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.

Get to Know Pastor Rufo, PUC’s New Chaplain

Joining Pastor Rufo in ministry to the PUC community is wife Anna, daughter Madison, and son Jadon.

By Becky St. Clair

Pastor Kent Rufo has accepted the call to be PUC’s new chaplain. He will be moving his family from Illinois over Christmas break and will begin serving the campus in January. During his 13 years of experience as a pastor, Rufo has served as lead, youth, and associate pastor, chaplain, Bible teacher, collegiate ministries director, and missionary. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Southern Adventist University in 2000 and then completed his MDiv at Andrews University in 2004. Rufo has experience leading prayer and Bible study groups, visitation, counseling, and outreach, among other ministry activities. He is currently serving as lead pastor at Downers Grove Adventist Church in Illinois, where he has been since January 2017.

We caught up with him as he begins figuring out the logistics of their cross-country move and says goodbye to his current church family, and now introduce to you: PUC chaplain Kent Rufo!

Tell us about your childhood. Where did you grow up, and what was life like there?

I grew up in northwest Ohio, in suburbs south of Toledo. My father is from the Philippines, yet the town we moved to was predominantly white. Originally the neighbors weren’t so sure about having an Asian next door, but as the years went by we made some really good friends in that neighborhood. So I’m excited to be moving to a place known for its friendly community and look forward to getting to know our new neighbors.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid I wanted to be an NBA player. Being that my father is 5’6” and my mother is 5’4” my odds of becoming a professional basketball player were small. Growing up it was assumed I would go into the medical field, preferably a doctor of medicine. I had thoughts of medicine until college.

When did you first feel the call to become a pastor?

I don’t know if I really “felt” the call to ministry at first. I knew I wasn’t going to medical school but wasn’t sure what was next. I prayed for a “fleece” and 3 people said I should go to the Seminary … all in the same day. I went. I never interviewed with a conference yet one person from Mountain View Conference called me to ask if I’d like to teach and preach. They were looking for a bi-vocational pastor who could teach full time and minister part-time in a college town. Until this day, I have no clue how he got my name. Since I accepted that call, the Lord has clearly opened up ministries for me and my family.

You served as a missionary in Korea for two years; what was something significant you learned during that experience?

Easy question: The importance of studying the Word! My Korean counterpart had just graduated from the Seminary and shared Bible study tools. I will forever be grateful. I also had the chance to read the Great Controversy and the Desire of Ages (twice). It transformed my life. I also learned about the power of prayer.

So how much Korean did you learn?

“Chogum.” That means ‘a little.’ Every day I remember less. I was never fluent but I could get around.

Your passion in ministry seems to be young people. What inspired that?

Actually, I feel the way God created me was with “strengths” in relationships. I’m not a big-show personality and I believe in authentic relationships. I think I’ve just felt I can be honest with young people and that seems to connect. This drives me. I also believe we have not challenged our young people enough. When I was growing up it was enough to just “keep our kids Adventist.” Obviously, that wasn’t enough. I have a passion to see a group of young people study the Word, pray with huge results, and change their worlds.

Speaking of keeping young people in the church, tell us how you plan to be a part of that effort by working with the young people at PUC.

Jesus was not about keeping people in the church. In John 6 he actually says something he knew would make many leave his side: He wants to challenge people, young and old, to commit to his cause. It means sacrifice, but it also means to expect God to do powerful things through them. I’d really love to see how students take hold of a vision and run with it. If the Spirit is leading, it CANNOT fail.

What made you decide to accept this position and come out here to California?

My wife is still asking me this question. She said she would NEVER move to California. Seriously, though, it is the calling to minister to collegiate-age students. Empowering students to start impacting their community now, rather than after graduation, is one of my main passions.

What are some methods you use to stay in tune with what young people need and want in their spiritual lives, even as times change?

Listening. That’s really it. I can’t keep up with everything new: methods, pop culture, media. The principles of scripture transcend time and changes. Most of what I can do is listen. Oh, I do like to read about ministry models, too, but they are not my “gospel.”

What is one of your favorite spiritual quotes and why is it meaningful to you?

One of my favorite Bible verses is John 16:33 which states, “I have told you these things so that in me you might have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I love this verse because it reminds me that no matter what my world looks like he’s already won!

Outside of scripture, one of my favorite authors is Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. He states, “God is either of no importance, or of supreme importance.” I think the world is looking for authentic Christians. The reason people are turned off by Christianity is that there is a lot of hypocrisy and mediocrity.

What are some books you recommend to young people?

Outside of the Bible, I’m a believer in “The Desire of Ages.” I love that view of Jesus. As for the power of prayer, I recommend “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson.

Tell us about an important spiritual mentor you had as a young person, and how their mentorship has influenced your own.

