15 Things to Do in the Napa Valley as a PUC Student

There’s a lot to do during your first year at PUC. While you’re settling into your program and making new friends, there’s also plenty of sights in the Napa Valley to see! You may think Napa is stuffy and only for rich people looking to go wine tasting, but there’s so much more to Napa than you know. There’s plenty to do that doesn’t involve wine, or requires a lot of money. So whether you’ve visited PUC every year you’ve been in academy or you’re on campus for the first time, it’s time to get out of your dorm room to explore everything Napa has to offer, and have a lot of fun too!

Eat a macaron from Bouchon Bakery
Photo from thomaskeller.com

There’s are many reasons why this bakery is world famous, and one of them is their absolutely delicious macaron. The first of several, Bouchon Bakery in Yountville makes about 300,000 of them every year, with the most popular one being pistachio, and has been churning out delicious treats since 2003. Stop in to pick up one of their seasonal flavors or find out which one will be your tried-and-true go-to.  

Catch a movie at the historic Cameo Cinema
Photo from afar.com

In operation since 1913, the Cameo Cinema is a charming single-screen theater in the heart of downtown St. Helena which features state-of-the-art technology in sound and projection, including Dolby 3D and Dolby Atmos Sound (it is one of just a few theaters in the country to have this). The Cameo is the perfect place to take a date or go with a group of friends, with ticket prices clocking in at just $8.

Be amazed by Castello di Amorosa
Photo from napavalley.com

Did you know the Napa Valley has the only authentic medieval 13th-century castle in the U.S.? It’s true! The impressive Castello di Amorosa is over 136,000 square feet and has 107 rooms. There’s the Great Hall with 2-story replica Tuscan frescoes painted by Italian artists, a drawbridge, a dungeon, and a medieval church; spread across eight levels—four above ground and four below. Even if you only drive up to take an Instagram photo, it’s a sight worth seeing! There are also chickens, goats, sheep, and even peacocks that wander the grounds.  

Wander the Sculpture Meadow at the di Rosa
Photo from dirosaart.org

The di Rosa Center for Contemporary Arts houses a significant collection of notable works, exclusively by Northern California artists. There’s also a 1/3-mile Sculpture Meadow trail that winds its way past dozens of outdoor sculptures. It’s a beautiful place to visit on Sabbath afternoon!

Stuff your face at Giugni’s Deli
Photo from winnie.com

A PUC favorite for decades, stop by Giugni’s in downtown St. Helena and eat the sandwich of your dreams. Choose from a variety of delicious bread options and customize it with avocado, horseradish, chipotle mayo, and too many cheeses to even list. Make sure you get your sandwich with Giugni juice, a top secret family recipe that will take your sandwich to the next level.

Eat an English muffin from Model Bakery
Photo from yelp.com

For almost 100 years, Model Bakery has been a Napa Valley staple. Specializing in breads, pastries, and desserts, there’s plenty of things to make your mouth water. Their English muffins are literally world famous, with Oprah and chef Michael Chiarello counted as huge fans. Stop by in the morning when they’re fresh from the oven!

Enjoy the vistas at the top of Mount St. Helena
Photo from sacbee.com

The hike up the majestic Mount St. Helena in nearby Calistoga is a 2,068-foot climb over 5.1 miles to the summit. Once you’re at the top though, your hard work is rewarded with breathtaking views of the valley terrain below. On clear days, Mt. Tamalpais in Marin and Mt. Diablo near Walnut Creek can be seen, and some have even claimed to see Mt. Shasta, 192 miles away. Put the second-highest peak in the Bay Area on your list of Sabbath afternoon hikes!

Admire the artwork at the Fine Art Photography Gallery at Mumm Napa
Photo from napavalleynow.com

Take a stroll through this small but impressive fine art photography gallery. Currently on display is the “Poetry of Light” collection by famed photographer Ansel Adams, comprised of 27 gelatin silver prints, including several of his most famous photographs from Yosemite National Park.

Explore the Napa Art Walk
Photo from napaartwalk.org

The Napa Art Walk is a rotating exhibit of public art sculptures displayed throughout downtown Napa featuring artists from the western U.S. The featured sculptures change on a bi-annual basis, so keep a lookout for different pieces of art to pop up during your years at PUC. See if you can Instagram them all!


Learn about Napa’s history at the Napa Valley Museum
Photo from napavalleymuseum.org

This small, cozy, educational museum always has a rotating schedule of exciting exhibitions, which typically focuses on local and regional artists and student showcases. On permanent display is a collection of approximately 15,000 items on the story of Napa Valley’s history, including geological specimens, Native American artifacts, and other items of cultural significance from the mid-1800s to the present. Currently on display in the main gallery is “Walt Disney’s Trains,” a family-friendly exhibition presented in partnership with San Francisco’s Walt Disney Family Museum that explores the influence railroad trains had on Disney‘s life. Watch their calendar for other exciting upcoming exhibitions!

