Danny Lykens; engineer, artist, adventurer

A trailblazer in his own right, Danny Lykens is taking his passions and making the most out of his final year in


Senior electrical and mechanical engineering student, Lykens does much more than just attend class. Lykens, a

Reading, Pa. native, has an artistic side, having minors in integrative media, computer engineering, and physics

which he has combined to create a business and art.

Taking his passion for “tinkering around” and creative outlets, Lykens, along with four other Wilkes students, are in

the process of beginning their own company.

The company, known as Kraken Board Sports, “makes power support devices for snowboarding and wake

boarding” according to Lykens.

What started as a small project in fall 2013, has morphed into the foundations of the business.

The team includes students he shares a unique experience with as he met three of them while spending a semester at

Wilkes Mesa, Ariz. campus.

The semester away started as a resume builder but became, “one of the best decisions of my life” according to

Lykens as he learned hands on experience but also made connections along the way.

While in Arizona, Lykens “learned the experience of adventuring” as he liked to call it.

Part of his studies included interning at Entrepix, which “serves the semiconductor and related industries as a

leading provider of chemical mechanical polishing.”

“The main project we did was we made a test rig for a machine component. What the company did was refurbish

older machines into the semiconductor industry because semiconductor machines are worth millions and millions of

dollars,” explained Lykens.

His time in Arizona wasn’t all work however, as they had time to explore.

The group enjoyed the outdoors, going on hikes, visiting lakes and even taking road trips to Las Vegas and the

Grand Canyon.

“The Grand Canyon is ridiculous, it’s so big and the end is so far away that it looks flat… the views out there were

incredible,” said Lykens.

Lykens completed a blog while in Arizona which featured snippets of his day and photographs he took of his

adventures which can be found at http://wilkesumesa.wordpress.com/.

Lykens recapped his final week at Entrepix saying it was “fun but intense” as he had to give a presentation in front

of his employers, professors and Wilkes University President Patrick Leahy.

Lykens is still in touch with the group and reflected on the camaraderie which was built. He explained that they

were, “ten people that were crazy enough to go out there and say ‘let’s do this and we’ll always have a good time


Among Lykens engineering abilities, he also has a passion for art.

“I’ve always been really passionate about building things and tinkering around but I’ve always been passionate about

film, graphic design, drawing and art in general… I didn’t want to just choose one.”

Taking these interests, Lyken joined numerous clubs and organizations such as Studio 20, IEEE, HAM Radio club,

The Beacon, Cross Country , and is completing research in computational bio physics.

Electrical engineering professor, John Gilmer discussed Lyken’s love for his work.

“He’s so full of enthusiasm, energy, and ideas. Bizarre ideas, sometimes, but always interesting and unique… Dan

not only has good and interesting ideas, but he also has the energy, persistence, and technical skills to carry them


This semester, Lykens is standing out among his integrative media peers as they participate in an art installation

affectionately titled, “Darn it, we’re not engineers! But Dan is” this December.

Senior Integrative Media major, Moe Woodard explained that Lykens helped students in the department design their


“He is a great friend and helped out the IM department and me with our installation classes…You’ll see everyone’s

works with a little help from Danny.”

Lykens explained that an art installation is an, “art piece that interacts with the viewer.”

Using his engineering and graphic design skills, Lykens has been able to create a go-cart with a mind controlled


Although some think that engineering and integrative media are not likely pairs, “it interacts so much more than you

think” according to Lykens.

Lykens explained that these were the types of activites he did in his free time but now he hopes to take those

passions and make them into a career and to do so, must step outside of his comfort zone.

“People will shoot you down…but everything will work out.. you have to find out that stuff for yourself whether it

goes somewhere or doesn’t.”