Episode 219 – Unstoppable Curious Person and Education Advocate with Iris Yuning Ye

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In August, 2023 I had the opportunity to meet through LinkedIn Iris Yuning Ye. Iris spent the first 20 years of her life growing up in Northern China. She came to the U.S. to spend her junior college year at the University of California at Berkley. She also spent her senior year here and interned to help make that happen.
After returning to China for a bit she came back to the States to work toward her Master’s degree at the University of Michigan.
This episode was especially fun for me and I hope it will be the same for you because of Iris’ fervent attitude about being curious and always wanting to learn. Her reoccurring theme through our time on this episode is that people should work to be more curious and understanding of others. Iris will tell you about how she became involved with the Prisoners Literature Project and how that has opened her mind to so many things she never thought about before.
Iris is quite engaging, and her words are very thought provoking. I hope you enjoy this episode. Please let me know what you think. Also, feel free to reach out to Iris.
About the Guest:
Iris Yuning Ye advocates for education inequity for marginalized communities. She had been actively led and involved in marginalized communities education, ranging from post-release inmates data science bootcamp instructor to adaptive and inclusive strength training.

Born and raised in the northern part of China, she experienced the life-changing impact education brought to her. With a pure passion and curiosity of exploring different education systems, she moved from Beijing to Berkeley in college, where she started to be involved in Prisoners Literature Project and Defy Ventures. It was through those years Iris was affirmed with the passion in helping others to achieve more through education. She is now pursuing her Master degree at University of Michigan, focusing on Human-Computer Interaction and pursuing Graduate Teaching Certificate.  

As a Project Leader at Prisoners Literature Project and Community Instructor at Defy Ventures, she was fortunate and privileged to have worked with amazing inmates who had much passion in learning new knowledge. She founded data bootcamp that focuses on equipping post-release inmates with data skills that can secure rewarding and recognizing jobs for them. In 2020, she also developed a family education program for Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan that engaged 50+ families during Covid. She expanded education horizon to college during graduate school, and she is now a Graduate Student Instructor at University of Michigan. In the Enriching Scholarship 2023 Conference, she was invited as a speaker talking about “bridging the gap between college and career”.

Iris also believes in the power of physical education. She is an NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) Certified Personal Trainer. AdaptX-Certified Inclusive and Adaptive coach.
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Ways to connect with Iris:
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/irisyn-ye/ 
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Transcription Notes:

Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:20
Time once again for unstoppable mindset where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. What a great way to start a podcast. I’d like to thank you all for listening. I’m Michael Hingson, your host. Today our guest is Iris Yuning Ye who started out life in China and then came to the United States went to Berkeley, which which we can’t complain about since I live in California. But now she’s at the University of Michigan. So we can have a great discussion about football teams, I suppose. But we’ll see. Yeah, but Iris, I want to welcome you to unstoppable mindset. Thank you for taking the time to be here with us.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 02:01
Thank you so much. Well, Ohio State and we’ll be super happy if you discuss football with us. Right?
Michael Hingson ** 02:07
Well, that’s fine. Let them suffer. That’s okay. My wife was did her master’s work at USC. So oh, we have all sorts of different diverging challenges with football, don’t we? Right.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 02:22
Yeah. We had all of the his enemies are coming together. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 02:28
makes life fun. Well, yeah. USC has been doing pretty well this year. So far. And Michigan has been doing pretty well.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 02:36
We we now know that you’re following up on a news. Happy to hear that.
Michael Hingson ** 02:43
Well, that is great. Well, tell us a little bit about you growing up and, and all of that and how you ended up over in the US and such love to hear about your growing up in China and all that.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 02:56
Sure. Well, I spent 20 years of my life in China. So basically all of my education previously, I started my I live I’m from the northern part of China, which is a city next to Beijing is called tanjun. So I grew up there and I did all of my education there from kindergarten all the way to college. And then in junior year, I got the chance to come to UC Berkeley to study abroad. So I take that I took that I came to UC Berkeley during my junior year. And then after one year in Berkeley, I was fortunate I found a internship which I wanted to figure out if I was the one to stay in my finance major, which is what I did when I was a college. So I stayed at one more year after that study abroad year for a year of internship in the area. And then several, I went back to my home country, I worked there for two years. And then now here I am, I’m currently a graduate student at U mish so this is the whole journey of me in a nutshell. And
Michael Hingson ** 04:05
what was your major on your undergraduate major?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 04:08
In undergrad I did a pure business pure finance now I’m currently in information science, so user research and software related.
