Category Archives: Student Profile

Faces of PUC: Caleb Pudewell

Caleb Pudewell is a senior here at PUC and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the graphic design field. He is already putting his skills to use in the public relations office as one of the student designers. 

We asked Caleb to answer a few questions so we can get better acquainted with him.

What is your dream job?

I would love to work as a graphic designer for a company that allows me to travel the world. Imagine living in Spain for a month, and then maybe a few weeks in Japan, followed by a short stint through the Southwest of the USA. That is my dream job.

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young? 

As a child, I always wanted to work with animals and I was also curious about being a doctor. I still love animals and they serve as an inspiration in my designs. Being a doctor though, no way! I couldn’t deal with all the blood.

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

I love how devoted the professors are at PUC. I often go to them for advice on professional matters as well as personal issues. They always offer a listening ear and that’s something I’ve really grown to appreciate.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Wow, what a tough question. I love so many places. I don’t know if I have a favorite but I would really love to go and visit Barcelona again. It’s a beautiful city with a rich culture.

What show are you binge-watching right now?giphy-1

Mindhunter, Brooklyn-99, and Parks & Rec are a few of my favorites.

What is something you’re passionate about?

I love nature and everything about it. Every chance I get, I love to go and explore new places and find off the beaten path activities.

Recommend a place in the Bay Area to visit on a weekend.

One of my favorite weekend spots is Bodega Bay. You can visit the beach, find some great food, and pick up some saltwater taffy for the ride home. It’s an amazing place to visit.

 

A Letter From Your SA President

Hello PUC family, my name is Megan Belz and I am lucky to be the student association president for this 2019-2020 school year. I am a senior, business management major and I am absolutely loving it. I started my freshman year at PUC as a fine art major, only really knowing one person and no real drive for what I wanted to do in the future. Even though art is a huge part of my life, it never felt like the right path for me. After months of research and career tests, I decided to try out business. I fell in love with it! My sophomore year is when I really discovered myself and where my strengths lay. I let this passion carry me all the way till now and I’m still very happy. My dream career after college is to manage my own animal shelter. Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge animal lover and an adopt don’t shop advocate. I recently concluded an internship with the Napa County Animal Shelter and I learned so much through that experience. 

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I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who was capable of being a leader. To be completely honest, I often struggle with a lot of self-doubts, as I’m sure many people do. Deciding to take on the position of the SA president is actually a really big deal for me. This school year I really want to prove to myself and to PUC that I am completely capable of just about anything I want to accomplish in life. The biggest thing I have come to realize this summer is I cannot do it on my own! My relationship with God is essential to any steps I take in life and it is through Him I have the strength and the privilege to do so. 

One lesson which really stood out to me is the importance of confidence in Christ. Psalms 27:3 says though an army DEPLOYS against me, my heart will not be afraid. Though a war BREAKS OUT against me, I will still be confident. Reading this really tugged at my heart because David is talking in the present tense. He is not reciting the events that have happened but the events in his life that are happening. It is easy to be courageous and confident over a past situation, but to be brave when you know armies are being deployed against you now, is far more difficult. This is the way I want to approach this school year. I want to have confidence in the Lord that is so great, in the midst of any challenge, big or small, I remain brave. 

2C198FC9-1DCE-494D-B832-514FDE49967EThis school year is going to be so wonderful I can hardly wait!  I am so lucky to have an amazing group of people who make up my SA team. They are coming at you, PUC fam, with exciting events, crazy videos, fun posters, God-centered worship, senate inspired changes, and much more. We are here for the students and we want to give you all the best year possible. I want to encourage anyone who has any suggestions for SA to come to us and talk, we want you to be involved this year. We want to create an atmosphere that can stimulate the year you visualize. I cannot wait to get to know you all better and become the close-knit family I know we can be, because growing close to one another is a perfect example of what God’s love is about. 

 

London Streets: Honors photo blog

The Honors program’s summer trip to London was an incredible learning experience for both faculty and students. Their course, “London Streets” took them throughout the city, personalizing literature they’d studied in previous courses and bringing history to life. Here are a few of their favorite moments captured on film! 

