Four years ago, Luke Bogus came to Nebraska U and its Raikes School of Computer Science and Management having not written a single line of code.
In five days, he’ll graduate as an entrepreneur (having helped create Brim, a mobile ordering app for small businesses); a highly-involved undergrad who stepped up to be a leader in the Cornhusker Marching Band, his fraternity and other organizations; and, through internship experiences, a soon-to-be Microsoft employee.
Looking back on his journey — which includes a mind-blowing, on-campus meeting with Satya Nadella, his future boss and current Microsoft CEO — Bogus can’t help but smile in wonder.
“Graduation from Nebraska will be the realization of a life-long dream, one that I’ve been living these last four years,” Bogus said. “It’s pretty cool looking back, realizing I came here knowing nothing, a total imposter. I wouldn’t have made it without the faculty, friends and colleagues here in the Raikes School who helped instill a confidence that pushed me to take the leap when opportunities arose.”
An active student in high school, Bogus came to the university knowing he’d have to cut back his activity level but invest time where it was important to him. He focused on Raikes School opportunities to build his professional profile but carved out time to be a part of the Cornhusker Marching Band — including serving as the cymbals leader the last two years.
“Music has always been an important factor in my life and, here on campus, it was a release for me,” Bogus said. “My classes in the Raikes School have been challenging, they were stressors.
“Even though it meant getting up at 6:30 a.m., being a part of the band was fun. It was a priority all four years because I got to go and hang out with the best people. And, playing on the field in front of 90,000 people is pretty cool.”
In fall 2019, Bogus teamed up with Jacob Peddicord, a fellow Raikes School student, to develop the Brim app. Peddicord initially developed the app for a single shop, but Bogus helped expand that vision. When the pandemic hit in spring 2020, the app played a crucial role in helping small businesses in need of an innovative ordering solution at a time when social distancing was key.
In this final semester, Bogus is part of a student-led team within the Raikes School design studio that is developing a hardware/software program that helps companies make better-informed decisions on space needs, increasing usage efficiencies and reducing operating costs. The work has been developed with Olsson, a Lincoln-based engineering firm, presented in the Raikes School Design Studio Showcase on April 30.
“Working with Olsson on a real-world project has been an incredible opportunity,” Bogus said. “It’s definitely not a classroom project where you feel the firm is just going to throw away the final product. It genuinely feels like it has the potential to make a real impact.”
His job on the team is to serve as a program manager, working between customers and designers to perfect the final product. Bogus will serve in the same role when he joins Microsoft in August.
“Basically, it means I’m the middleman between the dream and how we’ll make it happen,” Bogus said.
As he prepares for graduation and a new job in Redmond, Washington, Bogus urges future Huskers to get involved, try new things and “take the leap” when opportunities arise.
“Bet on yourself, send that first email or start that first conversation,” Bogus said. “Put yourself in tough situations because they’ll help you grow as a person and a leader. College offers a safety net where, if you fail, you can move on to the next thing.
“And know that being a Husker isn’t a four-year endeavor. It’s a life-long bond that spans generations of alumni and will fuel your success as you move forward.”