Aziz Sancar, MD PhD is Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He was born in Savur-Mardin, Turkey in 1946. He obtained his primary and secondary education in Savur and Mardin, and then received an M.D. degree in 1969 from the Istanbul University School of Medicine. After practicing medicine in Savur for two years he attended the University of Texas at Dallas and obtained a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology in 1977 with his work on DNA repair. Dr. Sancar conducted postdoctoral work at Yale university on molecular biology of DNA repair in the period 1977-1982. He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNC Chapel Hill in 1982 where he has been conducting research on DNA Repair, Cell Cycle and cancer treatment, and the Biological Clock. He has published 288 research articles and 33 book chapters. Prof. Sancar is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences USA, a Member of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Member of Turkish Academy of Sciences and the recipient of the Vehbi Koc Award from the Koc Foundation of Turkey in 2007, and co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015. READ BIO.
Dr. Bülent Ender is a gastroenterologist at Wake Gastroenterology. He has been on the staff of Rex Hospital of Raleigh, North Carolina since 1993. Dr. Ender is a member of multiple medical societies including the American Gastroenterological Association and the American College of Physicians.
Bülent is an active member of the Turkish-American community in the Triangle area and is a founding member and the Chairman of the Board of Bridge to Turkiye Fund. He also manages BTF’s Endowment Fund, established with Board of Directors’ charitable contributions. Bulent lives in west Raleigh with his wife Deniz, and enjoys tennis, cycling, swimming and traveling.
Ismail Arslan was born in 1958 in Ispir, Erzurum and has lived more than half of his life outside his home country. He holds a B.Sc. in Business Administration from Kennedy Western University in CA.
He is currently employed by De Leo Textiles (New Jersey) as Vice President of Business Development and is heavily involved with High Point (NC) Furniture Market. Ismail is a strong supporter and volunteer of community non-profit organizations. He is a long-time member of American Turkish Association of NC, serves on the Board of Directors of Bridge to Türkiye Fund (BTF), and President of International Textile Alliance (ITA), the country’s premier and only non profit textile association.
He is married and has three children and two grandchildren, has lived in High Point, NC since 2001.
Dr. Nihat Cubukcu is a Senior Scientist at Weather Predict Consulting Inc., a subsidiary of Renaissance Reinsurance. He was born in 1973 in Macka-Trabzon Turkey. After completing his elementary school at his village in 1983, he was attended Affan Kitapcioglu boarding school in Trabzon and completed high school there in 1989. Later he was placed in the Meteorological Engineering Department at Technical University of Istanbul where he earned a BS degree. Nihat received a Scholarship from the Turkish Ministry of Education to work on his graduate studies in the USA. After spending a year learning English, Nihat entered Florida State University in 1995. Two years later, he received his MS degree from Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute at Florida State University. He completed his graduate studies in 2001 and earned the PhD in Meteorology. Dr. Cubukcu’s field of expertise is Computational Geophysical Dynamics, Numerical Modeling, Geophysical Hazard/Risk Analysis, and Climate Change. He has various publications in prestigious journals that deal with geophysical sciences and has worked on scientific projects with NOAA, IBM, NASA and various other research Institutions. In addition to his scientific background, he has been very active volunteer at many non-profit organizations since his university years. Dr. Cubukcu is past-President of American Turkish Association of North Carolina (ata-nc.org) and an active volunteer for Bridge to Turkiye Fund. He is married, has one daughter, and lives in Cary, North Carolina.
Fevzi Yalın was born in Nicosia, Cyprus to a Turkish Cypriot family. He spent his formative years in Cyprus. He completed his BS in Engineering in Saudi Arabia and obtained a MBA degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has spent over 30 years as an Information Technology professional, working for VF Corporation and Nissan in the manufacturing industry and IBM, EDS and HP in the information services industry. He is currently an IT Project Manager for Carolina Biological Supply Company in Burlington, NC. He also holds professional certifications in Project Management (PMP®) and IT Service Management (ITIL®).
Fevzi is passionate about the equality of rights for persons regardless of their race, gender, ethnic and religious background. He promotes open dialogue in finding common ground in resolving conflicts. As a firm believer that history repeats itself, in his spare time, he is working on a compilation of his journalist father’s broadcasts and news transcripts ranging from 1960s to 1990s.
After having worked in Virginia, Tennessee and California, his family settled in North Carolina. He is married and has two daughters attending NC State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He resides in Elon, NC.
Jordan Michael Scepanski is Dean Emeritus, California State University, Long Beach. He holds an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College, and graduate degrees from Emory University and the University of Tennessee at Nashville. He most recently was Dean of Library and Learning Resources at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, prior to which he held the position of Executive Director of the Triangle Research Libraries Network, a consortium of Duke, North Carolina Central, and North Carolina State Universities, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked in libraries, library organizations, and academic institutions in California, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee, in Ankara, Turkey, and in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the U.A.E. Mr. Scepanski has taught at California State University, Long Beach and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he has lectured and made numerous presentations at other institutions in the U.S. and abroad. In September he visited four Brazilian cities on behalf of the U.S. Department of State under its Speaker and Specialist program and in May he will travel to Indonesia in a similar capacity.
His acquaintance with Turkey dates from the mid-nineteen sixties when he lived in that country as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English as a foreign language to elementary, middle, and secondary school students. He returned with his family in 1981as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Librarianship at Hacettepe University in Ankara and since has been a regular visitor and a presenter at Turkish professional conferences and other scholarly events.
Mr. Scepanski resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife, H. Lea Wells, a former librarian who is a specialist in university faculty development and student learning outcomes assessment. They work together as Jordan Wells Associates, consulting on library and information issues and facilitating organizational and staff development.