You can find information about the 2021 ISEC mentors below.
Carlos was born in Málaga and raised in a lovely village near the city, with a breathtaking view of the sea from the cliffs. After finishing high school, he moved to Madrid to continue his studies. He graduated in both Mathematics and Physics at the Complutense University of Madrid in 2016, and in 2017 he completed his Master in Education and Teaching Formation. He works in Switzerland at Collège et Lycée Saint-Charles teaching IB Maths and Physics. Carlos also worked at the Complutense University of Madrid, where he did research on Quantum Thermodynamics, working with numerical simulations of several quantum systems.
Carlos loves mixing Physics, Mathematics, and Philosophy, and could spend hours talking about why sciences need more philosophy and why philosophers need more science. If you really want to see his eyes sparkle, all you need to do is mention any possible philosophical interpretation of quantum mechanics.
In his free time, Carlos loves reading, writing, singing (out of tune most of the time), playing guitar, and long, quiet walks in remote forests. He also likes cooking nice meals when he has enough time, and loved traveling back in the days when it was possible.
Carlos is the President of the Inspiring Science Association and one of the founders of ISEC. He was previously a mentor at ISEC 2019 and 2020.
Elif was born in Central Anatolia, specifically the Cappadocia region of Turkey. The region is known for its natural beauty and historical stories that combine many different cultures under a single roof. Her love for nature led her to study Molecular Biology and Genetics. During her studies, she discovered an interest in data analysis, which in turn led her to complete a master’s degree in the field of Bioinformatics.
She always creates time for extracurricular activities. Elif has been an amateur classical guitarist for more than ten years. In that sense, she has assisted and led many guitar lessons for people from different backgrounds and ages. She is also involved in different volunteer coding events such as DjangoGirls, both as a mentor and organizer. She created a project called Music Within, which is an installation merging music and led signals that are produced from mutation data. This project allowed her to share her enthusiasm for science and art with the help of her supervisors, lovely friends, and family.
She loves horses and they have recently become an important part of her career. Currently, she is doing her PhD at Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics and her topic is sequence diversity of the Y chromosome in different species; her first candidate species is horses. Besides keeping her existing activities, she is also trying to deepen her sports journey. She is very excited about being a mentor at Online ISEC 2020.
Elif was previously a mentor at Online ISEC 2020.
Hayley (she/they) was born in Los Angeles to a family steeped in film and humanities. She discovered a love for the physical sciences thanks to some of her closest friends in high school. Hayley attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and graduated with a degree in Earth & Environmental Science in 2018. As an undergraduate, she was part of several research efforts exploring different facets of geochemistry. Her research gave her opportunities to travel to different states and countries for sample collection and wet lab work, and also to present her work at some of the world’s largest conferences. This influenced her decision to pursue geochemistry as a career path. After graduation, Hayley continued to work at UCLA as a lab assistant to gain more scientific experience, and also as a Museum Guide at Griffith Observatory to hone her skills as a science communicator. Currently, she is a doctoral student in the UCLA geochemistry program and is studying the geobiological environments of early Earth history using various isotope systems. In her spare time, Hayley enjoys long-distance running, hiking, roller skating, reading, amateur astronomy, and most importantly: coffee.
Hayley has been a member of the Inspiring Science Association since 2020, and she was also a mentor at Online ISEC 2020.
Miriam was born in a small Spanish city in La Mancha, the land of Don Quixote’s adventures and misadventures. Her interest in astronomy and maths began before elementary school. In 2018 she completed her Masters in Astrophysics, focusing on the warm molecular gas around the Trapezium stellar cluster in the famous Orion Nebula. She is currently a third year PhD candidate, working in the Institute of Fundamental Physics at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Her research focuses on the galactic interstellar medium, specifically its physical and chemical properties. Miriam also studies the stellar feedback in warm molecular clouds where more massive stars form. She has carried out studies of the molecular gas in the direction of the Milky Way’s central black hole, in the Orion nebula, and in Sgr B2, which is a more massive and luminous molecular cloud in our galaxy. Miriam is currently working on, and starting to enjoy, writing her first first-author paper.
Miriam was part of the 2019 edition of the Spanish version of “I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here!”, as part of the CSIC Zone. She spent a few weeks connecting with teenagers about science and was pleasantly surprised with the high quality of their questions. She ended up winning in her zone! It was the students themselves that voted for her as their favorite scientist.
Miriam is one of the founders of ISEC and a mentor at Online ISEC 2020.
Özgür Can was born in Istanbul, Turkey and he spent his childhood years in a small village near the Aegean Sea in Western Turkey where he had the opportunity to observe the Milky Way every clear night. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Astrophysics at The Middle East Technical University and working as a Research Assistant. His research topic is mainly focused on X-Ray Binaries and the anomalies in their accretion disks.
Özgür has been an active member of the Astronomical Society of his university. He was part of the organizing committee for the National Astronomy Congress of Turkey in 2014, 2016, and 2018. He was alsoan advisor to the organizers of Turkey’s first Astrobiology Conference. Özgür also traveled all around Turkey and spent most of his time giving lectures on astronomy and popular science. He presented his research at the International Conference for Physics Students in 2017.
