This is Diana Avans. She has been the chair of the kinesiology department for the past 15 years. Her last name is pronounced, "ay-vuns." She currently lives with her adopted german shepherd dog named Wyatt. When she is out to dinner, her ideal meal is a medium-rare steak because she does not cook steak at home.
"Originally, I am from Newhall, California. A lot of people don't know where that is. I always say it's near the amusement park Magic Mountain and they know from there."
Newhall is about an hour and a half north from campus. She would later move to Tulsa Oklahoma to complete her undergraduate degree at the evangelical liberal arts school, Oral Roberts University. There, she was a walk-on sprinter for the track team and ran the 100, 200 and 4x1, without competing in high school. Diana would stay in the area and get her master's degree from Oklahoma State University before getting her PhD from the University of Minnesota.
After graduating, she taught at California Polytechnic State University and Sam Houston State in Texas.
"I like Texas a lot. There are a lot of country areas there but there are also more progressive areas too. I liked Minnesota as well despite the cold. I don't have a lot of family and my brother followed me to Oklahoma so I still make my way out there frequently because he has kids and all that." Before committing her life to kinesiology, Diana graduated as a exercise science pre-med major, wanting to become a coroner/medical examiner which is a professional who conducts autopsies. She eventually committed her study to Kinesiology after taking a year off from undergraduate and teaching at her alma mater.
"I liked kinesiology because it's still about the body and movement. Also, it's more prevention versus treatment. A lot of things like heart disease could be avoided when the body stays active and you eat properly."
When she is not working, Diana enjoys spending her time around animals and traveling. She has been on safari in Africa where she was able to take a walking tour where she encountered a couple of protective lionesses as well as their cubs. Looking back, Diana says she would consider being a zookeeper if she was not a professor.
Recently, Diana went snowshoeing in the Swiss Alps. She has also been there in the summer when she hiked cross-country and tried unpasteurized cheeses on different dairy farms. She also had the opportunity to visit the famous Gruyere cheese factory solidifying her love for cheese. She hopes to hike more national parks throughout the United States.
This June she is going to Vancouver for a conference and plans on going to Machu Picchu later in the year. She currently fellowships at Foothill Family Church in Foothill Ranch and resides in Irvine.
Vanguard is so thankful for Diana’s heart in administration, education and her leadership in the classroom.
- university news