It is crazy to think that someone from Fort Collins is researching the magnetic fields around Venus for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but it is even crazier to think that she went to Fossil Ridge High School. FRHS graduate of 2015, Elysia Lucas is currently working at a laboratory for atmospheric and space physics (ALSP), which is a lab that connects to both Colorado University and NASA.
Lucas is currently finishing up her Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics at CU Boulder. She originally went to CU as an electrical engineering major and then switched to aerospace engineering. Later, she figured out that she did not want to actually physically build anything and switched again to applied math. She is also doing an astronomy minor and an engineering leadership certificate. Lucas has really enjoyed CU but she said it has been the hardest four years of her life.
During Lucas’ time at Fossil, she was mainly a part of Knowledge Bowl all four years, as well as other things such as French Club, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honors Society, and Ridgebotics. She said, “I did Knowledge Bowl because I used to read a lot and had a lot of super relevant knowledge that I could finally use somewhere.” As for the other things, Lucas was involved in, she just somehow had a lot of time on her hands and wanted to be a part of everything.
Lucas’ favorite memories from Fossil all came from her Astronomy class with Jesse Oswald. She explained, “It was a really fun group of people and we learned a lot.” Her astronomy class and her Calculus III class with Todd Pfeifer were the classes that shaped her for her college path. The thing she misses most about high school is being able to see all her friends simultaneously. She said, “Now I have to really make an effort to meet up with people since we all kind of spread out between different colleges.” Lucas has really enjoyed the freedom of college and she thinks she will enjoy the freedom of a full-time job and not having school even more.
After Lucas graduates on May 9, she is immediately packing up her apartment and moving to Hawaii for her first full-time job with W. M. Keck Observatory, where she will be doing scientific software engineering with telescope data. “It’s definitely daunting to move that far, especially since I went to college in the state and haven’t been that far from home,” she explained.
Lucas’ biggest advice for students taking a similar path is to “LEARN TO PROGRAM.” She said that it seems like, no matter what discipline you go into nowadays, programming is super important and will help you immensely. On a less academic note, Lucas said, “be sure to have fun and don’t be afraid to make mistakes (within reason). You are young! Do fun things, explore, and make as many friends as you can!”