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Students discuss the future of work in the medical field with industry professionals during a field trip to the Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg. Mariam Hasan used to have a troubled relationship with economics.

“I hated it,” said the Virginia Tech senior studying biomedical engineering. “If anyone even tried to talk economics with me, I would be like ‘No, I cannot carry on this conversation.’ ”

But a few months into the Honors College’s interdisciplinary exploration course, The Future of Work, Hasan has warmed up to the subject.

“Every single time we talk about economics, it’s like, ‘Wow, this is really relevant,’ ” she said. “And then I start researching stuff on my own, and I even considered if I should be taking more economics courses.”

Taught by Daniel Sui, Virginia Tech’s vice president for research and innovation, and Ralph Hall, an associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, the course takes an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the implications of advancing technology on life and work.

“Everybody needs to think about this issue,” said Sui. “It’s not just about their own career, it’s about humanity. It’s really trying to ask the most fundamental question: what does it mean to be a human in the age of smart machines?”

Each week, the course features a guest speaker from Virginia Tech’s wide breadth of experts who approach that question from their unique perspective. The class has also taken a field trip to hear directly from industry leaders connected to the university.

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Contact: Lindsey Haugh