Category Archives: Staff Profile

Born for the Piano: An interview with resident artist Asher Raboy

By Becky St. Clair

Before joining the PUC faculty over a decade ago, he spent 20 years as music director of the Napa Valley Symphony. Today, as acting chair, he spends most of his time doing what department chairs do: Paperwork, teaching classes, advising students, paperwork, attending meetings, catching up with students and colleagues, and more paperwork. Somewhere in there, he fits in directing the college’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble and playing trombone in the orchestra. As a brilliant composer and a natural performer, Raboy is a joy to talk with and a hoot to watch onstage.

Today (literally), we caught him between virtual classes and a walk with his dog, and he told us some very entertaining (and true!) stories.

What was the first-ever piece you performed on stage, and how old were you?

 You forget that I am very, very old and can’t remember that far back. I started studying piano when I was five, so I certainly played in recitals before grade school. I remember playing in a trio with my brothers on the radio when I was in third grade, but I’ll be darned if I have any idea what the piece was. I conducted a summer festival band when I was in sixth grade (again, no idea of the piece). As for paying work, that came a little later. I was the music director and synth player for Godspell at age seventeen; that was probably the first.

Who would you name as one of your favorite composers, and what draws you to them? 

I was literally raised on Beethoven. My parents got me the recording and orchestra score to Beethoven’s seventh symphony when I was in third grade. I still love the music of that madman, but I can’t claim to completely understand it, even after all these years.

It was Puccini’s La Bohème that really reached me. I understood music intellectually and as a set of skills to master, but I really didn’t get the power of music, the emotional punch that it contains until I saw a production of that opera and was surprised to find tears in my eyes and my heart full. I have loved Puccini ever since. He taught me the real meaning of music.

Your career has allowed you to “rub elbows,” as they say, with some famous people. Who are some of those you’ve personally met?

 I’ve been very lucky in my performing career that I have gotten to work with some very big names. (This is not because I’m great, it’s simply the job. The Napa Valley Symphony hired well-known artists and it was my job to conduct the orchestra.) In the pops world, I worked with Wynona, Glen Campbell, Mel Torme, Pink Martini (all except Pink Martini are way before your time…). In the classical world, I’ve met Yo-Yo Ma, worked with André Watts, Sir James Galway, and so on. Maybe not household names, but in the music world, these guys are at the top.

But my favorite was Branford Marsalis, the saxophone player who used to conduct the Tonight Show band. He played three concertos with us, and then went out to a club to play jazz with a friend of his father’s. He was kind (although he wanted to put forward a rough edge), gifted, fun, spirited; we spent two days together and those are some of my fondest memories.

Let’s talk composing. How did you become interested in that aspect of creating music?

This is a dumb story, but it is 100 percent true. When I was in junior high school, Masterpiece Theater ran a limited series called “The Strauss Family.” Everybody was so excited because it was a story about musicians. I was a contrarian, so I hated the series. I thought it was just a soap opera, and besides, anyone can write waltzes. To prove it, I went to the piano in my living room and wrote one.

Before I continue, let me just say that Johann Strauss Jr. is a musical genius. Don’t judge me by my adolescence.

Nonetheless, my waltz turned out pretty good. My piano teacher asked for two more pieces so that three of my siblings could play a piece of mine in recital. I wrote for my family, trying to capture their personalities in each piece. It was a fun challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

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What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing an opera. It is the story of a woman who has power, prestige, pleasure but gets dissatisfied. She looks for something more. The point of the opera is not her conclusions, but her search. It mirrors my own journeys, and it is time for me to write a piece that is truly personal. It is loosely based on some very old stories, but it has been updated. I’m writing both the libretto and the music.

I doubt it will ever be performed. I’m not convinced that many opera companies will survive our time of shelter in place. it’s an expensive art form and needs large groups to congregate to make it successful. Still, I feel I need to write it, and hopefully, some excerpts will bring people pleasure, solace, or at least thoughtfulness in the future.

If someone were to tell you the next instrument you touched would be the only one you could play for the rest of your life (and that you’d instantly become a master at it), which one would you choose, and why?

It would be my own instrument, the piano. I want to be able to play everything: bass, chords, and melody. I want to be able to work alone or with a group. I want to be able to be expressive and shape a phrase like a singer would. I was born for the piano, and I’ll stay with it. I’m loyal like a dog.

