MANKATO — Kim Mueller expects to see a few of her Health Occupations Students of America kids take the stage Saturday at the National Leadership Conference awards ceremony in Orlando.
Even though they’re competing in a pool of 7,000 students, all have performed well in their home states and made it to nationals. The HOSA program is only six years old in Mankato.
“We have some really great kids,” Mueller said in a phone interview from Florida. “We are awesome at the state level. We always come away with awards.”
Mueller, the advisor of the 20 HOSA students from East and West high schools, understands the competition is more fierce at the national level. But her kids are dedicated. Example: Mueller called to check in to see what some of the girls were up to, and they said, “We’re studying.” (In Florida.)
Mankato students have gone to nationals every year since HOSA began in the district six years ago, and a student even placed second on the nutrition exam once. The program is for students interested in careers in health care, from nursing to biomedical research to occupational therapy. The students compete in various events, including biomedical debate, medical math, skills tests and written tests.
One event last year, for example, included debating the topic of whether healthcare should be taught online. The students not only have to hone their debating skills, but they have to be diligent researchers in order to perform well.
The team left Mankato Wednesday and will return from Florida Monday. Winners will be announced Saturday night. Although one student already received some pretty great news.
Nulsa Mohamed — who holds the HOSA state secretary position and is competing in the biomedical debate category — has been named the region 2 vice president of HOSA at the national level. The process involved a thorough application, many references, interviews, speeches and a vote by each state’s delegates.
Mohamed will stay on a few extra days in Florida to train for her new position, which will include advocating for careers in health care.
“It’s huge,” Mueller said. “It’s really quite neat.”
At the state competition, the HOSA students earned 33 awards overall, and the Mankato team brought more students to nationals than any other team in Minnesota. In order to go to nationals, students had to place first, second or third in their