Claire Lucas ‘13 Finds Her Passion at a Data Startup

NC State made a huge impact on Claire Lucas ‘13 and her career path. From undertaking problem-solving challenges in engineering classes at NC State to exploring the world of software, Lucas’s experiences guided her to her current role. She now works as an engagement manager for Elastic, a startup similar to Red Hat that allows people to explore and analyze their data using the power of search. 

“I decided to work for Elastic because I love the framework of the open-source community as it’s transparent and rapidly evolving. Because of open-sourced search and analytics software, like Elastic, we are collecting more data than ever before and have the ability to ask it questions. We’re solving important problems today because we understand how to query it,” Lucas says.  She mentions that the world is rapidly evolving because of our ability to communicate with computers, and Elastic recognizes that. 

Shortly after graduating from NC State, Lucas went back to school to pursue her master’s degree in predictive analytics. Learning how to balance both work and academics at the same time was an eye-opening experience that has been especially valuable to her career development. “In academics, I went deep on topics like machine learning and created sophisticated models in a controlled environment with a fixed data set. In the workplace, I spend most of my time understanding the data, keeping it clean, and getting buy-in from my peers on the analytics project.”  

In addition to learning how to balance work and academics, Lucas says that traveling has also had a significant impact on her life. “Traveling has made the greatest impact on me. My first job was a consulting job where I traveled 100 percent of the time and it taught me to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. It also made me appreciate the simple things in life and understand the impact flights have on our carbon emissions. Now I work remotely with companies all over the world and have seen how other cultures communicate and conduct business. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of the world and I appreciate it.” 

Lucas’s experiences in the Park Scholarships program contributed heavily to her career and where she is today. She says that one of her favorite experiences was the Senior Retreat, where she fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and thus decided to move to Denver, Colo., five years later. Lucas was also inspired by her fellow Park Scholars during her time at NC State. 

“Every experience with the Park Scholarships program brought me to where I am today. It was incredible to be surrounded by bright classmates and faculty members who shared the same drive but who each had different perspectives. The Park Scholarships program gave me a lot of confidence to learn more about the world and find where I fit in to make the world a better place.” 

To current NC State students and Park Scholars, she offers the following: “Take time to reflect and write down your thoughts. I still reference my notebooks from the retreats and lectures and the same ideas and thoughts come up again. Ask questions and ask for help. I remember being scared to raise my hand or ask for help and I wish I would have spoken up more.”