Meet Enrollment Counselor Avery Lay

We have a great team of enrollment counselors here at PUC, ready to help you and your family with any questions you have, at any point throughout the admissions process. For the next few weeks, every Monday we’ll be introducing each one to you, to help you get to know them a little better.

This week, meet Avery Lay, the transfer student counselor!

You’ve had several positions at PUC. How do you feel that benefits you in your new position as an enrollment counselor?
Working around the campus has allowed me to learn a lot about PUC as a whole and the people that make this place a possibility for education and employment. It’s been fun getting all kinds of experience and learning things I never thought I would after college.

What do you like the most about working with transfer students?
Transfer students are very motivated which is really cool and inspiring. They also span a really large range of ages. It makes me feel good I’m not the only one still figuring out my life path or long-term career.

You once tried out for the basketball team at PUC, which is now the subject of a popular YouTube video. How did it go?
It was difficult, but I had a lot of fun trying out for the basketball team. I’m not an athletic person, but I wanted to support the athletic program since I enjoy it a lot. Aren Rennacker, who was on the team already, came up with the idea for a video and we both thought it would get a good laugh.

If you were choosing a movie to be shown at New Student Orientation, what would you pick? Why?
“Your Name (Kimi no Na wa)” because it can be enjoyed by all ages and it would trick people into thinking anime is cool.

What is your favorite part about living here?
The trees.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
The weight room.

What is your favorite place to eat in the valley?
Farmstead in St Helena.

What is the last book you read?
“Storm of Swords” by George R.R. Martin.

What’s one thing you would like to accomplish in 2018?
Explore more of Northern California.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman or transfer student?
Try to have pride and confidence in yourself and in the things that make you happy.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Abram Fisher

This #FacultyFriday, meet Abram Fisher, an associate professor of business administration who has taught at the college since 2013, first as an adjunct contract instructor and then as a full-time faculty member. Previously, for several years he worked as the risk and insurance coordinator at the college, assisting with fiscal and legal analysis and research, internal controls research, ledger review and adjustment, commercial lease management, and contractual drafting, review, negotiation, and revision.

Name: Abram Fisher
Title: Associate professor of business administration
Email: ayfisher@puc.edu   
Faculty since: 2014

Classes taught: Business Law, Personal Law, Healthcare Law, Financial Accounting, Estate Taxation, Problems in Finance

Education: Bachelor’s in business administration, from PUC, 2007; bachelor’s in communication, from PUC, 2007; Juris Doctor, from the University of Maryland Law School, 2011

What made you decide to be a teacher?
I hadn’t planned on it originally, but after teaching on contract when the school found itself without a Business Law professor, I decided I really liked it—and the department was nice enough to let me stick around.

What are some of your hobbies?
Reading (as long as it’s a good story, and isn’t remotely useful), generally trying to be less physically sedentary (walking, elliptical, rack), recently trying to learn basic guitar (I’m ridiculously horrible), occasional gamer if the mood strikes me.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
My parents are Caucasian (Polish and Russian/German descent lines IIRC).

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
The students. MY students in particular.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The Clark Stairs. #sarcasm

What’s your favorite book?
“The Dark Tower” series.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Your teachers don’t bite. In fact, they’re generally here because working with, advising, and helping you is the best part of the job—so if you need something, ask.

Interested in learning more about all of PUC’s business programs? Visit puc.edu/admissions!

Worship and Bible Study Resources at PUC

By Andrea James

When we have questions about God or want to discuss the Bible with other people, it can be difficult to know where to go and who to talk to. However, there are a multitude of resources available at PUC. Of course, you can always talk to our campus chaplain Jonathan Henderson ((707) 965-7191; jhenderson@puc.edu) or any of the pastors at the PUC Church (their contact information is on the church’s website). Then there is PRSM, which stands for peer-led, relevant, small-group ministries. You can contact the student chaplain Amber Sanchez ((707) 965-7190; alsanchez@puc.edu) about joining or starting one of these groups. There are also dorm worships every week, both for your hall and your specific floor (you can go to other dorms’ and floors’ worships too). You can look at the worship calendar on the PUC Ministries website to find out what events are coming up and what groups are meeting soon.

