Dr. Trevor Gillum, director of the Exercise Science program and associate professor of kinesiology at California Baptist University, holds three degrees from three states and lives the quintessential self-proclaimed hipster life in Riverside.
Gillum, originally from rural Oklahoma, began his journey west when he moved to Missoula, Monana, for his master’s degree in health and human performance.
“I wanted to experience different things and see different places and be a dirty mountain hippie somewhere,” Gillum said. “I found Missoula, Montana, on a website and it just came together.”
After completing his master’s at the University of Montana, Gillum moved on to get his doctorate in exercise physiology at the University of New Mexico.
Gillum said he found Riverside and CBU while applying for jobs after graduation. Although he said he had some preconceptions about Southern California, he said he quickly began to see the good in California.
“Oftentimes in Christian education in the sciences, you’re not very well supported in your lab work,” Gillum said. “They want you to do a lot of teaching and not much research but all those preconceived notions went away quickly.”
Gillum began working at CBU during the fall of 2010. He met his wife, Erin, at Orangecrest Community Church and married in 2012. They have a son and are currently in the process of fostering to adopt a girl.
Gillum’s main focus in research is how exercise affects the immune system, and specifically, the individual cell.
“We have two labs: the exercise physiology lab and an integrated physiology lab,” Gillum said. “Oftentimes our subjects are students; sometimes they’re from the community. We bring them in and stress them in some fashion and measure blood or their saliva, trying to unravel how it really works.”
Gillum said he commutes to CBU every day on his bike because he hates the traffic and loves the journey.
“It’s an easy way to start your day and a great way to end your day,” Gillum said. “It’s hard to be on a bike and not have a smile on your face.”
He said he believes in the power of bikes to change the world.
“I’m convinced if we had more bikes the world would be a better place,” Gillum said. “We could talk about health effects: metabolic disease, pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease; political effects: reduced foreign oil.”
Gillum has been learning to play guitar and roast coffee when he is not teaching a class, conducting research or on the bike.
“By the time you put a bike, roasting coffee and playing the guitar you got the ultimate hipster, so that’s basically where I’m at these days,” Gillum said.
His dedication to his field is evident to his students.
“(Dr. Gillum) is a professor who pushes us to learn the material well and is always willing to take time to help us,” said Matthew Reyes, junior exercise science major. “Despite being a relatively young professor, he is truly a knowledgeable and humble teacher. His passion for his field of study has really inspired me to keep striving toward my career goals.”