Paddle down the Napa River
Photo from yelp.com

Spend an afternoon kayaking or paddle boarding down the Napa River. Grab some friends and see things from a different perspective as you paddle by river flora, fauna, and wildlife. You might even see a dolphin or two, which are occasionally spotted in the river!    

See our very own Old Faithful Geyser
Photo from calistogaspa.com

Yes, it’s cheesy, but put visiting the Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga on your to-do list! While it’s not quite as prestigious as Yellowstone’s geyser, you can still enjoy this natural wonder nevertheless. Besides watching the geyser erupt, you can also visit the on-site petting zoo, home to mountain goats, sheep, and llamas. Use your PUC ID card for a discount.

Wander the stalls at Oxbow Public Market
Photo from oxbowpublicmarket.com

Oxbow Public Market just might be the go-to place for locals and visitors alike. There’s so much to see and do; from browsing local gifts and products, sampling artisanal goods, plenty of restaurants, and even a market for fresh produce. Everyone has something to choose from! Our personal recommendation? Stop by Kara’s Cupcakes for a mini cupcake to go along with a latte from Ritual Coffee. If your sweet tooth is still craving something, get a scoop of ice cream from Three Twins Ice Cream.

Eat a piadine from Pizzeria Tra Vigne
Photo from yelp.com

On any given night, if you walk into Pizzeria Tra Vigne you’re bound to see someone you know from PUC. A favorite spot for both students and faculty alike, you have to make sure you try their infamous piadine, which is essentially a giant Italian version of a taco. It’s delicious!

Catch a show at the Napa Uptown Theatre
Photo from sfgate.com

A beautifully restored historic landmark from 1937, the Uptown brings in a wide variety of music and comedy acts. Besides admiring the luxurious art deco decor, you can also appreciate that no matter where you sit, it will be a great seat, since the distance from the last row to the stage is just 98 feet. Keep an eye on their calendar for upcoming events.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring!

Student Research Profile: Jessica Edens

Here at PUC, biology students have countless opportunities to get involved with research, oftentimes working alongside professors on projects. Programs are specially curated to not only prepare students academically but also to equip them with real-world experience for success in future endeavors.

Here’s one student’s experience and how they feel PUC helped prepare them.

Who are you?

My name is Jessica Edens, and I’m a senior environmental studies major. After graduation from PUC, I plan to pursue law school and get my J.D.

What did you do?

My internship is with the Bureau of Reclamation within the Department of Interior as a park ranger. While there are many duties, one is working with local non-profits and other organizations to educate youth groups or perform community outreach programs. There are a lot of natural resource activities involved, like trail building and maintenance, invasive species prevention program for quagga and zebra mussels, re-planting of native trees, conservation, and water management.

When and where did you do this work?

My internship is at Lake Berryessa, California. I have worked there since July 2018.

What did you learn?

A big part of being a park ranger is working with the environment while educating people in the hopes of creating or maintaining good conservation practices. It’s trying to spread the idea we only have one earth and we should be preserving what we have.

How did your experience at PUC help prepare you for this experience?

Being an environmental studies major, I took a lot of classes about biology and the environment. There were many classes I took at PUC I am able to use in this internship. So much of the material and topics I learned in the classroom have proven invaluable in aiding my ability to speak knowledgeably on a subject.

Academic Spotlight: Visual Arts

As one of our most interactive departments, visual arts is known for producing student work of the highest quality. This artistic and collaborative community strives to provide real-world experiences, preparing students for their future careers. Learn more about PUC’s department of visual arts at puc.edu/visual-arts and discover the creative pathways available to you in a career in the arts.

Programs offered:

  • A.S., B.A. in Art, Photography Emphasis
    • B.F.A. in Photography
  • A.S., B.A. in Design, Graphic Design Emphasis
    • B.F.A. in Graphic Design
  • A.S., B.A., B.F.A. in Film
  • B.A. in Art, Fine Art Emphasis
    • B.F.A. in Fine Art

A Student’s Perspective

“I picked visual arts because it is something I have been passionate about since seventh grade. Originally, I thought photography was simply a hobby, but as time progressed, I realized it is something I want to gain a deeper education in. One thing I really appreciate about the department of visual arts at PUC is its flexibility. Everyone is open to new ideas and the overall mindset of the department fosters individual creativity. Someday, I definitely want to start a business and have my own studio. I think it is something I will be able to do after graduating from PUC.” — Keren Castro, freshman, photography