When we say “music department” here at PUC, we think classical, church, tradition. Why is it important to remember there are other genres and styles of music out there?

First, let’s look at the music of Europe and the Americas. What we call “classical music” wasn’t always classical music. Opera was a popular art form the way musicals are today. Mozart was a pop composer (although for a pretty wealthy class of people) and the romantics made their money on ticket sales, just as rock musicians do in our time. The whole concept of “classical music” is a fairly modern creation.

The energy in music has always rested in songs written for people, not for academics. This is true of the church music of the thirteenth century or the string quartets of the eighteenth. In our time, Paul McCartney is as good a songwriter (in my opinion) as Schubert. Movies are the new operas, and John Williams may be as important as Verdi. This “non-classical” music is the expression of our time, and we should value it. There is no room for snobbery.

Then, go to Asia (just as one example). There are long musical traditions in China, India, Japan, and so on. There is no reason to assume that these traditions are any less powerful or enduring than our Western music. Think of India. We don’t have to sit cross-legged listening to ragas to enjoy this music. Bollywood is full of it. And it is wonderful.

How are you taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 crisis?

I am lucky. I have a dog, enough space in my house, food in my fridge, a large family I love, and a reclusive personality. Still, this isolation is a killer. Here’s what I do: I Zoom my family three or four times a week. My wife, daughter, and I cook together even though we are almost 3000 miles apart. I walk the Back 40, the front forty and every other forty with my dog. I exercise, I get up early, and have created a routine. I work, I eat, I listen to music. And I heartily enjoy my conversations with my students and my colleagues. For those of you who are suffering, I am thinking of you. This can be really, really hard.

How has your job/life changed since March 2020?

I feel a little like Rip Van Winkle. I went back East for a family affair. My wife and daughter stayed for a while and I flew home for concerts at PUC and elsewhere. I got the flu (blame it on the airplane. Why not?) and when I got out of bed, my nuclear family was trapped in North Carolina, students had been sent home, and no one was meeting. My hair was already too long, and my hairdresser was closed. My tuxedo was lying dirty on my dresser and my dry cleaner was closed. I gave concerts for a living, now I couldn’t gather to make music, hear music, or go to a movie. My dog needed walking and feeding, and I was his sole caregiver. Wow. But we can get used to anything. At least I have a family who loves me, a safe place to live, and open space. We all have a right to complain, but I am one of the very lucky ones. Yes, it feels like I woke up and I’m still in a dream. But every day I count my blessings. And part of those blessings are all the people who keep us safe, healthy, and supplied. All at personal risk. Thank you all!

Besides music, what are some of your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working or composing or practicing?

I love to cook. I hate to do dishes, so I don’t cook as much as I would like, but I truly love it. I would call golf a hobby, but it is more of an addiction. And I’m really bad at it. (But so is everyone else–don’t believe the stories you hear.) I love chess but find chess puzzles better than chess games (because they are shorter). Still, I’ll play with anyone who wants to! I read and belong to a book club. I hike; in slow motion when my dog is there, a little faster but not by much when I’m alone. And, when there are sports, I follow the San Francisco Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. No wonder I don’t practice as much as I should.

Okay, we have to ask about the dog, because it seems like he’s an important part of your life. Introduce us!

Bowie, named for David Bowie, is an old guy. My daughter thinks he’s 14, but I’m convinced he’s 12 because I choose to. He is two dogs long, half a dog high, with twisted legs that probably come from a basset hound, although perhaps a dachshund. He’s got a normal dog face like a Labrador, a narrow ruff (that shoots up at the sight of huskies) like a Ridgeback, and a loose neck like a Shar-Pei. To me, he is simply a loving dog, a lap dog, a stubborn dog, and truly a boy’s best friend.

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If you could swap places with Bowie, would you?

No, I wouldn’t trade places. He’s very happy and well cared for, and nothing troubles him except when he wants to go to the Back 40 and I am meeting with students.

But here’s the thing. I’ve always loved challenges. I can’t get out of bed if there isn’t a mountain to climb or something to conquer. That’s not a good thing, but it’s how I’m built, and it’s the way I’ve been since I was a little kid. Bowie is happy because there is nothing he has to accomplish. I am happy because there is always something that can be accomplished. We each have the life that fits our personality and scrapes along together very well.

