Meet with a student to see the shape of things to come

I’ve met with a few students in the last couple of days, and I always appreciate this chance to see where the world is heading. I’m impressed with the drive, passion, and courage of these young people. To cite drive and passion may be obvious, but any student who is in a graduate program focused on analytics or OR shows a high degree of motivation, and those who found their way to this conference have to step it up a notch to find funding and navigate a professional world. And I add courage because all three of the students I’ve met came to the US to study from other countries. Graduate school takes a significant dose of confidence to succeed, but I didn’t do mine in a foreign country, where I had to learn different customs and traditions, and all the while do so in a foreign tongue. I cannot imagine INFORMS or the larger world of advanced analytics, machine learning, and operations research without the contributions of so many who were born outside the US. Chinese, various Indian languages, Turkish, and Farsi overheard in the hallways are evidence of this rich diversity. Students are already seeing evidence of concern about the future of the H1-B program by fewer opportunities available to them if they need sponsorship, especially at the MS level. I hope that wisdom prevails and the US continues to open its arms (and university and professional doors) to any student with the drive, passion, and courage to succeed here, regardless of the country of their birth.