UPEI’s Luke McCarvill named a Rhodes Scholar 

Sustainable design engineering student will head to the University of Oxford in October 2024 
| Students
photo of young man standing with arms folded in front of engineering lab equipment
Luke McCarvill is only the third UPEI student to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship since the University was established in 1969

The University of Prince Edward Island is excited to share the news that undergraduate student Luke McCarvill is one of 11 remarkable young Canadians awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships for Canada this year.  

“On behalf of the UPEI community, I congratulate Luke on this exceptional achievement,” said Dr. Greg Keefe, interim president and vice-chancellor. “Luke is a kind, intelligent, motivated young man who continually strives to reach his full potential and to contribute fully to society. He employs his talents and skills to build a better local community as well as to serve his country. He has the moral conviction, discipline, and unselfish instincts to lead for all the right reasons. I believe that he will be an excellent Rhodes Scholar, and we couldn’t be any prouder of his accomplishment.” 

McCarvill, who is from Cornwall, PEI, is completing his Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Design Engineering (FSDE), holds a 4.3 GPA, and has received multiple academic awards. He will head to the University of Oxford in October 2024 for fully funded post-graduate studies, joining a cohort of over 100 Rhodes Scholars from around the world. At Oxford, he hopes to pursue graduate studies in Energy Systems and Environmental Change and Management. 

“Gaining this opportunity is still incredibly unbelievable—it really feels like I've won the lottery,” said McCarvill. “I can't help but think of all the fantastic professors, staff, and friends at UPEI who have helped me along the way. My time here in the FSDE and with the rest of the campus community has been nothing short of fantastic, and I'm so happy to have met all of these passionate and supportive people.” 

McCarvill is a Sailor 3rd Class with the Royal Canadian Navy, where he works to bring a bilingual (French-English) perspective to the Naval Reserve Division. He has been heavily involved in the UPEI Engineering Society, has volunteered with Special Olympics, has taught coding to Girl Guides, and founded the UPEI Ultimate disc sport team.  

After he entered UPEI in 2019 for post-secondary studies, McCarvill expanded his scholarship by studying abroad at Arizona State University through a Fulbright Canada’s Killam Fellowship from January to May 2022, achieving a 4.0/4.0 GPA; representing Canada at the Japan-Canada Academic Consortium in February 2023 in Tokyo; and competing at academic competitions such as the Atlantic Engineering Competition (his team was awarded first place in the Senior Design Competition in January 2023).  

McCarvill has already participated in several notable research endeavours. He served as research assistant on a project collaboration between the UPEI Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering and Upcycle Green Technology, a PEI-based EV technology company, which was funded by a Mitacs Accelerate Grant. He developed, constructed, and installed a thermal management system for Upcycle’s modified electric pick-up truck. He also co-authored a poster session, “Fostering Student Empathy with the End User: A Case Study” (June 2021), on the impacts of empathy in engineering design for the Canadian Engineering Education Association’s 2021 conference. Last summer, he worked at a research institute in Germany, studying lithium-ion batteries. 

“Rhodes Scholars are selected based on their exceptional academic achievements, moral force of character, leadership abilities, community service, and energy to use their talents to the full, among others. Luke has demonstrated these and more,” said Dr. Greg Naterer, vice-president, academic and research. “He is truly deserving of this prestigious honour and will serve as an outstanding student ambassador for UPEI.” 

“Luke is one of those exceptional students who comes along very infrequently but who exemplifies the critical elements which we work hard to instill in all our students,” added Dr. Wayne Peters, interim dean of the Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering. “I know he will represent UPEI and PEI with only the highest level of professionalism and pride. We wish Luke all the best.” 

The Rhodes Scholarship is the world’s preeminent and oldest graduate fellowship, based at the University of Oxford since 1903. The first Canadian Rhodes Scholars took up residence in Oxford in 1904, and since that time, over 1,000 Canadians have been awarded this prestigious scholarship. McCarvill is only the third Rhodes Scholar from UPEI since the provincial university was established in 1969. Dr. Heather Morrison was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship in 1991 and Dr. Hélène Deacon in 1999. 

Rhodes Scholars from Canada have gone on to pursue careers including public service, academia, business, law, and medicine, amongst others. This year’s winners continue the extraordinary legacy of excellence.   

According to Richard Pan, the Canadian Secretary of the Rhodes Trust and the Chair for the Rhodes Scholarships in Canada, “Our Rhodes Scholars deeply impressed everyone with their passion, diligence, and most importantly their sense of responsibility to the communities around them. We are proud of their accomplishments and are excited for their contributions to come.”    

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