Michael Hingson ** 04:19
Ah, that’s quite a quite a change, it seems to be going from from one to the other.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 04:29
That was and in last a whole story of how the changes came. The finance major was was popular, you know, back into that and 17 and everybody thinks, Oh, if you go to Finance if you go business, you will make a lot of money you will have a well up life. So that was why I chose it. And then from sophomore year, I tried to figure out is that the right thing for me? It turned out to be not really I’m not too happy doing the financial analysis work I did. So I got involved in a startup system in Berkeley utilize that. And then I pivoted to the product software field. And there was what I felt more comfortable than previously. So that was the journey in Oslo in a really short form, you’re
Michael Hingson ** 05:22
sure you have a really good command of English? Did you learn that in China? Do they emphasize that at all? Or how does that work? Well,
Iris Yuning Ye ** 05:32
yeah, I, I would say, I’m personally pretty lucky that I grew up in a city and grew up in a system that is not too demanding of the study the amount of homework you have to do, it was still pretty demanding. But it was a great combination of you explore your interest versus what you have to do to complete in school. So the English classes I took, I took all of the local education system, so I did not go to international school, I did not go to any international such as bootcamp, the local classes of English is basically teacher teaching you what is from textbook, but I try to learn by myself more outside of class. So I try to listen to some materials, ABC News, CNN news, that helped me a lot in getting a foundation of speaking, or just communication, English and mindset in English. I think this is part partially helpful for me, to me, the other part has been beneficial for me is definitely coming to us and to talk to people here and to pick up the dragons or pick up the colloquial expressions, right?
Michael Hingson ** 06:53
Well, clearly, overall, you value education very highly. How would you describe your opinion of education? And why do you value it so highly?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 07:05
Well, I’m really thankful that you asked this question. I think education as I already introduced my experience a little bit. That means opportunity to me, because of the education and because of the choices I had from a local education system, in where I grew up in China, all the way to Berkeley, and I came back and then come back. So the back and forth is opening a lot of doors for me to explore such as, is finance a great thing for me, is product a great thing for me, and how can I navigate through each of the education stage. And also, I started as a student, and I got the chance to kind of do a graduate student instructor position right now in my school. So from the two aspects coming, it’s both is a lifelong learning experience, because it’s all stoppable that was what we’re discussing right now. And on the other hand, as an instructor, I feel opportunity is asked the unstoppable for those who are benefiting from the education that we can give to them.
Michael Hingson ** 08:19
So unstoppable is definitely a term that you would use to describe education and the need for education. Well,
Iris Yuning Ye ** 08:29
I totally feel that, and especially when I saw your podcast, the theme as the unstoppable I was like, this is the this is the key word for education, therefore opportunity for students and instructors. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 08:50
Well, I, I think that the person who stops learning was just not going to go anywhere, we should always try to learn and continue to learn and explore new things and be adventurous. Life’s adventure. And all too often, we don’t ever view it that way. And we should. It
Iris Yuning Ye ** 09:10
is, and education if we, if I personally will think about it really broadly. It’s not only about what I learned from class, but what I learned from my graduate school. It’s from all aspects of life, such as I’m learning by listening to your podcasts or by talking with you and learning how you can figure it out, such as text reading screen, and I learned by talking to my parents of some life tricks, how you can do your luggage in a faster way. All of those are learnings to me.
Michael Hingson ** 09:48
Oh my god, it’s an adventure. How? How do you? Well see how do I want to ask this? How would you view education in China as opposed to and the beliefs about education And then China as opposed to what we see in the United States, does that something that’s easy to compare or talk about?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 10:09
Yeah, I think I can probably talk about it for the whole day. But just pick several pointers currently on the top of my mind. Because I took the first 20 years, almost 20 years of my education in China, I felt I had a wonderful foundation of science and also logical thinking, both from school and both from my family. What probably what we heard from the media and what what we heard from the publication The the education system in Asia is quite demanding, that has a lot of assignments, homework, you have to finish. But on the other side, when I’m looking back to the education on the math methodology, it helped me to building up the repetitive matters and practice a lot. So I still have clear and crystal clear memory of such as what is how to calculate the area of a square. Though all of those math foundation, I can still do it really well. So I think this is really helpful for me, for me in the long term of my, my career or for my science field. And for the American education. I definitely cannot summarize in one or two sentences, but encouraged more in asking questions. This is the first observation I had when it came. asking question is everywhere in the class, when you’re sitting there, the teacher will instructor will encourage you to ask questions, they will always check back with the students. Do you have any questions? And what are the what are your thoughts right now? So the encouragement of asking question is also stimulating a sense of discussion in class, which is also unique in the American education system, which I definitely did not try any other countries. But just comparing these two, I think this is unique.
Michael Hingson ** 12:17
Interesting, do you think that the educational system in general is more demanding in China than in the US in terms of learning and the work that needs to be done, or that is done?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 12:29
It is demanding in different ways. The American education system is also really demanding. I think the China education system is demanding in the repetitive this, you have to work on assignments and is pretty long hours work is after you get back from school such as 5pm you get from school, back from school, you have three to four hours of assignments, you probably need to spend the time on it, because it’s due tomorrow. So that is the demanding aspect of the China’s education system, versus the US education system is also really demanding. I did have Depression period when I was in junior year, when I was at UC Berkeley, because I was not able to deal well of my classes and the credits. It was demanding because it was hard, it was progressing fast. And it was more independent, you have to figure out all of the questions by yourself, even though the instructor is their office hours there. You need to find your own way to study and to make it through. So it’s also super easy to do Monday.
