Assist. Prof. Elif Nur Firat-Karalar was interviewed as one of the inspiring and successful women of Turkey by the Elele magazine for the 8th of March International Women’s Day.Go to news
The only thing I was sure of when I graduated from high school was that I wanted to study molecular biology and genetics in order to satisfy my passion about understanding the universe. My family wanted me to become a doctor. I , in a way, fulfilled both their dream and mine by studying at Koç University.
I could not have found answers to the “Why?” questions I had, if I had not studied MBGE. KU not only equips us academicaly but it also provides tons of extracurricular opportunities. I discovered my interest in nature sports at KU. We climbed the peaks of Ilgaz and Ağrı Mountains with the KU supported Mountaineering Club. KU will continue to provide great opportunities for academic and social advancement for the prospective students just like it did with me.
I chose to study physics in Koç University not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, but rather knowing what I did not want to do. However, this preference has opened the doors of another world to me.
First of all, thanks to the core liberal arts program at the university, I had the chance to enjoy the history and sociology classes, which I always had an interest in. In addition, I had the unique opportunity to start working on a project on modeling high power lasers in my freshmen year. This opportunity helped improve my research capabilities at an early stage. After my sophomore year, I started focusing more on my major which mostly involved physics and mathematics. I always had a fascination with being able to model nature through mathematics and my interest has moved me toward natural sciences.
Thanks to the high quality education and contribution of my physics professors, I was accepted to the Ph.D program in Geophysics at Caltech, one of the best research schools in United States and the world. I studied earthquake physics at Caltech and worked as a researcher after finishing my Ph.D at this institute. Afterwards, I moved to France and worked in Université Grenoble Alpes as a CNRS (National Scientific Research Center) postdoctoral scholar. Since then, I have been working as an Asst. Professor in Bogazici University, Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute studying and teaching earthquake physics.
I believe that the high level of education and early research opportunities in Koç University’s Department of Physics has provided me significant advantages in my later career both in terms of analytical thinking and in terms of modelling experience. I strongly recommend students to consider becoming part of this prestigious university and department.
After I realised that I wanted to become a scientist, I chose KU for higher education primarily because of its emphasis on experimental studies and the opportunities provided to the students. Even the undergaraduate students have the chance to work in laboratories and get involved in research projescts. This is something that really motivates potential young scientists . The core program at KU is not about your major only; it also offers opportunities to acquire knowledge in other fields which may be quite different from your primary major and you may be able to link different scpecialties with each other. My education at KU helped me to get into a PhD program at one of top 3 universities in the field of photonics . I was not only a phiscis major student at KU but also the edıtor and the author of the Literature Journal. I started a band with friends and performed on stage numerous times; we also founded the Astronomy and Space Club with schoolmates. KU will give you the opportunity of finding out your hobbies and interests while getting your academic education .
I still do have great feelings about my days spent during University years. Until one reaches old enough to attend a University, he/she is surrounded with a limited world view given by the people at hand. But Koc University has helped me to follow an independent future with a light of self-confidence. As a result I was feeling myself as a world citizen when I graduated. Koc University has proven me that attending a college does not mean only to attend a set of courses, it is way beyond that.