Congratulations to Asil Özdoğru [Turksa president] for winning the International Student Leadership Award for 2008. Asil is a doctoral student in Educational Psychology who has given a large amount time and energy to improving the lives of students here at the University at Albany.
In 2004, he served as an Orientation Assistant in the International Student & Scholar Services program for new international students. He and a group of friends, then, started the Turkish Student Association in the Spring of 2006. They have organized various cultural events open to the entire University, including movie screenings, a painting exhibition, a cooking class and a graduation party, in collaboration with the Graduate Student Organization.
Asil volunteers his time to assist international students in many ways, such as transporting them to and from airports in Albany and New York City, helping to move furniture, and helping them find apartments or roommates. He also advises them on writing papers and introduces them to new friends from different cultures. He has started two email groups, one for people interested in playing pick-up soccer at UAlbany and the other for Turkish people within the University and the local community, both quite successful with 74 and 84 members respectively.
Asil has taken the initiative to develop ways to help people connect here at the University. Although his main concern has been international students, helping to ease their cultural transition to living in Albany, his activities have benefited the larger community by introducing them to Turkish culture and providing an outlet for physical activity.