 

Welcome To My Mundane Life

Welcome to my mundane life! I say mundane because I, like you, have been self-isolating for the past few weeks and it’s all starting to feel like one VERY LONG DAY. 🙃 I’ve been asked to give an account of what it looks like for some of us PUC staff members who are working remotely, so here you go! I can feel your excitement through the computer. 

My name is Dana Negro. I was a PR/Journalism major at PUC … a while ago. Now I work in the marketing and communication office as the communications specialist. I spend most of my days in headphones listening to music while I write so that part of life hasn’t changed but the lack of people nearby and the addition of copious amounts of conference calls has definitely started to get a little old. My job duties are filled with very exciting things like writing, editing, and scheduling blog posts. I deal with a lot of the college’s general marketing. I also manage all PUC’s main social media accounts so at any given time throughout the day (especially when I have writer’s block or I’m bored) I reply to DMs, leave comments, and try to figure out how Instagram Stories work. 

Even though I’m working from home I still get up fairly early, or at least my alarm goes off fairly early every day. I have a 7 a.m. “wake-up” and then I do what every millennial does: I lay there and scroll through social media until the very last possible moment. Every article about working from home suggests getting dressed for work, as usual, saying it helps you get into “work-mode” and while I do shower, there’s no way you’re getting me in anything but loungewear. And since this isn’t a vlog, you don’t need to know if I’m wearing makeup or not. 

On a typical day, I arrive at the office around 8 a.m. after at least one very large cup of coffee and multiple moments of distraction by my dog Stellaluna. This is what I’m used to coming to work and seeing lots of natural light, lots of open workspace, and many photos and knickknacks strategically placed to provide optimal lack of unmotivated moments.

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My view is a little different these days, management is really breathing down my neck.

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So as not to bore you, I’ll just give you a brief breakdown of my new normal working day in outline form. Aren’t you glad you chose to read this? 

8 a.m. — Sign into Slack (which my office is using to stay connected), check emails, check all PUC social media account notifications.

9 a.m. — Slack staff meeting. 

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BREAK!— It’s time for a Twitter break. Usually, I take a quick morning break to check in with the latest baseball news but right now … show me those dog pics!

10 a.m. — Zoom conference call with Napa County Public Health for updates on how the county is handling the pandemic. This is where I have definitely learned the importance of conference call etiquette. Mute your mics and silence your phones people! 

11 a.m. — This is around the time when I can expect a text from my student intern Ally Romanes, who has decided her cure for boredom and anxiety is to be an even more phenomenal employee (yes, she’s definitely reading this, and yes, it’s still true). She’ll update me on her progress on various projects and we discuss what things I might need from her over the next few days. Then I’ll probably send her multiple photos of my dog and links to at least three items I want to purchase and she’ll tell me not to buy yet another jacket but to get the really frivolous shoes. 

BREAK! — Time to check in with my two best friends. One who works at a grade school and is figuring out how to best educate a group of K-4th graders remotely and the other who is a nurse at the hospital in  St. Helena and assures me he’s being safe! 

1 p.m. — Slack ViewPoint meeting. For those of you who don’t know what ViewPoint is, it’s PUC’s magazine sent out twice a year to a large group of people, mainly consisting of alumni. I’m the managing editor so it’s my job to make sure everything is organized, deadlines are made, everything is edited, etc. The closer to a print date we get, the more often the team meets. This issue is SO close! 

2-4 p.m. — Dramatic afternoon meltdown. Time no longer exists. Who even knows how long I’ve been editing blog posts … Also, I will likely realize I never stopped for lunch and probably eat an entire pack of Ritz Crackers. 

BREAK!— Every 15 minutes my dog will come into the room to observe me but towards the end of the workday she’ll have had enough work and will coerce me into taking a break in the backyard. 

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D🐽G BREAK!

A post shared by Stellaluna (@batpig_by_night) on

5 p.m. — IT’S TIME TO STOP WORKING! 

After work, I usually take my dog out into the Back 40 or around the neighborhood. Now she has to settle for unattended backyard time where she inevitably picks a fight with a squirrel and has to be brought inside. 🙄 I usually spend the rest of the evening alternating between reading (I’m on my sixth book of the shelter-in-place order) and binge-watching something; right now it’s Brooklyn 99. Tonight though, I’ve decided to be hip and Netflix Party the first six episodes of Schitt’s Creek with my college roommate. 

