Brother's health scare inspires Curry senior to pursue career in medicine

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Editor's note: This is the first in a series of articles highlighting local high school seniors.

CURRY — Mia Daniels is well on her way to a career in medicine.

Daniels, a senior at Curry High, will begin studying nursing at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the fall. Her goal is to one day be a nurse practitioner and to possibly specialize in neurology or psychology.

Daniels is becoming a nurse because of her brother, Chase Hacker, who was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 10 and he was 13.

"He went from this happy, outgoing, energetic, loving kid to having seizures and being on medications, being in the hospital all the time. His life really changed," she said.

The diagnosis also changed the lives of his sister and mother.

Long before most youth have gotten serious about a career path, Daniels decided that she wanted to go into the field of healthcare.

"It really sparked an idea that I wanted to help in some way. When I was little, I played around with the idea, but as soon as he was diagnosed and I was constantly in the hospital with him, I knew it was what I wanted to do," she said.

While at Curry, Daniels has pursued a double certification through the Walker County Center of Technology (WCCT), one as an EKG technician and one as a medical assistant.

She has been completing clinical training at Urgent Care Northwest and Walker Women's Specialists.

Last year, she was chosen by WCCT Health Science instructor Wendy Davenport to represent WCCT at the National Youth Leadership Forum in the field of medicine. 

Daniels is also active in Curry's chapter of HOSA, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America but now known as Future Health Professionals.

In addition to being the treasurer of HOSA, Daniels has twice competed at Alabama HOSA's State Leadership Conference and this year her score qualified her to compete at internationals this summer.

Daniels is also in the National Honors Society and is the historian of the National Beta Club at Curry.

In addition to juggling virtual classes and the various course requirements for her WCCT certifications, Daniels has also been taking dual enrollment classes at Bevill State Community College. 

"It's been difficult. Juggling everything has been a lot, but it's been worth it because it's helping me reach my end-goal," she said.

Her effort has also earned her some scholarships to help with funding her degree — a merit scholarship through UAH and the Linly Heflin scholarship, which helps women in Alabama attend four-year universities. 

Like all members of the class of 2021, Daniels' senior year has been complicated by the pandemic. 

She has spent most of the year as a virtual student.

She was a cheerleader this fall, though the football season got cut short by two weeks and there were no homecoming activities or pep rallies.

A sense of normalcy has slowly started to return this spring. 

Daniels competed in the Miss Curry High School pageant recently. The seniors also have a prom to look forward to before graduation.

Still, it has not been the picture-perfect senior year they might have had.

"I didn't even get to have my last first day," Daniels said, referring to the virtual start of the school year.