Paul Hwang is an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology. He was born and raised with a younger sister in Wheaton, Illinois. Both of his parents are originally from Seoul, South Korea. When he isn’t working, he enjoys eating traditional Korean food, cooking/finding new recipes, lifting weights, going on hikes, and shadow boxing to music. He has also been to every state in the United States except for Alaska.
“I got my degree in Biology from Wheaton College and switched my major about five times,” Paul remembers. “God is so good at using professors and sharing their passion at different connections in life to help you find your path. That’s what happened to me. I never thought of being a professor during my undergraduate studies.”
Growing up, Paul remembers struggling with being overweight and had an experience that changed his life. While his family visited their extended family in South Korea, they had decided to go hiking outside of the city. They were able to find a popular hiking trail that led to the top of a mountain. There, back in the day, a tourist advisor waited at the top awarding medals for hikers who finished the trek.
“Although I loathed physical activity back then, this hike was breathtaking and one where I wanted to actually reach the top. Yet I was not conditioned enough to do so even when my mind desired to get there. Unfortunately, the hike was pretty difficult for me and I could not make it to the top. I remember walking up only halfway when I had to stop. My dad went to finish the climb alone while my mom, sister and myself waited. My mom wanted to take a picture of me as if I went up the full way,” Paul reflects. “To realize that my body was incapable, yet I was motivated to reach the summit was heartbreaking. Further, to pose and smile as if I was climbing was one of the lowest moments in my life. The next scene changed my life forever. My Dad came back from the top with the medal and gave it to me. Smiling, he told me that he loved me and that I can do anything I set my mind to like climbing this mountain. This was the catalyst that set me on my weight loss journey post-trip that eventually transformed into a love for the field of Exercise Physiology. It is so amazing how God has used my lowest point to be reshaped into a fitness testimony that is now being used for His glory. I’m constantly in awe of how He has intricately created our bodies to respond to movement in an orchestrated manner.”
Paul continued his education and moved to Waco, Texas, to finish his PhD at Baylor University. He remembers God using his fitness testimony and leaders in his life to help find his passion in Kinesiology. Upon completing his dissertation, he was advised to apply to as many different schools as possible for a teaching position. Paul applied to two schools and was amazed by Vanguard’s mission statement. He has been at Vanguard for the past two years.
Vanguard is so thankful for Paul’s journey, love for the Lord and his passion for Kinesiology when teaching our students.
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