#FacultyFriday: Meet Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti

When you have a professor like Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti on your class schedule, you’re in for a treat. She’s an ideal person to be teaching classes on language and culture, seeing as how she speaks five languages and has explored three additional. She has also traveled to many countries and thoroughly understands the study abroad program, as she spent a year in Argentina in college and is now deeply involved with Adventist Colleges Abroad, even spending some time consulting with ACA Brazil this past summer.

Name: Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti
Title: Professor and chair, department of world languages & cultures
Email: srasi@puc.edu
Faculty since: 1993

Current Classes Taught: ITAL 111-112-113: Beginning Italian I-II-III; SPAN 105: Spanish for Health Care Professionals; LANG 450: Advanced Language Study; SPAN 480: Spanish & Latin American Film; SPAN 470: Readings in Spanish & Latin American Literature; SPAN 490: Senior Seminar I.

Education: B.A. in French and English, emphasis in English as a second language (ESL), Andrews University; M.S. in applied linguistics and Ph.D. in sociolinguistics, both at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

When and how did you know you were going to be a professor?

My second-grade teacher at Ruth Murdoch Elementary School in Berrien Springs, Michigan, asked me to be an ESL tutor because I had finished my spelling book in record time. My first students were two classmates, a German boy and a Swedish boy. I felt useful and had a lot of fun! So that was my first experience. But it wasn’t really clear on this path until maybe my junior year of college. It was more the subject matter that attracted me—I wasn’t totally sure whether I’d be a researcher, educator, or something else.

How did you become interested in languages and culture?

I was born to immigrant parents who, when I was a child, were professors. Where I grew up, it was fairly common to speak another language and have another home culture. I always had fun learning about the home languages and cultures of my friends. My family wasn’t wealthy by any means, but travel was an important part of our general education.

Which languages do you speak?

I grew up with Spanish and English, in that order. I’ve since learned French, Italian, and Portuguese (in progress), and have made attempts at Russian, Japanese, and Chinese. The only “strictly classroom” languages have been Russian and Chinese. The others involved a degree of immersion in addition to instruction. That’s always the best combination: Some explanation coupled with extensive contact.

What are some of your favorite movies?

I have to include Arrival (2016). I’m not a huge SciFi fan, but the protagonist is a linguist, and the concepts that are presented are fascinating. Il Postino (The Postman, 1994) and The Mission (1986).

What are some of your hobbies?

Travel is at the top of the list—domestic and especially international. I love gardening; it’s good therapy and there are delicious and healthy byproducts. I also like food preserving—I make my own tomato sauce and jams, some from foraged fruit. This year was my second attempt at grape juice from our backyard grapes—moscato, malbec, and cabernet sauvignon.

If you could have lunch with a celebrity, who would it be and why?

I’m honestly not at all into celebrities. But I’d probably choose someone who’s a creative or a thinker, maybe an activist or philanthropist so we could have an interesting conversation.

Name a book or author you would recommend and why?

I’ve enjoyed books by neurologist Oliver Sacks (for example, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat). He has a great writing style and discusses a variety of topics about the human brain/mind. Also travel writer Pico Iyer (for example, Video Night in Kathmandu) and Christian writer and thinker C. S. Lewis—I’ve been re-reading some of his classics with my 13-year-old daughter.

What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?

I met my husband when I was 16 and he was 15 years old—he was a good friend, but I was actually hoping he’d like my younger cousin! We were friends for 11 years and across three continents before we got married.

What advice would you give someone who wants to learn more about different cultures, but is nervous and doesn’t know where/how to begin?

First of all, there’s no need to be nervous. Find a comfortable place to start—a culture or language that is attractive to you or an aspect of the traditions that fascinates you, a friend or personal ancestry. Most people are very receptive to respectful, curious inquiry. You can start with a language class, a set of movies, a traditional craft, sport, dish, or dance to learn, a local celebration—there are so many in the Bay Area—a trip that highlights a special festival or outstanding architecture. It’s important to be open, receptive, and non-judgmental. In finding out more about how things are done and thought about elsewhere else, you might be surprised and overjoyed to find a new way of being yourself!

Current Professional Activities:

Translation and editing of a new biography of Argentine-German missionary Pedro Kalbermatter (Twenty Years as a Missionary among the Natives of Peru), which was commissioned by his son, Alfredo.

