Japan truly opened my mind’s eye to a new culture and way of life. As a junior at Washington State University, I was fortunate to go on a year-long study abroad program to the Osaka area, where I lived with a Japanese host family, took classes, and studied the language. It changed me in countless ways.
That same experience—a new point of view gained from studying outside of the United States—became a reality for a group of first-generation students in the past few years. As you’ll read in this issue, the First-Gen Abroad program to Spain and Italy transformed students’ lives. And, as First at WSU director Angie Klimko says, “the impact only increases from there. One student going abroad can influence generations to come.”
Another avenue connects WSU’s research to an international experience: Fulbright awards. Students who receive these distinguished scholarships take their research projects around the globe with WSU’s support, as you’ll read in this issue.
Research right here in Washington state creates meaningful change for people too. For example, scientists such as Georgina Lynch at WSU Spokane are making strides in understanding more about autism spectrum disorder, including early detection of autism through measuring pupil reactions in the eyes. The work could help families and health-care providers start interventions earlier for children.
Understanding different perspectives also applies to machines. WSU computer scientist Larry Holder and his team are part of a nationwide project to measure the ability of artificial intelligence to adapt its thinking in unexpected circumstances. You can read about the battery of tests for AI in this issue, along with a short piece written by AI, with my assistance.
Machine learning is one of many strands of WSU’s research enterprise. Take a look at some of the achievements of the university’s scholars in this issue’s infographic.
Those accomplishments can be eye-opening. Beyond scientific inquiry, athletic feats such as the football kicking records of WSU alumnus Jason Hanson or the volunteer work of Nam Nguyen show us what’s possible.
All of our WSU experiences, from study abroad to research successes to helping others, can leave a profound effect on our world, and how we see it.