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Graduate Student Spotlight: Lucas Ford

Lucas Ford

Lucas Ford is a fifth-year Ph.D. student with a concentration in computing and systems. He manages CCEE’s high-performance computing cluster, giving guest lectures in computational courses and assisting other members of the department on software-heavy research projects. He grew up in Cherryville, North Carolina, and is advised by Professor Sankar Arumugam.


What influenced you to go into engineering?

FORD (F): I have always been a tinkerer and loved puzzles, so engineering has always been a natural fit for me. Once I realized that the skills and knowledge that come along with being a successful engineer would be very transferable and allow me to work on problems in a variety of areas, it was really a no-brainer.


What problem(s) are you trying to solve? Why was NC State / CCEE a good fit for you?

F: Currently, I am working on improving how we represent the impacts of reservoirs on streamflow in the models used to understand potential climate impacts on land surface.

Since I also received my B.S. in environmental engineering from NC State, staying in the CCEE department provided an easy transition to graduate work. However, the ability to study computing and systems while working on interesting engineering problems was ultimately what made the decision to stay for graduate school so easy.


Where did your passion for this particular focus come from?

F: My desire to work on a variety of problems in different fields is what led to my passion for computing. With the seemingly ever-increasing complexity of problems our society faces, I knew that the ability to leverage computational resources effectively would put me in a great position to work on interesting and important problems throughout my career.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

F: After graduation I will be working at BotBuilt, a startup in Durham, North Carolina, where we build houses using robots. In five years, I plan on being a lead software engineer at BotBuilt, helping improve the efficiency of the residential construction industry.