news-category: Academics

Biology Major Interned with Gardner-Webb Alumnus at Practice Where she was a Patient

Walt Rumfelt and Kyla Pascucci at Orthocarolina
PA Walt Rumfelt, a Gardner-Webb Alumnus, mentored GWU biology student Kyla Pascucci for the 2024 Spring Semester.

Kyla Pascucci’s Experience Inspired Her to Continue Studying for Career in Medical Field

By Isabella Brown, ’24, Intern for University Communications

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Through an internship with OrthoCarolina in Shelby, N.C., Gardner-Webb University senior Kyla Pascucci, ’25, gained a unique opportunity to use her knowledge and skills within the medical field. Pascucci is a biology major with a concentration in biomedical science.

Before her internship, Pascucci had been a patient at OrthoCarolina and was already familiar with their exceptional care. She was playing lacrosse when her hip started to cause her pain. As her symptoms became worse over the next few weeks, she made an appointment at OrthCarolina. There, Physician Assistant (PA) and Gardner-Webb alumnus, Walt Rumfelt, worked quickly to assess Pascucci’s situation and provide her with referrals and treatments to improve her mobility.

Rumfelt graduated from Gardner-Webb with Bachelor of Science and a master’s in physical education from Gardner-Webb. He earned his master’s in Physician Assistant Studies at Chatham University.

Pascucci shared how Rumfelt helped her recover from her injury. After seeing an impingement and labral tear on a MRI, Rumfelt referred her to a hip specialist who gave her a few treatment choices. Through the long journey of surgery and recovery, Pascucci expressed that she couldn’t have done it without the help of the doctors at OrthoCarolina.

As she shadowed PA Walt Rumfelt, Kyla Pascucci
learned how to read X-rays.

The impact of their care remains with her to this day. “I know they have patients’ best interests in mind and they care about what they are doing,” said Pascucci.

As an intern, Pascucci gave back to patients through the place that is close to her heart. She shadowed Rumfelt, who took the time to explain to her the conditions of the patients they saw and possible treatments for them.

“The most meaningful part of this experience was the real-world exposure of medical conditions,” she noted. “As someone who is looking to go into the medical field, this experience helped me decide if it is something I could see myself doing in the future.”

Because she was involved in hands-on experience, Pascucci was inspired to continue learning more about how the human body works and how to better care for it. “Working in the medical field has always been an interest to me, and specifically orthopedics, because it just fascinates me how intricate the body is and how just one little issue can cascade into much larger ones,” she shared. “In the future, I want to be able to provide the relief that Walt does for his patients, as well as help athletes like myself get back to the sport they love.”

Isabella Brown is a senior English major.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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