Translation and editing of a biography of Argentine Francisco Hermógenes Ramos Mexía (1773-1828), a landowner known for his support of native rights and possibly the first Sabbath-keeper in the Americas.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Rachelle Davis

If you’ve never sat down with Dr. Rachelle Davis, you absolutely need to. All musicians have to have a good ear, but Dr. Davis is also really great at listening and she’s ridiculously smart and interesting. So tuck your feet under you and get comfy and get to know a little more about Dr. Davis. Then, stop by her office in Paulin Hall sometime and introduce yourself. You won’t regret it.

Name: Rachelle Davis
Title: Professor and Chair, Department of Music
Email: rdavis@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2005

Classes Taught: Basic Conducting, Orchestra, String Quartet, Survey of Music, Music History: Antiquity through Baroque, Music History: Classical and Romantic Periods, Music History: Twentieth Century and Beyond, Violin and Viola Lessons, Violin and Viola group class

Education: B.S. in music, Pacific Union College; M.M. in violin performance with violin pedagogy cognate, Jacob School of Music, Indiana University; D.M.A., Butler School of Music, University of Texas

What made you want to become a musician?

I don’t know. I couldn’t not be musician. I was always a violin performance major in college, but my dad wanted me to get a ‘real’ job—ie: something that paid the bills. I took pre-Physical Therapy coursework (including G-Chem) until I actually did observations my junior year and decided PT was not for me. One summer I went on a five-week international music tour with PUC, followed by six weeks at Meadowmount School of Music practicing five and six hours a day and rehearsing for several more. By the end of the summer I was sure I didn’t want to be a professional musician and set my sights on becoming a nurse practitioner. In February of my senior year, I realized I loved teaching (I had a couple of pre-college students) and if I got my masters degree in nursing I’d be teaching patient care instead of music. At that point there were plenty of long conversations with friends and lots of tears because I didn’t want to say ‘yes’ to music and the dreaded/beloved practicing. Sometimes what you love hurts too much. Music won. Sometimes I think I was saying yes to a calling. I don’t always like my calling.

What was it that made you love the professor role so much?

It was the ‘Aha’ moments I experienced teaching violin students as a teenager and college student. I was good at it. Also, I loved college, learning, and the way the college environment challenged and expanded how I saw the world. My brain had never been stretched as much as it was in World History or Philosophy of Religion or Great Books, classes I had to take as part of the GE package but which opened whole new worlds to me. I remember sitting at the overlook on Brookside with a date as a senior at PUC and realizing teaching college was a career option I was interested in, but then dismissing the idea as unrealistic. (Pay attention to what you wish for … )

Let’s combine the two: What do you love most about teaching music?

Most of us who teach on this campus will probably have the same answer: The ‘Aha’ moment, when someone finally understands a subject or masters a technique or, in teaching violin or rehearsing the orchestra, when the black dots on the page turn from mere notes into music that can reach inside someone and allow us to connect with each other. It is addicting in the best sense of the word.

What is your favorite musical period and/or genre, and why?

In classical music, 20th century and beyond. You can do anything and there is more edginess to the music. It is predictably unpredictable and there are so many different style options—always with a twist though. There is something for everyone. In non-classical, I like listening to jazz and blues. I love the improvisatory nature of those genres and the way notes are bent and chords are amazingly complex. Classic rock works as well.

Where did you grow up?

My family moved from Loma Linda to Bella Vista Hospital in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico when I was three. I grew up climbing mango trees, running around barefoot, and snorkeling. (If I hadn’t been homeschooled, I might be fluent in Spanish, but alas, I’m only proficient.) When I was thirteen, we moved to Fall River Mills, a small town in the middle-of-nowhere Northeastern California. Spectacular views of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen made it a beautiful place to live, but the nearest stoplight was an hour away and music lessons were 2.5 hours away.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An underwater archaeologist, then an astronaut. (Prompted, I’m sure, by repeated watching of Nova, National Geographic, and PBS videos of space exploration—the first space shuttle went up about the time we got a VCR. It was either that, or watch lions kill zebras on animal specials—no movies for us.) What I really enjoyed doing though was decorating and redecorating the almost-Barbie-sized doll house I inherited from someone. It’s amazing what you can do with blocks, bits of fabric, discarded/recycled odds and ends from around the house, and pieces of wallpaper from a salvaged wallpaper sample book. In an alternate reality I would be an interior designer or an architect. (I definitely didn’t want to teach violin to someone like me, who hated to practice—obviously I’ve changed my mind.)

What are some of your hobbies?

