Graduate Student Spotlight: Ece Goktayoglu

Ph.D. Student, Department of Chemical Engineering

Portrait of Ece Goktayoglu

This spotlight is a part of our 2023 International Women's Day Feature.

What inspired you to study engineering? Describe your path to graduate studies at UC Davis. 

The engineering field is thought to be male-dominated. Women are often underrepresented in the academic and professional fields of engineering. The biggest reasons for this are gender bias and stereotypes in the STEM field. It is believed that women cannot be successful in these fields and so adequate and equal opportunities are not offered to us. Throughout my high school life, I was good at these STEM-related classes, and I enjoyed them. I wanted to continue to study these topics for the rest of my life. That is the reason why I pursued studying engineering. I cannot say that engineering is an easy field, but what motivates me the most is to show that women can indeed be very successful in the engineering field. I wanted to continue with a Ph.D. because I want to investigate and discover new things and contribute to the literature. 

Highlight your current research. What do you love about it, why are you excited, and how do you stay motivated? 

My undergraduate degree is in food engineering. While I was coming to UC Davis, I wanted to advance in chemical engineering. Yet, I did not leave the field of food engineering because it is a very open field for development.  

Everything I wanted exists in UC Davis' chemical engineering graduate program, and I feel very grateful for that. My current research is related to wine. I am looking for alternative ways to prevent haze formation in white wine. What really motivates me is that UC Davis has a very advantageous location for wine-related studies. If I succeed in finding different ways as a result of my studies, I will have taken the first step of my contributions to the literature as I want, and I will have developed a less costly method that will be useful in the industry. 

The 2023 International Women's Day theme is #EmbraceEquity. How do you embrace equity in the engineering field? 

Everyone has a right to belong in the engineering field regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. Since being successful in engineering is not related to them. Apart from proving that women can be successful in the field of engineering, I want to make sure that equal opportunities are provided to young people who want to pursue in this field.  

None of us need to have specific appearances to do science! 

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