OK, that’s it. That’s a typical day in the life of a PUC staff member working remotely. I’m off to bed so I can do this all over again tomorrow! 

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An Inside Look at PUC’s Emergency Services Programs

The emergency services programs at PUC prepare students to be highly skilled professionals in the emergency and fire responder fields. If you’re considering a career in the fire service, law enforcement, disaster relief, or emergency medical services, a degree in emergency services from PUC may be for you. 

You might have some questions about the EMS programs at PUC. Well, we have answers!

Jeff Joiner has been working at PUC as an associate professor of nursing & emergency services for five years now and he was gracious enough to answer a few of our burning questions. 

You’ve now taught at PUC for a few years. What’s been your favorite thing about teaching here? 

I think my favorite thing as a teacher is seeing what my graduates are doing after graduation. Whether it’s working as an EMT in a big city or small rural area, getting that first paid position as a firefighter or heading back to school to advance their career as a paramedic or a graduate degree.

The EMS program at PUC has been around for over 10 years now. What exciting things are in store for the program in the future?

We’ve got lots of ideas on new courses to add to our program to keep it up to date with current standards of Emergency Management education (and make our graduates better prepared). We’ve recently added a new course in Search & Rescue and are taking advantage of the new Geographic Information Systems (GIS) course being offered (now a contextual requirement). We have proposed a new degree track that would allow students to complete their paramedic training within four years and receive a B.S. in Emergency Management. We have just had a new course approved for next year that will allow students to complete an internship in Emergency Management with various, county, state and federal agencies. We have new courses in Business Continuity, Technology in Emergency Management (think drones), and a Wilderness (Medicine) First Responder (WFR) courses in the planning stages. All of these courses will keep PUC Emergency Services graduates on the cutting edge.

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What distinguishes PUC’s program from other EMS type programs, such as Union College’s international rescue and relief program?

While there are definitely similarities with Union’s IRR program, our program at PUC is more focused on domestic Emergency Management positions/careers. Both programs have an EMT component that leads to National Registry and identical courses in Technical Rope and Swiftwater Rescue. IRR has an international component that we do not. We have courses in Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVOC) that lead to a Department of Transportation (DOT) certificate (how to drive an ambulance); a course in how to manage an EMS agency. Approximately half of our students in Emergency Services are members of the Angwin Volunteer Fire Department and are able to gain valuable experience as a firefighter and EMT while they are still in school. This experience is invaluable when applying for positions upon graduation. This is a very unique opportunity for Emergency Management students.

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Why should someone consider studying EMS?

We currently offer two degrees in Emergency Services – an A.S in Emergency Services which is ideal for the student who is looking for a position as an EMT, Emergency Dispatcher, or EMS manager/supervisor. The B.S. in Emergency Management opens up the world of Emergency Management which includes careers in law enforcement, firefighting, Emergency or Disaster Management, international relief, social services, public health, or medicine. Positions as Emergency Managers can be found at the city, county, state, or federal government level; with domestic or international relief agencies (Red Cross, ADRA, USAID, Samaritan’s Purse, Team Rubicon, World Vision, etc.). In the future, up to ninety percent of EM positions will be in private industry leading the business continuity programs. We now offer a pre-med option for students that wish to pursue a career in medicine. We have had several complete dual degrees in Emergency Services and Nursing.

Can anyone take an EMS class, or are they only for EMS majors? 

There are several Emergency Services classes that are open to all students – EMT I & II, and Technical Rescue I & II. Some even meet general education requirements!

What are graduates of PUC’s EMS program doing? 

Currently, we have graduates of our B.S. in Emergency Management working as Emergency Managers for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, the San Bernardino County Health Department, and the city of Beacon Hill. One of our graduates is the Emergency Manager for Facebook. We have some working in Law Enforcement, some as firefighters for CalFire. One is currently pursuing her paramedic certification. Another graduate is completing her MPH in Disaster Management (and doing her last internship at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. One of our graduates is now a Disaster Specialist with FEMA in Washington D.C. Another is a youth crisis worker in L.A.

Out of all your classes, which is your favorite to teach and why?