 

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The first day on the train from Newbold to London, bright-eyed and ready to go. (Left to right, front: Amy Ramos (Exercise Science), Sarah Tanner (English), Grae McKelvie (BS Management); back: Ervin Jackson (Biochem), Sebastian Anderson (Graphic Design), a British person, Isabel McMillan (History)) (All class of 2021)

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On the train, first day of week 2: (Left to right: Ervin, Grae, Sebastian, Sarah, Amy)

 

 

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Where modern epidemiology and germ theory was born. This pump was ground zero for the cholera epidemic of 1854. (Left to right: Isabel, Ervin, Sebastian, Sarah, Amy, Grae)

 

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In the 19th-century operating theatre of St. Thomas’s hospital (front to back: Sarah, Sebastian, Grae, Isabel, Amy, Ervin)

 

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Suffragette propaganda in the People’s History Museum, Manchester (Sarah and Isabel)

 

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Saying goodbye on the last day (Isabel, Sarah, Amy; Sebastian in back)

 

 

 

 

 

London Streets: Reflections On A Summer Study Tour

By Becky St. Clair

For three weeks this summer, Peter Katz, director of the Honors Program and professor of English, led a study tour for honors students in London, UK. Their course, “London Streets” took them throughout the city, personalizing literature they’d studied in previous courses and bringing history to life. Together, professor and students considered the ethics and obligations of seeing poverty both in Victorian times and now, interrogated the intersection between scientific regulation of health and governmental power, and traced the geographic and cultural impact of industrialization. 

“This trip was the best possible way I could have imagined my first excursion into Europe,” said honors student Sebastian Anderson. “It was the perfect balance between checking off the typical tourist attractions and activities while also getting to explore London in a more intimate way through our class trips and our readings.” 

Two participating students agreed to share their reflections on specific parts of their trip with us, so we could share their experiences directly with you, our readers. 

Isabel McMillan, history major

After a walking tour about the crimes of Jack the Ripper, I commented that his story was a female-centric story. I wished that when we told the stories of his victims we didn’t have to focus so much on the men, and could talk more about the women and their stories. One of my classmates pointed out history is male-centered, and society is misogynistic, and our storytelling of history has to be male-centric. 

Contemplating this perspective, I came to the conclusion that while it is not entirely wrong, it’s also not entirely right. 

I remembered this exhibit on a ship I saw in a Swedish museum once. The exhibit’s storytelling began with two of the women who were on the ship when it sank. The researchers did as much research as they could on these women, and learned quite a bit. Part of what they found included records of a woman who was in charge of building the ship, and how she met with the king about its progress. They also discovered records of another woman who ran a business vital to the building of that ship, as well as court documents detailing stories of women involved with court cases (there were laws against women being involved in court cases, and yet..). There was so much more. Most of this history was pre-Victoria. What I’m trying to say is that researching women and their lives is possible. Hard, but possible. 

Another thing I realized in all of this was by saying history is misogynistic and society is created for the white man, it gives people an excuse to not even try researching women. Allowing people to say the only way to tell women’s stories is through the point of view of the men in their lives allows people to not try, and to not feel guilty about their lack of effort. And that is not acceptable.

Sarah Tanner, English major

In looking over notes from this trip, I realized beginning on July 9, I switched from titling my class journal entries “reflections” to “reactions.” It wasn’t a deliberate move, but it matched the intensity of my interaction with the class and topics as we worked through some genuinely difficult discussions. 

 If I could distill this class into one key point, it would be, “bodies matter.” Politics, institutions, and good intentions all have their place, but unless we prioritize human bodies, their needs, and their desires, our ability to successfully empathize and care for those around us will forever be stunted. I want to believe on some level, most people recognize the truth in this, but until one is confronted with the immediacy of this need, it’s easy to overlook. Personally, it took almost stumbling over a homeless man outside the underground in Camden for me to recognize the necessity of enacting care for these bodies. And even then, when faced with the reality of his fraught situation, it was clear not everyone in our group processed the experience in the same way. 

