Linda Relyea

Escondido native excels at Adams State University in Colorado
Article by Garrett Carroll

ALAMOSA, CO. (January 19, 2021) – Comparing a hike up Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental United States, with his academic journey, Mathew Burcin, molecular and cellular biology major, delivered the class message at the Adams State University Fall 2022 Commencement. An Eagle Scout, Burcin graduated with highest honors in three-and-a-half years.

Burcin’s words inspired the audience to continue their great story. “…Every moment you wanted to quit, you ignored, kept hiking and accomplished an incredible feat. You learned a lot, matured, and now have the skills to conquer the next mountain you face… As our time here at Adams State University comes to an end, many more and greater mountains are to come. But we are prepared now, we have the tools for success. All our hardships and challenges strengthened us. We are certified mountaineers.”

The Escondido native was recruited to play soccer for Adams State, located in southern Colorado. His final semester he stepped off the field and helped coach in order to focus on his academics. His interest in STEM research was encouraged by professors and advisors, who included him in their own research or helped him start his own projects.

He developed close relationships with his work-study supervisor Angela Sandy, Title V STEM activity director, and professor Umesh Bhattarai, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry. “They offered to review cover letters and medical school applications, connected me with physicians to speak about the medical field, and truly cared about my success. I could not have asked for better support.”

Adams State is the most affordable residential university in Colorado. Burcin graduated with no student loan debt. He received the Adams State Porter Scholarship and the President’s Scholarship, worked as a teaching assistant, and tutored in the STEM Center.

After the December commencement ceremony, Burcin and his wife moved back to California, while he applies to medical schools. “At Adams State, I improved by huge margins my knowledge of both biology and chemistry while simultaneously developing a well-rounded knowledge of English, arts, and humanities.”


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Mathew Burcin