Featured Students

Featured Student: Casey Cash


  • Name: Casey Cash
  • Year: Junior
  • Major: International Studies
  • Hometown: Paducah, KY
  • Favorite thing to get (food/drink) on campus: Anything with caffeine in it.
  • Best movie you’ve seen recently: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • Best book you’ve read recently: The Pluto Files by Neil DeGrasse Tyson


Q & A:

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Casey Cash. I was born in Memphis, but I have traveled and lived all over the world so I’ve never really lived anywhere for more than three years. I love to travel; I love to see the world and experience other cultures. I really enjoy new experiences and anything from other cultures. Ever since I got to Murray, I have really been getting into Japanese culture, and I have learned a lot since then not only about Japanese culture but Eastern Asia as well. I find it very interesting how similar yet how different everything is. Because of the language barrier that exists between us, they kind of have their own separate world that we don’t really get into and learn about here in America. But once you bridge that gap, you come to realize that in many ways they have gone down similar paths historically that we have here in the western part of the world. In some ways, the things that they have done are better and there are many things that we could learn from them just as they could learn from us. I find that how they got where they did and how we got where we did throughout history very interesting. I love to study these kinds of things and draw similarities between cultures on my own outside of school. I really like to learn and if I could go to school for the rest of my life I would.

Eventually, I want to shift my focus of study more into the scientific realm of study, but I’m not in any hurry and it’s really more of a hobby at this point. For now, I am happy just expanding on my knowledge of the world and how other people live their lives.

I think I might be a bit off topic. I mentioned spending much of my life traveling, and most of my international travels happened during my time in the Air Force. I was stationed in England, which let me see a lot of Europe, on the rare chance I wasn’t working that is. I deployed four times to the Middle East, and I got to see and do some interesting things because of this.

I came to Murray State originally with the purpose of studying computer science, but I decided it wasn’t something I was ready to do just yet. So I decided to find something that would allow me to do what I love, which is to travel.

What made you come to Murray State?

Originally, I wanted to go to Washington State University out in Vancouver, Washington, but the out of state tuition was way too much. My two younger brothers were going to Murray State, and my family was also living around Murray. So, when I came for a visit I sat down and talked with them and figured it would be easier to go here. They have a computer science program, which is what I was looking for at the time. I got into the program and it wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t what I was looking for so I switched over to what I am doing now. I knew that this was a really good school and had a really great international community so I decided to stay even after changing majors.

Who have you enjoyed working with?

I have really enjoyed working with Professor Hatakeyama and Dr. Ekida, they have both been such fantastic teachers. They have helped me with so much and they are super passionate about what they are teaching and that really helps to keep me passionate about learning it. They have always set the standard really high, and I like that because I usually set my standard for myself really high as well. They kind of help me to push myself even further as I try to set my standard even higher than their already high standard. It has been an interesting couple of years.

Dr. Seib in the Political Science Department has also been really great, and I have learned a lot from him especially in regard to my major. He has taught me a lot more than I think he knows he has. I have really enjoyed the classes I have had with him, and I hope to be in more classes with him in the future. His way of approaching things is really interesting and it has helped me improve my critical thinking level, which is especially important in the world today.



Who inspires you in life?

People in general, inspire me. Seeing how people live their lives, and maybe something or some way that that person does something might inspire me to change something about myself. There isn’t really one person in particular that stands out.

There have been a couple of people that have helped me to pick myself up after I decided not to be religious anymore, especially in the science community: Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye as well as some others. These people and the ways they view the world, that you don’t necessarily have to have a higher power to believe in to live your life in the fullest sense, helped me. This was a difficult time, and finding a way to make my life fulfilling was important. These people really helped me to come to terms with the changes in my belief, though, and I have nothing against the people who do believe in a religion. I have no problem with people who do have a religion, and I support them and everything they do so long as at the end of the day they aren’t hurting anyone. I always try to learn from others and experience things from other people’s points of view; having faith in people is important.

What made you choose the major that you did?

I originally went for computer science. I love the sciences and engineering, but I think I like it more as a hobby and thankfully I figured that out early on here at Murray State. So after thinking about it for a long time, I realized that I wanted something that really played off of and expanded upon my experiences abroad. I was looking around, and International Studies seemed to be my best bet. With all the things going on politically in the world, I really felt that I needed to expand my knowledge on the politics in the world as well as understanding other cultures even more. I have loved my change in major and have enjoyed the classes immensely. There are a lot of classes that I didn’t think I would ever enjoy that I am taking even know that have really blown me away.

Work/projects related to your major:

I have been helping in developing the Japanese extracurricular program since early on, which really helped to push me into international studies. I assisted in the creation and modification of the Japanese Club, of which I am now the president since the previous president graduated earlier this year. So I have been focusing a lot on that, but I think my time spent focusing on the Japanese program is starting to dwindle while my focus on International Studies is starting to pick up. At the moment I don’t have any other work or projects associated with my major but I definitely plan on getting much more involved in the next semester. But of course, the level of my involvement will depend on how much time I have available since I am the president of the Japanese Club and I’ve already made that commitment and I am going to follow through with it. Making sure that everything is in place, this comes first and everything involving my major comes after.

Future plans:

I plan to study abroad in Japan before I graduate, but, other than that, I’m not really sure. As much as I enjoy the political science side of things, I would like to get involved with government work somehow. I’d like to also use my Japanese skills on top of my international studies, so working for the CIA, FBI, or some other government agency would be good since that would allow me to draw on my military experience as well.

I try not to make too many solid plans. I typically just aim myself in a direction and go. My plans tend to change as life requires them to. If you set things in stone too much you might find yourself disappointed.


“Casey Cash is a very serious and diligent student in the Japanese program and won 2nd place in Level 1 in the Tennessee Area Japanese Speech Contest last April. He is currently President of the Japanese Club whose members are Americans, Japanese, and other international students. As the president, he works tirelessly to cultivate friendships among the club members and create a strong tie between American and Japanese students. Since he became President, the club has been energized significantly. He has organized a wide variety of activities from the Japan earthquake relief effort to Halloween parties for the Japanese Club students to enjoy. He has strong leadership skills, takes care of other students, and thinks about others before himself. He is mature and looked up to as a big brother by the other students.”

-Yoko Hatakeyama

“I wish I got to have Casey in more classes.  Unfortunately for me, his emphasis is in international studies, while I primarily teach in American politics.  His passion for international affairs, especially Asia, is evident to anyone who knows him.  I can see it not only in his coursework and research but also his involvement with international students.  Casey is someone who is easy to teach.  He is always prepared and eager to learn–two traits that will take a person far in life.  I can’t wait to see where Casey’s career after Murray State takes him.”

-Drew Seib

“Casey is a hard-working student. Last spring he participated in the Annual Tennessee Area Japanese Speech Contest and won two awards: the Consul-General Award and second place at level 1. He is such a great asset to the Japanese program. As a president of Japanese Club he has transformed the club vibrant and exciting by collaborating closely with other members. The club organizes a number of cultural and social events to promote Japanese language and culture.  Casey helps students from Japanese sister schools to smoothly adjust to MSU campus life. His passion for studying Japanese language and culture inspires the others who pursue Japanese major and minor. I truly appreciate how he assists to create a sense of community in the Japanese program.”

-Fusae Ekida


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