 This class instilled in me a sense of urgency, an impulse to look more closely at the people around me and consider how I can help. And as much as I love modern literature, I have learned to stand in defense of the Victorian optimism that maintains that something can be done for these bodies. It just requires a degree of awareness (I’m convinced) results from trips such as this one. 

 Checking in with a structure or area’s effective gravity and reading it against one’s own response to that place is a practice vital to the optimist’s project. It requires constant self-reflection and comparison to the world beyond what is immediately available in a physical or bodily sense. Paradoxically, it creates a simultaneous drive for introspection and increased connection with others. While seemingly contradictory, I think this oscillation is important; to empathize, one must have a personal attachment to the shared effect, and that requires a degree of knowledge of self and others.  

 This practice is something I will definitely carry with me long after we all fly home; Victorian optimism has taken a piece of my heart. I want to be more aware, to see myself and others as more than separate components of a larger system, to seek out individual bodies in need of physical and emotional care. And more than foundational awareness, I want to be available to anyone who feels that need as well. 

 

Randy Ramos, Your Student Chaplain!

By Becky St. Clair

This week we caught up with Randy Ramos, student chaplain here at PUC. Randy grew up in Southern California and chose PUC because he wanted to stay in the state, but wanted to stretch his wings a bit, too. By all accounts, it sounds like he made the right choice. We talked to Randy a bit about his spiritual journey, his experience at PUC, and the hopes he has for his future. Without further ado, we introduce to you Randy Ramos!

What led you to choose a theology major?

It’s definitely a calling. To be honest, I never wanted to be a pastor and didn’t see myself as one. I actually wanted to do physical therapy—something I’d planned on doing since fifth grade. Then I came here and I realized my calling wasn’t to the medical world, but to minister to people in a different way. To help them find spiritual healing. Just taking the basic theology classes started to build my passion for looking into scripture to see how God views us.

Growing up the focus was more on how we view God, and ultimately what I’ve come down to in the last four years here at PUC is how God views us is shaped by how we view him. If we view him with anger, we’ll see him as an angry God. Scripture says he loves and wants us. Studying theology and diving into the Bible has reshaped how I view God, and I want to share that with other people—I want to help them find their own view of God that gives them peace and joy.

Tell me about your job. What kinds of things are you responsible for as student chaplain?

Well, along with the Student Association’s religious vice president, I’m in charge of spiritual life on campus. I want to make sure people on campus are doing well and their spiritual life is going well. If they’re struggling, students can talk to the campus chaplain or myself, and since I’m closer to their age, it gives me the chance to minister in a different way. I also create and lead Bible studies. I see the importance of small groups in building relationships, because that’s how Jesus did it with his small group of disciples. Although they didn’t quite catch on during his ministry, they finally got it when He ascended. It was then they realized the importance of a closer relationship with Christ. I want to see that model grow here at PUC, too, by urging through small groups the importance of rediscovering who God is in our lives.

So, what is it you love most about your job?

First, that I don’t see it as a job. It’s a passion, and what I’ve truly been called to. When those two become one—a passion and a calling together—it just doesn’t feel like work. This is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life: Care for people the way Jesus cared for people and the way He cares for us now. I also love the opportunity to build relationships with people, watching them grow spiritually. My first roommate didn’t want anything to do with God. He had a lot of doubt. Throughout the year I spent as his roommate, I never preached the Gospel at him, or told him what to believe. I built the friendship first and then we began opening the Bible and praying together. Eventually he opened up, asking me to pray for him and his family. Our close friendship started it all. I love creating opportunities for more relationships like that to take place here on campus.

Just because you love it doesn’t mean it’s easy, right? What do you find challenging about being a student chaplain?

Getting people to see your vision. Sometimes you can do a lot of motivating and planning, trying to inspire others to see God loves them, and He is moving in their lives. Sometimes the response is, “meh.” Sometimes they don’t want to see it. Sometimes it can be sad seeing people not tasting and seeing the glory of God, but everyone has their own spiritual walk. Being patient with others’ walks is hard, too. We can all grow and move forward, but it takes time. It took time for the disciples; for example, Peter denied Jesus but if you look at Acts you see the Peter who now gets it. What Jesus told him to do he’s out in the world doing. It just takes time.

