A member of the Science Hill robotics team, senior Carmen Palileo wants to put the programming skills she’s developed in high school to good use.
And a scholarship she recently received through the Ned McWherter Scholars Program should help her do just that.
Named after the 46th governor of Tennessee, the award offers “academically superior” high school seniors $ 6,000 per academic year to attend college in Tennessee.
To be eligible, students must receive a minimum score of a 29 on their ACT (or an equivalent score on the SAT) and have an unweighted cumulative GPA of 3.5.
The Johnson City Press recently asked Palileo about the scholarship, her time at Science Hill and her future plans.
How did it feel to receive the Ned McWherter scholarship, and how will this assist with your future education?
I felt so honored and grateful to be selected for this scholarship! This year has been quite stressful, but reading that email made my day.
One of my goals is to graduate from college without going into debt, and this brings me so much closer to achieving that.
Have you decided where you’re going to attend college? If so, where and why that school?
I will be attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Last year, I attended the Governor’s School of Sciences and Engineering, where I took classes for a month and met several current students and professors.
I know some of my friends have chosen UTK or already attend, so I look forward to seeing them around again on a campus I am already familiar with.
Also, I want to be a mentor for Topper Robotics after I graduate, and being a short drive away makes that possible for me.
Have you decided what you’re going to major in, and how does that align with your interests?
I will be majoring in computer engineering. I had the opportunity to learn so much about programming in high school.
Although I enjoy writing code, computer engineering involves the hardware aspect of embedded systems for several pressing applications.
That includes anything from autonomous robotics for search-and-rescue missions to cybersecurity for power grids. Personally, I’m currently interested in underwater robotics, but I’m open to any new experiences.
What did you enjoy most about your time at Science Hill?
I enjoy being part of Topper Robotics the most. Each season pushes me to develop my technical skills, but it’s not all about robots.
Robotics gave me the opportunity to meet incredible students and mentors, volunteers, and to learn the value of dedication and hard work.
Without them I would not be here today. I am so proud of everyone on our team. It is our tenth anniversary and I look forward to the team’s future growth.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
With engineering, working and graduate school are both common paths, but I do not have any specific plans yet. I prefer to live in the moment.