However, you’ve probably thought of or heard of those resources before. What might not come to mind immediately is our library. We have great commentaries, biblical encyclopedias, and other research material. There’s a whole section in the library with great worship and Bible study tools, plus those in the main stacks. Some suggestions for places to start include devotionals and biographies of Christian missionaries and theologians (e.g. C. S. Lewis or J. N. Andrews). Another resource you might not think of is the library’s website where you can find links (like under “SDA Resources” in the sidebar) to online tools such as:

This is just a small selection of what’s available. There are also things like bibliographies compiled on church history, theology, etc. to help you with your research and the Adventist Archives containing everything from General Conference Committee meeting minutes dating back to 1975 to a slideshow about the Millerite movement to Adventist periodicals from around the world. This is a Christian institution of learning—research on religious topics is PUC’s specialty! And if you don’t know where to start, ask a librarian for help. They’re there for a reason.

However, studying the Bible shouldn’t feel like studying for your classes. Your relationship with God can be enriched by a deeper understanding of the Bible and theology, but there are many other ways to get to know God better or to strengthen your relationship with Him. Pray to God for guidance and do what works for you. That could involve being part of a small group, asking a pastor questions, talking with your friends, researching ancient Hebrew culture, spending time singing hymns, or a thousand other options. It could also involve combinations of activities. Your relationship with God is deeply personal and works in a way specific to you. God is your friend, not an exam for which you need to prepare. However, you come know Him better and more intimately is great and should be pursued.

Meet Enrollment Counselor Nick Lapido

We have a great team of enrollment counselors here at PUC, ready to help you and your family with any questions you have, at any point throughout the admissions process. For the next few weeks, every Monday we’ll be introducing each one to you, to help you get to know them a little better.

This week, meet the team’s newest member, Nick Lapido!

You already have a background in admissions. Where did you work previously?
I was at Southern Adventist University before coming to PUC. I was not a recruiter there, but I worked very closely with them as a prospective student finance advisor. That position had me working in the recruitment office, where I was involved in college days, giving campus tours, and meeting prospective students, among many other things. That background helped a lot when coming to the enrollment office here at PUC.

What brought you to PUC?
A lot of things kept falling into place and lining up. It became impossible to deny God wanted me here. I remember meeting Jennifer Tyner in Tennessee, where we got the opportunity to speak about PUC, and from that conversation God just started opening the doors to give me the privilege to be a part of this team.

You spent the last several months working as a student financial counselor here at PUC. How do you think that benefits you in your new position as an enrollment counselor?
It acquainted me with PUC, the great community that we have here, and really helped me to understand the inner workings of what it means to be a student here. I believe that insight and perspective will be of great use when it comes to being an enrollment counselor. I know I will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to work side by side with the finance team and having been able to build lasting friendships with them.

So far, how are you liking living in Angwin and working at PUC?
I’ve really fallen in love with PUC and Angwin. I’ve been to about 40 of the 50 states, lived on both coasts, and I can tell you that there truly is no place like it! As soon as you start heading up the hill, you are completely immersed in what looks like a whole other world. The rich, dark green of the pine trees, the mountain air, and magnificent view are to die for! I remember the day my wife and I first got here, we pulled over to a lookout point on our way up the hill. Below us, you could see the forest scenery stretching out as far as the eye could see, and it was absolutely breathtaking! Being able to be a part of this community and live in this environment never gets old—it never ceases to amaze me. I definitely call Angwin “home” now, and wouldn’t trade it for the world!

What is your favorite part about living here?
Besides the sheer beauty of this area, I would have to say my favorite part about living here is that it has something for everyone. We are located just far enough away from big cities to where it feels like a mountain wonderland where one can escape to. On the other hand, San Francisco is just a quick drive away, and there seems to be more and more to explore every time!

What is your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot would definitely have to be the back 40. Almost every Sabbath, my wife and I hike the trails after church. Seeing the streaks of light go through the tall trees as you walk through the trail brings such beauty to Angwin. It feels like one is transported to a different place, and it’s crazy to think we get to enjoy all of it here!

