#FacultyFriday: Meet Rajeev Sigamoney

For this week’s #FacultyFriday feature, meet Rajeev Sigamoney, an associate professor of film and television production in the department of visual arts. He has over 14 years of film experience as a writer, director, and producer for a variety of film projects, including feature-length films, TV series, and web series. He has also participated in and presented at many film conferences, seminars, and festivals, including the Napa Valley Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.

Though he has only been at PUC since 2012, Sigamoney has already made a huge impact on our campus. He has been the faculty advisor for the Film Club and for the Student Association video yearbook editor for several years, and also served as the executive director for the annual Diogenes Film Festival, which showcases student projects at the nearby Cameo Cinema in St. Helena.

Name: Rajeev Sigamoney
Title: Associate professor of film and television production and film program coordinator
Email: rsigamoney@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2012

Classes taught: Short Scriptwriting I & II, Screenwriting I & II, Group Production, Cinematic Storytelling, Marketing & Distribution, Senior Thesis

Education: Bachelor’s in electrical/computer engineering from Johns Hopkins University, 1997; masters in technical management from Johns Hopkins University, 2002; masters of fine art in screenwriting from Academy of Art, 2016

Professional activitiesVisit Rajeev’s IMDB page to see his professional work.

What made you decide to be a teacher?
I enjoy being around young people and the ability to support the next generation of artists was something that excited me. Being able to do this in an Adventist school gives me the opportunity to develop the entire individual—making sure my students are valued and loved, apart from their work, something many artists seem to lose along the way.

What are some of your hobbies?
My favorite thing is to learn about different cultures and religions. Where we come from and what beliefs we hold most dear tell us the most about someone. So I constantly seek out to experience new places, events or people who will open up my world to something new.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I spent 10 years working in Hollywood and while there, got to work with Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer, and Emmy Award winners Tony Hale and Melissa McCarthy. I consider these years of experiences (good & bad) in the film industry to be the greatest asset I have to give my students.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
Diversity. Not just in the ethnicity of our students but in variety of thought. I love when I teach a screenwriting course, one student might be writing a romantic comedy, another an international drama, and another an epic sci-fi action film. Putting these students with diverse ideas into the same room together creates an experience I believe makes PUC one of a kind.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Fisher Hall. This building I spend the majority of my days in ends up being home to many of my film students. I get no greater joy than watching them hanging out with one another, spending late nights in the lab, and watching television in the lounge. I hope the experience of acceptance and creativity they get during their four years will be a model of a healthy community they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite film is “Monsoon Wedding” by Mira Nair. It is a film that captures the intricacies of Indian life, balancing the good and bad of heritage and Western ideals. Every time I watch it, it makes me think, cry and laugh. It’s perfect from beginning to end.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Consider your education part of your career. What you do during your years of college, especially within film and television, aren’t just in preparation to become a filmmaker—they are what makes you a filmmaker. We just had a student develop a web series in a Group Production course that just paid her $10,000 more to develop a full season. Time and time again, I have seen student projects move them forward in their career, but only if they initially took the assignments seriously as part of their career in the first place.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Matthew Russell

This week’s #FacultyFriday introduces us to Matthew Russell, who joined the department of nursing and health sciences as an instructor of emergency services and emergency management last year. Mr. Russell is a great addition to PUC’s EMS program and the PUC campus in general, with licenses and certificates in a variety of rescue areas. He’s a perfect fit for a campus with such potential for outdoor education.

Name: Matthew Russell    
Title: Instructor of emergency services and emergency management
Email: mrussell@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2016

Classes taught: Public Safety System Design, Emergency Medical Practicum, EMT Lab, Health Education Practicum, Public Health, Fundamentals of Swift Water Rescue, Fundamentals of Technical Rescue, Emergency Scene Management

Education: Bachelor’s degree in international rescue and relief, from Union College, 2014; master’s in education, from Southern Adventist University, 2016  

What made you decide to be a teacher?
I chose to become a teacher because I am passionate about learning and I want to share that joy with others. I chose to teach emergency services and emergency management because that is where my skill set and passion lies. There is nothing better than going to work excited about what you will be sharing with the students that day.

What are some of your hobbies?
The majority of my hobbies revolve around the outdoors. I love swimming, downhill skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, SCUBA diving, mountain unicycling, and all manner of outdoor adventures. I love the people I have the opportunity to meet and the beautiful places these sports take me every weekend.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I kayaked the Colorado River 16 days through the Grand Canyon.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
By far my favorite thing at PUC is the people I have the opportunity to interact with every day. I love my students! They keep me on my toes. My co-workers have been so inviting and supportive. What more could you ask for?

