This is the fifth year in a row that a Cherokee HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) student has been selected to receive this award.
Hileman was also recently featured in the National Healthcare Association publication for the month of February in honor of celebrating Career & Technical Education Month.
Cherokee health educator and HOSA advisor Tommie Loudy said she witnessed Hileman begin to flourish in the classroom her sophomore year, a change which seemed to occur overnight.
"The once unconcerned-for-her-grades student had become the front row answering-all-the-questions student," Loudy said. "The once uninvolved high-schooler began to grow into the knowledge thirsty young lady seeking every opportunity available to her. She's competed at the HOSA state level, led several committees, given up weeks of summer vacation to attend ETSU's Medical Camp and medical simulation lab camps, and has completed over 100 of clinical internship hours."
Loudy noted that although she is still a high school senior, Hileman is enrolled in pre-requisite nursing courses through the local community college.
She will be taking the industry certification exams in Certified EKG Technician in April as well as the EMR First Responder in May, and she'll be eligible to submit her application to the Northeast State Associate Degree RN program immediately after graduating high school this May.
"If accepted, she will become a Registered Nurse by the age of 19," Loudy added. "Aris desires a career in emergency room nursing and plans to earn certification as a paramedic in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a flight nurse. Aris is truly an example of how CTE enables students to pursue their aspirations."
The purpose of the TRP STAR Award is to build a pipeline of future rural physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Students shadow local healthcare providers and are provided a scholarship to further their studies toward becoming healthcare providers themselves.
The hope is that one day they will return to their hometown to practice.
In her scholarship essay Hileman said her plan is to practice nursing in the rural community where she was raised, because that where the need is greatest.
Giving back where I have been raised to pursue my dreams makes serving in my community special," Hileman said. "My small hometown has allowed me to witness firsthand the importance of serving those closest to you. ... Without health professionals in my small town, who will care for my friends and loved ones when they become ill or need surgery? Learning from health professionals now in my community only inspires me to not only meet but exceed their successes. I am looking forward to the day that I get to give back to my community by providing care to those who need it the most."