Professor/Principal Investigator, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Place of birth: Turkey
Educational background: PhD Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, USA; MSc, BSc Aerospace Engineering, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Who or what inspired you to work in science/engineering?
I was first inspired by the magic of space exploration. I consider space to hold the secrets of our past and future and who we are, and what we are made of. When I was very young, I wanted to become an astronaut. This dream led me to study aerospace engineering. During my graduate studies, I expended my studies to include photonics-one of the most unique and important tools available to us. Now, as a professor, I use ultrafast lasers to study biology and solve important biomedical problems.
What are the primary responsibilities of your current job?
I have many responsibilities as a professor. I develop new research ideas, find important problems to address, and apply for grants to pursue these new exciting research topics. I advise and teach graduate and undergraduate students. I give talks at conferences, write research papers, apply for patents, and help start new businesses with the novel ideas that I develop with my graduate students and post-docs. Being a professor is very unique and rewarding, both from the academic freedom point of view, as well as from the education point of view.
Do you have advice for young women considering a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)?
I would strongly encourage them not to give up a career in STEM. It is our responsibility to pave the way for future young professionals and lead the future of innovation, which is the backbone of a healthy economy for our society.