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Definitely the Dining Commons! It’s where the food and the people are!

What’s your favorite song?
Lately Brad Paisley’s “Last Time for Everything” has been bounding through my brain. I don’t know why, it just has.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Be BOLD! Don’t be afraid to try something new. Step out and take each day with a smile. Smiles are free after all!

#FacultyFriday: Meet Victor Gaines

Mr. Victor Gaines joined the team of esteemed PUC academia in 2014 as assistant professor in the department of business where he teaches an array of accounting and finance classes. Gaines came to PUC after being an adjunct assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for 15 years where he taught accounting and management classes. Before deciding to use his vast business experience to give back through teaching, Gaines held various positions including chief financial officer at Forest Lake Education Center, county auditor in Orange County, Flor., and senior auditor at Ruddick Corporation in Charlotte, N.C., and spent over 20 years in the Marine Corps.

Name: Victor W. Gaines
Title: Assistant professor of business administration
Email: vgaines@puc.edu
Faculty since: July 1, 2014

Classes taught: Financial Accounting; Managerial Accounting; Cost Accounting I & II; Intermediate Account I & II; Fraud Examination; Government and Non-for-Profit Accounting; Advance Accounting; Auditing; Accounting Topics: Internal Auditing; Insurance and Risk Management

Education: Bachelor’s in management/accounting, from Park College in Parkville, Mo., 1997; MBA, from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo., 1999; DBA with an emphasis in management, from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz., 2017

Professional activities: Seminar and on-site instructor for The Institute of Internal Auditors since June 2000

What made you decide to be a teacher?
I always wanted to give back. Throughout my professional career, I had several individuals who helped me. I felt there was no better way to help others than through education. So, I became a business manager and then a teacher.

What are some of your hobbies?
Most of my hobbies revolve around the outdoors. I love hiking and camping when I get a chance.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
Most individuals do not know I served 22 years in the United States Marine Corps., and 10 of those years I served as a helicopter mechanic/crew chief on CH 46 helicopters.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
My favorite thing about PUC is the wonderful students. I love hearing their stories and how they decided to come to PUC. It’s very inspiring.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
I definitely like the back 40. When I get the chance, I like to go in the back 40 where it is nice and quiet.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
The best advice I would give a freshman would be get to know their advisor as soon as possible and become “best friends” with them. This needs be done as soon as possible. This will help the student develop a roadmap as they work toward graduation. Also, make sure that you have a healthy blend of academics and fun time. Too much of either one can be devastating.

#FacultyFriday: Meet James Wibberding

Welcome to our latest installment of #FacultyFriday, where we feature a different faculty member each week.

Joining the college’s department of theology, Dr. James Wibberding has a wide variety of experience as a pastor, professor, author, chaplain, and speaker. Since 2014, he has served as the lead pastor for the Journey Seventh-day Adventist Church, a 700-person church in Kelso, Wash. Dr. Wibberding has also served as an adjunct professor at Andrews University since 2013.

During the 2013 legislative session, Dr. Wibberding was the senate chaplain for the state of Idaho where he provided daily inspirational talks to the Senate while they were in session and also offered social support to the senators and their families. For many years, he has also worked as a pastor at the Cloverdale Seventh-day Adventist Church in Boise, Idaho, and throughout the Pennsylvania Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, where he also served as the lay training director, developing curriculum for an annual lay pastor training course. Additionally, Dr. Wibberding has published several books, including “Learn to Preach Before Next Weekend” and “Sabbath Reflections: A Weekly Devotional.”

Name: James (Jim) Wibberding
Title: Associate professor of applied theology and biblical studies
Email: jwibberding@puc.edu
Faculty since: July 1, 2017

Classes taught: Pastoral Ministry, Biblical Foundations, Ministry Extern Program I

Education: Bachelor’s in theology, from Southern Adventist University, 2000; masters of divinity, from Andrews University, 2005; doctor of ministry, from Andrews University, 2010

What made you decide to be a teacher?
I have wanted to be a teacher for the past 20 years because I believe every person is a unique masterpiece of God with an exquisite potential that I find joy in helping them develop.

What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy hiking, building musical instruments, and furniture out of wood, and finding new ways to create.

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
I have been a pastor for 17 years and still disdain neckties.