To be honest, when I first became a Christian, my biggest spiritual mentors were other college students: Chris Bullock and Teofilo Matos. They prayed for me. They showed me how to walk with Jesus. This all stemmed from our friendship and desire to change the world around us. I think that is why my heart is in Christian community and challenging the status quo.

How can the community you serve (that’s us!) support you and your family as you strive to support our students?

Gift certificates for a local massage therapist. Ha! Just kidding.

I think my family is just looking to be part of the community. Oh, both my wife and I worked as baristas at a coffee shop so we do like some good coffee every once in a while. (Hint, hint!)

Tell us more about your family!

My wife, Anna, is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated with an elementary education degree but doesn’t feel full-time teaching as her calling. She’s been a teacher, teacher’s aide, administrative assistant, assistant community service coordinator, and a rockin’ wife. It’s important to her to be involved, but only behind the scenes.

My daughter, Madison, is 10; she loves people and wants to be around them at all time. My son, Jadon, is seven; his shell is a little harder to crack, but once he opens up—especially about superheroes—he slowly warms up to people. My wife is like my son.

What are some of your hobbies and interests? What will we find on the walls of your new office on campus?

I’m not really the biggest decorator, but I love being Filipino so you might find a Filipino flag. I do like sports and to work out. I am a Cleveland Browns fan, too. Go Cleveland! (Hey, a Cleveland fan is a loyal one, though we don’t win too often.)

Meet PUC’s Transfer Student Counselor

Please join us in welcoming Kharolynn Pascual Smith to our admissions team! Kharolynn has many years of experience in Adventist education and has worked as a teacher, registrar, and academic advisor. Most recently, she worked at the Napa Christian Campus of Education and the Office of Education at the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

To help introduce her to our PUC family, let’s get to know Kharolynn!

You have a lot of experience in the education field. How do you think that will translate into being a great transfer student counselor?

There are obvious parallels to the skillset I used as a teacher and registrar, such as knowing how to create and execute plans and analyze a transcript. Beyond that, I have a heart for students and believe cultivating relationships is key in helping them succeed. Taking the time to know about a student’s history and goals was critical for me to be able to facilitate learning opportunities and understand what resources were needed. I see this as a valuable component to working with transfer students. There’s a story behind why they’re not coming to PUC straight out of high school, and whatever it is, I want to be a helpful resource as they transition to this step in their educational journey.

You’ve lived in the Napa area for a while. What is your favorite place to eat in the area? Favorite place to shop? Favorite place to relax?

There is so much great food across the valley, it’s hard to pick only one! My go-to in Napa is Il Posto Trattoriatasty food, friendly and professional service, and I don’t have to save up for months to eat there.

I enjoy the adventure of discovering fun stuff I didn’t know I “needed” at HomeGoods, as well as the convenience of online shopping from home.

Getting a facial at Glow Skin & Body Care is quite lovely and relaxing.

What advice would you give to someone questioning whether a college education is worth it?

I would talk to them about their passion and purpose, then encourage them to pursue the education that would put them on the path to fulfilling those. I think education of any kind is an investment in yourself, so whatever type is necessary to cultivate the knowledge, skills, and experience to prepare you for whatever you are called to do is worth it.

What are you looking forward to the most working at PUC?

I find it both personally and professionally gratifying to contribute to a person’s success story, even in a small way. I have witnessed as many types of success as there are students, and I love seeing their satisfaction and pride when they accomplish what they set out to do. I’m excited to be part of the network of support that helps students live their dreams.

What inspires you to work in the field of Adventist education?

I’m biased, but I believe Adventist education is the most important and impactful ministry of the SDA Church. In her book Education, Ellen White wrote, “Love, the basis of creation and of redemption, is the basis of true education.” (16) I’m inspired by the Gospel of Grace and feel privileged to participate in a global learning community that values the importance of “true education.” Ideally, Adventist education fosters whole person development within the framework of redemptionthe restoration of humanity to what God created us to be: in a love relationship with Him that motivates us to share His love with others. That relationship informs every aspect of the life we choose to leadvalues, relationships, beliefs, career because of the way God calls us to live: to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Adventist education at its best helps prepare students for this life of discipleship.

What was the last book you read?

I often have a few books going at the same time, but recently finished The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, and End-Time Events and The Last Generation by George R. Knight. Both of them have ideas I’m still pondering.

What book would you recommend to a college student? It can be educational or just a good read.

The teacher in me wants to recommend something edifying, but for an escapist brain break, I like fiction that ranges from David Baldacci’s thrillers to Jodi Picoult’s novels exploring contemporary ethical issues. Perhaps the compromise is biographies and memoirs because I’ve usually gleaned something valuable from the life experiences of others, whether or not they are people I admire.   