My favorite is probably the EMT I & II courses. These are the foundation courses in our 2 & 4-year degrees. I’m introducing these students to the field of emergency care. From these first two classes, they will use these skills for the rest of their professional career, be it as an EMT, Paramedic, Registered Nurse, or physician the ER. These students are probably the only students on campus who must be prepared to take a National Registry exam after only two-quarters of college. Many are freshmen. And yet, after only two quarters they are able to go out and get a paying job saving people’s lives. Some of our students do this each year before the end of their first year of college!

If you’re interested in learning more about our emergency services programs visit puc.edu/academics. If you have questions, our team of admissions counselors will be happy to answer them! Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor and start learning about all the options available to you. 

 

Peace in the Storm

By: Becky St. Clair

Fear. Anxiety. Confusion. Lack of assurance.

All of these feelings are normal and understandable in the unfamiliar world in which we now find ourselves. As a Christian college, PUC supports faith in what never fails: Christ. And as a department of music, we also believe in the calming, reassuring, healing power of God’s gift of music.

Whether it’s COVID-19 or a significant change in your personal life, adapting to a new normal can be challenging at best. This month, our faculty share their perspectives on the importance of music in situations like this.

Asher Raboy

Resident Artist, Acting Chair, Symphonic Winds Ensemble Director

English is a great language for talking about concrete things. Trees and cars and houses and rocks are all well served by our local tongue. But abstract concepts, like hope, love, and faith are much better voiced in the language of music. 

For me, when I need a shot of faith, I turn to J.S. Bach (the Magnificat is my go-to piece).  Others may find the same message in Christian contemporary music. For hope, the Great Gates of Kiev from Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky/Ravel) always thrills me. For love, a melody from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake or maybe a Schubert song will do, or maybe you would prefer Here, There, and Everywhere by The Beatles. In any event, let’s buoy our spirits by listening to the music that feeds our better angels.

Jenelle Westerbeck Anderson

Choir & Vox Pro Musica Director

It may seem rather silly writing about how music can positively impact our feelings, energy, creativity, etc. because it seems so self-evident to many, including me. But it is true that different music will speak to various individuals in varying ways. To that end, here are some annotated links to choral music that move me, sounds exciting and creates energy so I can’t sit still. I will end with a Sacred Harp singing example that reminds me of the power of shared music-making that isn’t about performance, but about sharing the experience of singing together.

What If by Eric Whitacre and arranged by the conductor of this wonderful choir. It comes from an opera so it was originally sung by solo voices. But in a choral setting, I love the unique way the voices are used. It’s almost pointillistic (if that’s a word). I also love the combination of percussion instruments and voices.

Unclouded Day arranged by Shawn Kirchner and sung by the same choir as above. I love folk music and this is a wonderful sacred folk song arranged for choir.

The Battle of Jericho, a traditional spiritual arranged by Moses Hogan. This video is to enjoy an animated, fun conductor and singers who are totally committed to their singing and the message of the song. There may be cleaner, “better” recordings out there of this famous piece, but probably not one more fun.

Ndikhokele Bawo (text based on Psalm 23) is a South African traditional song arranged by Michael Barrett (who is conducting). I’ve listened to this piece often this year since we performed it. But I like how this choir feels it and sings from the heart.

Antioch (I Know That My Redeemer Lives) from The Sacred Harp. This video isn’t about the beauty of the sound. In fact, you need to watch to the end and really watch the leader. In this style of singing, everyone sits in a square and different people lead each song. The singing is not for performance at all … just to sing together. The best sound is in the middle of that square and it is fun to watch this rather reserved man get taken by the experience. FYI – this is a uniquely North American style of folk music that is here sung by a group in Ireland.  

Rachelle Berthelsen Davis

Orchestra Director

Music has been therapy for me for longer than I want to admit. Its power to distract my mind from stress and give me something constructive to focus on is a given in my experience. Certain songs have had the power to lift my spirits and help me re-engage with the world with a more positive spirit and I have a playlist that I’ve often used when my stress level is high and my courage low. 

Regularly on my rough-day-therapy playlist are Mahler’s Symphony 8 (especially the opening and closing sections: 1.1 Veni, Creator Spiritus and 2.12 Alles Vergangliche); His Eye Is On The Sparrow by either Whitney Houston or Eclipse 6–each recording is very different; Spark of Creation by Nikki Renee Daniels; Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee by Glad; Brave by Sara Bareilles; This is Me and From Now On from The Greatest Showman; Mendelssohn’s String Octet (the first movement is my favorite); Brahms’ Symphony 3; Mendelssohn’s Symphony 5, Reformation; Bruch’s Romance for Viola and Orchestra; the list goes on. (And if you want angry music, I’ve got that too.)