What are you looking forward to the most about teaching at PUC?
Contributing to the life of a community that is intended to nurture the best in humanity.

So far, what’s been your favorite thing about PUC?
The incredible diversity of our student body and the potential that represents for making a difference in the world together.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Michael Milmine

Welcome to our latest installment of #FacultyFriday, where we feature a different faculty member each week.

Please welcome Mr. Michael Milmine to PUC! Mr. Milmine is a dissertation away from receiving his Ph.D. in psychology from Andrews University. With a thesis titled, “The Television Viewing, Dating, and Academics of Young Adults,” Mr. Milmine received his master’s in educational psychology with an emphasis in research, summa cum laude, in 2015. His work subsequently appeared in the “Journal of Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research” and he has also presented at several professional conferences. Mr. Milmine’s interests and experience will contribute to the department’s commitment to faculty/student collaborative research and to a tradition of preparing students for graduate studies.

Name: Michael Milmine
Title: Assistant professor
Email: mmilmine@puc.edu
Faculty since: July 1, 2017

Classes taught at PUCGeneral Psychology, Research Methods, Social Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Learning & Memory, Death & Dying, Research Seminar, Graduate School Application Seminar

Education: M.A. in educational psychology (research emphasis), from Andrews University, 2015; B.A. in psychology (entrepreneurship minor), from Southern Adventist University, 2013

Professional activities:

Milmine, M., & Nosworthy, N. (2017). The Television Viewing, Dating, and Academics of Young Adults. Poster presented at the meeting of the Midwest Psychological Association (MPA), Chicago, IL.

Milmine, M. (2013). Beware of what you watch: Television viewing and dating behavior. Journal of Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research, 5, 65-77.

Milmine, M. (2013). Beware of what you watch: Television viewing and dating behavior. Poster presented at the meeting of the Southeast Psychological Association (SEPA), Atlanta, GA.

What made you decide to be a teacher?
Three activities I thoroughly enjoy came together and led me to become a teacher. Firstly, I find human beings endlessly fascinating, and I wanted to spend my lifetime learning about them. Second, I love interacting with anyone who is excited and passionate about the field of psychology as well as spreading that curiosity and enthusiasm to others. I also enjoy conducting research studies in order to better understand human behavior. When I realized I could have a career which allowed me to engage in all of these activities, I knew I’d found the perfect career.

What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, hiking, playing hockey and other sports, rollerblading, video games, photography, and learning new things

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
I read 89 books for pleasure last year.

What are you looking forward to the most about teaching at PUC?
All of the great classes I’ll be teaching. I’ve been so blessed to have the opportunity to teach all the classes I’m most interested in and passionate about.

So far, what’s been your favorite thing about PUC?
Definitely the people! The students, faculty, and staff I’ve met have all been excellent and I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone better.

#FacultyFriday: Meet James Cephas

Welcome to our latest installment of #FacultyFriday, where we feature a different faculty member each week.

Please give a warm welcome to Dr. James Cephas to our department of psychology. Dr. Cephas joins the ranks of academia after serving successfully for several years as a psychologist with the California state prison system. His training and real-world experience in the area of counseling and clinical psychology will bring strength to this dimension of the psychology curriculum. Dr. Cephas’s counseling and advocacy experience includes children, adolescents, and adults. He is also very interested in the multicultural aspects of social and psychological development, and in issues of social justice.

Name: Dr. James Cephas
Title: Clinical psychology professor
Email: jcephas@puc.edu
Faculty since: July 1, 2017

Classes taught at PUC: General Psychology, Psychology of Personality, American Social Problems, Psychological Testing

Education: Psy.D. with an emphasis in multicultural community, from Alliant International University, 2012; M.A. in clinical psychology, from Alliant International University, 2010; B.A. in human services, from California State University, Fullerton, 2003

What made you decide to be a teacher?
Honestly, my daughter. She asked me to apply. I have a diverse background and working in the field allows me to share my knowledge and experience while leading and broadening my experience.

What are some of your hobbies?
Hiking, camping, fishing, snorkeling, music (praise and worship), art, therapy

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
I was born in the first state of the United States. (Figure that one out!)

What are you looking forward to the most about teaching at PUC?
After the first week of classes? A vacation! Lol. Becoming a part of the family. Growing into a better professor.

So far, what’s been your favorite thing about PUC?
An amazing group of young people, the beauty of the surroundings, the awesome administration team that has been eager to assist, and the amazing staff and faculty members.