Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2022
It was a long journey for Yizhou Xiao to attend Arizona State University, but he says he felt welcome from the start.
“ASU is an open, innovative and creative university,” Xiao says. “It is an international, student-friendly university and every student has the same opportunities.”
He says he quickly found a passion for construction engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the seven Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. Adding that seeing his designs come to life is a fulfilling process.
“I am interested in all sophisticated shapes, patterns and designs, whether they are complex buildings or beautiful cities,” Xiao says.
He credits his mentor, Associate Professor Steven Ayer, for helping him cross the finish line. Xiao says Ayer took time to meet almost every week to discuss his studies and what he could do to stay on track to achieve his dream career.
“Whenever I am confused or feel lost about the direction of my research, he will always give me encouragement and confidence,” Xiao says.
During his time in the construction engineering program, he says he gained invaluable insight into Building Information Model, or BIM, technology and how innovative technologies like augmented reality can be used to improve construction safety and education.
“In my construction technology class, I made a mixed-reality model, combining virtual and actual views using a program called Unity; this is what attracted me to virtual reality,” Xiao says. “It makes me think about problems more comprehensively and logically and I am excited to explore all of its possibilities to make the construction industry safer.”
Xiao, a New American University Scholar, also served as a learning assistant for the physics department and participated in the Arizona State University Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
Following graduation, Xiao says he plans to attend graduate school to continue his engineering studies.