|TCA Washington Summer Interns with former members of Congress Dan Maffei (D-NY) and Ken Kramer (R-CO) at the 2015 Summer Internship Orientation.|
As a part of the 2015 TCA Washington Summer Internship Program, young Turkish Americans from across the country are spending their summers in Washington, DC, interning with members of the U.S. Congress and select governmental and non-governmental organizations. The program provides an opportunity for Turkish American college students and recent graduates to work in the nation’s capital, and aims to foster young Turkish Americans’ interest in public affairs and service as well as enhance their knowledge of American political life.
13 young Turkish Americans are participating in the 2015 program, bringing the number of people interning through TCA to 18, including five friends of Turkey and one Bosnian American intern. Since the program’s inception in 2007, TCA has provided a total of 146 internship opportunities to Turkish Americans and friends of Turkey.
The 2015 TCA interns are working in the offices of Representatives Brendan Boyle (D-PA/13th), Frank Guinta (R-NH/1st), Alcee Hastings (D-FL/20th), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ/9th), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL/27th), and the Democratic National Committee, as well as at the following organizations: the American Turkish Association of Washington, DC, the American Turkish Council (ATC), the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), Atlantic Council, the Middle East Institute (MEI), Quality Trust, the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD), and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).
As a part of the Washington Summer Intern Program, TCA hosted the annual Summer Intern Orientation Session at its Washington, DC office on July 20. Interns gathered for a day of professional development and briefings with the Embassy of Turkey, representatives from Turkish American organizations, and former TCA summer interns, as well as with two former members of Congress—Dan Maffei (D-NY) and Ken Kramer (R-CO)—who discussed activism and political engagement. The day culminated in a meeting with Dr. Kemal Kirisci of the Brookings Institution and Dr. Kadir Ustun of SETA Foundation, who discussed U.S.-Turkey relations and Turkish politics.
|2015 Washington Summer Interns|
|Melodi Ak Melodi is from Indianapolis, Indiana. She goes to school at Indiana University, where she is majoring in Political Science and Spanish studies. She is currently involved in Model United Nations and Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority. After Melodi graduates this fall with her Bachelor’s degree, she would like to stay in DC and work in Congress or a think tank until starting a Masters program. She is currently interning with the office of Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL/20th).|
|Yunus Altug Yunus was born and raised in Turkey, and received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Gaziantep University. Most recently, he graduated with a BA in Political Science from Florida International University and a Professional Pilot and Aviation Administration degree from Miami Dade College, from which he was the first Turkish American to graduate. He has also served as a Guardian Ad Litem in Florida. Following his internship this summer with the office of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL/27th), he wants to continue working in international affairs, researching the Middle East and U.S.-Turkey relations.|
|David Barkus David is from Waltham Massachusetts and is currently interning at TOBB, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey. A student at the University of Massachusetts Boston, he is pursuing a degree in accounting. Outside of school he plays in a band and participates in power-lifting competitions. After graduation he plans to take the CPA exam and find a job in accounting.|
|Alexa Calaguas Lex was born and raised on the East Coast, but went to high school in Iowa. She is currently a senior at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL studying international relations and political science. She is obsessed with travelling, and after graduation is planning on moving to Europe to work and continue her studies. This summer she is an intern at the Turkish Coalition of America.|
|Deniz Citak Deniz is from Easton, Pennsylvania and attends Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service focusing on Middle Eastern and Western European Studies. He is involved in the Georgetown Voice; the Georgetown Turkish Students Association; and the International Relations Club. Deniz is considering a career in diplomacy, government, or international journalism. He is interning at TCA and at the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA).|
|Eyup Civelek Eyup is from Istanbul, Turkey. He earned his B.A. in International Relations at Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey, and received his Master’s of Public Policy degree from the Michigan State University. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Political Science at the University of Florida. Eyup previously interned at TCA Washington Office in 2013 and at the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Programs in the Summer of 2014. Currently he is interning at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East of the Atlantic Council, where he wrote the first Turkish article the Council has ever published. He is planning to be a Political Scientist in the future.|
