|SEVGI ZÜBEYDE GÜRBÜZ / about me|
SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS
I was born on 8 November 1976 in Redwood City, California as the only child of a Turkish family originally from Çorum, Turkey. I completed my elementary school education at Nixon Elementary School in Palo Alto, CA, and middle school at Jonas Clarke Middle School in Lexington, MA. Returning to California for high school, I graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1993 - one year early, thanks to courses taken at U.C. Berkeley via the Academic Talent Development Program (GO BEARS!).
Due to my interest in Aeronautics, I started working as an engineering intern at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, CA during the summers of 1993, 1994, and 1995. However, after my freshman year at MIT I decided to pursue a more general major, namely, Mechanical Engineering. MechE was fun, but my most favorite classes were in fact Electronics, Systems Dynamics, Measurement and Instrumentation. Conveniently, this coincided with financial problems that required my obtaining a scholarship to continue my education :=) and the USAF that year was offering full-tuition scholarships to EE majors. so, it was no-brainer for me to switch majors to Electrical Engineering and joing the Air Force at the beginning of my Junior year (I think the MechE professors who were fond of me were in greater shock...there is the wrong stereotype that a student good in MechE can't possibly excell at EE, and vice versa).
I did keep on taking a few MechE classes, leading to the award of a minor in Mechanical Engineering along with the
BS in Electrical Engineering and my earning the rank of 2nd Lieutenant upon graduation in June 1998. I was one of three
2nd Lieutenants selected among all AFROTC grads to pursue my Master's degree while on activce duty. I pursued my masters
studies at MİT while also a Fellow of the Charles Stark Draper Lab in Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA. Upon completion of my
degree, I was assigned to the Air Force Research Laboratory, Sensors Directorate, Radar Signal Processing Technology
Branch at Rome, NY. I'll never forget the moment I learned my assignment. My commanding officer came to me grinning:
So by order of the USAF I was converted from circuit designer to radar engineer, working in a small little town in upstate New York, where in my first week I was told cow-tipping was the major form of entertainment. :) But, it was a great assignment. I started working towards my PhD shortly thereafter - the branch was great in supporting education - and enjoyed my work. I had the opportunity to spend 6 months in Diyarbakir, Turkey as a Turkish linguist, and after the end of my required active duty, in January 2004, separated to pursue my PhD full-time at Georgia Tech...in the area of radar signal processing. [Yep, I liked thinking radar, besides, at AFRL I found a lot of great role models...I won't name names ;=) My thesis advisor, Dr. Melvin, also had AFRL ties, maybe it's just good karma :) ]
My doctoral work was on the detection of human targets with radar. But I have to admit it took a while to get focused. In my first class, I met the guy who would very soon be my husband. Our desks were side by side in the graduate student lab. Fortunately, my guy has guts, and popped the question just 5 months after our first conversation (May 28, 2004). We were engaged 14 December 2004, married on 22 December 2004, and found out we going to have a baby just five months after that! Our son, Mustafa Alperen was born 19 January 2006. Those were good times, and my mom was probably the happiest for being a grandmother (finally)!
God works in mysterious ways. We weren't planning to have a kid, but Alperen's birth was very timely, as well look back, because when he was just one years old, my mom passed away from a very agressive cancerous brain tumor. Her headaches started in October 2006, and despite a clean MRI in January 2007, she suffered a brain crises February 1st, and passed away February 10, 2007. Everything developed so quickly, I still can hardly believe it. But look at it this way, if our son wasn't born unexpectedly, if that "accident" didn't happen, my mom would have never seen her grandchild...and she would always say that the only thing she wanted in life was for me to get an education, get married, and see her grandchild...
To make a long story short, my mom's passing closed an important chapter of my life. As our only remaining, living family was in Turkey, we moved to Turkey upon my husband's graduation, where he began working as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the TOBB University of Economics and Technology (TOBB ETU) in Ankara. I defended my thesis in August 2009, graduating (finally!) with my PhD in December 2009. Since January 2010, I am working as a Senior Scientist at the TUBITAK Space Technologies Research Center.
It took 33 years to get to this point...let's see what will happen next!
On 11 January 2011 2:30 am I gave birth to my daughter, Zeynep Gülcan Gürbüz. Now I am the mother of two kids! :)
On 26 March 2012 2:40 pm, our spring suprise joined our family: my second daughter, Melike Gulbahar Gurbuz. Now I am the mother of three kids! :D
On 5 October 2016, I - together as much larger family of five - closed yet another chapter in my life, leaving Turkey having made a decision to raise my kids in the U.S. Turkey was and is a great country; we had many good times there, and there is not a second of it that I will not remember fondly. My children had the opportunity to be with my two aunts (who are now approaching 80 years old) and spent much quality time with their grandparents, who so often took care of the kids, played with them, loved them and have a tremendous role in making them the awesome kids they are today. Life will not be the same without them being in our lives on a daily basis, and we will all miss them terribly . . . My kids are excited about seeing America, though, and for my two little ones this is the first time they will fly on an airplane! So though we left a part of our heart in Ankara, we move forward to new friends, new opportunities, new experiences for my kids now learning about where I grew up, and hopefully many more cool memories together.