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A University of Wisconsin Oshkosh student who jump-started his studies by taking college courses in high school, said he’ll earn his bachelor’s degree a lot sooner than the customary four-year path.

Luke Lowther of Oshkosh earned an astonishing 37 UW Oshkosh credits while a student at Oshkosh West High School, where he said there were plenty of Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) courses available.

He is among the 6,200 students from 130 high schools in Wisconsin and two schools in Illinois who chose to take advantage of UWO’s CAPP offerings and get a head start on their dreams.

Lowther noted that he received 11 retroactive credits at no cost for CAPP Spanish. Just like on campus, CAPP students can get retro credits for the courses previous to the language course they take if they get a B or better in that class, according to Catherine Bryan, CAPP academic director and professor of Spanish. The credits are awarded directly on the UWO transcript.

Lowther graduated from high school in June and started fall classes at UWO Fond du Lac as a sophomore.

“My ultimate career goal has changed quite a bit recently,” he said. “I plan on going to grad school and … I would like to get into research and maybe be a professor.”

Lowther intends on earning his bachelor’s degree in physics and is still considering the specific type of physics he’ll study in graduate school—quantum physics and/or quantum computing. He said he plans to transfer to UW-Madison this fall as part of the Connections program available to select students at the access campuses. Lowther was able to start at UWO Fond du Lac and hold UW-Madison status before completing his bachelor’s degree on the flagship campus.

R. Carey Woodward

R. Carey Woodward Jr., professor and physics department chair, said Lowther is an excellent student in his University Physics I and II courses and has great potential.

To succeed in physics, Woodward said one must be good at math or at learning math and have the ability to “see” the patterns—often mathematical—in the physical world. Woodward said a degree in physics can lead to careers in teaching, academic research or industrial analysis, but can also lead to other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines or industries that use these skills.

Great foundation

Jeri Kukurich, interim executive director of student affairs, access campuses, said many students who start at a UW Oshkosh access campus—Fond du Lac or Fox Cities—decide to complete their degrees at the Oshkosh campus. Some ultimately, will make the decision to transfer.

“UWO’s three campuses provide the academics and support students need to successfully move toward their personal, academic and career goals,” she said.

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