Faculty Feature: Mark Kilwein of Rehabilitation Sciences

Dr. Mark Kilwein, professor of Rehabilitation Sciences, enjoys a career full of change, taking new opportunities as they arise.

Kilwein’s 18 years at Clarion University have brought him pleasure in teaching and creating student organizations.

Kilwein was born in Bethel Park in Allegheny County. He grew up with his mother, father and two brothers. Watching his father and older brothers teach as professors gave him the push to pursue a teaching career.

“I envied the academic lifestyle and wanted to change the course of my career,” he said.

Kilwein attended the University of Pittsburgh for his undergraduate degree. He went on to earn his masters and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Ohio State University.

His introduction to teaching began in graduate school at Ohio State. Kilwein taught Intro to Psychology for four years and taught as an intern at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. He also taught part-time at California University of Pennsylvania and Duquesne University while working as a psychologist.

Kilwein spent some time working in the field at the Virginia Hospital in Pittsburgh. He worked at the Center for the Treatment of Addictive Disorders, helping patients in drug and alcohol rehab. He specifically worked with dual diagnosis patients, who had both a mental illness and a drug addiction.

Kilwein came to Clarion University in 1997.

“I was working as a clinical psychologist, and when I saw the job opening at Clarion in rehab science, to be honest, I didn’t know what it was…But when I looked at the [job] description, I thought, ‘Hey, that’s me.’”

Kilwein teaches substance abuse and intervention classes at Clarion. Substance abuse classes are his favorite to teach.

“I like substance abuse. It’s where all my war stories are from,” he said.

Since coming to Clarion, Kilwein has set up and sponsored the Rehab Science club. It has been 10 years since he founded the organization. He handed off his role as adviser to Dr. Mark Lepore just this year. Kilwein said he was ultimately drawn to his career due to his passion for teaching and love for entertaining students.

“I always loved teaching because you get a lot of personal connections with your students, and you get a lot of feedback as to how you’re doing,” he said. “You know, what I love is when I’m funny in class, and I get a laugh. That’s a thrill for me. But, I think, to be honest, my favorite part is probably seeing former students working responsible positions for human service agencies around the area.”

In his spare time, Kilwein enjoys working out, winemaking and traveling. He will be flying to Sweden and Denmark with his wife and two sons for spring break.

Kilwein loves seeing his students succeed. Throughout his years of teaching, he has noticed one common insecurity in students.

“Everybody thinks they’re shy. Don’t let that hold you back,” he said.

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