A Look at PUC’s Mission Trip to Kenya

This past spring break, March 22 through April 1, a group of 30 students from PUC went to serve in Kenya on a mission trip, along with several faculty and staff. The group helped with the construction of a secondary school for women and painting a new non-denominational Bible training center, along with teaching Vacation Bible School at a primary school and assisting in a nearby health clinic.

“It was a spectacular trip! I’m pleased PUC provides many opportunities for students to travel to distant destinations, learn about diverse environments and cultures, serve developing communities, and share their love of God with others,” says Dr. Floyd Hayes, professor of biology, and one of the faculty who went on the trip.

What made this mission trip particularly unique was students could also receive academic credit for either Field Biology or Vertebrate Biology, taught by Dr. Hayes, as the African environment offered a wealth of learning opportunities of organisms, species, and ecosystems, quite different from what students were used to studying in Northern California.  

Below, Dr. Hayes shares a few highlights of the trip.

It was a grueling overnight journey by plane, with a brief stop in Istanbul, Turkey. However, we were all excited to be traveling to Africa, which would be a new continent for most of the participants.

After arriving in Nairobi, we traveled on paved and unpaved roads for about eight hours to Mara West Camp, which overlooks the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, and enjoyed seeing a lot of wildlife along the way. We stayed in comfortable tents surrounded by wildlife and enjoyed tasty meals in a dining room.

On our first day of mission work, we visited a primary school where the Maasai children cheerfully greeted us with songs. The Maasai people were traditionally semi-nomadic cattle herders, but in the past few decades, they have settled into permanent communities and are still building new schools to properly educate their children for life in a modern world.

We brought along with us some books we donated to the sparsely stocked libraries of a primary school and a new secondary school. They need many more books, which we hope to supply more of during future trips.

During the next four days, we assisted in the construction of a building at a secondary school for women that had just opened in January. The new building would include administrative offices, science labs, and a computer lab. We hope to help them stock their new labs with equipment.

We also assisted with the painting of a new non-denominational Bible training center.

A small crew dug a ditch for water lines. I was proud of how hard the students worked each day while working construction and painting.

Each day a small group of students taught Vacation Bible School to a different group of students in the primary school. Students also assisted in a nearby clinic and a few were especially thrilled to help a woman give birth to a new baby. We all enjoyed making new friends with the Maasai people.

Each evening we enjoyed a campfire and an inspirational worship service led by Pastor Vuong Tran.

We spent two full days on a safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, observing Africa’s iconic wildlife including elephants, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, rhinos, hippos, hyenas, jackals, crocodiles, and ostriches. The highlights were a cheetah and a leopard, which are difficult to find.

Interested in getting involved with World Missions at PUC? Stop by the chaplain’s office to talk with Fabio Maia, service and missions coordinator, or you can call (707) 965-7190 or email fmaia@puc.edu to learn more.

A Spring Checklist for Accepted Students

Happy first official day of spring! Wherever you are, we hope it’s a beautiful day.

If you’re an accepted student, the spring is a great time to get a lot of important things taken care of.

Pay your enrollment fee & fill out a housing form. You will need to pay a $200 enrollment fee before registering for classes, as well as submit a housing form. You can do both at puc.edu/reserve. If you pay your fee before May 1, $100 of it will be put towards your fall tuition bill!

Apply for PUC scholarships. If you haven’t already, check out what scholarships PUC offers. There’s still plenty of time to write those essays! See a full list of PUC scholarships at puc.edu/scholarships. Be sure to check out the Maxwell Scholarship, which is worth approximately $116,000!

Submit your FAFSA. One of the most important things you can do to prepare for college is to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is an online form you will submit each year that determines your eligibility for student financial aid. This information is used by the Student Finance office to put together your financial aid award. Note: If you have 10 minutes, you can use PUC’s net price calculator to get a preliminary estimate of how much aid you may qualify for. Get started now at puc.edu/npc.

Register for classes. You will be assigned an academic advisor in the program you’re planning to study and will work closely with them to come up with your perfect (or relatively close to perfect!) class schedule for the fall. This professor knows the ins and outs of your major and works with you to foster academic, spiritual, and personal growth. Your advisor will be one of the most important people you work with on campus during your years at PUC since they need to approve your class schedule each quarter to help make sure you stay on track to complete your degree!  

