Dr. Aysegul Gunduz

Dr. Aysegul Gunduz

The Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award recognizes a junior faculty member for high-quality research and significant positive impact on diversity. This year’s winner, Dr. Aysegul Gunduz, was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1981 and was the overall winner in the European Council of International Schools Mathematics Olympics in 1997. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey) in 2001.

Aysegul's undergraduate advisor was a female professor, Dr. Aydan Erkmen, who convinced her to pursue graduate studies in the U.S., emphasizing the importance of female engineers with doctoral degrees. Aysegul attributes her success to having Dr. Erkmen as a role model and mentor at an early stage of her career.

Aysegul received her master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and University of Florida in 2003 and 2008, respectively. During her doctoral studies, she started working with neurosurgical patient populations to develop neuroprosthetic systems that could be controlled by brain signals for amputees and for patients with locked-in syndrome. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Albany Medical College's Department of Neurology between 2009 and 2011, where she worked with epilepsy patients.

She joined the Biomedical Engineering department at the University of Florida (UF) as an Assistant Professor in 2012. Aysegul and her team study precursors to behavior and aftereffects of stimulation in the human brain using electrophysiology and bioimaging. She aims to translate this knowledge into clinical diagnostic and therapeutic systems to improve the quality of life of those suffering from neurological disorders. Her team works with neurosurgical patients with epilepsy and movement disorders, as well as stroke patients undergoing neurorehabilitation.

For her work, Aysegul received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Early CAREER Award in 2016, the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering Early Career Award in 2015, and the UF Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute NIH K12 Scholarship in 2015. She is the Academic Advisor for the UF IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

Aysegul is committed to promoting the success of female engineers and faculty. She has served in the Executive Board of UF Association of Academic Women (AAW) since 2013 and is President Elect for 2016-17. AAW strives to provide equal opportunities for tenure, promotion, and advancement to leadership opportunities to female faculty and staff.

Aysegul is passionate about creating a fair and inclusive environment to encourage female students to pursue academic careers. As part of her NSF CAREER proposal, she established the AAW Emerging STEM Scholar Award in 2016. This award aims to promote the career of a young woman in the final year of her doctoral studies. In 2016, she joined the University Minority Mentorship Program as a mentor, and is currently mentoring a female freshman engineer who is the first in her family to attend college.

Aysegul has given numerous talks at the Society for Women in Engineering for incoming freshmen female engineering students, and was invited to the Women’s Leadership Conference Panel by the UF Women’s Student Association. She also leads BME outreach events at the UF Annual Engineering Fair for K-12 students, at which she introduces engineering to female students.

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Roe v. Wade Has Been Overturned. You Have Every Right to Be Upset. Here’s how to take action

We at AnitaB.org, are disheartened and dismayed by the United States Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling that enabled the right of an abortion to people around the nation. AnitaB.org brings together allies and champions across every sector to advance intersectional gender equity in technology. The technologists we support are also people impacted by targeted oppressive and unjust laws including laws that restrict reproductive rights. Not only do we empower technologists through our year-long programming but, we also advocate for better systemic solutions for the workforce and for their humanity. 

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, we are joining to elevate the calls to action of our social justice colleagues and community partners. 

If you feel called to do something today or in the next coming days, here are some action steps:  

  • Support and donate to Repro Legal Defense Fund, which is a national organization that covers bail and funds strong defense for people who are investigated, arrested, or prosecuted for abortion. Because no one should be behind bars for ending their pregnancy or helping someone else do so.
  • Support and donate to Plan C, an educational resource for learning about how people in the US access abortion pills.
  • Support and donate to your local Planned Parenthood, independent abortion clinics, and abortion funds.
  • Go to the streets and join a protest near you. Most protests are happening today at 5 PM at the federal courthouses or state capitols.

AnitaB.org is also launching a political advocacy series, Power to the People, with our first event on July 20th. The first event of this series, Power to People: Abortion Rights and Digital Privacy, will elevate the voices of abortion advocates and the risks emerging with digital rights and privacy. This event will empower you to take additional action regarding abortion rights and data privacy. Stay tuned for more information about this upcoming event. 

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