We were all extremely shocked to learn that Lucas Shanker died in an accident at school this week. Lucas was a math and computer science major at Purdue, but we knew him from his time working in the lab as a high school student as part of the Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) program. During his summer in our lab, Lucas worked on two experiments testing aspects of decision making in bees (sampling and tracking, and social information use). We all quickly learned that Lucas was very smart, but also had a strong sense of intellectual curiosity about all kinds of topics. Equally important, Lucas was a kind, thoughtful, and truly good human being.
That fall, Lucas was featured in the Science Matters show on our local public television, KETC. He was interviewed during the summer by Jim Kirchherr about the bees and his work in the lab, and at that moment we knew he had not only understood the work at a deep level, but could also explain it with such eloquence. He could explain every single experiment running in the lab. Those of us watching behind the scenes agreed he did a better job than the rest of us probably would have on that day. UMSL Daily did a little story about his interview
Our condolences go out to Lucas’s parents, family, and friends. He was well-loved in our lab, and I am certain that our response is a universal one for everyone who knew him.