Pioneers Profile: Kwuan Guerrero

By Andrew Mahinay

You can catch Kwuan Guerrero shooting hoops down at the Pacific Auditorium (PUC’s gym), playing Super Smash Bros., or applying literary theory to different texts. Guerrero, who is graduating this coming weekend with a bachelor’s in English education, began his basketball career at PUC the summer of 2014-2015. His mind was set on two things during his time at the college: The first endeavor he set out to achieve was his degree in English education, and his second goal was to be a powerful force on the Pioneers men’s basketball team.

Guerrero, who has received many athletic awards, began his basketball career at the age of 14. He fell in love with the sport and the technicalities behind it, and the team effort and team chemistry that needed to exist to be successful. His God-gifted height of 6”5 also helped make it possible for him to succeed in the sport. During his freshman year in high school at Hawthorne High School in Southern California, he averaged eight points a game. After three years, he transferred to Price High School, where he played his senior year. It was his passion and love for the game that drove him to play at the college level.  

When asked what influenced him to play basketball, Guerrero says, “I liked the challenge of getting better at things. Basketball helped me build the ability to stay focused, especially on my grades.”

His basketball career carried on when he entered college. He first played for Fresno City College, where he viewed himself as an “under the radar player.” After playing a couple of seasonal games, Guerrero caught a huge break when Greg Rahn, the men’s basketball coach at PUC, approached him with an offer to play for the Pioneers. After some deliberation and negotiation, Guerrero signed on to the Pioneers basketball team.

Although the limelight was yet to be on him, Guerrero worked on his craft, dedicating hours in and out of the gym, going into each workout circuit with intensity and making sure he kept a clean diet. During his senior year at PUC, he had to opportunity to be one of the five starters for the team. Soon, he began to showcase his natural strength playing as a power forward and a center. He began topping the stats, being one of the only players to average the most points, rebounds, and assists in each game. Guerrero helped lead the Pioneers to win the Cal Pac championship in February.

One of Guerrero’s greatest memories as a Pioneer is winning the Cal Pac championship. He said, “Experiencing such a moment with my teammates was one of the best feelings.” He is also thankful he was able to mentally grow as an individual and player this year.

The week leading up to the championship, Guerrero was named the Cal Pac Player of the Week due to his stats and dedication to the team. He helped lead the Pioneers to victory against UC Merced and Cal Maritime, averaging 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 70.5 percent from the field and 87.5 percent from the free throw line. Guerrero finished that week with a career high of 25 points and five rebounds against the Cal Maritime Keelhaulers. These wins placed the Pioneers in the third seed in the Cal Pac tournament, which they would go on to win.

Guerrero became a PUC Pioneer star, but he still remains a genuinely humble individual. He hopes to become a high school English teacher, and he is open to the idea of eventually becoming a college professor. He is also open to coaching for a high school team with the hopes of eventually becoming a head coach of a high school team.

In addition to succeeding on the court and in class, Guerrero also succeeded in making PUC his second home, “It’s like I’ve gotten so used to being here at PUC that when I go home, I miss it,” he says.

We offer our heartfelt congratulations to Kwuan and all the graduating seniors. We wish each and every one success and God’s richest blessings!

Pioneers Profile: Alexis Lyers

Meet Alexis Lyers, a senior who hails from Upper Marlboro, Md., and plays on the Pioneers women’s basketball team as a guard. We asked her to share about her experiences at PUC this past year, on and off the court.

What’s your major?

I am a communication major.

What’s your favorite class at PUC?

My favorite class at PUC is interpersonal communication. You get to learn so many interesting things about relationship and how people interact with each other on a daily basis. It’s super interesting!

Who is your favorite teacher at PUC?

I would have to say just about all the professors in the department of communication. I can’t choose one but they are all so great and so helpful not only in the classroom but also outside of it.

What made you decide to play for the Pioneers?

I’ve been playing basketball since I was 5-years-old. I’m originally from Maryland and one day I just decided I wanted to travel to the west coast and play basketball. At the time I wasn’t sure where, but after some research and lots of prayers I found PUC and loved the environment and my teammates.

