Motivated by his Battle with Diabetes, GWU Swimmer Plans Career in Healthcare Field

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Riley Brock (’18) Studies Exercise Science to Prepare for Physician Assistant School

Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 9, Riley Brock (’18) of Kings Mountain, N.C., is all too familiar with doctors, Physician Assistants (PAs) and others in healthcare. He always wanted to go into the medical field, but through his experience, has developed a greater desire to enter the profession. “Hopefully, I can provide knowledge and care for patients the way my doctors and PAs did for me,” affirmed Brock, a member of the Gardner-Webb University men’s swim team.

He is majoring in exercise science to prepare for PA school, hopefully at GWU. He feels the hands-on approach of the exercise science program provides students with the knowledge, abilities, and skills to work in a variety of health professions. “Along with learning vast amounts of knowledge about the body and performance, the exercise science professors stress a high emphasis on being a professional in our future careers,” he explained. “This gives me comfort and confidence knowing I will be well prepared after graduating from GWU.”

One of his most beneficial classes was a summer anatomy and physiology course with Dr. Tim Zehnder. “The amount of material covered each day was a lot to handle,” Brock assessed. “Dr. Zehnder made the class extremely fun and enjoyable despite the stress load. He challenged us every day, and it really pushed me academically. And he is a great representation of Gardner-Webb through his strong faith.”

The chance to participate in the University’s Christian atmosphere and close-knit community influenced Brock’s decision to attend and has impacted his educational experience. “I took a recruiting trip to GWU for swimming, and immediately felt like part of a family. The people I interacted with—including coaches, professors and students—provided a genuine level of enthusiasm about me visiting. I knew this was the perfect fit for me,” he offered. “I value the most the relationships I have built at Gardner-Webb and the leadership I have received from coaches and upperclassmen. Coach Mike Simpson (GWU swim team) is the epitome of a selfless Christian leader and our team is molded around his leadership. I am thankful for upperclassmen taking me under their wing and setting me up to be successful.”