Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Meet a Roadrunner: Sumeyra Tek helps local refugee families adapt to new home

Sumeyra Tek

Student Sumeyra Tek in a UTSA physics lab

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(July 23, 2014) -- Meet Sumeyra Tek. For the last four years, the 31-year-old native of Turkey and her husband have been helping families fleeing persecution from their native homelands adjust to their new lives in San Antonio.

As a child in Turkey, Tek was curious and possessed a thirst for knowledge. That curiosity led her to pursue a career in science and earn bachelor's and master's degrees in physics.

In 2009, she moved to San Antonio with her husband, a mathematics professor, and their newborn daughter, Hafsa. The following year, she enrolled at UTSA to pursue her doctoral degree in physics. She currently is a researcher in the Functional Nanomaterials Research Laboratory studying rare earth materials. Tek has taught a few semesters as a teaching assistant but hopes to eventually teach full time.

She and her husband Suleyman have been active in the international community, meeting and welcoming refugee families in San Antonio. The couple also takes area college students to meet the families and assist with home restoration service projects.

Recently, Tek volunteered at The Dialog Institute of the Southwest in Northwest San Antonio, where she helped organize events to celebrate different cultures and faiths. One of the events, "Women's Table Talk," featured a speaker discussing dangerous refugee conditions and the challenges they face adapting to life in a new society.

Last month, the pair participated locally in the sixth annual World Refugee Day Festival. Refugees representing more than 21 countries were in attendance.

"It was nice to see my daughter and three-year-old son, Erkan, playing with refugee children on the playground and watching them enjoy music and dances from all around the world," said Tek. "Every culture has its own values and offers something we all can learn from. Respect and love are values we all need, but first we have to come together and get to know each other better."

A United Nations report shows more than 43 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced due to conflict and persecution. Every minute, eight people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.

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Do you know someone at UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at social@utsa.edu, and we will consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.

Read the stories of other UTSA students, faculty, staff and alumni on the Meet a Roadrunner website.

 

 

Did You Know?

For acclaimed UTSA writer, poetry rhymes with life

Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.

Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.

Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.

Read More »
Events
Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p.m.; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

Midnight Light

Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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» UTSA Events | » Academic | » Institute of Texan Cultures

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