Reading. It is a form of therapy and a way to experience life through someone else’s eyes. I LOVE libraries. I can come home with a pile of books on whatever I’m curious about (the last subjects I brought home piles of books on were architecture and low-water landscaping—and, of course, fiction). I also really enjoy any kind of remodel or design project. My son thinks I’m obsessed. Maybe I am. Snow skiing makes me happy—so does hiking in scenic locations and hanging out in/on/by the water. I enjoy community and deep conversation. That too is a form of therapy. (So is coffee.)

Who are some composers and/or performers who inspire you?

Andrew Bird, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Rene Fleming, Caroline Shaw, Snarky Puppy, YoYo Ma … the list goes on. Dmitri Shostakovich, Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler all lived depressed lives but wrote amazing symphonies that have a way of pulling me up when things seem upside down.

If you could have lunch with one celebrity, who would it be, and why?

This one is a tough one. People are interesting and everyone has a story to tell. When I was a kid, I would have said Princess Diana. I was obsessed. Can I pick more than one? I think Brene Brown is interesting for her work on shame and vulnerability, or Lady Gaga, for her persistence and ability to transform her vocal style from complete show pop to American songbook-style singing. Neil Gaiman would also be amazing. His capacity for inventive storytelling is awe-inspiring.

Name one thing you’re proud of thus far in life.

One thing I’m proud of from my master’s work is the three pedagogy papers I wrote for violin pedagogy classes I took with Mimi Zweig at Indiana University became the impetus/starting point for the written material on her award winning StringPedagogy.com website. Since my focus has shifted to college work, I haven’t written more on the subject.

Professional Activities: Faculty recital with Joel Dickerson, March 2016; Faculty recital with guest harpist Beverly Wesner-Hoehn, October 2016; clinician for the NCC Academy Festival Orchestra, March 2017; Benefit concert for UpValley Family Centers, May 2018.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Julianna Boydston

Napa Valley native Julianna Boydston joins the nursing faculty this year. She has a great mix of both indoor and outdoor hobbies, and she loves what she does. Check out her profile below to learn more about the department of nursing’s newest addition.

Name: Julianna Boydston
Title: Assistant Professor of Nursing
Email: jboydston@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2018

Fall Quarter Classes: Management & Professional Practice and faculty-on-record for 6th-quarter students’ corresponding preceptorship NURS 325L

Education: BSN and MSN from the University of San Francisco

What drew you into nursing?

I had been looking for a career to keep me closer to home. After welcoming our first child into our lives, I decided the time was now to begin a career in academia. I have always loved education and teaching in the hospital setting; I am now excited to have the opportunity to educate our newest generation of nurses. Nursing is not only a profession, but a calling for most, and I am pleased I will be able to work with students who share that calling.

And what brought you here?

The nursing program at PUC is very highly regarded in the community and I am happy to be a part of such a great program.

Where were you working prior to coming to PUC?

I was a registered nurse at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco. I worked as a bedside nurse in the pediatric cardiac ICU where we take care of critically ill infants, children, and adults with congenital heart defects. We recently added a cardiac transplant program to the Pediatric Heart Center, as well.

So you’re practically a local, but has anything surprised you since arriving at PUC?

I grew up in Napa Valley, so I am used to the beautiful scenery and surrounding areas. I love the tall and majestic redwood trees surrounding the campus and on my drive into work each morning. There is something so special about these beautiful trees. After learning this group of redwoods are the most inland gathering of these trees, I find them to be even more special.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My favorite hobby is riding horses. I love to ride out in the hills, alone or with friends and family. I also enjoy cooking for friends and family, and baking cookies, pies, and lemon bars.

Everyone has a surprising element to them—what’s yours?

I am secretly very shy by nature.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Michelle Rai

Professor Michelle Konn Rai specializes in public relations and integrated marketing communications. Prior to teaching, she worked in several different positions at PUC; as an enrollment counselor, assistant director of enrollment services, and director of public relations. She enjoys spending quality time with her two children, Sophie and Joshua, and husband, David; Instagramming the antics of her dog, Snowball; surfing when back in Hawaii; playing tennis, and experimenting with exotic cuisine.

Name: Michelle Rai    
Title: Assistant Professor of Communication and Department Chair
Email: mrai@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2006

Classes taught: Intro to Communication, Intro to Public Relations, Crisis Communications, Marketing Communications, Fundraising for Nonprofits, Junior Seminar, Senior Seminar

Education: B.A. in Communication & B.S. in Journalism from Pacific Union College; M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Golden Gate University

What made you decide to be a teacher?

Teaching found me and I’m so grateful. I was busy working as the PR director for PUC when I heard of an opening for a public relations professor. The academic dean and department chair at the time talked me into trying it, and it has been such a rewarding and fulfilling career.