What was your favorite class in college?

College was more than a few years ago for me, so I primarily remember favorite professors even though I wouldn’t count some of their classes among my favorites. Religion and Society from Charles Teel (a PUC alum!) made a lasting impression on me in terms of my understanding of what Christians are called to be and do in the world.

What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a procrastinator by nature, but I’ve learned the necessary disciplines of effective time management and organization. I used to tell my students those were among the most valuable life skills they could learn and I was living proof it is possible.

What are some of your hobbies?

I appreciate hobbies that involve creativity of some kind, like music, theatre, baking, and fiber crafts. It’s a bonus if they can be combined in some way. I also occasionally binge-watch Netflix.

If you’re interested in transferring to PUC, Kharolynn is ready to assist you! Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with her now, or to learn more about the transfer admissions process.

You’re Invited to Visit Pacific Union College

The fall is a great time for you to start visiting college campuses to see what kind of school is the right fit for you. If you’ve never been to Pacific Union College, we invite you to come experience our beautiful campus in person. Whether you come on your own for an individual visit or attend one of our special College Days events with hundreds of other high school students, you’re guaranteed to have a great time. Visiting will give you a good idea of what it’s like to be a student here!

Why should you make an effort to visit PUC? There are so many reasons! During your visit, you will:

  • Tour the campus with a student ambassador
  • Meet with a professor in your major of interest
  • Sit in on a college class*
  • Discuss scholarships and financial aid options with a financial counselor
  • Talk with your admissions counselor about next steps
  • Worship with our campus community*
  • Attend social activities with other students*
  • Stay in one of our seven residence halls*
  • Eat a delicious meal in our Dining Commons
  • Experience the nearby town of St. Helena and Pier 39 in San Francisco*

*Available during all College Days events OR weekday visits by request (if possible)

There are two upcoming College Days events held this fall: The first is scheduled for October 14-16, 2018, and there will be another November 4-5, 2018. If you aren’t able to make it to either of those events or if you would like to visit on your own, scheduled individual campus visits are offered Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required; call (800) 862-7080, option 2 to make arrangements with our visit coordinator or email visit@puc.edu. You can also fill out a visit request form on our website at puc.edu/visit.

Pro tip: Check out our “Six Tips for Visiting Colleges” blog post for ideas on how to make the most of visiting a college campus you’re visiting for the first time.

Can’t make it here in person? No problem! Take a walk on campus from the comfort of your living room by taking PUC’s new virtual tour. Available 24/7, it’s a great way to take a look around PUC at your own pace.

Find where you belong at PUC. Sign up for your visit now!

The Grind: A Showcase of a Student Job on Campus

By Michael Morales

What’s something everyone worries about when first starting life at a new school? I’ll tell you: Meeting. New. People. Even if you manage to get out there and meet new people, there’s no guarantee your schedule will allow you to maintain those friendships! Meeting new people is definitely a stressful part of college. However, it can also be one of the most memorable things about your college experience. If you find yourself nodding your head while reading the above statements, have I got a tip for you!

Try applying for a job in the Grind—the quaint little coffee shop located inside the Campus Center! Why do I suggest working at a coffee shop is a good way to meet people? Here’s a list of reasons I compiled from simply being a barista myself:

The Coffee

One of the perks of being a Grind employee is the fact you get to surround yourself with a drink that makes the world go around—coffee. Working as a barista really opens your mind to the world of coffee and the drinks involved in it. Trust me, you’ll easily be able to explain to your friends the difference between a caramel latte and a caramel macchiato. After being immersed in coffee culture, you can use that as a talking point with other coffee enthusiasts on campus (of which there are many).

The Customer Service

A great skill working at the Grind will help you develop is a positive work ethic and cheerful attitude towards customers. Since you’ll be a barista/cashier employee, you have the chance to make a service interaction truly memorable and personal. If a person is unsure about what to order, you can use your developed coffee knowledge to recommend a drink that suits the customer. Before long, you might see the faces of people who come often to get their coffee fix. You can learn their name, their favorite drink, and even become good friends!

The Team

Apart from being a master barista with a knack for good service, is perhaps the best part of working at the Grind—your team. Your co-workers have got your back whenever you need them, and they know you got theirs too. Each person is so unique with their own set of skills that makes the Grind a truly unique work experience. Some can dance, some can stock items like a beast, and some can make drinks faster than you can say “Man, I love Colloquy!”

Overall, the Grind is a great place to work if you’re eager to meet new people at PUC. You meet customers and co-workers alike, each with their own personality traits that makes the student body so diverse. Not to mention you get to say “Yeah, I’m a barista now” to anyone you meet. That, in and of itself, should be motivation enough to get out there and give it a shot! Who knows, you might find yourself loving it a latte.