February 27, 2024

Nisa Turgut lives in Turkey, and studies biological engineering. The project she will be pursuing while in her Aspire Institute STEAM fellowship is rooted in fighting mosquito borne diseases including malaria, in sub-saharan Africa. She is one of three STEAM fellows carefully selected for our brand new Aspire Alumni offering, piloting now, in 2024.

Turgut has many interests within her major, and pursues them accordingly. When asked about her current focuses, she told us about her present work in addition to the focus of her STEAM Fellowship project. “I’m a bioengineering major and I’m studying wastewater treatments right now. Also, I’m studying algae.” she said.  “My main study area is wastewater treatments and sustainability,  however, {for the STEAM Fellowship’s purposes}, I study malaria. I want to treat malaria with some natural pesticides using algae.”

However, she doesn’t solely spend her time solving the world’s problems. When asked what she does for fun, she told us:  “I really love to read, and listen to music”.  Her favorites include “jazz and classical” styles, highlighting “Billie Holiday and Sharon Kovacs”. We asked Turgut if she had a book recommendation for her fellow alumni and beyond. “I’d really recommend The Alchemist book for those of us who are trying to transform into adulthood and realize their dreams.” she told us. 

When asked why Tugurt applied for the STEAM Fellowship, she mentioned having access to world class faculty as one of the biggest draws. “I wanted to get in touch with [high level] professors and I wanted to get their opinion.” she said. She explained further about the inspiration for her work, and why it is important to her. “…this is a really large scale project because it gives some [forward thinking ideas]…because It deals with malaria and malaria is a really important problem right now in the world.” she said.  “Billions of people suffer from malaria in South Africa every year, even though it’s 2024. So that is why I wanted to actually realize this project. And STEAM Fellowship is actually a really great way for me to do this.”

We asked Turgut what she hopes to gain from the STEAM Fellowship.  “So I actually want to gain a couple of things.” She told us. “My first goal is to realize peer-to-peer meetings, and we actually started to [put that into action] this weekend. I want to gain insights from my peers which are really valuable and important. One [person is] from South Africa and the other one has really great information on economics and so we give prospects about each other’s projects and we improve ourselves every week [as] we improve our projects.”

When asked about her goals and inspirations, Turgut reiterated her commitment to the cause, and shared a personal and heartfelt story. “My aspiration is to actually cure [these] mosquito related diseases, as I mentioned. Millions of people suffer from these diseases.” She told us. “[My]  first [fascination with] this project [occurred] when I met with someone from South Africa. She was a really great friend, but her family died from malaria. And this really inspired me. I thought: ‘I’m a bioengineering major. I should be able to cure these things.'”

Turgut went on to express her need to combine her passion and skill set, wanting badly to make a change in these communities in need. “I should be able to come up with really original solutions and cure these diseases. It’s 2024, people shouldn’t be dying from these diseases still.” she said. “So this inspired me to do this project.”

Congratulations, Nisa Turgut on being one of three Aspire Institute 2024 STEAM Fellows! We wish you all the best and can’t wait to see the successes you achieve, with this project and beyond.


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