Submit your health forms. Turning in your health forms before you get to campus will only make your future life easier! You can find the forms at puc.edu/healthservices.

If you have any questions while working on these items, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Admissions office at admissions@puc.edu or through our 800 number at (800) 862-7080, option 2. Our team of counselors is happy to help!

Prepared for Success: An Overview of PUC’s Top Programs

By Sarah Tanner

With over 70 different degrees and programs, PUC’s academic opportunities are wide-ranging and diverse. From world languages to physics to fine arts, students are encouraged to find a field that best suits their interests and talents. And with so many options available, everyone can find a major to match their specific gifts. We chatted with a few students in PUC’s top programs to find out what makes them so great.

Nursing & Health Sciences

One of PUC’s most popular tracks, the department of nursing and health sciences draws an increasing number of students each year.

McKenna Freier, sophomore

“I grew up watching my mom go through nursing school and got to learn alongside her at a young age. My passion for nursing sparked when I was very young, and since then it has only grown stronger. I want to help people get back to being healthy and living their lives to the fullest. I really appreciate how much the PUC department of nursing is there for the students. They give us many resources to help us along our journey as they know it is a difficult one. Once I was accepted they helped me work through everything and made sure I was ready to begin my nursing career with confidence. If I ever have questions or concerns they always have someone readily available to help.”

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.

Kenneth Grae McKelvie, sophomore, honors student

“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.”

Biology

Another popular choice for students hoping to attend medical school, the biology program offers a comprehensive overview of life sciences.

Victoria Gabardi, sophomore, honors student

“I was convinced to change majors from biochemistry to biology at the end of my freshman year after I realized how many classes from the department of biology would prepare me for medical school. As a biology major, I have the opportunity to take immunology, histology, and advanced human anatomy courses before I even attend medical school. Having a background with the material from these courses will prepare me well for the field of medicine. My favorite thing about the department of biology is all of the unique opportunities I receive. Learning biology can take place outside of a classroom. For instance, this spring break I am going to Kenya with my tropical biology class to do a mission trip while also taking time to learn biology. There are a lot of biology classes that involve going on hikes in nature or going to the beach to study marine science. I also love how elegant biology is. It can encompass something as small as a single protein in an organelle to something as large as rainforest ecosystems. It connects life from all levels of organization.”

Exercise Science

Another widely pursued program is exercise science. The department features programs designed to prepare students for careers in physical education and the exercise sciences, which are often combined with pre-professional programs.

Amy Robles, sophomore, honors student

“Something I appreciate about the department is that they inform you well about the different areas in which this major is useful. They require classes that cross over with the subjects I will also learn about in graduate school, including anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and exercise physiology, among others. With this degree, I plan to apply to the physical therapy program at Loma Linda University. My future goal is to specialize in pediatrics and work with kids that have disabilities. I think PUC’s department of exercise science is preparing me for this career by introducing me to many of the topics I will be learning in graduate school and teaches us about sports and athletic injuries that I may encounter as I advance in my career.”

Visual Arts

Vastly different than the sciences, PUC also offers a number of humanities-based majors. Degrees in visual arts range from photography to graphic design to film, and many things between.

Keren Castro, freshman, photography

“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.”

Communication

An increasingly popular option at PUC is communication. The program includes three emphases to choose between, as well as a handful of minors.

Hailey Johanson, sophomore, honors student

“My favorite aspect of being part of the department of communication are the professors. I strongly believe my department has some of the most dedicated, smart, and passionate faculty at PUC. My department is run by strong, intelligent women, and their life experiences and candor really speaks to me and motivates me to pursue this degree. Likewise, I appreciate the in-depth knowledge my degree encompasses. There are so many aspects of communication; its applications are everywhere. Communication is a crucial facet of the human existence and is an integral part of every field. I am of the opinion the opportunities for a communications major are endless. It is for these reasons I love my department as well as my major.”