Michael Hingson ** 13:46
So it’s more structured in a sense in China. But here, what I’m hearing you say is that the demand was that you had to to figure out more things rather than it being in a structured way given to you.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 14:02
I agree, this is a great summary and a great, a great summary of the differences. If we take a step back, when I what I what we what I see what I observe in Asia or in China in general, is there’s always a expectation on you. After you graduate from college, you have to have a white collar job. This is the expectation that is already a default setting versus in the US is more freestyle. If you go to some career tracks that is not perceived as white collar or just high end is okay. Nobody will judge you. So I think if we take a step back is to is true for the different system and societal expectations.
Michael Hingson ** 14:58
Yeah, and I’m not at all saying If one is better or worse than the other, they’re different. Same,
Iris Yuning Ye ** 15:02
they’re just different in different and a society.
Michael Hingson ** 15:07
And that’s okay.
Michael Hingson ** 15:10
Ultimately, the final thing that we need to do is to learn and hopefully people do that.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 15:17
Yeah. And what I tried to do and what I realized during my college was that instead of being a student, I can probably be a teacher to some extent. So that was a, that was a moment, a silver lining shining on me that I realized that instead of being a being in the education system, on the side of students, I can also be on the side of teacher. So in junior year, I decided to volunteer in the local community to be an instructor of a inmates reentry bootcamp. That was also a different aspect that I was able to learn from my experience.
Michael Hingson ** 16:06
Tell me more about that. That’s fascinating. And inmates boot camp, our introductory boot camp. Tell me more about that, if you would,
Iris Yuning Ye ** 16:15
for sure. Oh, in my junior year, when I was at Berkeley, I heard there was a organization that was called prisoners literature project, where they in that project, the volunteers tried to gather the books and send back to the balloon mates in the prison based on what they’re requesting, so such as some inmates will write letters to us say, I would love to read some fiction books, I will love to read novels. And we will pick the book from our database and from our donation and mail it back to them. So that was how I started to get involved in this community. I also saw several prisoners after they get get out of prison, they came back to our PLP prisoners literature project to help us to do the volunteer. So at that moment, I was thinking, okay, what are the ways can I get involved in this, and I, at that moment, I only need data analysis. So I started a data analysis class for them. And there were about 11 Ma’s coming in and learn it, it was super rewarding at the end, because at the beginning, I did not realize the minimum wage issue in the whole image system, the because of the lack of skill sets, and because of the societal pressure on reentry inmates. In 2020, I remember the data, about 60% of them don’t even have a job where the employment or in employment rate of us was about 15%. So that was a huge contrast. And because of the program, we started for the re entry and for the data analysis, education, eight out of them were able to get the job in a really decent environment run really decent job setting. So that was when I started in the instructor row on the other side of education. That was the very beginning of my journey.
Michael Hingson ** 18:29
Why is the unemployment rates so high? And what do we do to bring it down?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 18:35
That’s such a great question. I hope that I can be a precedent sometime which is have their problem. Lost Long story short, just several several things I personally observed is first of all, the school says, after prison happened that after the prisoners and inmates have been in prison for some of them 15 years, some of them five years, the world is changing too fast for people to catch up. Even though I’m not in the prison. I’m currently in outside I’m able to access to information, I still feel lagging behind, left behind 1000s of times a day, people talking about how have you used check GPT people talk about have you used any other AI tool before, it’s just changing too fast for people to catch up. So the skill sets that are in demand right now are not caught up by the image. So this is the first reason and the second reason is still the stigma and a stereotype on inmates who the employer is my thing. They’re not safe to employ or feel they’re not a reliable to employ. So they’re filtered out from a lot of opportunities. And lastly, is as soon as they’re out of the prison or as As they’re out of and facing with reentry, it’s so overwhelming. Just imagine that you’re out, you need to deal with your utilities you need to deal with your family needs to deal with your housing. Everything comes together, a job seeking is not even the priority at the moment. And they need the help to review their lives. So these are the three reasons I personally can see from the data.
Michael Hingson ** 20:26
And there aren’t really a culturalization classes in the prisons to help it and great people back into society or there just is too much to learn that they just don’t have time to do at all.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 20:41
What I see in, in California, when I was volunteering in the five ventures and volunteering in the PLP, first of all, is prison in, in a sense of preserving their safety and security. They’re still trying to cut down a lot of connections, prisoners through what the outside world, such as they are only when I was mailing back the books, there were certain books not not allowed. So certain genres are not allowed by certain prisons depends on the region and depends on the city, the prison or facility is in. And also they are not allowed to have such as pens in certain prisons, because it’s considered as a Yeah, sharp instrument, a weapon potential weapon. Well, that was only a small fraction of all of the restrictions from their life there. So we can only imagine how many other restrictions they have, that is limiting the connections with the world. And also, just as the defy ventures I volunteer for or the PLP, there were nonprofits working on that. It’s not scalable, just imagining that we only have six volunteers there. And we can just cover as much as 30 reentry people. Imagine how many people are coming out every single day. The scalability requires more, a second thought or just a reimagining of the current system. How can you
Michael Hingson ** 22:30
teach those of us on the outside about all of this and help us become more sensitized to trying to help?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 22:40
This is what I’ve been thinking a lot about these days. So several things I can do right now. So first of all, is there was another nonprofit I got involved with these days, or in the last year it was called impartial, so impartial what we did was, we collected the art work from the previous prison prisoners or inmates, and we sell it to others. So we try to utilize this way to help them to make money. And a lot of the inmates post release inmates, they lie dry, they like writing, they have a lot of creativity, that is not known by others. So utilize this and also it transform their labor or transform their creativity into something profitable is a great way, as far as I see a great way to give them back for their labor for their devotion into the society and also into this world. And the other way I think can be helpful is just voice out as, as for me, I have been an instructor there, I have been an activist there, I can talk with you and that the more audience listening to this podcast will know this issue. And the whenever they see people from the background, they’re willing to help are willing to get involved in more instructions, and a more education program that will be wonderful.
