Ready, set, launch – Linfield seniors tackle the future

Megan Schwehr’s path to becoming a doctor included small, striped fish.

As a Linfield College student, Schwehr ’16 worked with Cecilia Toro, assistant professor of biology, to research the zebrafish and its ties to human hearing. The fish, popular in home aquariums, has a lateral-line sensory system that’s used to model the human inner ear. Watch a video below.

Schwehr presented her research at the Murdock College Science Research Conference in November, winning the award for best oral presentation in the life sciences. She also completed her degree in 3½ years, graduating in December with a major in biochemistry and molecular biology along with a minor in mathematics.

Now, she’s been accepted at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which ranks No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Medical Schools for Primary Care list, and featured in a U.S. News story.

“Everything I did at Linfield – all my classes, professors and everyone I worked with – continued to foster my interest in science and push me to do better and pursue my dream,” said Schwehr, who ended up in McMinnville after learning of the college’s high acceptance rate at U.S. medical schools. “Linfield got me here.”

Schwehr isn’t alone. She is among some 680 Linfield seniors who will take part in commencement exercises in May and move on to bright futures. Each one has a story as unique as Schwehr’s. Here are a few:

  • Geneva Peter ’17, a nursing major and Alaskan native, will return to Ketchikan to work as a nurse.
  • Fulbright scholars Mackenzie Frasier ’17 and Chris Munjar ’17 will teach and study in Costa Rica and Austria, respectively.
  • Tyler Griffin ’17, a biology major, took part in collaborative research that has propelled him to graduate school for marine biology.
  • Sara Gómez Horta ’17 of Ketchikan, Alaska, will undertake a public policy master’s program in Beijing, China, after being named a Schwarzman Scholar.
  • Kiana Ringuette ’17, an international relations major, will join the Peace Corps in Paraguay, following in the footsteps of her father and brother.
  • Eric Igbinoba ’17, Kasey Johnson ’17, Taylor Luebke ’17, Joe Minniti ’17, Kaela Ingram ’17, Mega Anderson and Theo Petropoulos ’17 have accounting positions at firms including Moss Adams, DeLap, Geffen Mesher and Jones & Roth.
  • Abigail Thomas ’17, a political science and English literature major, has mentored Latina girls through the nonprofit Adelante Mujeres and assisted with public policy advocacy as an intern with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. She will serve with the AmeriCorps program City Year in Miami, Fla.
  • Kenzie Schmoll ’17, a computer science major, will begin an engineering residency program at Google.
  • Jonathan Williams ’17, a mass communication and English major, will parlay his experience as editor of The Linfield Review into a journalism career. He will take part in a Snowden internship this summer and has been accepted to a number of journalism graduate programs.
  • Leslie Perez-Cervantes ’17, a biology major, will start as a neonatal audiology technician.

Surrounded by the excitement of family and friends, the Class of 2017 will celebrate commencement weekend May 27-28. The weekend will include the nursing pinning ceremony, senior recognition ceremony, baccalaureate and grad finale on Saturday. Festivities will culminate on Sunday with the commencement ceremony in the Oak Grove. Su-Yen Wong ’89, chief executive officer of the Human Capital Leadership Institute, will provide the commencement address. Find full details at the Commencement website.