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Flexible Career Pathway Provides Work-Life Balance

Levi Palmer is motivated to achieve a well-paying career in engineering. But he also has family responsibilities and hobbies that keep him busy at home. UCC’s Engineering degree pathway program has helped him balance both priorities. “I think that I am still very career-driven, but since I’ve been married, I have been more drawn to, yes, having a nice day job where I can make a lot of money, but also the ability to come home and work on my property, build things with my children, rebuild old cars, etc.”

Levi is currently in the UCC engineering program and is also gaining hands-on technical experience while working at Orenco systems.

Levi grew up locally and graduated from Oakland High School. As a high school freshman, he heard about a scholarship opportunity at UCC requiring good grades, which led him to work harder. UCC’s affordable tuition and proximity to his hometown made enrolling an easy choice.

He initially pursued a career path in pre-med, volunteering at the Emergency Room at Mercy Hospital, but an internship at Orenco and the enjoyment of working with his hands led him to change his major to Engineering.

While at Orenco, he started out cleaning equipment and eventually advanced to become an R&D and composite specialist on the floor. He found fulfillment in working on a team with others and with this well-rounded experience, he was able to help develop a new product that involved a meticulous tank-building process.

At UCC, Levi is part of the student Engineering Club, where he is working on a remote-control boat project with a team of students across the college. The club brings together students from UCC programs including Welding, Engineering, and Mechatronics, and they all combine their knowledge to design, mobilize, control, and generate speed for a boat they developed from the ground up.

Levi designed and built one version of the motor using a 3D printer and is working on developing the boat’s remote control. The welding students created the boat’s frame and are refining their design with input from Levi and his engineering peers. Students from the Mechatronics program are helping to connect Levi’s design to applied engineering principles to ensure the boat can run at increased speeds.

After completing studies at UCC, Levi will continue working this summer at Orenco Systems and then he will transfer to OSU to work on completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Levi says, “UCC is great because they have extremely small classes led by very passionate instructors. And there are students who all work together with a common goal.”

Success Stories from Umpqua Community College