What is your favorite place to eat in the valley?
This is a hard one! I don’t know if I can pick a “favorite,” there are so many options and places to explore that I’ve only made a very small dent on the list. I will mention, though, if you are looking for a great place to have breakfast in the valley close to PUC, look no further than Gillwoods Cafe! Also, if you have any suggestions as to where I should eat next, let me know, there are too many to count!

What is the last book you read?
I’m currently reading “Capital Gaines” by Chip Gaines. I am fascinated by books that give further insight into the lives and relationships of people, which is why autobiographies are my favorite types of books, I would much rather get to know people than deal with abstract facts on a page. Before that I was reading through “Total Recall” by Arnold Schwarzenegger and “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson.

What are you most looking forward to in 2018, both professionally and personally?
I am looking forward to settling in more in the area and becoming a more active part of the community in Angwin. The biggest goal for me, both professionally and personally, is to grow. I know that sounds like a cliché, but what I mean by that is to step out of my comfort zone more, to not limit myself, and to establish and nurture relationships with others. I may not know exactly how “growth” will be manifested, but I hope to see positive differences in my life, and hopefully help make positive impacts in the lives of others.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
The biggest piece of advice I could give an incoming freshman (or anyone for that matter) is to strive to grow in our relationship with God and to allow Him to lead our lives. Throughout life, we are going to experience a lot of change: we will grow (in age, literally, and as people), we will move, experience different places, work in different environments, and build relationships with people. Sometimes it can seem that the only constant is that there is no constant, and things can be in flux. However, when we make God that constant, when we grow closer to Him, we will be able to handle whatever life throws at us, and hopefully come out on the other side as people who were changed and grown for the better.

My Year Studying Abroad in Spain

By Stefaan Dick

My name is Stefaan and I spent last year studying abroad in Spain, through the Adventist Colleges Abroad program at the Escuela Superior de Español de Sagunto (ESDES). As a photography major with a love for sharing the world around me, I’ve been asked to share some of my adventures here on PUC’s Admissions blog, for anyone interested in the ACA program. Here are 11 of the most representative shots from my year in Europe. To see more of my favorite photos, visit stefaanconrad.com.

Mountain biking from the Norwegian highlands down to the end of a fjord.

Cliff jumping on the school camp meeting weekend in Central Spain.

Abandoned wreckage on a black sand beach in Iceland.

Sunset over the small coastal town of Rovinj, Croatia.

Riding camels on the school trip to Morocco.

Reppin’ PUC above the most powerful waterfall in Europe in Northern Iceland.

Wandering through the April tulip fields near Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Camping in the hills above the ACA campus in Sagunto, Spain.

One of the top 10 lunch spots in the UK in the dunes near Bamburgh Castle in England.

Group photo of ESDES (the ACA program in Spain) on top of the Miguelete in Valencia, Spain.

Students on a school trip and locals passing by in the square underneath the great aqueduct in Segovia, Spain.

A Conversation with Dr. Kent Davis, PUC’s 2017 Educator of the Year

On April 27, 2017,  the PUC Church sanctuary was packed full of students, faculty, and staff, all excitedly awaiting the announcement of PUC’s next student-selected Educator of the Year. As PUC tradition states, the winner is a tightly kept secret known only to a few people on campus and is announced at the annual Educator of the Year Colloquy.

When Dr. Kent Davis’ name was announced, there was loud and extended applause for the ever popular chemistry professor and department chair. As he sat in the seat of honor on the platform, the audience was treated to funny stories from his wife Rachelle Davis, a fellow PUC faculty member in the department of music, and touching stories from a few close students.

Not everyone has the privilege of taking classes from Dr. Davis, so we asked him a few questions to get better acquainted with the man behind the 2017 PUC Educator of the Year award.

Describe your typical work day.
I generally arrive at my office around 8 a.m. I make final preparations for my class at 9 and then go teach it. Afterwards I talk with students, make assignments covering the material from class, do other administrative tasks, or just relax for a bit. I often spend the noon hour in wind ensemble or chorale rehearsal before going back the chemistry offices to get ready to supervise labs for the afternoon.

