(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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Throughout the summer, UTSA offers more than 60 camps in science, engineering, architecture, sports, music, writing, language, culture and more.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
Chat with members of the Downtown Campus Initiative Task Force about changes taking place as the Downtown Campus grows and transforms to offer a comprehensive living and learning experience. Table topics will include curriculum changes, orientation updates, transportation, food and living options.
Frio Street Building Commons Area, Downtown Campus
UTSA and the San Antonio Express-News will jointly host this town hall meeting to discuss Unequal Justice in Bexar County and in Texas.
Buena Vista Street Building Theater (BVB 1.326), Downtown Campus
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.
Various locations, Main Campus and Downtown Campuses
Finance and Budget Modeling Task Force presents a panel presentation of experts from 4 universities with experience in incentive-based budgeting. All UTSA campus community is invited to attend and be informed about budgeting processes.
Business Building Richard Liu Auditorium (BB 2.01.02), Main Campus
This event showcases the work of trainees, faculty, staff and students from multiple disciplines and public health agencies across San Antonio.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104), Main Campus
This exhibit highlights the UTSA Special Collections, which includes historic photographs from Texas, San Antonio and UTSA history.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Come learn about the benefits available before the enrollment period July 15-31.
Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
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