Building Bridges
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Building Bridges

BTF Celebrates its Scholars’ Achievements

International Women’s Day 2021 — #ChooseToChallenge

What a year it has been for our international communities. A global health crisis shook the World to its core, highlighting grim inequalities in all aspects of our lives from healthcare systems to race, gender, and more importantly in education. The World Bank reported that the pandemic has changed our world in the way we work, the extent to which we travel, and the way we communicate, teach, and learn. It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact especially on marginalized communities. As the pandemic unfolded and schools closed, millions of students had to participate in online learning from their homes for the first time in their lives. Thus, remote learning due to the pandemic has exposed and widened inequities in education both within our country and among students across the globe, including Turkish youth living in underserved communities with a lack of basic things like computers and access to the Internet.

From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge!

Facing the challenges of a global pandemic, BTF volunteers have been working hard to find more ways to expand access to scholarships for more girls. We have raised funds through 2020 to provide not only scholarships but much-needed computers and tablets to students who are particularly hit hard by long-standing inequities in the Turkish education system. We are proud to report that the Empowerment Scholarships Program, in partnership with 17 NGOs and university foundations, supported numerous students from underserved regions of Turkey during the 2020–21 Academic Year, as illustrated below:

Bridge to Turkiye's Achievements in Numbers

These successes were only possible with the generosity of our supporters like you who share our commitment to investing in educational and health programs in Turkey.

On this International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of our 221 BTF Scholars who successfully graduated despite the challenges and uncertainties posed by this global health crisis.

We are especially proud to introduce one of our BTF Spotlight Scholars whom we have supported for the past six years through Çağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği Şişli Branch:

BTF Scholar Nazli who is now a Postdoc at the Mayo Clinic
BTF Scholar Nazli who is now a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Mayo Clinic

“I graduated from Istanbul University Medical School in 2020. I was accepted into the BTF Empowerment Scholarships Program in my freshman year at university. Although I had not yet decided which career to pursue within the medical field, I accepted an invitation to participate in a research project from Karolinska Institute in Sweden in 2017, with the help of the scholarship I received from BTF. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made during my academic career. Before leaving, I corresponded with the BTF leaders who helped me set goals and plan to get the most out of my program. Finally, when I went to the laboratory and got involved in the project, I tried to spend my time in the most efficient way possible and immediately started planning my future research projects. I have decided to become a medical doctor and a research physician. I thought I could pursue this career best in the US, and passed the US Medical Licensing Exams while studying at my medical school. Later, I participated in research studies at the Mayo Clinic and Mount Sinai Hospital in the US and gave presentations at international meetings held in the US and England, and subsequently published articles on my research. I am currently working at the Mayo Clinic as a postdoctoral researcher. In the future, I aspire to be a clinician-researcher/physician and hope to complete my residency program in the US. The BTF family has been supportive of me every time I came to the US for my research programs and has contributed greatly to my development both academically and socially. BTF has also given students like us the opportunity to be a part of and support BTF in the future. On behalf of all BTF scholars, I would like to thank all volunteers and supporters for contributing to our growth through educational scholarships.” — Nazlı, Class of 2020

Nazlı is hard at work in her laboratory research

We hope our Scholar Nazlı’s story will inspire other young Turkish girls to study in the medical and STEM fields. From the feedback we receive, our graduates are anxious to enter their chosen fields and start giving back to their communities.

As BTF continues its commitment to champion educational initiatives to reduce gender inequality and discrimination, your support will empower these students to push past barriers and fulfill their dreams.

This past year has been unparalleled; therefore, we greatly appreciate your continued support of our BTF programs. We hope you will join us or continue your support as a donor, a sponsor, or a volunteer for our Empowerment Scholarships Program.

Wishing you a Happy International Women’s Day 2021!
Dünya Kadınlar Günümüz Kutlu Olsun!

With gratitude,

BTF Team


Bridge to Türkiye Fund is a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with IRS Tax ID of 58–2678580. 100 Fox Briar Lane, Cary, NC 27518



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