Berk Diler (PhD Student)
The institute for Molecular Engineering
The University Chicago
Hello Everyone, My name is Berk. I’ve studied the science track in Ulus Private Jewish High School. I got my bachelor degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics in the University of Chicago. During my undergraduate career I was a research assistant in a detector physics lab, trying to detect dark matter. Currently I am a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago, Institute for Molecular Engineering working on quantum information technologies. I’ve prepared various projects for three consecutive years during my highschool career with my advisor Mr. Talha Kilic for both national and international project competitions. During this time I learned a lot about engineering and basic natural sciences and gathered some very important skills. First of, in order to prepare a project one needs to identify a problem to be solved. I believe this is the most crucial part of preparing a project. It is very easy to take our products and gadgets for granted. It is rather difficult to think outside of the box, look at the tools we have critically in order to improve them. To that end we have to keep an open and a critical mind. Once a problem is identified, one needs to come up with a solution. The market and the literature needs to be researched well. One has to identify what kind of products, technologies, patents are out there and think about how to take advantage of them and advance them further. For that, one needs a big knowledge base. One should not only learn for a specific goal but learn in sake of learning, always keep himself/herself up to date. This way the student can be comfortable with technology, identify wrong designs and create new solutions. Maybe counterintuitively, one of the most important skills is being a good salesperson. One needs to be able to explain why his/her project is a superior solution than the ones that are out there; not only to the judges but also the average person. For that one needs to be very comfortable explaining their project. However complicated the project is, it is imperative to be able to explain it to a person that knows nothing about science in simple terms. One needs to be able to market their ideas and solution to the public, whether he/she uses analogies or examples. A good presentation and being able to come with answers on the spot are very important.It is not enough to only know the science but one needs to be able to communicate it effectively. Hence in order to be successful in project competitions (and any other field), one needs to be a skilled “salesperson”. These skills will help you, students to become the businessman, investors, engineers and scientists of tomorrow. I highly encourage all of the students who are planning to prepare projects, and congratulate all of those who have already done so. I also would like to thank my advisor Mr. Talha Kilic for guiding me during my highschool years and helping me attain these skills myself.