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2021-2022 Graduate Student Ambassadors- Ece Yilmaz

Program Area of Study

Ph.D. Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development (ELPHD), Higher Education Opportunity, Equity, and Justice


Ece is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development. She is currently working as a graduate assistant at the College of Education’s Global Programs Office. She received her B.A. in Foreign Language Education from Bogazici University, Turkey; and her M.Sc. Degrees in Educational Administration and Gender and Women’s Studies from Middle East Technical University, Turkey. Before she joined NC State, she had her major cross-cultural experiences in China, the United States, and France as a student and a teacher. She also worked as an instructor at Hacettepe University, Turkey for seven years.

Why NC State?

I loved the welcoming environment NC State offered. If you are an international student and are not able to travel to the United States to see the real campus environment, the most important part of choosing a graduate program is your communication with your department and advisor. My advisor and the faculty at NC State were very supportive and responsive considering the difficulties of the pandemic situation in March and April 2020. This responsiveness and the supportive environment are two highlights of NC State for me, and they played a big role in my decision to pursue my graduate education here. 

One insight gained so far…

My research mainly focuses on social justice in higher education. I like the way every course I have taken so far talks about social justice in education. I also like how the classes are open for everyone to share their ideas and experiences without being exposed to any judgments. Recognizing one’s own implicit bias is an ongoing process and is never done. At this stage of my life, NC State is accompanying me on this journey, and giving me tools to improve my social justice research. I also use these tools to be self-reflective, which is quite important for my personal growth. This is also a great opportunity for me to make connections and comparisons between the higher education systems of my home country and the United States and to reflect on how we approach similar issues in higher education.