We’d like to introduce you to Kiwon Kwak, PUC’s newest faculty member in the department of exercise science. He brings to the position his experience in personal training and a passion for physical health that spills over into everything he does. As a graduate of PUC, he’s familiar with our campus and our hill, and we are happy to welcome him back as an instructor. Welcome home, Kiwon!
Name: Kiwon Kwak
Title: Instructor of Exercise Science
Faculty since: 2018
Fall Quarter Classes: Elementary Weight Training, Physical Fitness, Fitness for Life, Physiology of Exercise, Intro to Kinesiology
Education: B.S. in exercise science, Pacific Union College; M.S. in kinesiology—exercise science, California Baptist University
What drew you into your current profession?
To be completely honest, I didn’t know I wanted to become a professor until fairly recently. During my time at PUC, I worked as a tutor for the Teaching & Learning Center and loved helping students learn and building relationships with students. I wanted to not only help my tutees (yes that is a real word) academically, but also mentor them through life with relationships, jobs, passions, hobbies, etc. After I graduated from PUC, I went straight into personal training and coaching, and really enjoyed educating and teaching people about fitness and health, but got frustrated with the business side of training. I still continue to train individuals in my free time, but my true passion lies in teaching future generations about strength and conditioning, exercise physiology, and health/fitness.
Why did you choose to teach at PUC?
During my senior year here, I remember my professors telling me they could see me going to grad school to do research or possibly even teach. At this point I hadn’t even thought about applying or going to school and was focused solely on training. I remember on graduation day I was talking to my exercise science professors, telling them had I applied for graduate school and wanted to go into teaching, and they had nothing but words of encouragement for me. They even jokingly said they might see me back at PUC one day—and here I am! I’m glad to be back and I hope to educate and inspire my students to pursue their passions, just as my professors at PUC did for me.
So you’re not new to the area, but what are some things that have changed between when you were a student and now?
Nothing major has changed since I’ve been here, and I appreciate that. The one thing that did surprise me was they serve real meat in the market. I never thought I’d see the day!
When you’re not in the classroom or your office, what do you enjoy doing?
I have a bunch of different hobbies. The biggest one is definitely working out. If I’m not in my office or teaching a class, I’m most likely in the weight room. I’m also a bit of a nerd, so anything related to tech, computers, gaming, and movies I really enjoy. I also love the outdoors, so as many weekends as I can, I try to go camping, white water rafting, fishing, boating, recreational shooting, and exploring nature.
So what were you doing prior to coming here to teach?
For the past three years I’ve been living in Loma Linda, running my own personal training/strength and conditioning business while attending grad school full time.
Tell us something we may be surprised to learn about you.
I was actually born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the U.S. when I was about five years old. I started kindergarten here so I basically grew up here, but during my childhood I grew up speaking both Korean and English. Nowadays, I mostly speak English and consider that my primary language, but I do speak Korean somewhat fluently. Unlike many Korean Americans I know, I’m not very big into Korean culture such as KPOP and Korean dramas, but I do enjoy Korean food, including Korean BBQ!