The personal testimonies of so many students speak for themselves, and regardless of one’s choice of department, pursuing a degree at PUC is sure to be a rewarding experience. Those interested in learning more about the programs offered on campus are encouraged to explore PUC’s website to learn more about the available courses of study at puc.edu/academics.

PUC Offers the College Support You Need

Starting college can be challenging, but at Pacific Union College, we have great resources in place to help students succeed. There are several invaluable resources and support services at your disposal when you’re a PUC student and if you’re struggling with something, it’s important to remember you aren’t alone. There are people in place who are available to answer your questions or provide you with additional information—you just need to ask for help.

What tutoring is available at PUC?

Yes! Our Teaching & Learning Center offers free group tutoring in over 25 different subjects, ranging from business to languages to science. Most lower-division GE courses have tutoring options available. If you’re struggling with a class but don’t see a tutoring option available, talk with the helpful TLC staff and they can set you up with a small group or an individual tutor. There’s also a writing lab available to students who would like input and direction on writing papers—it’s a great service and one you should absolutely take advantage of!

Learn more about the Teaching & Learning Center.

What can I do at the library besides study and check out books?

In the age of Google, a lot of people think libraries are obsolete, but that’s definitely not the case! At PUC’s Nelson Memorial Library, books reside there of course, but also online databases, academic search engines, journal articles, and periodicals. Through the library, students have access to over 30,000 journals and 100,000 ebooks, and over four million books through interlibrary loan services. If you need to use a computer, there are also about 60 public workstations available within the library and the computer lab areas, along with large group study rooms if you need a place to study with friends for that Anatomy test. There are also very knowledgeable librarians available to help you navigate all of these resources, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Get helpful tips for using PUC’s library.

Is there someone who can help me with registering for classes?

Once you’re a student at PUC, you will be assigned an advisor in the area you’re studying. 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 figure out what to major in.

If I don’t know what I want to study, is there someone at PUC who can help me?

Some of you may not know what you plan to study yet, and PUC’s Career & Counseling Center can help you figure out the path you want to be on. They have a career counselor who can give you a career test and one-on-one help with career counseling. If already you have an idea of what career you want but aren’t sure how to get there, they can help you with your resume, cover letter, and even conduct some mock job interviews with you. There’s also an annual Career Fair, held every winter quarter, where you can meet with professionals from many different industries to network and learn more about the possibilities available after college. It’s a great event to provide you with a chance to see how your education at PUC can help you continue on to new and exciting places.

Meet Sydney Johnson, PUC’s career counselor.

What services are there if I get sick?

Did you know PUC has a free health clinic available to students? It’s true! Health Services provides students with a wide array of services, including appointments with a physician, physician’s assistant, or a nurse, along with medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), medical supplies, and diagnostic in-clinic testing. The Health Services clinic strives to be a welcoming professional place offering the highest quality of care possible, and wants your experience here at PUC to be a happy and healthy one! We are so thankful to have the clinic on our campus to provide our students with excellent care when they need it.

Get to know PUC’s Health Services clinic.

If you have questions about the student resources and support services available to PUC students, you can talk with one of our knowledgeable admissions counselors, who can give you more information. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now.

Spotlight on PUC Scholarships

Have you looked at the scholarships PUC offers yet? I encourage you to take a look at PUC and what we can offer you—it might surprise you! For example, did you know each year, we award over $30 million dollars in financial aid to our students? That’s a lot of money!

When you look at the costs for college, it’s important to keep in mind 100 percent of PUC students receive one or more forms of financial aid. Don’t feel discouraged by the sticker price! We are committed to working together with you and your family to make a high-quality Adventist college experience possible to help you on your journey to reach your academic goals and dreams, whether it’s through scholarships, grants, or helping you understand the loan options available to you. When taken wisely, loans are a helpful resource that enables students to access a great education, complete a degree, and enter the workforce prepared for their career. Did you know on average, students with bachelor’s degrees earn over $1 million more in their lifetime than those with only high school diplomas? College is absolutely a worthwhile investment!

On the scholarship topic, PUC offers scholarships based on a variety of factors, including leadership, participation in music groups or athletic programs, and of course high GPA and high test scores. There are also scholarships available depending on your program of study, like the Adventist Mission Scholarship, available to theology and education majors. Visit puc.edu/scholarships to see all available scholarships.

