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Vision Quest: A Program of Exploration.

Vision Quest is for incoming first-year students who are exploring academic, career, and personal interests. Whether you are trying to narrow down your major interests or would like to gather more information about yourself in relation to Dominican's programs, Vision Quest is the program for you!

Vision Quest Hawk Hill Field Trip 2014

Steve Wood (Teaching/Research Lab Technician) led Vision Quest students on a field biology excursion. We began at Hawk Hill in San Rafael, CA, greeted by a local conservationist. We scoped for hawks and took in the beautiful scenery (11-14-14). Later we scoped for seals at the Point Bonita Lighthouse and ended at the Marine Mammal Center.

What will students do in the Vision Quest program?

  • You will be enrolled in HCS 1000 Vision Quest Seminar (1.0 unit) as led by First-Year Advisor Christina Mayes. This seminar focuses on major and career exploration.

  • You will be enrolled in RLGN 1178 The World's Religions (3.0 units) as instructed by Professor Scott Sinclair.

  • You will explore and identify personal values, interests, skills, and strengths.

  • You will meet faculty and students who will visit the Vision Quest Seminar to give you a glimpse of the richness of their programs.

  • You will engage in a community of other curious, exploratory students.

  • You will learn how to navigate your general education requirements and create your spring schedule of classes.

  • All students in the Vision Quest program work with the same academic advisor and faculty partner.

  • All students create a personal website to document their Dominican Experience as well as share their reflections on their informational interview(s) and other aspects of their exploration process.

Vision Quest Field Trip to Muir Woods 2014 Thank You

As always, this program would not be as inspiring without the dedicated guest presenters and facilitators.

Vision Quest thanks the following for their support this fall 2014 (in order by appearance in program): Scott Sinclair, Lynn Sondag, Arthur Scott, Rev. Robert Haberman, Fr. Luke Palumbis, Lianni Castro, Maria Graciela Carranza, Judy Halebsky, Vanessa Ioannides, Giulia Welch, William Phillips, Steve Wood, Denise Lucy, Alice Cochran, Julia Van der Ryn, Martha Nelson, Ruth Ramsey, and Chase Clow.

In addition to these spirited faculty, staff, and Dominican friends, we would also like to thank the following students for their involvement: Victoria Grajeda, Chris DiCarlo, Brittany Mitzner, Daisy Solis Cortes, Susie Abarca, Payton Hagyard, Donovan Hernandez, Aaron Virgino, Nicole Liston, Mindy Chen, Jessica Hernandez-Bivian, Nicole Alvarez, and Salwa Yaser.

Vision Quest Prayer with Arthur Scott - Muir Woods 2014

Arthur Scott (Assistant Professor, History/Social Cultural Studies) led the Vision Quest students in a Native American prayer in the heart of Muir Woods, CA. Students appreciated the natural beauty of mother earth and father sky (above, 9-9-14). The origins of the Vision Quest program come from the Native American tradition in which young people search for what they are to do in the world.

Each week, Dominican faculty or staff will lead in class interactive presentations. Here is Lynn Sondag (Chair, Assistant Professor, Department of Art, Art History, and Design) leading the Vision Quest students through an art exercise on how to stencil and create a flip book (bottom left, 9/2/14). Maria Graciela Carranza (Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry) led students in learning about pH levels during a in class lab presentation (bottom right, 9/23/14).

Vision Quest Chemistry with Dr. Carranza 2014

Vision Quest Art with Lynn Sondag 2014

Vision Quest Field Trip Greek Orthodox Church 2014

Scott Sinclair, the World's Religions instructor, introduced students to the history of the Greek Orthodox religion (9-9-14)

Vision Quest Field Trip Greek Orthodox Church 2014

Students were given the time to walk around the Greek Orthodox church to look at the art more closely (Novato, CA, 9/9/14).

Christina Mayes and Scott Sinclair Vision Quest Hawk Hill Nov. 2014

Christina Mayes, First-Year Advisor, and Scott Sinclair, The World's Religion Professor at Hawk Hill (11-14-14).

Vision Quest Hawk Hill 2014

The group determined Edward's wingspan, which compared to that of a turkey vulture! (11/14/14)

Vision Quest Hawk Hill 2014 - Golden Gate

Some students couldn't miss this photo opportunity by the Golden Gate Bridge (11/14/14).

Vision Quest Highlights from Fall 2013

VQ Exploratorium 2013a

The Fall 2013 Vision Quest (VQ) Seminar traveled across the Golden Gate Bridge on a voyage of discovery to the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco. The students were joined by Dominican's faculty: Psychology Professor, William Phillips, Organic Chemist Professor, Ken Frost, and Graphic Art Professor, Steven Polacco. Four VQ Student Leaders and a number upperclassmen also collaborated. This learning group was led and organized by the First-Year Advisor, Christina Mayes.       (photo taken by E. Mayes)

    Students learn a great deal in and out of the classroom. The purpose of Vision Quest is to inform students of the many diverse academic programs. It also connects students to services and resources such as Study Abroad, Tutoring, and Career and Internship Services.

