In this special "Meet Our Fellows" post, SAGE member Meera Zukosky interviews Busra Karagobek, a PhD student from Turkey, who is currently studying at the University of Illinois under a Fulbright Scholarship. Let's meet Busra!
Why did you decide to come to Illinois on a Fulbright Scholarship?
I knew that Illinois is one of the best universities not only in the States but also around the world. The psychology department here had a lot of opportunities regarding research. Besides, I also like the diversity-supporting climate here. As far as I know, Illinois is home to over ten thousand international students, which makes it the best option for international students.
Why did you decide to pursue a Fulbright Scholarship in particular?
There are several scholarship options for students who want to study outside their country; yet, I believe the Fulbright Scholarship is most prestigious. They value not only academic success but also the cultural exchange between students. I am delighted that while I am still getting to know American culture, I also find a chance to tell about my culture. Besides, I also have a chance to meet with other Fulbrighters from around the world.
Can you tell us a little bit about your home country and university?
I am a developmental psychology PhD student from Turkey. Turkey is a country situated as a bridge between Europe and Asia which has a deep-rooted culture with its world-famous foods and hospitality of people. My university, Middle East Technical University, is a well-known university situated in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. Although it is named as a technical university, it has the best social sciences departments, including its psychology department.
What has your experience been so far at Illinois?
I have been here for three months, and I enjoy being here. It's a university town full of international students. I am keen on Asian foods, and luckily, there are lots of Asian restaurants around here. The Professors and the staff at Illinois have been very helpful from the beginning, which made my acclimation very smooth.
Can you tell us a little bit about your research area and what types of projects you work on?
My research investigates how mothers' sensitivity (their correctness and promptness toward their children's needs and signals) affects children's development. At Illinois, I work with professor Dr. Eva Pomerantz, and our work focuses on how mothers’ behaviors affect children's stress levels during math-related tasks. Multidisciplinary works have gained more importance in psychological science, and with more advanced techniques we can detect psychobiological factors related to our work. In our research, for example, we measured children's stress hormone - cortisol - via their saliva samples.
What do you hope to do after your experience here?
After my research here is done, I have to go back to Turkey to complete my doctoral dissertation. But after that, I would like to come back to the States for postdoctoral research.
Main blog post image courtesy of Busra. Caption: "In a previous research project, Busra made home visits in rural areas of Turkey. Here, she is pictured (right of center, in the white shirt) with families involved in her research"
This interview was conducted by Meera Zukosky, a fourth year graduate student pursuing a PhD in Psychology and a member of the 2018 - 2019 SAGE board. She is in the Attention and Perception Division with a research focus on mind wandering and how it relates to attention. Meera completed her undergraduate studies at Illinois, and then worked as an AmeriCorps member in Arizona. When Meera isn’t in the lab, she loves going on outdoor adventures, traveling, and riding her bike.