Michael Hingson ** 24:18
We get so locked into prejudices and so locked into specific ideas that we really don’t take it further. I’ve said for a long time, for example, about people with disabilities that we’re not brought into or involved in the conversation, but I can see where what you’re talking about with people in the prisons and so on is very much the same way. We we don’t really involve them or we don’t really choose to have conversations about all that, which limits our knowledge all the more.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 24:53
Yeah, I’m also curious about in your community. So what kind of limitations Did you see in the disabled community are able in different ways community that the limitations of how you can voice out and the conversations that you were not able to participate in? Well,
Michael Hingson ** 25:13
first of all, I would would reject the concept of Abel in different ways. Ability is ability, we may use different tools or different techniques to accomplish the task. But our abilities are the same, our knowledge is the same. So it’s, it’s when people talk about different abilities, or differently abled, I think that’s such a misnomer and an inappropriate, inappropriate thing, because it isn’t true. As I said, it’s different techniques, perhaps in different tools than you use. And for you, your disability has been covered up pretty well. That is to say, your light dependent, which I love to talk to people about, every person on this planet has a disability and the disability for most people is that they’re light dependent, you don’t do well, if suddenly, the power goes out, and you’re left in the dark. But with Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb, and we spending so much time to make sure that people have access to light, pretty much all the time your disability is covered up. But make no mistake, that disability is still there. Does that make you differently abled than than I am? Who is light independent? I think the answer is no. It says that you have different techniques that you use to have access to information like monitors, and light that allows you to see what’s going on where I get the information in other ways. But we don’t tend to have conversations about a lot of these things. And the prisons and prisoners are in the same situation. Because we fear and we we get very uncomfortable about things that are different than people who are different than we are. And sometimes we build up images that aren’t true. And sometimes we just create these fears that we we can’t deal with them, because they’re not the same as us. And we are better than they are.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 27:13
Well, this is the new education I just had today, right? That concept of disabled versus able and with different abilities. This is these are the two ways I heard about people describing this community before. But now it makes totally sense about how we are disability disabled in different ways. I last week, when I was walking in dark, I was not able even able to get my key and my door lock. I was there for five minutes cannot touch it cannot be alone. How can I hit survivor like this?
Michael Hingson ** 27:51
Exactly. And the reality is that it’s a matter of learning the techniques. And it’s a matter of learning how to do it. So you could learn how to find the appropriate place to put your key in the lock. And you could learn to do that by touch. But it’s a it’s a process. And since that’s not normally the way you do it, it becomes a little bit different situation for you.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 28:20
Do you feel that we are just educated we just we are just educated or we require different learnings in our life. So such as the prisoners, they might learn a rig require a type of learning every entry, which is currently what I don’t need to our what you don’t need to such as you need to learn about how to navigate through dark environments from way earlier than I do. So we are just navigating through different learnings and education. And we’re Riley moments of our lives.
Michael Hingson ** 28:55
I think our learning is something that comes based on our experiences and our environments. So as a blind person, I don’t tend to learn how to do things, using light as the main vehicle to give me access to information. I do it in other ways. Now, at the same time, I think it’s important that I understand what eyesight is to you and why it’s important. And I have no problem with that. Where I think the breakdown comes is when most people have eyesight and they believe that unless you can see, you’re less than we are. That’s where I think the problem comes. Because most people think that eyesight is the only game in town and if you don’t have eyesight, you can’t possibly be as good as we are. And And likewise, if you’re a person who There’s been a prisoner, then clearly there’s something wrong with you otherwise, you’d never have been a prisoner. And it, it doesn’t make sense to it necessarily have to be that way.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 30:11
It connects back to the questions we talked about earlier, that how can we? How can we encourage more people to get involved in this initiative, such as reentry for inmates, helping them to learn the life skills coming back to society? The everybody has a blind spot in their life, such as my blind spot is probably I if I don’t talk with you before, I have never got a chance to talk with you, I will never learn that. What is the difference visibility’s and the learnings versus people with eyesight versus not. So that was I don’t have the empathy for that. And it’s the same idea for an education and a prisoners scenario, because people don’t try to understand what is the life scenario of the inmates who are currently in the reentry process. So they don’t have the empathy and they don’t have the ability to comprehend their situation?