Fast Facts

  1. Career Preparation. Visual arts programs provide an intensive approach to studying and creating art in multiple mediums and prepares students for success. Students have interned at Obey, Disney, Airbnb, Buzzfeed, the Napa Valley Film Festival, and Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope.
  2. Artistic Excursions. The department of visual arts takes students on quarterly trips to museums in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as tours of companies like Apple, YouTube, and Pinterest; field trips to historic design spots such as the Eames Ranch and M&H Type; and longer trips to events such as the Sundance Film Festival.
  3. On-Campus Culture. The Rasmussen Art Gallery at PUC presents a variety of art exhibitions each year, where students, faculty, and guest artists showcase their latest work. Additionally, film students premiere their projects at the historic Cameo Cinema in St. Helena every year at the annual Diogenes Film Festival.
  4. Accomplished Graduates. Recent grads have gone on to work with many prestigious companies, such as Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Legendary Films, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Lucasfilm, LinkedIn, RipCurl, Williams Sonoma, and Martha Stewart Living. There are also many alumni working for large ministries like 3ABN, Amazing Facts, and Maranatha Volunteers International.

What You Can Do With This Major

You’re only limited by your imagination for what you can do with a visual arts degree! Here are just a few ideas to help get you thinking about your options.

  • Art professor
  • Artist
  • Film editor
  • Filmmaker
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • UX/UI designer

Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about the department of visual arts or any of PUC’s other programs. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!

Class Registration For Fall 2019 Has Started!

Class registration for Fall 2019 officially started on April 8. If you’re an accepted student, you can register for classes after paying your $200 enrollment fee, and if you pay your fee before May 1, $100 goes towards your fall tuition bill! You can pay the enrollment fee online or call PUC’s cashier at (707) 965-7530 to pay over the phone.

Once this fee is paid, you’re eligible to register for classes with your academic advisor to plan your perfect class schedule—maybe without an 8 a.m. class! For example, if you’re planning to study business, your advisor will be a professor in the department of business (helpful, right?). Your advisor knows the ins and outs of their department’s programs and will be a valuable source for any questions you have about what classes you should take, what major you should consider for your career path, and more. Every quarter your advisor will need to approve your schedule, which is a great safety net for making sure you stay on track to complete your degree! For undecided students, the TLC has an undeclared student advisor who will work with you on what general education classes to take while you explore your options.

If you’re a transfer student …

Transfer students, you will work with your academic advisor for what you should register for, based upon the degree audit completed by the records office. Don’t hesitate to ask your advisor for their input if you aren’t 100 percent sure about what to register for. You can also contact Kharolynn Pascual Smith, our transfer student counselor, for assistance as well. She can be reached at kharolynn@puc.edu.

One more thing!

One other important thing you can do as an accepted student is to fill out the housing information form to reserve your room in the residence halls. If you are an unmarried student under the age of 22, you will be expected to stay in one of PUC’s residence halls, with some exceptions.


If you have any questions about registering for classes or the status of your application, you can talk with one of our admissions counselors in the Admissions office. Email admissions@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080, option 2 to get connected with a counselor now. We’re here to help throughout the entire admission process, and we can’t wait to have you on campus this fall!

Student Research Profile: Emma Payne

Here at PUC, biology students have countless opportunities to get involved with research, oftentimes working alongside professors on projects. Programs are specially curated to not only prepare students academically but also to equip them with real-world experience for success in future endeavors.

Here’s one student’s experience and how they feel PUC helped prepare them.

Who are you?

My name is Emma Payne, and I am a biochemistry major looking to go into biomedical and pharmaceutical research after graduating before going to medical school.

What did you do?

Under the guidance of Dr. Sung, I participated in research of Alzheimer’s disease from a physiological standpoint before continuing on to biochemical experiments. In our experiments, we collected data based on C. elegans worm behavior and its attraction to chemoattractants that replicated the smell of food. I was responsible for making more batches of E. coli food for the worms, incubating new batches of worms, and carrying out new behavioral tests based on the diet and age of worms.

When and where did you do this work?

I was able to work with Dr. Sung in Alzheimer research here at PUC in the research labs of Clark Hall during my freshman year.

What did you learn?

In my research experience, I learned to cement process and create consistent procedures to limit the amount of error in data results. I feel as though my experience in my research with Dr. Sung has been foundational to any future opportunities in research or in my practice in medicine later in life. By experiencing research and the process of exploring what causes biological mechanisms I learned to think abstractly and use information I was learning in my chemistry and biology classes to apply in our experiments. Additionally, I learned by reading the articles of others’ work I was able to see how useful it is to use the research of other’s to the furthering the understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s by working as a community.