    VQ Student Feedback 2013:

    • "I really enjoyed our field trip to the Exploratorium! I also really enjoyed our class in the science building and experimenting with acidity in household items. I also really enjoyed learning about the Spanish minor and decided to pursue a minor in Spanish because of her presentations. The presentation on studying abroad was also very interesting and informative. I am really considering study abroad." 
    • "I enjoyed most, that all the different instructors came to class explaining what and how the academic classes are.  I also enjoyed the presentations of the instructors, making the academic more creative and approachable for us students and me.  I also found the discussions and answering the questions of the instructors helpful, to understand the academics more thoroughly."
    • "I loved the trip to the Exploratorium! Every week it was nice to have a different topic covered and find out about the different opportunities on campus. Vision questions definitely brought me closer to Dominican." 
    • "I like how someone from each major came in and how it gave us the opportunity to see what DU offers...I really had fun in this class! Very interesting to see different opportunities." 
    • "I enjoyed the Exploratorium a lot! It was a blast and a great bonding tool. I wish I could go back! I also learned a lot from teachers and staff members." 
    • "What I liked was how enthusiastic you are towards our success and our discovering and declaring of majors." 
    • "I feel I have been educated enough to pick the right major for me." 

    Faculty involved in the Vision Quest program give engaging and thoughtful presentations. Some would share their personal journey to becoming a Professor, while others gave real life application of their field of study.

    Sample of the Fall 2013 Curriculum:

    • Communication Skills and the 21st Century Student - What do employers really want? The Chair of Communications and Mass Media Study, Bradley Van Alstyne and Public Speaking Instructor, Stuart Horne, set up radio equipment to place the VQ students live on the Penguin Radio for impromptu interviewing. Both instructed the students on how to conduct an Informational Interview as well as an Elevator Speech.
    • Community Engagement and Art: Topic - Service Learning The Chair of Art, Lynn Sondag, and Director of Service Learning/Philosophy Instructor, Julia Van der Ryn shared a video displaying the impact of meaning making messaging through art. Their presentation expressed the value of Service Learning which is the Community Service component for some courses, as well as, connecting art to all aspects of life.
    • Reflection through the Humanities: Preservation of Cultural Heritage The Chair of Art History, Leslie Ross, and Professor of Political Science, Christian Dean, gave an overview of art history and how there are crimes within the art world destroying our cultural history. Students took away snapshots of historical war crimes that impacted political policy and messaging to civilizations. 
    • Psychology of the mind or is my mind playing tricks on me? How does research play a role in this field of study and other disciplines? The Co-Chair of Psychology, William Phillips, led the students through visual perception activities to demonstrate theories in the field of Psychology. He also gave a breadth of knowledge of our Psychology program requirements and careers based upon this area.
    • You are our future leaders - Do you usually feel like a leader or a follower? Professor in Business and Leadership, Alice Cochran, led the students through a team building exercise. The students became alive and empowered through this demonstration.
    • Study Abroad: Where will you be traveling next? Study Abroad Advisor and Instructor in Business and Leadership, Giulia Welch, gave a brilliant visual overview of the Study Abroad program. The images of past students made this option of study abroad feel possible. The students were guided in an exercise identifying their motivations to study abroad and why the experience will forever change their perspective.
    • Science and Writing: Do Chemistry and Poetry have anything in common? Yes!  Chemistry Professor, Maggie Louie, and English Professor, Judy Halebsky, joined students in the Science Lab to conduct a basic group science experiment and then transitioned to exercises in poetry. The students were challenged on critical thinking and expressive writing. The creativity spoke to the many ways students learn in the classroom.
    • Career and Internship Services Career Counselor, Vanessa Ioannides, instructed the students on how to create a resume. This exercise was also built upon an online assessment the students completed before class to identify their various skill sets. Students learned a great deal on professional language and structure in resume writing. Even if the student has never had a job, the student can still articulate and pitch themselves to a potential employer or internship.
    • All students attended the Dominican Job Fair, Major and Minor Fair, and Group Field Trip to the Exploratorium.
    • All students completed an Informational Interview with a person of interest such as a faculty, staff, student, or community member.


    How do I sign up?

    If you are interested in this Vision Quest program, contact your Admission Counselor today!

    Once admitted and completing the placement testing process, select "yes" on the Pre-Registration Form for the Vision Quest Program.

    You may also contact the first-year advisor directly, Christina Mayes, at (415) 458-3781 or at

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