Michael Hingson ** 31:15
Well, you’re right. I would say, though, that the difference is, say between you and any number of other people is, you’re open to learning and gaining that empathy. And although you may start out with a particular belief, you are willing to explore alternatives. Whereas there are so many people who aren’t. And that’s where the challenge comes. I have I’ve been in situations where someone where a child has come up to me and wanting to talk to me, and the parents have just grabbed the child and take and said, No, don’t talk to them. And he might not like it, or, you know, they come up with all sorts of excuses. Or, I’m walking with my guide dog, I remember one time I was in a hotel, and I was walking from the desk, I had to turn down a long corridor, and then go up a little ways and then make another left turn to get to my room. And there were people who are behind me and and they kept saying, how does that dog know where he wants to go? Because the presumption is, I can’t possibly know it, since I can’t see it. The reality is, the last thing I want is the dog to know, I have to give the dog commands, the dogs job is to make sure that we walk safely. And you know, they said well, how does the dog know when to turn. And here I am giving hand signals and saying left, left Left. And they don’t even acknowledge that error. They ignore it. Because that doesn’t fit their image of what a blind person is. So the answer is, it’s all about more education. It’s more discussions, which is why I chose 22 years ago after September 11. To travel around and speak and talk about blindness and talk about lessons we should learn about September 11, and other such things. So that people will learn that we are all on the same planet. And we need to all learn to be a little bit more accepting of those who are different than we are.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 33:21
Right, and education. The key one of the keys for education I see is curiosity. As we talked about EuroCity comes in, when there’s some contradictory information coming in, how can you piece together? And when there’s something against you what you’re believing in? Can you be open minded? The Curiosity is taking people a long way. Learning learning is not only about what we are taught right now in class, but also such as I learned that from you that you get your guide dog, a hen hen sign up at turning labs are turning right, well and verbal commands as well. Right, yeah, so all of the commands coming together.
Michael Hingson ** 34:09
But the but the issue is that a lot of people don’t notice that. They just think it’s amazing what this dog does to lead this blind man around. Dogs don’t leave a guide. Because it’s not the dog’s job. The dog’s job is to make sure that we walk safe. It’s my job to give direction. And there are so many different kinds of situations like that, where we just lock ourselves into one point of view. And don’t argue with the facts or don’t don’t confuse me with the facts. That’s not what what I’m used to. And so I’m not going to accept that. And it’s it’s so unfortunate when that happens, because there’s so many people who operate in so many different ways that we just tend not to want to pay attention to that. And that’s where getting back into the conversation. So things like this podcast, hopefully people learn something from it in so many different things that you do and so on up, I think we’re all teachers. And I know you said earlier, you never thought of yourself being really a teacher, but clearly you are. And you’re very much involved in the education field in so many ways. The fact is, I think all of us can and ought to, in some ways, view ourselves as teachers, and that’s a good thing.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 35:32
I can relate a lot to your September 11th. So after that, you decided to the realization that we are on the same planet, and that we need to learn from each other more. I think that was the same point for me the moment of my life, that because of prisoners literature project, and because of the first ever instructional experience I had, I decided to get involved more of the education field, because I see the opportunity. And I see the unstoppable side from the students learning and also from the teachers aspect. The this will be a much better place if we share the knowledge and the other side is willing to take in.
Michael Hingson ** 36:22
How do you think
Michael Hingson ** 36:25
most people in the United States would view the educational system and the whole world of China?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 36:35
I cannot speak to anyone else. But last time I watched a YouTube video, I saw the comments. I read through the comments there. The comments were i There is pathetic. It’s they are losing their childhood, they will be a robot after they get off school. I think everything is depends on how you take it and how you utilize it. So yes, it is pathetic in some way. Because we have to put in longer hours in the study in this single item of life. But on the other hand, the perseverance comes up. And the foundation of science and the foundation of math knowledge comes up. So highly depends on how we take it. So I would say based on what I see from the YouTube comments is more empathetic? Is that the right word to put a from American society?
Michael Hingson ** 37:36
very empathetic. Yeah. And that’s the point is that, once again, I think there is a lot of evidence to show that maybe things aren’t quite that way. But it gets back to we’ve got to somehow deal with the politics and the government situations because the government’s cause a whole lot more problems for all of us on all sides then, than anything else. And the way it really is, as opposed to the way the government says it is or wants it to be or not the same at all.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 38:13
And if we bring the whole US education system in into any developing country, it will totally not work. I’m not saying any education system is great, but it’s just not gonna work. If you bring this whole free style and also free choice education system to a rural place in a developing country, the student don’t know what to choose, they need a foundation of education, of how to survive in life, because their parents are gone. Their parents are in big city. They’re living by themselves since very young, they’re living with their grandparents, and they’re living on the minimum wage such as a year, they only earn several $50 a year. This is their whole income the whole year. How can you just say you should think about your life in a better way, rather than studying only they don’t have the privilege to think about that. This is also some some minor factors. I would encourage people to look into the system before creating critiquing them. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 39:25
I had a conversation some time ago on this podcast with someone who came out of the era of communism in in your well in Eastern Europe and so on. And one of the things that they said was that the the difficulty for most people when communism ended in their country, was that they didn’t know how to move forward the communism, the communist regime made all your decisions for you. And in a sense, that’s that’s kind of what I hear you saying, in some senses about education in China, but not necessarily in the same negative way. But what they said is that the communist regime made all decisions for you. And now, the communist regime has gone. And people have to learn to make decisions for themselves. And it’s a whole new experience, and they didn’t know how to do it. This
Iris Yuning Ye ** 40:27
is really true or in, in the culture, and both in the culture and both in the regime, because it has been there for hundreds of years, is hard to overturn it overnight. If you’re asking the students from their cultural background to ask questions in class right now, they’re so uncomfortable doing it, and they feel they’re doing something wrong, for asking questions or challenging authority is nothing wrong or nothing right is just not fit in the system cannot fit in the system right now. It might take several years, several decades to do it. So this is what I see the difference, and also, why certain system can offer it and you can or you can not always use the Western American way to try to put into the other system work.
