Working at the GeoDome

Sophomore Luke McCutcheon helps kids reach for the sky in his part-time job at the new Charles L. Matsch GeoDome Theater

Earning one B.S. in chemistry and another in biochemistry and molec­ular biology keeps Luke McCutcheon more than a little busy. But that doesn’t stop the University of Min­nesota Duluth (UMD) sophomore from pursuing another passion—astronomy. McCutcheon works part time at UMD’s Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium, where his duties include giving presenta­tions at the new Charles L. Matsch GeoDome Theater.

“The GeoDome is a portable learning environment that we take to schools and other venues,” says McCutcheon. “Kids are crazy for it. They go into this cool 13-foot-high dome, see stars and planets up close, and take a simulated tour to the edge of the known universe.” 

McCutcheon plans on staying with the planetarium through graduation. And when he’s not there, he’s working toward his goal of going into neurology. “When I was younger, I had a juvenile form of epilepsy that’s now under control,” he says. “In the future, I’d like to make a difference and further the progression of neurotechnology.”

McCutcheon credits the Philip Edward Budden Scholarship for helping him focus on his education. “I love UMD and the opportunities it provides,” he says. “For me, that includes hopes of getting into medical school at the U and working in a neurology laboratory.”

The GeoDome was funded by a bequest from Charles L. Matsch, a longtime UMD geology professor who passed away in 2014.