 

PUC Coloring Page Partie Deux

It’s time for another edition of coloring with PUC!

Download this coloring page and color away. feel free to send us photos of the final product!

 

Pioneers Coloring Sheet 2

Faces of PUC: Brandon Parker

This week’s Faces of PUC is none other than PUC’s CFO Brandon Parker who returned to his alma mater, (’96) in 2017, along with his wife Heidi who joined PUC’s human resource team, and their two sons. Before he made his way back to Angwin he was the vice president and chief financial officer for St. Helena Hospital, so his career change didn’t take him far! Brandon was kind enough to answer a few quick questions so we could get to know him a little bit better. 

What brought you to PUC?

It was a God thing.  I’ve always left the guidance of my career in God’s hands, and the path to PUC became evident.  Prov 16:9.

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

The Pioneers family has two major qualities that I’m happy to be a part of 1) extremely passionate about PUC, and 2) eternally optimistic.

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

Checkers and Giugni’s. I have great memories of dating my wife.

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

Be the next Harry Connick Jr.

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

Anything Peter Cincotti

Who is someone you admire and why?

Frank Sinatra, because he did it his way!

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

drinking coffee, wishing I was golfing.

 

 

Faces of PUC: Judith Mendoza

Meet PUC’s newest admissions counselor, Judith Mendoza. After graduating from PUC, Judith continued her education at Andrews University where she received her MA in youth and young adult ministry. Judith has a passion for Adventist Education and was excited to accept a position that would bring her back to our beloved tree-covered mountain. 

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

I first came to PUC as a student in 2011 and it was the trees and community feel that drew me to PUC. Thankfully that decision led to some of my favorite memories and people. After graduation, I felt a call to ministry and headed to Andrews to get an MA in Youth and Young Adult ministry. As I was approaching the end of my time at Andrews, my friend Angel (another Admission Counselor) told me about an opening here in admissions. While it may seem like I diverted from ministry, I find there are so many opportunities where I get to share my two biggest passions, Jesus and Adventist Education. Connect Ministries allows me to share in worship experiences with our youth in local churches and schools, while college fairs will let me share with others PUC and the things that make this place and our education system so special. I’m very happy to be back.

What is something you can do that might surprise people?

I am an amateur ‘master juggler’ in balls and rings, I got close to mastering the hollow bowling pins but I still need some practice. I’m also a decent goalkeeper and love participating in PUC’s soccer intramurals. Look out for my team, ‘Lakers’ (I did not pick the name-Go Portland Trailblazers!), this season.

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

I love going to Melted, I have always been a fan of comfort food and grilled cheese always hits the spot. I also feel a little fancy there because it’s not your regular grilled cheese but like an upscale version of it.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the Pioneers family?

In the transition from a student to a staff member here at PUC, I’m happy to see I still get to experience the warm community feel which first drew me in. I was already friends with most of the other admission counselors, but the rest have been so welcoming and encouraging as I learn the ropes. Not just the team but other faculty and staff members have also made me feel like a family member who’s finally home from a trip. In a way I feel like that too, PUC was home for me for four years and while a lot has changed, the people are as friendly and this campus is as beautiful as I remember.

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

If you look at my Spotify account it’s all over the place, there’s an Anthems playlist, a Spanish playlist, an English playlist, and I also have a Disney Channel playlist. I don’t think I can narrow it down to one song, but according to Spotify it’s Hesitate by the Jonas Brothers.

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

Reading. I love reading for pleasure and since I’m no longer reading textbooks every day, I’m taking advantage and getting back into it. You may also find me at brunch, Sunday morning brunch is a big thing in my family and I’d love to continue that with my cousins and brother who are here in Angwin.

 

Faces of PUC: Gregg Gallemore

Meet Gregg Gallemore. Last year, Gregg decided to move back to his alma mater and take a welding job with facilities management. He recently got married and is he’s really enjoying being back in an area he loves, building a home with his new wife. 

