Our Team

Burcu Balçık - Academic Director

Burcu Balçık is a Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering (IE) Department at Özyeğin University.  She holds a Ph.D. in IE from the University of Washington, and M.S. and B.S. degrees from Middle East Technical University, IE Department. She was a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University, and a visiting researcher at the Humlog Insititue (Hanken) and HEC Montreal.

Dr. Balçık’s main research interests are in the areas of humanitarian logistics and disaster management. She focuses on developing mathematical models, solution methods and insights to support decision making for better disaster preparedness and response She is interested in developing data-driven analytical approaches to improve the performance of organizations and systems with nonprofit objectives, which serve the purpose of improving the resilience and wellbeing of vulnerable community groups. She has collaborated with practitioners from various governmental and non-governmental organizations in her projects. 

Dr. Balçık is an Associate Editor of Transportation Science. She is also on the Editorial Boards of Production and Operations Management, Transportation Research Part E, Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Sustainability Analytics and Modeling, and Journal of Business Logistics.

She has taken leading roles at professional societies including the INFORMS Public Sector Operations Research (PSOR) and the EURO Working Group on Humanitarian Operations (EURO-HOpe). She is a recipient of the Young Scientist Award from the Turkish Science Academy.

Yasemin Kilit Aklar

Ms. Yasemin Kilit Aklar graduated from International Relations from Marmara University in 1992. She started pursuing her master’s degree in Economics at (METU), during which she was admitted to London School of Economics upon securing a grant for graduate studies from the YÖK. From 2004 to 2009, she gave lectures on “Politics” and “Turkish Foreign Policy” at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Kocaeli University, where she was also appointed as Director of the International Relations and EU Office, She worked as an instructor and as the International Relations Coordinator at Maltepe University from 2009 to 2011. Between 2011 and 2014 she served as the Coordinator at the International Relations Office at Istanbul Şehir University. She joined Özyeğin University to establish Accreditation and Quality Assurance Office in September 2014.She coordinated the writing of the university’s first sustainability report. She was appointed as Sustainability Platform Administrative Director in September 2021.

Özlem Bahadır Karaoğlu

Özlem studied architecture. She completed her doctoral dissertation in which she analyzed the human-nature-space relationship from the perspective of the concept of “spontaneity”  (MSU, 2013). She is particularly interested in how humans re-shape the city, and the city re-shapes humans every day. By virtue of her work at the cross-section of urban science x literature x design, she demands and strives to achieve a sensually richer, more comprehensive, and more egalitarian urbanization.

Her work is not confined within the boundaries of any discipline. She likes leveraging the facilities of a discipline to expand the boundaries of another. In fact, she finds it quite important. She has over 30 essays published in books and journals, and 2 books: “Istanbul Çözüldü” and “Hafif”.

Okan Pala

Okan studied Economics and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Organizational Theory. Okan has published books, articles, and conference proceedings. He also took part in the foundation of the Özyeğin University Sustainability Platform.  He is a social scientist who likes thinking and producing on various subjects, placing his focus on humans.  He is a lifelong student and learner who believes in the symbiotic relationship between theory and practice.

Murat Bayramoğlu

Murat studied communication and audio and visual production.  He served as Coordinator for the Health Program co-run by the European Union, Ministry of Health and IBC from 2003 through 2005, and for the Rural Development Projects in Ardahan and Kahramanmaraş financed by BTC Co. from 2005 through 2009, respectively. Between 2009 and 2019, he took up the Coordinator position for the Rural Development Projects in Kavar Basin, Bitlis and Ravanda Basin, Kilis run by Özyeğin Foundation, where he also assumed the leadership of the Foundation’s rural development programs. Murat is also the co-editor of the book ”Local and Rural Development From the Perspective of Sustainable Life”  He has published several short stories, and essays on the history of cinema and popular culture in literature and culture magazines.  He translated a book and directed 3 documentary films which were featured at national and international festivals. He is a local cuisine aficionado with literature and nature holding a special place in his heart...

Doğa Çakmakçı

Doğa completed his high school education at Üsküdar Bilfen Science High School in 2015. He graduated from the Department of Architecture (English) at Özyeğin University with honors degree. Since 2019, he has been working for the OzU Sustainability Platform, which draws its strength from its interdisciplinary thinking system. 


He believes in the innovative power brought out by the togetherness of different fields of design in the interconnected world order. He finds it important to analyze humans and human-designed systems, and investigates the guiding role of design and art which is “nourished” from sociology and psychology.

Ceyda Tahan

Ceyda studied at Çamlıca Anatolian High School and pursued her bachelor’s degree in Architecture at Özyeğin University. While she was studying at university, she joined the Center for Spatial Justice (a.k.a. beyond.istanbul), which spearheads interdisciplinary initiatives to gather, accumulate and share knowledge that is innovative, qualified and public.  She completed certification programs offered by various institutions, including Istanbul Modern among many others, to build on her interest in art and art history.  Since 2019, she has been conducting her studies that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries at the Özyeğin University Sustainability Platform.

Barış Çakmakçı

He completed his high school education at Ted Koleji in 2015. He studied at the Department of Architecture at Özyeğin University. He graduated with honors degree, upon which he started work at the Sustainability Platform. He believes that the artistic value of a design is as important as its function. He is interested in sustainable methods in product design and fashion design. His acrylic on canvas paintings have been exhibited at Mona Art Gallery, Istanbul, since 2020.

Hamdi Utku Demirörs

He completed his high school education in Antalya Anatolian High School. He graduated from Özyeğin University's Department of Architecture (Full Scholarship) with honors. During his university life, he focused on exploring his interests and gained experience in various fields. He continued his social responsibility projects, which he started in high school, for 3.5 years at university as a volunteer and a leader under the Duyarlı ÖzÜ-Autism Awareness Team. As a part-time student at OzU Sustainability Platform for 2.5 years, he designed, organized and conducted social empowerment activities. He worked as a product manager for 1 year in a start-up established on the axis of architecture-enterprise. 

It attaches importance to the integration of social consciousness and responsibility with libertarian thought and collective work, and enjoys finding solutions to problems and designing projects by directing the skills acquired in architectural education to these areas. He continues at the Sustainability Platform, which he started as a part-time student, on a full-time basis.

Arda Küçük

After completing high school education in TED Ankara College Arda Küçük, proceeded his education at Yeditepe University in Bachelor of Architecture. He completed his undergraduate degree in 2016. From there he continued his education in several schools and subjects in California. First he got Pre-Masters degree in USC, then he completed Master of Project Management in Construction degree in NSAD with high distinction in Dean's Honor List, and finally completed Sustainability and Environmental Studies degree with distinction in UCLA. Between 2018-2019 he worked as sustainable project manager at UCB Inc.In 2020 returned to the construction business and started to work  as Jr. Project Manager at TRW Construction. After this period he returned to Turkey and began his professional career in sustainability as consultant and started to give field related education.