Meltem Erol is the director of Graduate Student Services in the College of Engineering. Her office serves undergraduate students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in engineering as well as ensuring that current Berkeley graduate students have the support and resources needed to complete their degrees. Meltem works with graduate student organizations including LAGSES and BGESS, to provide academic, professional and social activities. Prior to joining the College of Engineering, Meltem spent five years as the director of education and outreach for the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems (COINS), a National Science Foundation multi-campus center. She is a Bay Area native, with a B.A. from Long Island University and an M.S. in education from Stanford University.
What exciting projects are you working on?
Being a graduate student is hard! We have some exciting projects in the works that include more professional development workshops and speakers to help navigate life as an engineering graduate student.
What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?
My career path in higher education was completely by chance. I had just moved back to New York (Long Island) from travelling in Southeast Asia and I was looking for a job. A college friend told me our undergrad institution was looking to hire two undergraduate admissions counselors and I should apply. I thought, “I can totally talk about my institution and how great it is.” My first year, I was travelling all over upstate New York. My colleagues thought it was hilarious that I had been to Vietnam but not Buffalo, NY (side note: the drive from NYC to Buffalo in the fall is stunning).
Besides your work, what’s something that you’re passionate about?
I love to travel. When I graduated from college I spent the next two years travelling extensively throughout New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia and I’ve had the travel bug ever since! As a result, I encourage students to push their comfort zone — do a summer research exchange overseas, go for the post-doc opportunity in Germany; it will change your life!
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
In another world, I would either be an NFL head coach or the editor of The New York Times.