“Receiving the UCC OPIRC award will allow me to pursue polymer science before I segway into the medical field…”
Luke Rethwill, a UCC student preparing to transfer to UO to study biochemistry, was awarded the Oregon Pathways to Industrial Research Careers (OPIRC) Scholarship. This unique Scholarship provides qualified students up to $45,000 over 4 years and finances the pursuit of a bachelor’s and master’s degree. The OPIRC program also includes individual mentorships through the Knight Campus Graduate Internship Program.
Luke is one of the first two recipients of the OPIRC award since its launch in October 2022. Luke credits UCC physics professor Mick Davis for encouraging him to apply. In fact, it was Mick Davis who designed and proposed the establishment of OPIRC in conjunction with the University of Oregon.
“The professors at UCC want you to succeed,” Luke said. “That’s why I love UCC. Professor Mick Davis helped me discover my career path. He and chemistry professor Sean Breslin created an impactful and highly enjoyable learning environment that grew me.”
Luke stated that receiving the award was overwhelming. “This scholarship helped me decide to become a biochemistry major, which also allows me to pursue my interest in medicine. My mom was a nurse, so I often accompanied her to work growing up where the doctors would often call me, ‘Doctor Luke.’ You could say that ignited my interest in the medical field.”
Luke demonstrates that no matter how difficult or challenging the road to success may appear, with hard work and perseverance, you can make your dream a reality and transform your life in ways previously never imagined.