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Jim and Carlydia Berry Scholarship recipient Karlie Zimmerman named Outstanding Student of the Year

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 5.07.24 PMWe are pleased that one of the Chattanooga State Foundation’s Jim and Carlydia Berry Scholarship recipients has been honored this Spring as the 2014 Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Outstanding Student of the Year for the entire state (and received a new car as a result!).

When it came time to enroll at ChattState last fall, Karlie Zimmerman realized that medical assisting was her passion. She shares, “It spoke to me and I wanted to honor the people who saved my life.” In January 2012, Ms. Zimmerman was about to experience the joy of motherhood for the first time. At age 32 she had been waiting for this moment for a long time. Then it happened. Just prior to birth, Karlie, suffering from a lack of oxygen, went into cardiac and respiratory arrest as she fought for her life. The 10 days spent in the hospital are forever erased from her memory and the first few weeks of motherhood went by as a blur. She was so disoriented; she did not even remember her own child. Her mother said that her daughter’s maternal instinct “kicked in” even though Karlie remembers barely anything from that time.Today, her daughter Mckenzie is an active, healthy 21-month old.

The TCAT at Chattanooga State Community College named Karlie Zimmerman Outstanding Student of the Year on November 8, 2013. Ms. Zimmerman maintains a 3.9 GPA in the medical assisting program and will graduate in August 2014.

Having a brain injury only served to fire up her determination to overcome it. Once she realized that she was not going to be able to learn things the way she used to, she adjusted and moved forward. Karlie’s mother, Irene Oster, was her biggest cheerleader. As a registered nurse with 25 years of experience, Ms. Oster kept after Karlie and encouraged her to return to school telling her repeatedly, “You can do it!”

Cynthia Rutledge, medical assisting program director enthuses, “Once you meet Karlie you soon discover that her spirit and zeal for life are very contagious. Her perseverance, fortitude and positive attitude are nothing short of amazing.”

“Karlie Zimmerman is an outstanding student. Many of the qualities she exhibits in her role as a student are those that employers are seeking in their future employees. Karlie is productive in the classroom, is a team player and exhibits both personal and professional integrity,” says Ms. Rutledge.

This is the second consecutive year a Chattanooga State student has won this distinguished state TCAT award.

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