Michael Hingson ** 41:23
Right? It isn’t the same. I am sure that there are parts of the American system that would be of benefit in other environments. But I’m sure also that there are probably parts of other environments that would be invaluable in the American system.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 41:43
Yeah, it’s all a as our critical thinking process, there’s no right or wrong Aza is not black and white is a spectrum that all of us when we gather more information, such as if I have the privilege of knowing that both of the system, I can compare them and see the difference, and you have the knowledge to compare them. And you can also tell the difference. And we exchanged information, which can be a more unbiased and probably a more well, well put way, rather than you only look into one side of opinions rather than the other.
Michael Hingson ** 42:24
You could advise young students in any country or in any environment, about education, and so on, what would you what would you advise them to do?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 42:39
Curiosity is so important to say that, which
Michael Hingson ** 42:44
is why asked.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 42:46
Yeah, we already touched base on that. Just several questions ago. I’m always thinking about that these days. Well, one thing I personally really enjoy, is it just one side note outside the question that we were talking about? I what I enjoy, is I reflecting on what I had so far, what I don’t have what I enjoy what I don’t enjoy. So curiosity has been so important for me that because of curiosity, I want to learn other places, even though I have no correlation or connection with them. I want to know what is happening in your life. If you’re from from Bangladesh, what is the culture there? I never been there. I want to learn from you. Because of curiosity, I got to talk to such as students from business school, what is your job? Why do you come? The curiosity leads to inflammation, and inflammation leads to a more well rounded opinion, because you have more unbiased and abundant information. Only abandoned information can lead to unbiased opinion, this is just my take on education. So curiosity is so important is the key. And the second is self reflection. Then what do you enjoy? What do you don’t enjoy? The one thing I struggle a lot when I was a student in college was I failed, I did not fail, but I did so bad in my statistics class, and I thought my life was going to end here. I’m losing my GPA, and I’m losing my ranking in the major. But then I realized why do I need to stay in the stat field? If I’m not good at it? I can work on the aspects Am I good at I am good at says it is logical thinking such as strategy. So if I’m able, I ever get a chance to talk about the skill sets and talk about education. I would say curiosity and self reflection are in two key points that I have in mind.
Michael Hingson ** 44:55
And I think that goes beyond education. I think that it’s Something that we all should do. I, I think one of the greatest things that I’ve experienced in my life, especially since sometime in the 1990s was the internet because it gave me such access to information as a as a blind person that I didn’t have access to before because everything was in print, and print. Although the technology had begun to be available to reprint through things like the original Kurzweil Reading Machine that evolved to better Omni font, Character Recognition over the years, it still was a relatively small way to get access to information, whereas the Internet has just opened so many doors. And since I’ve always viewed life as an adventure anyway, it just seems to me the internet really helps to allow us to explore things and we need to do it. And we need to keep an open mind. But in our country today, we’re just seeing so many people who are locked into opinions. Like with the whole political situation, there’s no discussing. There’s no room for conversation, which is so scary.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 46:18
Right. And technology, as you said, internet started booming in 1990s. And then all the way here. Every single one of us almost in the world is on it. And there are new technologies coming up. One thing I one discussion I heard a lot, both in the media and also in the school is is technology good for education? I think they highly depends on how users still there’s no right or wrong, wrong answer is Chad GPT. Great for education. If you use it just for copy pasting, you never learn is a bad education. But if you use it to help you understand difficult concepts, and you have a personalized interpretation of the answer it gives to you is such a great way to study, you don’t need too much access to a instructor all the time, you still need the instructor to explain ideas to you. But you can do a lot of self learning through that. So when I heard you talking about Internet that, though, was I resonated a lot in the sense of internet is also connecting us. But if you don’t use it right, is wasting your time. Sure. Sure,
Michael Hingson ** 47:36
well, and take chat GPT and other large language models and so on that that are now coming out in the hole, what we’ve been calling artificial intelligence. Not sure it’s totally artificial, but but the fact is that, that in reality, it creates challenges somewhat. But I do believe that technology is good for education, I think the chat GPT if used correctly, and I agree with you. But if used correctly can be extremely helpful. I’ve used it to help write articles. And blog posts what I’ve done with it, though, I love to to do this with Chet GPT, I’ll ask it a question or I’ll tell it I want an article about one thing or another. And it provides an answer and I’m not sure I like that one, give it to me again, I’ve I’ve done like eight or nine different runs at something. And then I’ll take them all. And I will take whatever and choose whatever elements from each one that I want to go in the article, and then add my own spin to it because I know that it has to be my article. And you’re right. They don’t they don’t teach you. They give you things that you can use, but we still have to be the ones to put it together.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 49:01
Right and the way I interact with chat, TBD. That was also one way I interact. And the other way is sometimes my writing is really broken. It’s not my native language. So there are certain words that I’m not sure what is the better one to the alternative choices. So I ask it, can you please rephrase it for me? A lot.