Since you mentioned spiritual walks, can you tell us a little bit about your own?

Of course! I came here knowing what I’d been taught, and knowing how God views us. I came feeling really guilty about the things I’d messed up in the past, and believed God to be extremely angry with me. During my first year here I started really looking into the life of Jesus, and I discovered He’s the mirror reflection of the Father. It was at that point I saw the Bible in a whole new light, realizing God actually really loves me. Loves all of us. That really shaped my spiritual journey. Now I can look back at my worst days and see God there, too, just loving me.

I’ve grown a lot here at PUC. I’ve come to realize church isn’t just a service on Sabbath. There’s so much more to it than four walls and a roof. Church is a broken community coming together for healing, and to accept the love God is always there to give. That has shaped a lot of how I’m going to go into ministry, understanding how God views me.

Growing up, I was afraid to ask the hard questions. “Who is God?” “Does he even exist?” “Does He even love us?” It was so hard because I was afraid people would shut me down. It wasn’t until I was about 16-years-old when I started realizing what was happening in my life had a reason. I started trusting God and walking with Him of my own accord, and really believed He had a plan for me. When I came here to PUC, I realized the same struggle was going on with people around me, too—there were other people asking the hard stuff I had asked. When we came together we were asking these questions, even in Bible studies I attended. It was so relieving to know I wasn’t alone in my questioning and doubt.

Last year I took a class called “God and Human Suffering.” That was a tough class. For one assignment, I wrote a paper called “A Theodicy,” which was basically a defense of God’s character. In that paper, through my own testimony, experience, and scripture, I looked at people who have died in my life and asked, “Why?” Why did my 10-year-old cousin die? Why did my high school friend die? I wrestled with my faith, and ultimately, it came down to this thing called sin. And it sucks. But God sent His son to overcome it, to give us life. We’re not going to be obedient to death, but Jesus was. That’s why He says He’s the way, the truth, and the life.

PUC is a place where asking questions is okay. It’s a place where you’ll find spiritual leadership to help you find the answers and point you to the true God. I keep going back to the fact if God allowed Job to ask these questions, we can do the same. God won’t be hurt by our questions. What it really comes down to is do you trust God?

You’re graduating this year and heading out into the world with your absolute faith and trust in God, and a solid education. What will you do with it?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? My ultimate goal is to pastor, whether that’s through chaplaincy, teaching, or other ways. It doesn’t have to be at a church. I want to lead a group of people as we move together to build leadership and empower the next generation. This has been my calling and I feel it’s the calling for the rest of my life. Giving my life to ministry was a huge step in my life, and I don’t plan on ever looking back.

How do you feel your time at PUC has helped you prepare for both your career and other aspects of your future?

It’s the experience here. Through the worst days, I feel that’s where I’ve learned the most that’s helped me prepare to relate to people who are struggling. The best way to relate to people is through experience and testimony. Even my good days are a testimony, as I can share with someone who’s struggling that better days are coming. What has really prepared me is not just classes and education, but experiences I’ve had here on campus.

You were recently given an award. What was it, and how were you selected?

Oh man, I was so surprised to learn I’d been been selected for this award. According to the email I received, the Charles E. Weniger Fellows student scholarship is awarded to students who exemplify positive qualities and characteristics in campus leadership. I’m honored to be selected for this award, as it tells me I have been effectively allowing Christ’s character to shine through me. I can attribute this only to allowing Jesus to lead the way in my life.

If you could give all incoming freshmen one piece of advice, what would it be?

Just one? Haha! Seriously, though, I think I’d most want them to know it’s okay to ask the hard questions—they will allow you to grow. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to struggle. Out of that, something beautiful happens. I’m speaking to myself, here, too. I was afraid of failing and struggling, but out of that, in Ecclesiastes 3, the Bible tells us God makes everything beautiful in its time. There’s a season for everything. It’s okay to go through the hard stuff, because He’ll be with you every step of the way.

PUC Student Drew Macomber Places First at Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Race

Drew Macomber is a senior at PUC studying fine art. When he isn’t in Fisher Hall working on an art project, you can probably find him training in the college’s back 40 property for his next big race.

