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Turkish dual-diploma participant to graduate

This spring, the first participants in the Turkish dual-diploma program will graduate from Binghamton. Elif Bezal, 22, a native of Izmir, Turkey, will receive a degree in information systems and computer science with a minor in women’s studies.

Students in the program spend their freshman and junior years in Turkey, and their sophomore and senior years in Binghamton. Bezal attended Istanbul Technical University, where she focused on telecommunications and electrical engineering. At Binghamton, her studies centered on computer science.

Bezal said the transition between universities was not difficult because she was a U.S. exchange student in high school. “It was weird alternating at first, and you don’t really get the typical college experience,” she said. “You get an international experience and learn to adapt to cultures.”

In order to be accepted into the program, students must pass the Turkish Higher Education Council Program placement test and score over a 550 on the TOEFL. 
“In Turkey, applying to college is a totally different system than the United States,” Bezal said. “You have to do well on the placement test, or you don’t get into college. You’re in or you’re out.”

Last semester, Bezal worked full time in the Distance Learning Center and participated on the crew team. Last year she was on scholarship at the Unisys Company in Turkey.
Bezal, who will present her undergraduate research at a women’s studies conference this summer, plans to move back to Turkey after graduate school in computer and social sciences.

Oktay Sekercisoy, associate director of the dual-diploma program, described Bezal as an ambitious humanitarian with a warm personality.

“It was amazing to see Elif bring together technology with human sciences,” Sekercisoy said. “She wants to travel to underdeveloped countries, utilize her undergraduate education and teach young children about computers and technology.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08