Since 2013, Özgür has worked as a Columnist for the Bilim ve Gelecek (Science and The Future) magazine. He writes popular science articles, which will soon be compiled and published in a book. One of his science fiction stories was selected by Nbeyin Magazine and was published alongside other captivating stories. He also writes articles about the philosophy, history, and methodology of science. Together with the astronomical society, Özgür has spent many nights observing the sky and taking time-lapses with his DSLR camera. Özgür has many other talents and interests, including Japanese Martial Arts and composing music on his guitar and harmonica. You’ll have a chance to hear some of his talent at camp!
Oz is the Secretary of the Inspiring Science Association and one of the founders of ISEC. He was previously a mentor at ISEC 2019 and 2020.
Radka was born in Košice, Slovakia, but mostly grew up in the suburbs of Boston in the USA. Although she currently lives back in Boston, she has spent most of the last ten years in southern California, completing a Bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology and working on research at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory. Her multi-wavelength research focused on blazars, which are complex black hole systems that spew a large amount of energy and radiation towards our Earth via relativistic jets. Luckily, these objects are so far away that this energy is not harmful to us. Instead, by studying the radiation from these objects, scientists can gain insight into powerful jet processes. Since graduating from Caltech, Radka has turned her energy away from research, and is instead pursuing science and astronomy outreach and education. She is currently an 8th and 9th grade science teacher and has previously worked as a museum guide at the famous Griffith Observatory.
Radka has a longstanding interest in astrophotography and spends her free time trying to find dark skies. More complex trips involve gathering up her camping gear and backpacking to remote locations to truly escape light pollution. Her favorite styles of astrophotography are nightscapes and timelapses, which only require a DSLR camera and tripod. When her mind isn’t focused on astronomy, she spends her time playing and coaching Ultimate Frisbee. Coaching has given her a new appreciation for ensuring that students have a healthy outlet for their stress, and are able to give their brains a rest and pursue other interests.
Radka is the Vice President of the Inspiring Science Association and one of the founders of ISEC. She was previously a mentor at ISEC 2019 and 2020.
Vlad was born in Brasov, in the heart of Transylvania, where he fell in love with mountains and nature as a whole. At the age of seven he moved to a small rural village in Moldova, where he had a peaceful childhood with hiking, football matches and horse-riding filling his days before moving to Italy at the age of 10. After short residences in various Italian cities, he finally moved to Genoa at the age of 13, where he has been living ever since.
Here he attended the scientific high-school G.D. Cassini where he was part of the Astronomy and Robotics club and where he co-founded the ForMe Festival, a yearly cycle of conferences during which he gave speeches for 3 editions.
He currently studies Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at UniGe, but his interests span throughout different fields of Informatics: Visual and Parallel Computing, and as well as Security and Privacy being the main ones. Moreover, he is part of the IANUA excellence school, where he serves as student representative in the AD board, and he is member of the Global Shapers Genoa Hub, where he has just been appointed as Impact Officer, starting from March 2021.
Vlad has a very international mindset, thanks to his family movements, to his participation in numerous summer camps across all Europe and his exchange semester in the Netherlands as part of the Erasmus Program.
He is a naturally curious person with interests varying from Philosophy to Psychoanalysis; when asked to describe himself he often uses Terence’s phrase: “Homo sum humani a me nihil alienum puto”. (“I am a human being, so nothing human is foreign to me”). From time to time he also puts the books down, sometimes for a chess game, others to make different experiences of the world, by meeting new people and traveling.
Vlad is joining the ISEC team for the first time as a mentor for Online ISEC 2021.
Yurğa was born in Üsküdar which is one of the oldest towns on the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey. Yurğa was raised in a Kurdish-Turkish family and therefore speaks both Kurdish and Turkish. As a child, he spent his summers in his father’s home city of Kahramanmaraş, which is located in the southeast region of Turkey. It is a unique place where people from different cultures live together. After high school, he moved to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, to study Philosophy at the Middle East Technical University. He continues to reside in Ankara. Due to his upbringing in a bilingual and multicultural family, Yurğa is also very interested in Linguistics and Anthropology. Yurğa’s study of Philosophy focuses on various topics, including Epistemology, History of Science, Scientific Methodology, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, and Ethics. For Yurğa, knowledge, especially scientific knowledge, is very important. However, what he finds even more important is critical thinking. To know the answer, one must ask the right question. This is why philosophy makes anything we do meaningful.
Yurğa enjoys watching films, particularly Soviet cinema, and his favorite director is Tarkovsky. He is also into science-fiction novels. His favorite writers in the genre of Science Fiction are Ursula K. Le Guin and Frank Herbert. In his free time, Yurğa likes to play and critique indie video games. He believes that indie games are becoming the next generation art, much like cinema was. Yurğa also plays “baglama”, a traditional instrument in Anatolia and the Balkans.
Yurğa was previously a mentor at Online ISEC 2020.
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