In particular, I want to highlight PUC’s merit scholarships, awarded through the President’s, Dean’s, Trustee’s, and Founder’s scholarships, which are based on unweighted cumulative GPA and test scores and are automatically given to students who meet the necessary criteria.

President’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA)
3.75-4.0 GPA or 29+ ACT / 1350+ SAT
$13,000 / 4-Year Total: $52,000

Dean’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA)
3.5-3.74 GPA or 26+ ACT / 1200+ SAT
$12,000 / 4-Year Total: $48,000

Trustee’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA)
3.25-3.49 GPA
$10,000 / 4-Year Total: $40,000

Founder’s Scholarship (Renewable with a 3.0 GPA)
3.0-3.24 GPA
$9,000 / 4-Year Total: $36,000

For high-achieving students, PUC offers the prestigious Maxwell Scholarship, worth up to a whopping $116,000. That’s no joke! Students meeting qualifications receive full tuition based on their unweighted cumulative GPA and test scores; requirements are a 3.9-4.0 GPA and a 34+ ACT or 1500+ SAT.

There are also several other PUC scholarships worth checking out, like the Legacy Scholarship for students whose parents attended PUC, and the Mostert Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes students for selected leadership roles held during their junior and/or senior years. Visit puc.edu/scholarships to see all available scholarships. If you have questions about what you might qualify for, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of financial aid counselors, who can give you a financial aid estimate that shows what it might cost for you to attend PUC. It’s really helpful! Call (800) 862-7080, option 1 or email studentfinance@puc.edu to talk with a counselor now.

Five Reasons to Come to PUC’s College Days

If you’ve never heard of College Days, it’s PUC’s special visitation event, held three times a year, and is two and a half action-packed days where you can experience what life at the college is like. It’s a great way to see if PUC is the right fit for you.

The next College Days event is scheduled for February 10-12, 2019, and we would love to have you here for it! Come experience everything PUC has to offer as you decide where to attend college. Sign up now!

Here are just five reasons why you should consider coming to College Days next month!

You will get to know more about PUC’s prime location

One of the best things about PUC is our location. Not only is it a beautiful place to live with many opportunities to get out in nature, but the campus is also blessed with a close proximity to incredible places like Napa, San Francisco, Mendocino, Tahoe, and lots more. You can visit a museum in the city or spend time on the coast. Your options are limitless.

During College Days you’ll get to experience both Napa and San Francisco in person! So be sure to have your camera handy to capture some really Instagram-worthy sights. We’ll take you downtown Napa for an afternoon and you’ll also get to spend time at Pier 39 in San Francisco.

You will gather insight into academic programs

During College Days students will discover more about college academics. Between dinner with faculty, sitting in on real college classes, and experiences showcasing many of PUC’s departments, hopefully, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of what program you want to join!

You get to attend a special financial aid workshop

Monday morning offers College Days participants a financial aid workshop allowing you to learn all about how to pay for college. From PUC specific scholarships to information on FAFSA, you’ll be able to speak with a knowledgeable financial aid counselor to learn how an Adventist education is possible at PUC.

You can hear about PUC directly from PUC students

While you’re visiting PUC for College Days, you’ll constantly be interacting with current students, which is the perfect way to really understand the heart and soul of the Pioneers community. You will stay in their rooms, join them for meals in the cafe, sit in on their classes, worship with them, and attend a panel where you can ask them any question you might have.

You will immerse yourself into college life

Come be a Pioneer, if only for a few days! One of the best things about visiting PUC for College Days is being on campus for several days and really getting to experience what it’s like to be a student here. As you walk around campus, try picturing yourself as a PUC student. Envision how great it will be to make this place your home for your college years. Make the most of your visit by asking questions and taking advantage of every opportunity to talk with current students and professors to see if PUC is the right fit for you.

We hope you will join us for our February College Days. Don’t forget to sign up! You can also email visit@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080, option 2 to learn more and for information about our travel reimbursement policy.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Jon Carstens

Long-time art and history lover Professor Jon Carstens has dedicated three decades of his life to PUC. His interest in various styles, eras, mediums, and artists brings a lot to the table for our students, and we’re glad to have him on our faculty. You can discuss all this and more if you catch up with Professor Carstens in Fisher Hall between classes—and trust us: bring a maple bar.

