Robert College High School (Istanbul), Koc University, Columbia University, Stanford University
None in the UK but I took national exams to get into high school and university in Turkey, then took the GRE exam in the US for graduate school. Most recently I applied for Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in the UK (and got it!)
I did 2 internships, one for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and another one for the glass manufacturing company Sisecam. These allowed me to see where my interests were in terms of engineering and I chose to work in the fields of energy and environmental sustainability. My later jobs have all been academic, like my first one after graduate school was to work as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University. I then worked as Associate Staff Scientist at a national laboratory of the US Department of Energy, called SLAC.
Lecturer at University of Surrey
University of Surrey Department of Chemical and Process Engineering
Favourite thing to do in my job: Brainstorm with students about new ideas for experiments
I am a chemical and environmental engineer who is passionate about closing the carbon cycle. I've also lived in 3 different countries and love traveling.
I live in Guildford, Surrey and my flat is just a short walk from some of the best walking trails in town. I was born in the United States, but I grew up mostly in Istanbul, Turkey. I studied Chemical and Biological Engineering, and then got a doctorate in Earth and Environmental Engineering, because I really wanted to do something positive about climate change. My work has taken me all around the world, to New York, Singapore, California, China, France and now the United Kingdom! I love to see new places and I have been in the UK for just over 2 years. I sometimes play the piano and guitar, and sometimes go out to play tennis. I am also not too bad at backgammon and enjoy learning to play different board games. My pronouns are she/her.
I search for ways to prevent the release of harmful greenhouse gases, and technologies to turn waste into useful materials.
I work at the University of Surrey as a Lecturer in Chemical and Process Engineering. My work involves teaching and doing research, mostly on developing sustainable technologies. In my laboratory we run reactions using renewable reactants (such as green hydrogen) and wastes such as greenhouse gases and plastics. I love to teach, especially when I can make connections between what I’m teaching and some of the new and exciting research we are doing. One project that I am really excited at the moment is developing a process for purifying water, that can also recover plastics and use them to make valuable products. This idea of turning waste into value is really important for creation of a circular economy, where waste is avoided to ensure sustainability.
What I'd do with the money
I would use the money to develop an engineering demonstration that can show students how we can create solutions to environmental problems.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
CO2 utilisation enthusiast
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
During my PhD research I did the first ever experiments to show that we can capture the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and convert it back to fuel in the same reactor, potentially leading to major savings in energy costs.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My mom, who is a chemical engineer, inspired me through her work, which has always focused on energy efficiency and research and development for sustainable chemical processes.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Psychology, and I especially found the science of learning fascinating
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to be a filmmaker or a scientific researcher.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was constantly in trouble because I found it hard to focus during long lectures, which made the instructors think I wasn't interested in learning!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would love to be an astronaut or an artist.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pink Floyd, Queen
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I once went bungee jumping at a music festival where you could jump down from a crane onto the general admission area during a concert.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. To be a positive presence in people's lives 2. To always live close to nature and 3. to someday drive a really fast (preferably red) car without contributing to climate change
Tell us a joke.
Why don't scientists trust atoms? Because they make up everything