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Impact Award, Spring 2024

Lucas Barduson

From a young age, Lucas Barduson, an aerospace engineering student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, has always wanted to participate in the quest to better understand the cosmos.

“Since I first learned about space in the eighth grade, I decided that the noblest objective I could pursue is to expand human knowledge and exploration and that space is the final frontier in which to do that,” he says. 

Barduson chose to study engineering for the opportunities it offers to transform our understanding of physics into practical applications. 

“As an engineer, anomalies become curiosities, and problems become opportunities,” he says. “It gives a perspective that makes the world more beautiful, deep and interactive.”

From 2020 to 2022, Barduson and his club, Next Level Devils, took part in three consecutive finalist teams in NASA’s annual Micro-g NExT challenge. In 2022, Barduson led the team in developing a lunar sample marker capable of being deployed quickly and effectively from a full-standing position. The technology would avoid risking falls and injury to the astronauts deploying the markers.

“This unique feature, not found in other teams’ designs, caught NASA’s attention”, Barduson explains. “They told us that they would be adapting their prototype to incorporate our design’s stability and even saved some of our prototypes for display at the Johnson Space Center.”

Barduson has made substantial contributions to ASU’s space community. As president of Next Level Devils, he expanded the club fourfold in membership and scope, before founding the Space Coalition, which has enhanced collaboration and opportunity sharing among all of ASU’s space-related student organizations. 

“Through the Coalition, a more interconnected space community is blooming. Clubs have undertaken projects together, shared industry contacts and organized several large events” he says. “Putting together the Space Coalition has taught me about leading in complex systems, and helped me realize that leadership is my biggest passion.”

Barduson was also selected into the founding cohort of the ASU Space Student Ambassadors, where he has represented the university’s space-related activities both internally to students, and externally to the space industry, including to top institutions such as NASA, SpaceX and Blue Origin. 

After graduation, Barduson will be attending the NASA Academy at Langley Research Center. He sees this opportunity as the next step toward his ultimate goal of playing a critical leadership role at NASA in establishing an ongoing human presence outside the Earth.

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2024 class here.

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