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.

Serhan Delareyna

Hello Everyone, My name is Serhan Delareyna, I am a 2012 graduate of Ulus Jewish Schools in Istanbul, Turkey. I have studied Industrial Engineering in Worcester Polytechnic institute in Massachusetts, and graduated in February 2016. Currently I am working as an Industrial Engineer in California in Tesla Motors, with the goal of accelerating the world’s transition into sustainable energy. Project based learning and curiosity for seeking for improvement definitely played a major role in my life. My project experience started in Ulus Jewish Schools, when I, along with my classmate Izel Avimelek, have attended to the I-SWEEEP Science Project Olympiad with an Alternative Energy House design which utilized a special roof to collect rainwater and solar energy, and aimed to create a house that can sustain itself. We got the chance to interact with students from all around the world and we were awarded a Silver Medal in the competition. That was the time that I realized that if I want something to happen, I should just get out there and start doing it. Learning the theory of something definitely provided me with a lot of knowledge, but applying it brought a whole different perspective. That’s why I chose Worcester Polytechnic Institute as a college, a university that values and encourages project based learning. I had the chance to travel to Costa Rica and work with the National Fire Department of Costa Rica, in order to improve fire prevention and safety inspection procedures in the country. I have also worked with Millipore Sigma, a pharmaceutical company that is subsidiary of Merck KGaA, in order to apply lean manufacturing techniques and optimize changeover process. I have always aimed to use my skills to solve problems that would save lives and improve the current status of the world. Exposure to global project based learning helped me work with global companies, get to know new cultures and business environments and utilize multiple languages to express myself and explain my projects. I have learned to never be afraid of speaking up and contributing ideas, you never know what they could grow into. I have also learned to always pursue my goals and interests and at the same time I made sure those aligned with creating a better future for next generations. For all of my friends who are in their education phase right now, I would highly recommend to try to apply your knowledge and observe outcomes any chance you get. Try to interact with people from different background and cultures to gain multiple perspectives on global problems and take advantage of all the project competition and other opportunities offered by educational institutions and other organizations. If you want your voice heard, you got to speak up and start taking part in shaping the world’s future! Chase your goals and dreams, and have fun while doing so! 80% of the path that leads to success is dedication. Remember Thomas Edison, who had 1,000 tries before he invented the light bulb. I would like to thank my teacher and advisor Mr. Talha Kilic and all my other tutors who have played a role in opportunities presented to me, and wish fellow students good luck in pursuing their aspirations. Best Regards, Serhan Delareyna

Zeynep Karacan

Hello Future Innovators! This is not a scene from A Beautiful Mind, and I don’t begin my letter by asking “Who’s going to be the next Einstein?” I have been sitting in your place last year, wondering if I, a high school student, could actually design&develop future’s inspiring Technologies. If you feel nervous or süper-excited, you can easily understand what I was feeling. My name is Zeynep Karacan, and I am currently the valedictorian of Galatasaray High School. My main interests are applied mathematics, electrical engineering and computer science. I am also a young pianist, giving concerts for charity foundations such as Cagdas Yasam with my chamber music group, Sultani Piano Quartet. I went to Research Science Institute at MIT, the most selective program for high school students, and pursued operations research fort he first time in RSI history.My hobbies include music, ancient philosophy, debating political concepts, tango, chair-surfing (a type of wigwagging you do while sitting on a chair), going to the nearby Chinese restaurant with my fellow Galatasaray friends, and reading,thinking,analyzing and exploring at any opportunity. I have been involved in electrical engineering research with my mentor Talha Kılıç, who supported me along the way, and helped me explore the pragmatic approach to science. I took great pleasure in putting physics formulas into real-world functioning devices. He later encouraged me to apply to RSI, which turned out to be the most memorable experiences of my life. Academically RSI was really demanding. We had university-level classes in engineering and maths, as well as humanities. We were made to read Frankenstein prior to the program, so we had the chance to discuss all the different aspects of the novel throughout the lectures. Apart from the classes, we pursued one-on- one research with prominent professors in different fields and universities. I did operations research, which means that I modeled industry-growth problems and created complex algorrithms and models for systems to function more efficiently. I later put them together as computer science codes. At the end of 6 weeks, my mentor,the founder and CEO of Project Radix, adopted my growth model in his private business. It was such an honor to have worked with him and design applications that have real world implementation. However, RSI was not only academics. Almost 3 days a week, we were lectured by a Nobel laureate on various topics, such as molecular biology, economics or Department of Defense innovations. The night that impacted me the most was having dinner with Prof. Noam Elkies, the youngest-ever Harvard Professor, a genius in maths and music. We had a lot to talk about and at the end of the night, he managed to explain how Chopin etude no 12 is relevant to Euclidian Algorithm. Wow. In addition, the community of RSI and the student body far exceeded my expectations. I made really close friends, whom I still talk to every week. We played midnight frisbee on a wet field at 2 am, cooked national Turkish and Israeli food together fort he “International Night”, consumed an excessive amount of marshmellows and spent our nights playing ping-pong and discussing quantum physics, while bursting into laughter in tears. The people at RSI taught me to enjoy life&science in harmony. It was a great opportunity to be surrounded by 81 people smarter than I. Now, I am ready to take on bigger, more complex challenges. I would like to study engineering, especially Virtual Reality applications, to understand how “virtual” the “reality” could be.I believe that the most important thing to do now for you, is to pursue what you are passionate about, and to enjoy exploring (and trying to help rewriting) “the poetry of reality”, which happens to be science. Good luck in your research and future accomplishments, Zeynep Karacan