Sunday, July 21, 2013

Campus Liaison Spotlight: Meet Niyazi Erdogan

Name: Niyazi Erdogan

Hometown: Ankara, Turkey

Current university: Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Program: PhD in Science Education

Advisor: Dr. Carol Stuessy

Graduation year: Spring, 2014

Hobbies: Playing soccer, watching movies, and traveling

How did you decide to go to graduate school?

After graduating from college, I had various options to pursue such as becoming a teacher. Teaching in a middle school was not a bad idea; in fact, it was my whole purpose when I choose my career after high school. However, I had a feeling that kept me from becoming a middle school science teacher and it was ‘curiosity’. I have been led by my curiosity until this time and although I like teaching, I like doing research even more. Another motivating factor was the scholarship that I earned to obtain my masters and doctoral degrees. I guess without this scholarship, I would still achieve these goals but I do not think I would come to the U.S.

What did you do before going to graduate school?
My pre-grad school experience was very short because I immediately got into graduate school right after the graduation from college. I had only a little teaching experience at a private tutoring center. At that center, I was preparing a classroom full of students for high school entrance exams.

What do you like best about your program/school?

Here at Texas A&M University, we have a welcoming environment. Such an environment is extremely important especially for an international student. Fortunately, all the professors and other graduate students that I work with are willing to help me at all time. They listen to me and they care about what I say and think. Whenever I have a problem, I know that they will be there to help. In research, it might be hard to find unselfish people but we are like a huge family, who share whatever is on our plates, in College of Education at Texas A&M University.

What are your current research interests?
Although I am a science educator, I like to work in an interdisciplinary environment. That is why STEM Education is my main research interest. Specifically, Engineering Education attracted my attention and thus I am working for the Aggie STEM Center at Texas A&M. In this center, we work with STEM schools and provide services for teachers and students. These services include but are not limited to professional development trainings for teachers and administrators in project-based learning, teacher boot camps, and a STEM summer camp for students.

What is your favorite article and why?

I have a favorite book instead of favorite article and it is ‘Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8’. This book explains the philosophy of science education in the 21st century. Many trendy concepts in the field originate from this book and it is definitely the foundation of revolution in science education.

What was your proudest moment or greatest accomplishment?

There are two accomplishments that can be considered as my proudest moment. The first one was when I earned the scholarship to come to graduate school in the U.S. This was the greatest milestone in my life. The second one was the time that I got my very first acceptance to present at three major conferences in one year, which were AERA, NARST, and NCTM. With the help of my colleagues, I conducted my own research studies from beginning to the end.

Is there anything else you would want the Division C members to know?

I must say that I am very proud of being a Division C member and will continue to contribute to this group until the end of my life. AERA is a huge conference and only these smaller societies in subgroups can there be a home for researchers. Please, do not only present when you attend AERA, try to meet other people! That is what will bind all of us together for the common educational purpose of improving education for our future students.