What are some of your hobbies?

USTA league tennis, pet Instagramming, being a short order cook for my kids, attempting to practice yoga, online bargain shopping, and trying new foods any chance I get.

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

I really don’t enjoy public speaking.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?

The people, hands down. There is something so special about this place. It attracts incredibly talented and engaging faculty, staff, and students to create a wonderful learning space and community.   

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

I realize I should say something nostalgic such as the Back 40 forest but it’s really the Howell Mountain Deli in the College Market. I am slightly addicted to their Cobb salad and homemade garlic chips.

What’s your favorite song?

“Take On Me” by A-ha. Their lead singer Morten Harkett was my preteen crush and I would scream every time it played on the radio.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?  

I’d say the best thing you can do is get off your device. Experience college and get to know people face to face. You don’t need to document every minute of your day—keep people guessing about what makes you tick!

#FacultyFriday: Meet Tammy McGuire

Dr. Tammy McGuire has been teaching for over 30 years and has made a profound impact on the lives of hundreds during that time. Those who have taken Organization Communication from her think back fondly to analyzing the organizational structure of countless episodes of “The Office.” Like most employees at PUC, McGuire loves spending time in nature but what sets her apart from the crowd is what an avid backpacker and outdoorsy-woman she is. Join us as we get to know a little more about Dr. McGuire!

Name: Tammy McGuire
Title: Professor of Communication
Email: tmcguire@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2006

Classes taught: Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, Organizational Communication, Communication Research, Nonverbal Communication, Visual Communication and Semiotics, Argumentation, Persuasion, Introduction to Health Communication, Health Communication Seminar

Education:

B.S. in Language Arts Education from Union College, M.A. in English from Eastern Washington University, Ph.D. in Communication from University of Missouri

What made you decide to be a teacher?  

I wanted to be a teacher because of the profound influence some of my high school teachers had on me (Mrs. Kittrell, I’m looking at you). I wanted a job that was interesting, varied, and carried with it the possibility of making a difference. Teaching fit that bill. I love my job.

What are some of your hobbies?  

Anything outdoors. In over 30 years of teaching, I’ve only bought one piece of new furniture but I own three bikes (mountain, road, bikepacking), four pair of telemark skis, five backpacks of various sizes, six tents of various sizes, seven different types of backpacking stoves, two hammocks, three tennis rackets, a bin full of rock climbing gear, three ice axes, two pairs of crampons, at least eight pairs of hiking boots/shoes, two kayak paddles, at least three pairs of trail running shoes, three down sleeping bags, innumerable jackets and vests for the outdoors, etc., etc.

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

I occasionally play The Elder Scrolls Online. My character name is Kraaken-Ta. She is a force to be reckoned with (rather unlike my real life)!

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?  

No other college has the Back 40. What an immeasurable treasure.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

Anywhere along Mossy Rock trail after the rains start. It reminds me of Middle Earth. (My office has a pretty good view of the fountain as well!)

What’s your favorite song?

I could listen to Cory Asbury’s song “Reckless Love” a thousand times and still be moved.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?  

Reframe academic challenges, difficulties, things that are uncomfortable or hard as a POSITIVE. We never grow, change, or become better human beings until our boundaries are pushed. The usefulness of education is pushing those boundaries with supportive mentors at your size. But don’t hesitate to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed. Seeking help is a strength, not a weakness.

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

Publications

Dougherty, D., Baiocchi-Wagner, E., & McGuire, T. (2011). Managing Sexual Harassment through Enacted Stereotypes: An Intergroup Perspective.  Western Journal of Communication, 75, 259-281.

Lair, D., Shenoy, S., McClellan, J., & McGuire, T. (2008). The Politics of Meaning/ful Work: Navigating the Tensions of Narcissism and Condescension While Finding Meaning in Work.Management Communication Quarterly, 22, 172-180.

McGuire, T.  (2009). From Emotions to Spirituality: “Spiritual Labor” as the Commodification, Codification, and Regulation of Organizational Members’ Spirituality.  Management Communication Quarterly, 24, 74-103.

Conference Papers/Presentations

Coffelt, T., & McGuire, T. (2014). Emerging adults who talk about delaying or abstaining from sexual activity: The influence of religion and religiosity. Paper presented at the Religious Communication Association convention in Chicago.

McGuire, T. (2012). Nonverbal Communication and Small Groups: The Elephant in the Room. Presented at the G.I.F.T.S. (Great Ideas for Teaching Speech) session at the National Communication Association Convention, Washington, D.C.

