I found I wasn’t too terribly intimidated by speaking to a group of students. With this information, I figured I would be able to teach and enjoy interacting with people who wanted to learn about a subject with which I had some experience.  

What are some of your hobbies?

Travel, reef aquariums, gardening, Jujitsu, and orchids.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

I am surprised that people would find something to be surprised about relating to me.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?

Its location in a forest.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

Don’t really have one.

What’s your favorite book/movie/song? (pick one)

The one I am watching, reading or hearing at the moment.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?

Always take an opportunity to do something you have never done before.

Professional activities (Note: Only the most recent three in each category are listed.)


Nam, B. H., Worrell, L. A., Jung, T. T. K., Kim, P. S., Park, S. K., Duncan, J. C., Park, Y. S.,   John, E. O., & Fletcher, W. H. (2004). Effect of corticosteroid on salicylate induced morphologic changes of isolated cochlear outer hair cells. Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, 113(9), 734-737.

Duncan, J. C., & Fletcher, W. H. (2002). Alpha 1 connexin (connexin43) gap junctions and activities of cAMP-dependent protein kinase and protein kinase C in developing mouse heart. Developmental Dynamics: An Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists, 223(1), 96-107.

Dasgupta, C., Escobar-Poni, B., Shah, M., Duncan, J., & Fletcher W. H. (1999). Misregulation of connexin43 gap junction channels and congenital heart defects. Novartis Foundation Symposium, 219, 212-21; discussion 221-5.


Feb. 3, 2000        Duncan, J. C., & Fletcher, W. H. Alpha 1 connexin (connexin43) gap junctions and activities of cAMP-dependent protein kinase and protein kinase C in developing mouse heart. Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA.

March 18, 1998   Fletcher, W. H., Dasgupta, C., Escobar-Poni, B., Shah, M., Duncan, J. Gap junctions and cardiology. University of Wales, College of Medicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Cardiff, Wales.

March 6, 1998    Fletcher, W. H., Dasgupta, C., Escobar-Poni, B., Shah, M., Duncan, J. Genetic and developmental defects of the heart. Wellcome Trust, London, England.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Steve Waters

Dr. Steve Waters has taught here at PUC for 36 years and he has enjoyed every second of it. His specialization is in pure mathematics, especially abstract and linear algebras. What may be surprising about Dr. Waters is his thespian interests, a hobby that draws him to the stage whenever time allows. One place he is for sure never acting, however, is when he is at the front of the classroom—one of his favorite places to be. Join us as we get to know a little more about Dr. Waters.

Name: Steve Waters
Title: Professor of Mathematics
Email: swaters@puc.edu
Faculty since: 1983

Classes taught: Nearly every mathematics course, plus a variety of honors courses.

Education: B.S., Pacific Union College in 1979; M.S., Idaho State University in 1980; D.A., Idaho State University in 1983

What made you decide to be a teacher?
My freshman year at PUC, I conducted informal tutoring sessions for a bunch of guys on 4th floor Newton. Near the end of the year, several of them suggested to me that I should consider being a teacher since I had been able to clarify things to them so well. The more I thought about it, the more it became clear that was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. It has since become a big part of my identity—being a teacher is not just something I do, it’s who I am.

What are some of your hobbies?
Reading (just about anything), music (listening and playing), hiking, spending time with my cats.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
Hmmm … I was a gymnast in high school? I had an uncle who walked on the moon? (I have been told that) I am the only person to have played a baritone sax in Grace Cathedral? I have a distant relative who headed the group Pink Floyd?

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
I love the collegiality of my department (and the broader college community). That’s my favorite, but it’s closely followed by my enjoyment of being able to teach a variety of courses, both in and out of mathematics, and being able to participate in musical ensembles. It also helps to be located in God’s vacation home here on Earth.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Whichever classroom I happen to be in while people are learning. Working with others as real understanding takes place is one of the best feelings there is. This would also include making music in the band room and concert halls. I also very much enjoy the hiking trails in the Back 40.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or song?
This is impossible to answer since I love so many books and songs (and a few movies). Books by Dickens, Dostoevsky, Adams, Pratchett, Bryson, or Stephenson would rate highly, as would songs by Beethoven, McCartney, Joel, or Scott.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Expose yourself to as many areas of knowledge as you can (hooray for general education!), get to know the people who love those areas, and then be true to yourself as you find what genuinely interests you. Take advantage of the wonderful area in which PUC is located and become an active part of its vibrant community.

Professional activities: Ten professional speaking invitations, two invited visiting professorships, ten published research papers, heavy involvement in PUC’s governance system.


#FacultyFriday: Meet Charaine Lucas

With certification in early childhood education, infant and toddler development, child abuse and case practice, Montessori education, leadership training, and whole school management, Charaine Lucas brings a lot to the table in the college’s department of education. Her experience as program coordinator, family services coordinator, teacher, manager, early childhood director, and more mean she is beyond qualified to teach the next generation of early childhood educators, which she does with pleasure. Introducing: Professor Charaine Lucas!