What’s the best thing about being on the team?

I think the best thing about being on the team are my teammates and building relationships while playing a sport you love. I have so much fun with my teammates; we absolutely love each other on and off the court. It’s really amazing to connect with people on a personal level from all different parts of the country and all different walks of life.

Is it hard to balance being a student and an athlete?

Balancing school and being an athlete is extremely hard. You have a commitment to both to do well in school and perform well on the court and that’s not including practices, missing classes due to games, and homework.

What’s something you learned about yourself while playing this year?

This year I learned I can be a really good leader and role model on and off the court. I’m usually a person who runs away from the leader role and just hangs in the background, but I found out how good of a leader I am through my teammates. I also learned leading transpires off the court, when my teammates come to me for life advice or just someone to talk to.

What’s your favorite memory from this season?

My favorite memory from this year was coming back from being down 12 points to beat La Sierra University on senior night in front of my family and friends. I just remember my teammates all rushing to me after the game because we were all so happy.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself working for an NFL or NBA team doing public relations or marketing work.

Alexis with her Cal Pac award.

Jenna Peña, a Pioneer On and Off the Court

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at PUC made serious impacts on and off the court this past year. One player, Jenna Peña, has dedicated her summer to helping out with NBA point guard, Stephen Curry’s summer youth camps.

Jenna was kind enough to answer a few short questions about her incredible experience.

PUC Pioneer Jenna Pena with the NBA MVP and Champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors during the Stephen Curry Overnight Camp.

PUC Pioneer Jenna Peña with the NBA MVP and Champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors during the Stephen Curry Overnight Camp.

How long have you been working the camp?

I have been working with the Warriors for a year now, and I work with the youth basketball camps to teach the fundamentals of basketball.

Where are the camps held?

They are held all over the Bay Area. It’s really a great experience to work with the kids on their game, but also teach other values off the court.

What are some of the values that are taught to the kids involved in the camp?

We are there to provide the campers with both a positive and competitive atmosphere on and off the court. We emphasize the importance of hard work and a team-oriented mindset. We want the campers to bring out the best in themselves, which translates into everyone encouraging each other.

How is Stephen with the campers?

Steph is amazing! He is great with the campers he plays basketball with them, has meals with them and is genuinely a man of God. It truly is a blessing to see a NBA superstar so humble and with a strong connection with Christ.

For a look inside the camp, check out the video below.

Get to Know Daniel DeCaires, PUC SA President

Daniel Decaires

Last year, Daniel DeCaires decided he wanted to leave his mark on PUC and ran for Student Association President, and won. Now entering his senior year, he has big plans for our campus! As a kid from the public school system with no discernable connection to Adventism, I wanted to find out why Daniel decided to come to PUC and what made him fall in love with the school.

Daniel came to PUC because he wanted to do something different. He grew up within the public school system and was becoming disenchanted by the end of his high school career. Everything seemed to become so impersonal to him and he really wanted to be somewhere with a sense of togetherness and belonging. He recognized the people who graduated from PUC got more than just an education – they had people surrounding them who genuinely cared about their success beyond college, and who did their best to ensure students had the best possible experience while attending.

I asked Daniel to answer a few questions about his experience at PUC and his plans for his future.

Two favorite things about PUC
1.) The small class sizes. I’ve gotten to know my professors and build a relationship with each one as I’ve progressed throughout college.
2.) The aesthetics. This is one of the most beautiful regions in the Napa Valley and there are too many places to count which offer incredibly beautiful hikes and drives.

Favorite class at PUC
Management—Professor Nunes has seriously changed my life for the better and in addition to being my favorite professor he has become my mentor and dear friend. I have learned as much outside the classroom from him as inside. He is an awesome guy.

Career Goals
I plan to graduate with a degree in Business and immediately begin working at Kaiser Permanente as a financial analyst. Kaiser has already agreed to pay for my master’s degree as long as I stay with them for an additional three years after completion. Eventually I plan to start and oversee a fully operational medical clinic in either Central or South America, offering medical services to the underprivileged people of a developing country.

