Thursday, November 5, 2009

Elektor Foundation Award - A woman's business

It didn't take Fatma Zeynep Köksal long to choose a career in electronics; but it was not an obvious choice. First of all she was one of the very few women following a technical study, and secondly she quickly came to the conclusion that Chemistry wasn't her thing. Eventually she discovered the world of electronics through a further educational course. It caught her interest and now, almost 40 years later, she has her own engineering company and still teaches.

Considering women and engineering don't go together too well even in Western Europe, how does it compare to Turkey? 'Our country does not exactly stimulate women to choose engineering', says Fatma Zeynep. However, she does see great potential in the allurement of the possibilities and job opportunities involved. At the same time we see an increase of companies focusing on engineering and electronics.

Fatma Zeynep is an example of how education, networking and fervour can fuel a life of studying and working. Shortly after graduating she was offered a job at the Nuclear Electronics Institute of Ankara, a position which made her a respected colleague, researcher and speaker both home and abroad. Additionally she has always been active in developing new products for education. Based on the Motorola 6800 she developed the first programming set, to be followed by many more. In 1998 she started her own company in the area of computers, electronics and assembly (BETI). Thanks to her own knowledge and that of her students she has always been able to choose the best of the best when it comes to hardware. BETI is still being approached for the special assembly of computer systems; 'on demand' in other words. She also still teaches at the university of Ankara.
Education, interest, network - three 'drives' which brought Fatma Zeynep Köksal into the male-populated world of electronics. And she occupies a special place.
Along with her company BETI, her lectureship at the Ankara University she has also started a company focused on Nuclear Electronics Measurement (Nemo) and we will certainly be hearing more of her. Her enthusiasm for electronics and the way she connects this with her students is definitely Worth an Award.