Name: Charaine Lucas
Title: Associate Professor of Education & Director of the Early Childhood Education Program
Email: chlucas@puc.edu
Faculty since: July 2011

Classes taught: All early childhood courses and some education ones, as well.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, University of West Indies; bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Andrews University; master’s degree in Montessori education, from Barry University; doctoral degree in educational leadership, Jones International University.

What made you decide to be a teacher?
I am the oldest of six children and lost my father to a heart attack when I was fourteen. My mother went out to work so I had a lot of responsibility in taking care of my siblings and the youngest was two years old. In high school, I decided to become a teacher at that time in my life so as to provide a good foundation for young children.

What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, playing music, teaching.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I worked on both Disney and Royal Caribbean cruise lines as a youth counselor.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
The warm community and the nature trails.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The library.

What’s your favorite movie?
The “Star Wars” trilogy, “The Hobbit” movies, and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Plan, schedule, and organize your classes and events from your very first year.

Professional activities: Several early childhood presentations and newsletter articles at early childhood conventions, conferences, and preschools.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Vola Andrianarijaona

Raise your hand if you know what country the Malagasy language hails from. Anyone? Ah, a few! Today’s #FacultyFriday feature speaks Malagasy—the language of Madagascar—fluently, in addition to French, English, and German. Dr. Vola Andrianarijaona grew up in Madagascar and attended school in Belgium and France before ending up teaching physics here at PUC for over a decade now. He has taught a slew of courses on varying topics in physics, and manages a lot of undergraduate research taking place in his department. As an experimental scientist, he enjoys working in the labs with his students very much. Allow us to introduce you to Dr. Andrianarijaona.

Name: Dr. Vola Masoandro Andrianarijaona
Title: Professor of Physics
Email: vola@puc.edu  
Faculty since: 2006

Classes taught: PacificQuest, Introduction to Physics laboratory; General Physics I, II, III; Physics with Calculus I, II, III; Applied Optics; Applied Physics; Elementary Modern Physics; Biophysics; Medical Physics; Electromagnetic Theory I, II, III; Experimental Physics; Thermal Physics; Quantum Physics I; Special Topics in Physics; Independent Study; Independent Research; Advanced Experimental Physics

Education: Doctorat en Sciences, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium; DEA en Physique des Lasers et Applications, Université de Paris XIII, France; DEA en Physique des Solides, Université de Paris VII, France; Maîtrise de Physique et Applications, Université de Paris XIII; CAPEN en Physique-Chimie, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Madagascar

What made you decide to be a teacher?
I did not decide to be or become a teacher per se. I am just following God’s will.

What are some of your hobbies?
Playing with my children and cooking.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I am a first generation student, more precisely high school student. I am also a first generation immigrant. 

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Chan Shun room 238-a.

What’s your favorite song?
This is a hard question if you want just one answer. There are three hymns that I like the most: “Amazing Grace” by John Newton, “Abide with Me” by Henry Francis Lyte, and “We Have This Hope” by Wayne Hooper. Other songs that I admire and can listen tirelessly: “Ny lanitra mangamanga” by Randafison Sylvestre, “Salakao” by Salala, “Shma Israel” by Sarit Hadad, and “Ashoov eleicha” by Yaron Yerahmiel Cherniak.   

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Enjoy your time and do not underestimate the relationship/connection with your peers, with your teachers and even with the community.

Professional Activities:

Note: Since Dr. Andrianarijaona’s list of professional publications and presentations is extensive, we have chosen to list only the most recent three of each.

Selected Publications:

Quantum Neutron Unit Gravity 

  1. Chakeres and V. M. Andrianarijaona

Journal of High Energy Physics, Gravitation and Cosmology, 3, 267-276 (2017)

Line ratios for soft-x-ray emission following charge exchange between

O8+ and Kr.”  

D.G. Seely, V. M. Andrianarijaona, D. Wulf, K. Morgan, D. McCammon, M. Fogle, P.C. Stancil, R.T. Zhang, and C. C. Havener

Phys. Rev. A 95, 052704 (2017)

A frequency-equivalent scale-free derivation of the neutron, hydrogen quanta, Planck time, and a black hole from 2 and π 

  1. Chakeres, R. Vento, and V. M. Andrianarijaona

Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics, 5, 1073-1091 (2017)

Selected Presentations:

Invited poster (May 27th, 2014), 23rd International Conference on the Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry (CAARI 2014), San Antonio, TX, USA

Title: Line ratios of soft X-ray emissions following charge exchange between C6+ and Kr 

Invited talk (August 8th, 2012), 22nd International Conference on the Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry (CAARI 2012), Fort Worth, TX, USA

Title: Intense decelerated ion beams for the study of low-energy charge transfer

Award Winning Poster at CAARI  2012

“High Resolution X-Ray Spectroscopy of Charge Exchange Collisions of Astrophysical Interest”