Why PUC?
Pacific Union College can be as great as you want it to be. You get to decide how involved you are and just how incredible of an experience you have. Up here, people care about you. If you’re having a bad day, people take notice and ask if you’re ok. What other college can you say that about? The teachers care about your education, even classes they don’t teach, and they truly care about you as a person. Your friends are always close by and someone is always willing to help you when you need it most. Overall, this college offers far more than an education, it offers an experience, and it is an experience you will never forget with people you’ll always have in your life.

Melissa’s Advice – Do Something New!

Name: Melissa SetterlundMelissa Setterlund
From: Nampa, Idaho
Major: Nursing
Graduation: AS in June 2014, BSN in June 2015

Why did I choose Nursing?
I’ve always wanted to help people, especially those who are unable to help themselves. I also find human anatomy to be fascinating. Add to that the excitement of how different medications work on the body and BAM! You have the trifecta for a desire to be a nurse. There are always a million reasons to do each job, and if those don’t appeal to you, that doesn’t mean that nursing isn’t for you. It’s okay for you to have your own reasons.

A Normal Week
Usually I have class 2-3 days a week. The other days are filled with clinical hours, one or two shifts at the hospital a week. During my free days, I try to put in as many work hours as I can and then, of course, I spent time studying and doing homework. It’s definitely a busy schedule, but if you’re able to manage your time well and motivate yourself to complete assignments and study, you’ll be just fine.

Favorite Class at PUC 
I have two favorites: Pharmacology and Maternal-Newborn. Pharmacology appeals to my interest in the body and how medications work. It helps that the professor, Susan Bussell, keeps things interesting by using different candies to compare to the different medications. Maternal-Newborn, taught by Gladys Muir, interested me because of how the body changes to accommodate another human life. Again with the whole anatomy kick, the idea of creating life and your body adapting to it is fascinating.

Most Exciting Experience
Probably the most exciting experience I’ve had relating to nursing was during my clinical rotation to the Labor & Delivery Unit. I was able to see a baby being born. It was special to see how happy the mom and the dad were when they were able to hold their baby for the first time. It was probably even cooler for me since Maternal-Newborn was one of my favorite classes. It showed me the things I learn at PUC are applicable to real life and happen in the real world.

Tips
You’ve probably heard a million times that you should study hard, use good time management, and take advantage of tutoring, so I won’t go that route. Instead, I encourage you to take advantage of every opportunity for doing or learning something new in the hospital. Tell your nurse that you want to do something new and ask if there is a procedure or treatment being done that day that you could be a part of and don’t be afraid to get in there and participate. You are there to learn and become a nurse so take every opportunity you can.

Alex’s Advice – Explore!

Alex Dunbar7297A65C-1BC6-4497-B122-C0EDCF91A8CE
BS in Exercise Science Health and Nutrition, 2014
AS in Health Science, 2014
From Redding, CA

Things I love about PUC: The people! Everyone is super nice and friendly. The professors are always willing to go above and beyond to help you, and your fellow students are more than just classmates – they are friends you will have forever.

Things I’ll miss about PUC: I will miss the PUC atmosphere – everyone I have had the privilege of getting to know here on campus (they are truly some of the most amazing people I have ever met), as well as the spiritual and upbeat vibe you get on campus. I will also miss running on the trails in PUC’s beautiful Back 40!

What I wish I had known: I wish I had known about the Napa area more. There are so many fun places to eat and explore! From restaurants and shops to beaches and hiking trails, there is so much to do! Plus, I always see familiar PUC faces when I’m out and about, which is great.

Tips for freshmen: 1. Get to know your professors! This will make your classes more enjoyable and open the door to unexpected friendships. 2. Get a job! Working on campus allows you to meet a variety of people, and make some extra cash for those lovely textbooks. 3. Get involved! Don’t be cooped up in your room too much – get out and discover more of what PUC has to offer.