McGuire, T. (2011, November). An exploration of students’ reluctance to ask clarifying questions on tests.  Paper presented at the National Communication Association convention in Orlando.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Bryan Ness

Dr. Bryan Ness, professor of biology, has taught at PUC since 1989. His research interests include plant systematics and genetics. He advises in the areas of biology, natural science, veterinary medicine, medical radiography, and occupational therapy. He enjoys spending time outdoors, doing a variety of activities such as birding, fishing, tide pooling, hiking, and backpacking. He also has an extensive menagerie, for which is he most known for. At any given time you may see him with a snake around his arm. Without further ado, let’s spend a few minutes getting to know Dr. Ness!

Name: Bryan Ness
Title: Professor of Biology
Email: bness@puc.edu
Faculty since: 1989

Classes taught: Foundations of Biology (BIOL 112), Introduction to Research Methods (BIOL 222), Scientific Discoveries (GSCI 205), Genetics (BIOL 354), Issues on Origins (BIOL 355), Biotechnology I (BIOT 345), Biotechnology II (BIOT 445), Biology Seminar (BIOL 397)

Education: B.S. in biology, Walla Walla University; M.S. in biology, Walla Walla University; Ph.D. in botany, Washington State University

What sparked your interest in biology?

I spent a lot of time outdoors as a child and loved finding animals of all kinds, from insects to snakes. Later I became fascinated with knowing the names of all the plants I would see and learned how to identify them.

What made you want to teach?

I wanted to share what I loved about the living world and share it with others who also come from a Christian background so they could see how nature tells us about God.

What is your favorite area/topic in biology, and why?

Genetics has become my favorite area because it helps make sense of living things, both how they should be classified and why they look and behave the way they do. I especially enjoy the insights genetics gives us about human variation and behavior.

Where did you grow up?

The Seattle area in western Washington State.

What are some of your hobbies?

Reading, photography, reading, music, reading, hiking, reading, and travel. 

Okay, it sounds like you really enjoy reading! Who is one of your favorite authors, and why?

J.R. R. Tolkien, because he is not only an excellent writer, but he makes his stories come alive and they are steeped in Christian symbolism and allegory.

Where is your favorite spot on campus?

The library stacks.

What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?

That I almost became an apprentice to a harpsichord maker.

Do you have any pets?

A few. Two cats, two rats, a guinea pig, about 15 snakes, three turtles, four lizards, and about 25 tarantulas.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Tara Hargrove

The holy hill called Tara Hargrove, and she answered! Okay, so maybe the voice she heard was God and not the mountain, but we are so happy, either way, that Professor Hargrove has joined the faculty in the department of communication. Read on to learn a bit more about her, and stop by her office in Irwin Hall to say hello.

Name: Tara Hargrove
Title: Associate Professor of Communication & Basic Course Director
Email: thargrove@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2018

Fall Quarter Classes: Three sections of Intro to Communication (COMM 105)

Education: M.A. in communication studies, Colorado State University

What brought you here to PUC?

I grew up in Colorado so I love mountains but I’ve always been drawn to the beach, as well. So the location of PUC—being on a mountain and so close to the ocean—was a big draw. But mostly I prayed and prayed for God’s leading, and He brought me here.

Before God called you to these California mountains, where were you and what were you doing?

I was actually most recently at Southern Adventist University, where I taught for the past nine years. This past year I taught strictly online for them, and I currently adjunct teach online for them a film evaluation class and a course on communication and public speaking. I was also the basic course director and the executive director for Studio 4109 which is a live comedy sketch program students put on.

Tell us how you got into teaching.

I tell a story my first day of speech class about how I was so terrified of public speaking when I first was contemplating college that I actually decided not to go to college just because of that class. I had a friend who took me skydiving and reminded me there are a lot of things in life we fear at first but if we push ourselves it can be fun and rewarding. I loved the feeling of overcoming my fear, so I took public speaking and found it was actually exciting to get up and share my opinions and ideas and people actually listened. Now I love helping others overcome their fears, and watching them face something challenging and succeed.

What has surprised you about your new home?

Not that we didn’t expect this, but everyone has been so very welcoming. We have been so blessed by this community.

So, when you’re not managing classes and teaching and meeting with students, where will you be?

I, of course, enjoy spending time with my husband and kids. We love going to the beach, tide-pooling, camping, and hiking. We are also Broncos and Rockies fans so we enjoy going to games when we can.

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

I’d love to live on a boat or in a van. Really!