Lucas De Buren was born in Argentina at a time when his home country was mired in political strife. Hoping to provide him with the opportunity for a brighter future and a better life, his parents moved to the United States when he was 10 years old.
Since his move to the U.S., De Buren, who will graduate Saturday, June 13 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, has thrived. During his time as a student at Cal Poly Pomona, his achievements have included becoming a member of engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi; becoming a McNair Scholar, an Achieve Scholar and a Regenerative Communities Initiative Fellow.
Certainly, De Buren, a first-generation college student, has taken advantage of the opportunities his parents were able to provide him. Lucas’ drive started young, before he left Argentina.
“My grandmother was an elementary school teacher; she always pushed me to go above and beyond in projects and schoolwork,” he says.
After his move, mathematics was the one subject he was able to easily relate to, and so he continued to work and hone his skills in the field. His interest in math was intrinsic, he says, and by the time he reached high school, he started to get a taste of how a knack for math might translate into a future career.
“My junior year of high school I attended Lancaster High School, where there was a high influence from Lockheed Martin, as the Edwards Air Force Base is just few miles away,” he says.
De Buren participated in Lockheed Martin’s junior engineer development program, which gave him an introduction to engineering and inspired him to pursue it as a major in college.
De Buren says his decision to attend Cal Poly Pomona was affirmed by the committed faculty he encountered here. Their direct connections and experience in industry prepared him for the workforce straight out of graduation, and their commitment to students kept him on point, he says
“Lucas is the ultimate self-starter. If you give him a basic starting point he will take the job up to the next level and beyond,” says Kenneth Lamb, a civil engineering professor who has worked with De Buren. “It is rare to find a person in whom so little needs to be invested to begin setting a huge payoff in terms of achievements and work completed.”
De Buren will go onto work as a Disney Imagineer intern after graduation and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in structural engineering in the fall. De Buren, with all the opportunities given to him and all the ones he has made good use of, hopes to make positive change some day.
“I want the work I do to have a positive impact on people, in some way or another. I want to look back on my career and know that it was because of my work as an engineer that improved someone’s life.”