Early College Lays Solid Foundation to Success

April 24, 2017 | | Student Success

rebecca hilleary

Spring City native Rebecca Hilleary is a 2014 graduate of the Early College program at ChattState and has gone on to major in clinical research at Campbell University in North Carolina. She hasn’t slowed down since graduating with her associate degree in pre-health from ChattState and plans to graduate with her doctorate in pharmacy in 2020. Rebecca graduated with her associate degree while still in high school and started college with 85 credits making her a junior.

While in college, she has been a part of a wide variety of groups including Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, CPHS Alumni Association, Graduate Clinical Research Organization, and the dance team. “Dance has been a great escape from the rigorous coursework and it has provided me with many lifelong friendships and campus connections,” she says. Rebecca currently works as a Graduate Assistant for the Department of Clinical Research at her school where she works with adjunct professors on course development and training. She also is the president of the Graduate Clinical Research Organization and National Chapter Liaison for the Student Society of Health Systems.

Similar to her time at ChattState, Rebecca took advantage of courses offered at Campbell and organized a plan that will allow her to graduate with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in May of 2017. She says, “The ChattState dual enrollment degree program taught me valuable skills that I attribute to my success today, such as work ethic, time management, study skills, and fundamental science-based knowledge used for pharmacy school.” She also started taking classes toward her degree from pharmacy school. With all of these classes, she takes 20-plus hours each semester and admits that even with all of the success in her life, she still faces challenges and makes sacrifices. “A typical day in the life consists of waking up around 6:30 a.m. and working hard until about midnight,” she says.

Rebecca developed a love for pharmacy at a very young age from her aunt who is a doctor of pharmacy and pharmacy professor in West Virginia. Rebecca hopes to pursue a two-year residency after she graduates that will allow her to become a clinical pharmacist that works with the physicians in hospitals.

Rebecca will be able to finish her bachelor’s, a master’s, and a doctorate of pharmacy school degree in six years versus the usual 10 years. “Each part of my educational plan has been a stepping stone and ChattState laid a solid foundation,” she says.

If all goes to plan, she will have completed school with a doctorate in pharmacy at 24 years of age. She says she is excited about the extra time the dual programs have given her to start work sooner and have the means to support a future family. Her boyfriend, Brandon Heath, also took dual enrollment classes through ChattState and is in the medical field working on his medical degree at Lincoln Memorial University.