GRIT: What it takes to receive the Sena Eken Schieber Economics Award
We see time and time again that grit and perseverance lead us path to success – and we this proved true again with Ipek, a scholarship recipient of the Sena Eken Schieber Economics Award currently studying at Duke University.
Growing up in Antalya, Ipek explained her high school was not one of the top in the country but she never let this interfere with her determination for success in the university entrance exam. Focusing on the exam and studying hard in addition to what she had already achieved in school, she ranked extremely high. (Placing 408 out of 2 million test takers). Her high test scores claimed her a spot in, what she calls, Turkey’s best: Boğaziçi University. Four years later, overcoming numerous challenges, she graduated fourth in her department.
Now with all doors open to her, Ipek faced the decision of getting a job or continuing her education. She had always wanted to study in the United States but because of the cost of tuition, she first had to find ways to make it financially possible. Neither she nor any of her family members had ever been to the U.S. before! Ipek was introduced to the Sena Eken Schieber Economics award through one of her professors at Boğaziçi University. She had already been accepted to Duke University in the field of economics – it was as if the scholarship was made for her. Ipek’s hard work had paid off and her interviewers could see that she would live up Sena Eken Schieber’s expectations in its scholarship recipients.
After 15 months of living far from her family, her country, her culture – she feels she’s grown remarkably. She credits the distance from home, the wonderful environment at Duke as well as her new diverse group of friends, from Mexico to Italy to China and more that helped build her independence and courage.
When TPF spoke with Ipek recently, it was clear that she had already blended into the culture. She spoke confidently of her future career goals – to work in the U.S. for now –potentially at a tech company on behavioral analysis.
Ipek’s recommendation for potential scholarship recipients and those moving to the US for education: Get out of your comfort zone! Always trust in yourself.
When Ipek was still in Turkey, she was encouraged by professors in Istanbul to stay in Turkey to study her masters, but she felt the opportunities at Duke and in the US surpassed what was available in Turkey – so she trusted in herself to make the big move.
Interested in applying for the Sena Eken Schieber Award? Learn more here.