A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Robyn Lukens Found Her Prime Position with UC Solar

October 19, 2016

Robyn LukensPeople on campus might not often see Robyn Lukens, who spends her days tucked away at the Castle Research Facility.

But she has been part of the campus community for six years, waiting to join until the position of a lifetime opened up — working with Professor Roland Winston at UC Solar.

“My gut instinct told me that UC Merced was by far the best place to work in Merced. I see UC Merced as an oasis of opportunity for growth for both local citizens and students alike,” she said. “I knew I wanted to be a part of the inevitable evolutionary ‘big bang,’ if you will, of the young university.”

Lukens is no stranger to the hard work it takes to reach goals like the ones UC Merced strives for. She was a competitive gymnast for 10 years as she grew up in the Bay Area, and to get through college, she sold diamonds in the mall next to San Francisco State University.

When Lukens has free time, she likes hitting the gym and visiting her sister and her nieces. She’s a newlywed, having married a UC Merced alum and Navy veteran last year. Lukens is also a mom to 14-year-old Kira, whom she calls extraordinary.

“She’s taking both high school and junior college classes at the same time,” Lukens said.

Lukens is integral to the ongoing successes at UC Solar, and she took time out of her busy day to answer some questions for Panorama:

Please describe what your job entails.

As an administrative officer, I am kind of a ‘jack of all trades.’ I do event coordination, assist with academic personnel matters, purchasing, travel, financial management, proposal assistance …

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

Definitely working with Professor Winston. I recently emphasized this on LinkedIn.

What are some of the challenges you face in your role?

Perhaps the biggest challenge has been assimilating into a public university setting, having come from the private sector.

What lesson has your work life taught you?

My executive director has said, "It’s all in the delivery" — meaning, how things are communicated is vital to creating win-win situations.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a Russian interpreter for a government entity in San Francisco, where I spent 20 years. Let's just say — it's funny how things have a way of working out.

Is there anything you always wanted to do but haven’t?

Rehab houses and sell them. I love ‘Property Brothers’ and those kind of shows!

What do you want people to remember about you?

That I was a nice person with a good work ethic who cared for other people’s well-being.