Jessica Weaver giving acupuncture in student clinic


In her 20s, and living in San Diego, third-year Won Institute student Jessica Weaver was familiar with acupuncture. But it wasn’t until many years later, as an adult, that she decided to make it her life’s work. The path to getting there was not necessarily a direct one, however. When Jessica was 24 years old, she joined the Peace Corps. Making a positive impact in the local community was something Jessica has always felt was important in her life.

While stationed in a small town in Niger, West Africa, Jessica was assigned to work with the community education initiative. Some important concerns in her area were girls’ education, resource management, and AIDS awareness.

It was at the Peace Corps hostel, where volunteers gathered for big occasions, that she met her future husband. His post was about 14 hours away from hers, in a much more remote part of Niger.

After their time with the Peace Corps ended in 2006, the couple moved to Philadelphia. Jessica began a career in the corporate world as a Business Process Analyst with Global Fit. Although she enjoyed the job, she still felt a calling to do something different with her life.

As a runner and an exercise enthusiast, Jessica had been getting acupuncture treatments for years. The process helped relieve minor aches and pains. Yet, she still didn’t look to acupuncture as a career. After Jessica got pregnant with her now three-year-old son, Jessica realized that she and her husband had a decision to make. Would she continue her career in the corporate world, where the demands of her job would surely lessen time with her family, or would she listen to her calling to give back to the community? The decision was made, and Jessica enrolled in the Won Institute’s graduate program for acupuncture.

“Won was the only place to go, with its reputation and geographic location”

“Won was the only place to go, with its reputation and geographic location,” says Jessica. Now about to graduate, she said, “the Won experience has been a fulfilling one.”  She is the recipient of the first scholarship ever awarded by the BUCK Cancer Foundation, whose motto is “Bridging & Uniting Cancer Knowledge.” Their mission, says Jessica, is to spread understanding that cancer patients do suffer side effects, but conventional treatment is not the only option.  Alternative medicine may alleviate some symptoms and improve quality of life. Jessica said, “I appreciate the opportunity to volunteer with BUCK at their public appearances.”

“Meditation is one of the most useful courses at Won”

As a student at Won, Jessica has learned many things that she will take with her after graduation. One of the most important things, she says, is meditation. “Meditation is one of the most useful courses at Won,” she says. “It helps us understand acupuncture by recognizing the relationships of yin and yang within the body and mind.” Jessica says that when she makes the time to practice meditation, she is much more aware of her qi.

When asked if she had any parting words she’d like to share, she said that some of the best advice she has ever heard for any kind of development was at her orientation at Won, where Dr. Bokin Kim told the incoming students to “keep a beginner’s mind.”

“I think of the beginner’s mind as an approach that starts with all possibilities available, and with no preconceived notions that can disrupt the learning process. It is also the opportunity for great creativity and potential.”

Jessica’s goal is to eventually open her own acupuncture practice, but first she plans to work with other acupuncturists. She would also like to work in a hospital setting or with a volunteer recovery organization.

For this wife, mom, student, and healer, the road ahead looks bright and balanced!

Won Buddhist Studies Programs - Fall 2024 Final Deadline 8/1