Michael Hingson ** 49:24
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Right? Still? Still you do. Right?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 49:31
It’s still you doing it and you still have to be the one to do it. Somebody was telling me, I think it was actually near Christmas time last year about chat GPT and how students were using it to just write papers and do exams and so on. And one of the things that I said is what’s going to happen with all of this or in part what’s going to happen is that yes, possibly, you can develop ways for teachers to detect that something was written by chat GPT as opposed to a student, but ultimately isn’t really about seeing if people truly have gained the knowledge and what’s going to have to happen is that teachers are going to have to start asking more questions of students directly. Or even if they turn a paper in with chat GPT and that that did the work. Make the student defend the paper orally, without reading it without looking at it, defend the paper, you can find out in so many ways whether a student is just cheated and not really done the work or not.
Michael Hingson ** 50:40
And we’re because of the technology and the education or the whole higher education system and our the college education is revert revolutionising the way they define plagiarism and cheating. And define how to define how to comprehend how the students can comprehend. Instead of just submitting the paper or submitting the assignment, there is hope a whole bunch of the back end changes. I I’m excited about it, and also, I think is super helpful in the higher education system.
Michael Hingson ** 51:20
Yeah. And,
Michael Hingson ** 51:23
like with anything, we’re only at the beginning. Right?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 51:28
Just imagine that when the Industrial Revolution was to two centuries ago, we already back then British thought it was the end of the labor efficiency improvement. But that was just the beginning. fastball, were 200 years ago, here we are in zoom.
Michael Hingson ** 51:50
One of my favorite examples about people thoughts limiting their imagination, is the story of a gentleman named Roger Bannister. Have you heard of him? Not really. So Roger Bannister always wanted to be the person who would run a mile in less than four minutes. And he was told by everyone, it couldn’t be done physically, it couldn’t be done, you would die if you went over or ran a mile in under four minutes. And everyone in the in the athletic world just said, this is not something that can be done. Then one day he did it. And I think 1956 56 or 5756 I think he’s, he’s from from Britain. And he did it. And then what happened? Everyone started to be running the mile. In less than four minutes. We we we talk ourselves into things. Course, I love to tell people that you still haven’t convinced me that the world isn’t flat, you know? They say, Well, you can look at it from space. And you can say, well, that doesn’t help me a bit. So how do you I know that the world isn’t? There’s an organization called the Flat Earth Society that has many arguments to prove that the world is still flat? Well, you know, fine. All I know is that gravity is keeping me here. And that’s a good thing.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 53:18
Flat Earther. And there was a funny video, it was flat earther and scientist having a conversation of if Earth is flat, it was really funny. So they say arguing with each other and Flat Earthers failed, scientists are stupid. As scientists were so offended by the stupid word falling on them. We published hundreds of papers, and you say we were stupid.
Michael Hingson ** 53:50
Well, publishing doesn’t, doesn’t solve anything by itself.
Right? So I don’t know. I
Michael Hingson ** 54:00
don’t know all the arguments from the Flat Earthers as to why they say that the world is flat. I really should spend more time researching that just to see what they say. But whatever. I think I think generally we accept that the earth is spherical. It isn’t really rounded, spherical, but that’s okay.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 54:21
Yeah, it has is the curb there.
Michael Hingson ** 54:23
Well, that’s what they say. That’s, that’s what some of you say. Anyway.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 54:30
Well, gosh, so much. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 54:32
Oh, it’s fun. People, people come up with all sorts of arguments to do everything. So clearly, you value education. And I would say that you would say it changes your life and it’s changed your life. Right?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 54:49
Definitely. Just my my my life because of the education because of the curiosity and because it was how I came to the other side and part of spending in education, a change and the direction has been never been predictable up to now, which is exciting and which is also exhilarating.
Michael Hingson ** 55:15
So what do you want for you to be a great educator?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 55:21
Good question. What I see I’m lacking right now, the empathy of, well, I’m biased because the way I learned I tried to use it to teach others. And I think this is the common problem for a lot of people. So the way I am always reminding myself that I try to learn how other people learn. And instead of just using my way to teach the students teach my target audience. So the other one I have in mind is, I always believe the foundation of education. So such as kindergarten and elementary school, the teacher there is actually doing a much harder job than college students college educator, because in kindergarten, just imagine how can you explain one plus one equals two, it is not an easy job. So what I see a better education a better educator, if I can be at some point is I can explain the foundation of the knowledge in a more articulated way. Rather than just take it as a default setting and take it as a for granted that people already know.