|Cemre Efe Born in Turkey, Cemre has lived in the U.S. for almost five years. He is a student at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pursuing a Political Science degree with Global Studies (Security track) minor. His dream is to become a Foreign Service officer after he graduates. He plays soccer, his favorite sport, for a Turkish soccer team in Philadelphia. This summer he is interning at the Turkish Coalition of America.|
|Michelle Foley Michelle grew up in Glen Rock, New Jersey. She is an alumna of McGill University, where she pursued a B.A in Political Science and Russian Studies. A former Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, she is interested in pursuing a career in International Affairs, specifically in international education and development. She is currently an intern with the office of Congressman Frank Guinta (R-NH/1st).|
|Elvir Klempic Elvir was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and raised in Iowa. A graduate of Iowa State University, he majored in Political Science and International Studies, earning a B.A. in December 2014. Aside from being a big soccer fan, Elvir is very interested in the policy-making process. He is currently interning at the Democratic National Committee as a Political Intern for the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council.|
|Gizem Korkmaz Born and raised in Ankara, Turkey, Gizem came to the United States in 2009 for her senior year of high school. She graduated with a degree in Political Science and a minor in History from Virginia Tech University in 2014, where she was a member of the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and interned for a State Senate Candidate campaign. For the last year Gizem has worked for a healthcare advisory company in Istanbul, and will begin a Master’s Degree in Political Science At George Mason University this fall. Currently she is interning for the Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies.|
|Daniel Lumer A New Jersey resident, Daniel is entering his final year at Rutgers University - New Brunswick. There, he is enrolled in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Economics. Daniel is currently interning with the office of Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ/9th). Previously, he has interned for campaigns, a civil rights law firm, and a public affairs firm, and he has also performed academic research on the relationship between whistleblowers and media coverage. His long-term career interests include political communications, policy development, and the legal field.|
|Altay Malazgirt Altay is a first generation Turkish American born and raised in San Francisco, California. In May, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in International Business from San Francisco State University before moving to Washington, DC to begin his internship. He wants to become a Foreign Service officer with the US State Department in the future. Currently he is interning in the office of Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA/13th) and the Turkish Coalition USA PAC.|
|Kaan Peksenar Hailing from the capital of the Old Tobacco State (North Carolina), Kaan is a rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying economics and minoring in public policy and business. He is the co-president of the Turkish Student Association, is part of an acapella group on campus, works with the women’s varsity soccer team as a student manager, and plays on the UNC Club soccer team. He is also an alumnus of the first annual Turkish Coalition of America Youth Conference held last year. This summer he is interning for the American Turkish Council (ATC).|
|Evrim Polat Evrim is from Istanbul, Turkey and came to the United States seven years ago. In 2015 she graduated from George Mason University with a Global Affairs major and a Business minor. While in school, she was a member of several honors societies including Phi Theta Kappa and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Evrim is planning to pursue a Master’s degree that focuses on Turkey and Turkish politics, and she wants to pursue a career in U.S.-Turkey relations. Currently she is interning in the Turkish Coalition of America.|
|Kaan Ulgen Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Kaan Ulgen is a rising junior at the University of Chicago, where he is majoring in Political Science and Public Policy. At the University of Chicago, he is the University’s Institute of Politics’ incoming Student Programs Chair. He is also the Vice President of Turkish Student Association and participates in debate competitions. Kaan is interested in going to law school once he graduates. He is currently interning with the Turkish Industry & Business Association (TUSIAD) Washington Representative Office.|
|Rana Unal Rana is a rising sophomore at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Western Languages and Literatures. She is involved in the Political Science Club and plans to pursue a career in public policy and/or international relations. Rana is interning with the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) and the American Turkish Association of Washington, DC (ATA-DC).|
|Hatice Uyanik Hatice is from Antalya, Turkey. She originally came to the United States to pursue a Master’s Degree in Special Education from San Francisco State University after graduating from Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey with a BA in Elementary Education. She also received a Master’s Degree in Primary Education from Akdeniz University in Antalya, Turkey. Currently, she is completing her PhD in Special Education from the University of Kansas. This summer she is an intern at Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities.|