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

This is kind of a long story, but essentially, I know I am here at PUC because God wants me here. I know it’s a little cliche sounding, but it is the most blatant answer I can give when I ask myself that same question. When I reflect on the whole story of how I came to work here, everything was too perfectly timed out and in my mind, that isn’t how life typically works. Every time I pray, I ask God to give me blatantly in my face answers, ” God, either shut me down hard or kick my butt through the door but I want/need an answer.” PUC was a kick through the door. Every time I ask God to give me a blatant answer, there it is right in my face.

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

I’ll say working with the facilities team is probably the best thing about working here. I love working with these guys and sincerely appreciate the work they do. They make working here easy, even when I have to crawl into the stinky dirty trash truck to weld something!

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

Tra Vigne is always good. Eat inside or outside, both offer a really nice environment or “AMBIANCE” if you want me to get all fancy with my words.

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

I love metalwork, so much so that I built a huge wedding arbor for one of my childhood friends. I also built my wedding arbor as well. Because my craft is working with metal, these aren’t simple arbors, they are all made out of steel with intricate metal details. Aside from that, I ride a motorcycle and sometimes I do wheelies on that motorcycle. 

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

Songs? … try albums. I know these aren’t the best album’s to admit to listening to on repeat, but Tool’s new album Fear Inoculum and Stick Figure’s new album World on Fire.

Who is someone you admire and why?

I admire my dad. He just has so much more patience than I do and that is just one of the many qualities I admire about him. He’s also a really good man that I strive to be like.

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

On Sunday morning’s you can find me sleeping in till 7 or 8 am!, working on cleaning up my place, walking my dog Amica, and then working on whatever project I’ve got going.

 

Faces of PUC: Becky St. Clair

Becky St. Clair and her family moved to PUC two years ago when her husband accepted a librarian position. Coming from years at Andrews University, she is still getting used to the many many warm days we experience here in Sunny California. Becky spends most of her workdays in the department of music and Paulin Center for the Arts where she works as the office manager. She also contract writes for the public relations office. 

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

My husband brought me here. He was hired as a librarian on campus, and shortly after we arrived I started freelance writing for the college. My background is in PR (a dozen years or so), so it was a good fit. Since then I’ve taken the position in the department of music, which allows me to use all the skills I’ve learned in my various jobs as an adult, plus I get to be around musicians all day. They’re my people and I love them.

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

 I love that so many PUC employees care deeply about the college. They go to great lengths to find solutions to problems, make improvements to their areas, and generally make PUC a better place to live, work, and go to school.  

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

I recently discovered Tarla in Napa, and I’m rather in love … just not with the prices. Lol! So I will do appetizers or dessert there with a friend or on date night with the hubster (don’t tell him I called him that), but if I’m going to eat out, it’s definitely going to be Calistoga Thai Kitchen. They’re never busy and their curry is fantastic. Insider tip: Tarla has an appetizer of cheese with apricots … that they serve EN FLAMBE. If that doesn’t make you feel fancy, I don’t know what will. And their Turkish coffee is phenomenal, plus it’s served in a gorgeous Turkish coffee cup with a saucer! 

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

I was a voice and percussion double minor in college, and my favorite instrument to play is the marimba. 

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

I know this is old hat, but I love A Million Dreams (and all the other songs) from The Greatest Showman. I could also listen to Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium or Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque or Maurice Ravel’s Pavane pour une infant défunte or even David Holsinger’s Abram’s Pursuit on repeat all day. I know I cheated on this question … sorry!  

Who is someone you admire and why? 

A former boss-turned-mentor of mine from my first-ever PR job. She took me into her office many times and asked how I was doing, what I wanted to do with my career, where I saw myself in ten years, and how she could help me get there. She modeled (and still models) true, meaningful leadership and taught me how to be a professional and a mom, while still also being true to my own self. She listened well, asked thoughtful questions, and had a killer sense of humor. She had a firm grasp of what was happening in all areas under her purview but trusted everyone in their roles to do their jobs and do them well. She wasn’t afraid of difficult conversations or challenging projects, deadlines, or goals; in fact, she encouraged me to shoot for the moon, never stop learning, and to find growth opportunities in every situation. I want to be like her when I grow up. 

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

Snuggled into the corner of my couch, coffee in one hand, book in another. And I can promise you it won’t be the same book two Sundays in a row!

 

Faces of PUC: Kharolynn Pascual Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Who is someone you admire and why? 

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

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

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