Name: Jon Carstens
Title: Associate Professor of Art History
Email: jcarstens@puc.edu
Faculty since: 1979-2004, then back in 2014

Fall Quarter Classes: History of Western Art I: Prehistoric to Medieval, History of Western Art II: Renaissance to Modern, History of American Art, History of Women Artists, History of Asian Art, History of Modern Art to 1945, History of Contemporary Art Since 1945, History of Photography and History of World Cinema

Education: B.A. in art history and history from the University of Redlands; M.A. in art history from the University of California, Riverside

What started your passion for history and art?

Ever since I was a young child I always had an interest in history and the biographies of noteworthy persons in particular. In the tenth grade, I took a college prep class called Humanities which incorporated history, literature, philosophy, and art history into an integrated three-hour block. I was immediately taken with the interdisciplinary nature of art history as it combined the best of all worlds for me; that is, the study of history seen through diverse cultural events of artists/architects/designers and their respective works. Art was more than just a pretty picture hanging on a wall; it was an expressive document which told me about the creator and their relationship to their supreme being(s), their fellow humans, themselves and to their environment.

So what made you want to teach?

In part, it is in my genes. I come from a family of teachers. My mother fostered a progressive educational environment both at home and at school; her approach stressed the joy of learning in all academic areas with special emphasis on the humanities. She never missed a chance to observe our fascination with something and provide us with the requisite learning materials to enhance that interest. I can still remember my excitement going to the mailbox to get the most recent issue of Life magazine when I got home from elementary school on a Friday afternoon. Little did I know Henry Luce’s prospectus for the magazine to be “Show Book to the World” would become my mantra as a teacher: “To see and take pleasure in seeing; to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed.” Ultimately, as Pablo Picasso once said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” That is why I am a teacher.

What is your favorite period in art history?

Attempting to answer that is akin to responding to a question as to who is my favorite child or grandchild. As a generalist, I genuinely have a passion for nearly all art historical/cultural epochs. If pressed, I am all over the place, as I have a special affinity for the paintings of American Realists Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper, while at the same time I am enthralled with the woodblock prints of the Japanese Ukiyo-e masters Hokusai and Hiroshige. If I could turn back the clock, I could easily add to my specialty in late 19th Century American Realism by concentrating anew on the art and architecture of Japan and Islam.

Which artists inspire you?

One of the most inspirational artists for me is Maya Ying Lin. Her ability to respond to the divisiveness of the Vietnam War by creating a memorial in Washington, D.C. which miraculously heals and unifies at the same time was and continues to be a remarkable achievement. From a stylistic standpoint, her work in such a minimalist fashion touches humanity at an incredible number of universal levels. I never cease to be amazed at her ability to remain such a picture of dignity and grace when faced with intense criticism when she was awarded the commission as a college student.

Where did you grow up?

At the age of two, my family moved from my birthplace in Beatrice, Nebraska, to San Bernardino, California, where I grew up. There I attended Barton Elementary, Highland Junior High, and San Gorgonio High.

What are some of your hobbies?

I don’t know if these are considered hobbies, but I enjoy home renovation both in terms of interior and landscape design. The research which goes into choosing and coordinating colors, materials, furniture, plants, trees, and lighting is my mode of personal expression and I enjoy it very much.

Going local, what is your typical order at the Grind?

Since my wife makes me different blends of tea which I bring to work from home, I don’t go to the Grind; that could all change, however, if I find out they offer maple bars and cinnamon rolls.

Tell us something about yourself we might be surprised to learn.

For eight years I raced karts at road courses in Davis, Dixon, and Prairie City here in Northern California.

Where is your favorite place in the world, and why?

If we are talking somewhere in the U.S., my favorite place would be Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with its four-seasons climate and spectacular scenic combination of lakes, forests, mountains, and rolling hills. In Europe, it would be the Tuscan region of Italy as I never cease to enjoy the thought of being transported back to the Renaissance while strolling the streets and attending the museums of Florence.