Humeyra Caglayan - 2021 SPIE Women in Optics Planner
Associate Professor in Physics and Photonics
Tampere University, Finland
Born in Turkey
Science is my playground. Nature inspired me to work in science. Nature has this wonderful beauty and many unknowns, which are like puzzles waiting to be solved. This inspired me to learn more and work more on how to solve these puzzles. Physics, and especially optics, has provided me with tools to understand how things work and how to implement this understanding for the development of future technologies.
My responsibilities vary as I act as a supervisor, teacher, and researcher. I teach graduate and undergraduate courses. I have discussions and interactions with my team members on their research projects. I collaborate with our international partners all over the world on different projects. I also join ongoing experiments whenever possible.
One of the biggest obstacles I faced was managing my work and my life. I had my son during my PhD studies and at that time I felt guilty both at home and at work,for not being able to fulfill either being a mom or doing research. However, I realized that the best thing is to be present where I am and enjoy all of it to the fullest. This helped me to overcome unnecessary stress and share the joy of the moment with the people I am with. Now, this helps me recognize that I cannot be in different places at the same time, but I can focus and enjoy being in the moment.
A career in STEM may be challenging in many ways, but it is also rewarding. You will have the opportunity to interact with excellent scientists, engage in wonderful discoveries, and provide solutions to global challenges. To young women considering this career, I say, go for your dreams. Never give up on exploring more. The opportunities will appear as you pursue your dream. Even challenges can be rewarding as you keep moving forward.