When you were younger, what was your dream job? Is teaching similar?
I don’t know if I had a “dream” job, at least after the firefighter, astronaut, zookeeper, etc., stage of early childhood. I started college as an engineering major and switched to chemistry after my first year. My 20-year-old self would be horrified at the idea of standing in front of people and speaking out loud for a living. So no, teaching is, in that way at least, about as far from what I would have expected as possible.

How did you end up teaching chemistry at PUC?
My wife, Rachelle, was teaching music at Washington Adventist University (then Columbia Union College) and I was teaching as an adjunct professor at a Catholic women;s college in DC. The position in chemistry at PUC opened with the likelihood of a soon to open position in music and we decided to come to PUC.

Tell us about your family.
My wife, Rachelle, is a violinist who teaches in (and chairs) the department of music at PUC. Our elder son, Ethan, is a freshman at PUC Prep and our younger son, Benjamin, is a fifth grader at PUC Elementary. We have two dogs, Sammy and Gigi.

We hear you love to bake. What is the most delicious thing you’ve ever made?
I’m fairly critical of anything I bake so I don’t think I’d apply terms like ‘most delicious’ to things I made but I make a pretty good loaf of bread. We got a bread maker as a wedding present and I started there but soon got into sourdough. I’ve had my sourdough starter for about 20 years now. I feed and water it daily kind of like a pet (that I plan to eat). The sourdough experience has led me to explore other uses of bacteria/yeast cultures in food like cheesemaking. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert and many cheeses need to age for several months which makes experimenting difficult. But a nice dollop of fresh homemade goat cheese on a slice of freshly baked sourdough is quite enjoyable.

What are your other hobbies?
In another twist my 20-year-old self would be surprised to learn, since coming to PUC I have become a runner. In 2016 I ran over 1,000 miles and in 2017 I have run about 800 miles so far. The trails in PUC’s forest, the adjoining state forest, and the ridge between Angwin and Calistoga are great. I try to be out there around dawn, when I think it’s at its most beautiful. I also enjoy traveling. I’ve visited all 50 states and, in the last few years, I’ve been in Sweden, Costa Rica, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan.

What was the last book you read?
“Big Chicken” by Maryn McKenna is about how antibiotics changed agriculture and the way we eat. I just finished reading “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown to my sons. Currently I’m reading “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance and “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer (inspired by “Big Chicken”). I don’t usually give a lot of thought to what mix of books I read at once but it surprises me a bit that none of these recent selections are fiction.

From left to right: Dr. Eric Anderson, former PUC president; Dr. Kent Davis; and Dr. Nancy Lecourt, PUC academic dean

What does it mean to you to be named the 2017 Educator of the Year?
I very much enjoy teaching so it is its own reward, but it’s very nice to hear from others that they think you’re doing a good job. On the one hand, I think since I’m Educator of the Year I better show why by being better at the parts of teaching I hate (like grading). On the other hand, I feel a little freedom to experiment more with my teaching (as in can I teach physical chemistry without lecturing).

What is your favorite thing about teaching?
Seeing my students grow and learn and become successful is very satisfying. Talking about hard problems and seeing students struggle (along with me) and gradually catch on is also a lot of fun.

What is your favorite thing about PUC?
The location. I run in the forest and along mountain ridges almost daily. I walk to work every day. Most people at PUC live close by so  it’s a real community in a way most other places I’ve worked have not been.

Why should someone choose to study chemistry at PUC?
We have a long history of students having success in achieving their goals. If you do well in chemistry (or the sciences in general) at PUC, you will be well situated to do well in medical school, dental school, pharmacy, or doing study in science at a higher level.

You knew it was coming—is PUC the best school to study at to get into Loma Linda medical school?
To get into any medical school requires dedication to study, ability to avoid of distraction, capable and available teachers, and a culture among your classmates that supports excellence. I think PUC has that. Of course, students who find these less important than the ease of getting to Taco Bell or luxury living accommodations probably may not be PUC material but those values suggest they might not be getting into medical school anyway.

Students, keep an eye on your PUC email inbox! Soon you will receive information about how to nominate a professor for the 2018 Educator of the Year award.