Kenneth Bruen is a 20-year-old sophomore at Southwestern Adventists University (SWAU), in Keene, Texas, and is driven with definite plans for his future. Bruen credits his goal-driven abilities to his mother, Loida Zwetzig, who works in the SWAU cafeteria, and his uncle Rock Olderferness, a physical therapist in the Philippines.
“Throughout my years of being a mother, I pray to God for Kenneth to become an honorable man,” Zwetzig said, and her prayers are being answered. Bruen is fascinated with the human body movement and that was where he decided for his future. His mother is also an inspiration. She has sent at least three of his cousins to nursing school and Bruen hopes to continue to also help his family just like her.
“My mother has been providing for her family all her life back during her time in the Philippines and continues to this day,'' Bruen shares. He cares about his hometown in the Philippines, the community he grew up in before he moved to the United States. Once he becomes a physical therapist, Bruen wants to help his hometown of Villaba Leyte in the Philippines by building a new basketball court in the center of town. This might be an outlandish dream, but he is confident about what he’s going to do for his future.
In August of 2020 while living in New Jersey, Bruen’s high school religion professor Webster Sterling encouraged his students to sign up for Adventist colleges. As a high school senior, Bruen skimmed through the list of Adventist colleges from across the United States and discovered SWAU.
“I wanted to come to Texas because that was when my life medically changed forever,'' he shared. While Bruen has great plans he has had a few hurdles. While on vacation in Texas in 2017 he experienced a collapsed lung for the first time from something called a spontaneous pneumothorax. Thankfully Bruen is okay but this experience only made his drive to succeed more real.
Bruen is also a student DJ at 8.3 The Journey radio station on the campus of SWAU. He is on air Monday-Friday from 11 pm to 2 am and records announcements, Bible-related talks, as well as prayers and short stories.
“My favorite thing about the station would probably be working with the staff. I love my bosses, my co-workers, and the other students that work there,” Bruen says. He thinks it is cool to share the word of God through music on the radio.
Olerferness, Bruen's uncle known as Tito Rock, is also a huge inspiration as to why he chose a Kinesiology major. He often watched his uncle Tito Rock's work and was astonished.
Like every student at SWAU Bruen has a story. What sets him apart is his drive and goals. He wants to help others, grow himself professionally, and ultimately make his mother and family proud.