MELBOURNE, FLA. —Florida Institute of Technology junior Christina Lucas was recently awarded the prestigious HORIZONS Foundation scholarship by Women in
Defense, a National Security Organization and an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association. Lucas received a $1,320 scholarship as did two
other students from Carnegie Mellon University and Georgetown University.
A mechanical engineering major, Lucas is an intern in the Robotics and Spatial Systems Lab (RASSL) at Florida Tech. Her work, along with other interns at
the lab, resulted in the development of a six-legged robot prototype called the Spherewalker. There is a wide range of purposes the Spherewalker can serve
but one could be instrumental in helping troops in dangerous environments.
“We could design the robot to be able to go up and around obstacles where other robots are not able to go, therefore making it less dangerous for troops,”
Originally from Somerville, Mass., Lucas graduated high school from Clearwater Central Catholic in Clearwater, Fla., in 2007. She is interested in unmanned
autonomous vehicles and mobile robots and is strongly considering a career in the development of advanced military systems. She and her colleagues have
started a peer-reviewed paper to be published next year and are preparing patent applications.
“Christina is a gifted, mature and motivated student. She is bright and works hard. It’s great to see her efforts being rewarded with a HORIZONS
Scholarship from Women in Defense,” said Lucas’ adviser Pierre Larochelle, professor of mechanical engineering, who established RASSL in 1995.
Women in Defense created the HORIZONS Scholarship to offer financial assistance to U.S. citizens and encourage them to pursue careers in defense or
national security areas. The scholarship is also intended to provide development opportunities for women who are already working in these fields.