How did your experience at PUC help prepare you for this experience?

Previously I curated a love for lab research in high school when I took survey chemistry classes. I have also gotten the opportunity to intern at a clinic in Houston and interact with individuals who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. In having experience and a background in chemistry, however introductory, lead to my ability to look at biological research on a fundamental and chemical level as well as have skills to understand laboratory procedure and tools.

Academic Spotlight: Business Administration

The department of business is another popular choice at PUC and is often combined with the pre-medical program as students seek a well-rounded college experience.

PUC’s department of business prepares students for careers in all facets of the business world with practical training and multiple specialties to pursue. No matter what business program you choose, you will be equipped with problem solving and interpersonal skills that prepare you for graduate school, and the challenges of the workplace beyond.

Programs offered:

  • B.B.A., Emphasis in Accounting
  • B.B.A., Emphasis in Finance
  • B.B.A., Emphasis in Healthcare Management
  • B.B.A., Emphasis in International Business
  • B.B.A., Emphasis in Management
  • B.B.A., Emphasis in Marketing
  • B.A. or B.S. in Business Administration
  • B.S. in Computer Information Systems
  • B.S. in Management for Medical Professionals
  • M.B.A., Business Administration

A Student’s Perspective

“I decided to major in business mostly due to the advice of many physicians that are members of my home church who all wished they had taken business classes when they were in college. After graduating from PUC and medical school, I hope to use my business management degree to help start up my own pediatric clinic. I feel confident the skills I will have gained during my time at PUC will prepare me well as I look toward my career.” — Kenneth Grae McKelvie, sophomore, honors student

Fast Facts

  1. Of PUC’s departments, the department of business consistently graduates the largest number of students with bachelor’s degrees.
  2. The department of business gives out over $10,000 in business student scholarships every year.
  3. The curriculum for all business degrees has recently has been updated and revised and internships are now required for all degrees, helping equip students with real-world experience to succeed after graduation.
  4. The Enactus Club engages in social entrepreneurship, utilizing entrepreneurship skills developed in business classes for service learning projects. Local businesses have recently implemented a number of suggestions from these projects.
  5. Distinguished business department alumnus Loree K. Sutton, ’81, earned the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army in 2005. Less than 1% of all general officers in the Army ever earn this title. She has also received numerous awards, including the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Order of Military Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

What You Can Do With This Major

With a business degree from PUC, your career path options are endless. Here is just a short list of some of the many opportunities available to graduates.

  • Accounting
  • Advertising
  • Banking
  • Fraud examination
  • Human resources
  • Insurance
  • Law firm associate
  • Marketing
  • Real estate
  • Small business owner
  • Stock brokering

Learn more about the department of business at puc.edu/academics. Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about PUC’s business programs, or the other majors the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!

Student Research Profile: Tom Borecky

PUC students Tom Borecky, Lauren Chang, and Mick Borecky presented their research project as a poster presentation at the American College of Gastroenterology national convention in Philadelphia, Oct 7, 2018.

Here at PUC, biology students have countless opportunities to get involved with research, oftentimes working alongside professors on projects. Programs are specially curated to not only prepare students academically but also to equip them with real-world experience for success in future endeavors.

Here’s one student’s experience and how they feel PUC helped prepare them.

Who are you?

My name is Tom Borecky, and I am a senior biology major. I will be attending medical school in the fall and hope to get a master’s degree in public health as well.

What did you do?

I had the privilege of participating in a research project examining the impact of the Affordable Care Act on colonoscopy cancellation rates. I was responsible for organizing and collecting data from over 400 cases to analyze the specifics of the reasons for cancellations, such as demographic information and insurance type.

When and where did you do this work?

I did this work when I returned home from my gap year as a student missionary in Uganda in March 2018. This research was done at the Sierra Nevada Gastroenterology practice in Grass Valley, California. We spent a few weeks collecting and organizing all the data, and had the opportunity to present a poster of the findings at the American College of Gastroenterology annual conference in Philadelphia the following October.

What did you learn?

Throughout my experience, I learned the intricate process of research, which can be extremely detail-oriented and tedious, is essential to produce accurate information that will guide and help people. Also, the skill of learning how to work with others as a team to accomplish a goal was a major achievement from my research experience. These skills have impacted my life beyond the research in tremendous ways.

How did your experience at PUC help you prepare for this experience?

Throughout my time at PUC in the department of biology, the basic skills I have developed through lab such as organizing and processing data in Excel was extremely useful in aiding me in the research process. Also, classes such as Systems Physiology and BIOL 113 allowed me to have a sufficient understanding of the digestive system, which helped guide the conceptual understanding of “why” this research was meaningful.