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Mikayla Pivec standing in outdoor plaza, wearing a USA basketball jersey

Basketball star broadens her reach

By Mary Hare

Mikayla Pivec is a master's student in Biochemistry and Biophysics and a member of the OSU women's basketball team.

After a sudden and disappointing end to a phenomenal season, award-winning point guard Mikayla Pivec has left a legacy at Oregon State that will be remembered long after she graduates. While best known for her role on the women’s basketball team, Pivec is blazing a path to success both on and off the court.

Graduating in only three years with an Honors degree in Biohealth Sciences, Pivec is now pursuing a master’s degree in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. With plans to attend medical school, Pivec says the information learned in biochemistry and biophysics would be helpful towards reaching that goal.

Pivec has been recognized as an Academic All-American and the Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year in women’s basketball. She credits her success to the broad support from OSU faculty who made it possible to maintain a grueling course load despite spending much of the term on the road.

“Professors in the College of Science have been supportive and willing to meet outside of class to share the information I missed previously. I appreciate the extra effort they make to keep me updated on class material,” says Pivec.

In addition to her academic and basketball success, Pivec is renowned for her compassion and dedication to the community. Pivec took the initiative to volunteer at the Room at the Inn, a cold-weather women’s shelter in Corvallis.

Receiving the SURE Science Award in 2018 from the College of Science, she used the funding to advance her thesis project where she worked to illuminate challenges homeless people face and how to use resources to help them. While working on that project, she shared, "I like to be able to help as much as possible, and being involved in the community is really important to me. I know this community’s given a lot to me, and as a student athlete here, I have this really great platform I’ve been able to use to inspire people and make an impact.”

Pivec is a Wooden Award finalist (outstanding collegiate men’s and women’s Player of the Year) and a Cheryl Miller Award top-10 finalist; she was named to the Naismith Trophy Midseason Team, a semifinalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, the Preseason WNIT MVP and was named to All-Tournament Teams at both the Maui Classic and the Miami Thanksgiving Classic.

Pivec also set the all-time Beavers’ women’s basketball career rebounding record and is in the top 10 in program history for career points, rebounds and assists.