Michael Hingson ** 56:40
I find it interesting that you talk about the fact that what would make you a great educator is to deal with the things that you lack still, that you’re only going to be a great educator when you when you learn more, which is an interesting, and absolutely, it seems to me very appropriate philosophy.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 57:02
Right? The more we, the more I learned, the more I realize how much I don’t know that that is the the encouragement for me to keep in this field and learn as much as I can. And I think it applies to most of the settings in life that the more you know, you realize, I only know a fraction of this world. What
Michael Hingson ** 57:29
do you where do you? Where do you think you will be in five years? What do you see yourself doing? Or how do you see yourself progressing? And and of course, that also leads to more of a discussion about the whole issue of education inequity, to which I know we’ve talked a lot about in one way or another. But so where do you see yourself in five years,
Iris Yuning Ye ** 57:53
I still want to stay in the software product view, which I have been most comfortable with, since I graduated from college. And I think I can I can devote a lot more in the such as education, product ad tech, and I want to be a lecturer of our time, I still haven’t figured that out. But this is something I want to do so such as teach a class in college or teach a class in the local community. And also want to keep up with a volunteer in the prisoners community and see what I can still help. Not only help, but also spread the word to
others. I
Michael Hingson ** 58:30
gather from what you’re saying you see yourself continuing to do that here in the US.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 58:37
Yeah, heard of hands on opportunity. So such as how much i i get paid, right? So how how well, the product fits in my personal interest.
Michael Hingson ** 58:50
Well, maybe you can take a rocket to Mars and start teaching people up there.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 58:55
We can definitely do it.
Michael Hingson ** 58:58
You have to learn Martian.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 59:01
And I have to learn how to do math, how to teach and how to talk through them.
Michael Hingson ** 59:09
Well see another adventure. But you know, I think that that all that you’re saying is so great, because it’s it still comes back to curiosity and it still comes back to learning. And it’s something that we always all should be doing. We should find ways to learn and not just reject things out of hand. Just because we don’t believe it.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 59:34
This is the theme for today’s podcast is curiosity is learn from others. Get rid of what you have so far.
Michael Hingson ** 59:43
Yeah. It’s the only way to do it. Well, I want to thank you for being here with us. This has been fun. Can people reach out to you and interact with you in any way? How would they do that? They’re
Iris Yuning Ye ** 59:56
my I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. If you’re you think a user, you can find my search my name, you’ll find me.
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:04
Why don’t you spell that for me?
Iris Yuning Ye ** 1:00:08
I r i s space? Y u n i n g space Y e. I’m probably the only one you can find. So, yes, you use the search. Um, the other way is I my, my email is iye@umich.edu. So i  ye at U M. I C H.edu.
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:31
Yeah, better better Michigan than Ohio State you would say right. Go
Iris Yuning Ye ** 1:00:36
Go Michigan and go Walgreens.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 1:00:43
I have a friend colored there. I
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:45
have a friend who just retired from the government a couple of years ago, but he got his advanced degrees in economics from the University of Michigan. We both were at UC Irvine at the same time. But then he went to University of Michigan, he loved to talk about the ongoing rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State during football season, which is always a series of fun stories to hear. This
Iris Yuning Ye ** 1:01:09
is what I picked up from the American culture, you should be proud of your football team that if not, you’re kicked out.
Michael Hingson ** 1:01:18
And I like college football a lot more than professional football. Even though there’s more and more money getting into college football, college football is still the sport that people can talk about. And you can can have fun with it from all sides and, and college kids still have a lot of fun with it. Right.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 1:01:38
And we are still we’re still here. staying strong. You mentioned staying strong. That’s it.
Michael Hingson ** 1:01:45
Or as we say a UFC fight on. But you know, it’s a it’s an important thing. Well, Iris young and III, I want to thank you for being here with us. This has been fun. We met on LinkedIn and and I’m glad that we did. And you’re going to have to come back in the future and tell us how things are going with you and talk about things you’ve learned and so on. So let’s not let this be the only time you are on unstoppable mindset.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 1:02:12
And I wait for it. And I’m so thankful for LinkedIn to connect us together and talk through this podcast and talk through what our value is and talk through the experience for both of us. So thank you so much, Michael. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 1:02:27
thank you. This has been fun. And now you get to go have dinner and I want to thank you for listening to us out there. Would love to hear your thoughts. And I’m sure Iris would as well. So we’d love to hear from you. You can email me at Michael m i c h a e l h i at accessiBe A c c e s s i b e.com. You can also go to our podcast page www dot Michael hingson.com and hingson is h i n g s o n  so Michael hingson.com/podcast. Wherever you’re listening, please give us a five star rating. We value it very highly. I hope people are enjoying all these conversations in these discussions. I know I am and I’m learning a lot. And I can’t complain about that one bit because I think Iris just told us it’s all about being curious. And it’s all about desiring to learn and gain more knowledge. And so I think it’s important to do that. Please give us a five star rating. Wherever you’re listening to us, we value that. And once more Iris, I want to thank you for being here. And this has been fun and don’t be a stranger.
Iris Yuning Ye ** 1:03:32
 Thank you Michael.
Michael Hingson ** 1:03:38
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com . AccessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for Listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.

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