New Rotarian Sumeyra Ozturk Shares Her Path from Turkey to Atlanta

President Paige introduced Ms. Sumeyra Ozturk, one of the Rotary Club of Atlanta West End’s (AWER) newest members. Sumeyra presented to us her story dating to her life in Turkey, her homeland. Her hometown of Istanbul is one of the rare cities that lies on two continents—Europe and Asia, with a long and varied history and culture, possessing its famous kabobs and powerful coffee, which “really opens your eyes in the morning” she testified. She graduated from Bogazici University, a significant research institution located on the European side of the Bosphorous Bridge in Istanbul, majoring in psychological counseling. She noted that Turkey’s education system is funded by the government and the quality of education is better in the bigger cities, as is the rate of students seeking postsecondary education. Sumeyra is devoted to social services and caring for persons of all ages – children and adults, including commitment to older adults. She developed and implemented social and emotional skills training for the young individuals with mental health challenges. She holds a master’s degree in speech and language pathology, which when combined with her degree in counseling, has enabled her to understand and support others better. Sumeyra has worked as a speech pathologist in different settings such as an outpatient hospital and a rehabilitation center and treated individuals with a variety of communication disorders. Later, she co-founded her clinic and named it Retorya. In Retorya they have provided therapy services in an interdisciplinary environment. She is also very dedicated to raising awareness and informing people about speech and language issues and problems. In connection, she has given seminars, written medical articles and created educational videos for the health sections of national internet platforms, including CNN© Turkey. Mindfulness has expanded her own way of thinking and living and links naturally to her interests in psychology and speech therapy. She mentioned that applying mindfulness techniques in her therapies helped her patients to get more positive outcomes. Sumeyra says she loves traveling and learning about other cultures – she mentioned a trip to Spain where she frequented a bar that is completely made of ice and served drinks in glasses made of ice – “very cool” she wryly observed! Sumeyra moved to Atlanta in 2017 and she enjoys her life and friendly people here. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Psychology at Georgia State University. For her research, she particularly focuses on how gestures can be utilized to facilitate speech and comprehension abilities of the patients who have suffered strokes. For this coming school year Sumeyra will be working in the Atlanta Public Schools as a speech pathologist to improve the communication skills of the children.

Posted by Neil Shorthouse
May 1, 2020 2:00pm