While most students spent the weekend of November 4th studying and preparing for classes, Drew was winning the Rio Del Lago, with an incredible finish time of 16:41:43, a full hour ahead of the second place runner. This is a 100 mile endurance race that began at Beal’s Point in the Folsom Lake state recreation area within the Sierra-Nevada Foothills, approximately 40 minutes east of Sacramento. The race, which started in 2000, combines two popular trail races in Northern California; the American River 50 and Way Too Cool 50k.

Below, Drew shares his motivation for racing and what he appreciates the most about the sport.

When did you get into running?
I got into running about five years ago. But since I was very young I’ve been into things that are outside. My family hikes a ton, and we grew up near Yosemite. So hiking in Yosemite was something I grew up doing quite often.

What inspires you to run?
I love being outside and I love physical challenges. Running is also how I stay sane day to day. I just have a passion for being outside and pushing myself.

Drew running in the Bay Ridge Trail Marathon in early October.

What other races have you participated in?
I’ve participated in about 15 ultras in California in the past two years, 50k’s and 50 milers. This was the first 100.

How many races have you run in total? Can you calculate how many miles?
I’ve run 17 races total, that’s around 642 miles of racing.

What races will you be running next?
I don’t have anything lined up yet, but the plan is to do the Lake Sonoma 50 miler in the spring.

Drew running in the Rio Del Lago. (Photo by Facchino Photography)

Where did you train for this race? Did you use the college’s back 40 property at all?
I trained in the back 40, as well as in the Los Posadas State Forest, and a lot on the new Dan’s Wild Ride trail to Hennessy, which goes over Moore Creek several times.  

Is being at a place like PUC, surrounded by beautiful trails and a cross country tracks, something that inspires you to want run more?
Totally, the accessibility is phenomenal! Being able to run out the back door right into the trails is a huge blessing that I never take for granted. No matter how many times I’ve been out there, it’s always beautiful.

PUC Communication Major JJ Reynolds Honored at Annual SAC Convention

JJ Reynolds, center, with Tamara Wolcott Fisher, right, president of the Society of Adventist Communicators, and Dan Weber, left, communication director for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

Every year the Society of Adventist Communicators meets to bring fellow Adventist communicators together to network, learn, and grow as well as to celebrate great accomplishments of both professionals and students aspiring to work in the field. This year, PUC sent one faculty member and five students to represent the college for the three day event in Portland, Ore., October 19-21.

JJ Reynolds, who is studying multi-cultural communication and business at PUC, attended the event and received special recognition by the SAC.  

Congratulations on receiving the Honorable Overall Student Communication Award at the recent Society of Adventist Communicators conference! Tell me about your award. Were you nominated, or did you have to submit your work to be recognized?

I was not expecting to win this award. I believe Professor Michelle Rai, the chair of the department of communications, nominated me for it.

How does it feel to be recognized for your achievements?

It feels good knowing all the effort I have put in outside of school is paying off more than just financially.

Tell me about your experience at the SAC conference you just attended. Was it the first time you attended the conference? Did you find it to be valuable to attend as a student?

It was my first time attending the SAC conference. I didn’t know what to expect! I didn’t know if it would be workshops or speakers, hands-on or lecture based. I went because I love to learn and figured this would be a good place to start.

It turned out to be a great networking event for anyone who would like to pursue a career in the Adventist communication field and I would highly suggest for anyone in the field to attend.

You’re the video producer for the Student Association this year. What plans do you have for what you would like to do?

This year, I am trying to shed some light on what PUC has to offer as well as creating material for students. We currently are running a weekly series called “The PUC Moment” hosted by Pastor Mark Witas. The goal is to share a moment of inspiration and knowledge which is geared towards our PUC family!

I am also working on specific stories from each of the departments on campus. I am not sure how far I will get this year but I am hoping that next year someone will continue it.

You’re also involved in a lot of other things on campus. What other projects are you working on right now?

I am currently involved with the 5000Drops campaign. PUC has partnered with Water For Good to raise awareness and funds for the maintenance and creation of wells in the Central African Republic! To learn more visit 5000drops.com.