Alumni Reflections: Eylül Kilsedar
Updated: Aug 19, 2021
YouthMappers is an international network, and today’s challenges, whether environmental, social or economical, require international collaboration. Furthermore, YouthMappers strives to address these challenges through establishing collaborations for the use of and generation of open geospatial data. The collaborations I had helped me understand the peoples of the world and the challenges faced, whether locally or globally, better, thus enabling me to have a more solid ground and understanding in the projects I am involved with.
My involvement with YouthMappers, beyond establishing a more enhanced sense of the world and encouraging me to gain technical skills, pushed me to explore other aspects of myself, to begin with, leadership skills. Leadership starts with leading our lives and thus careers in a direction consciously. Only after this, we may have the right tools to lead, guide or inspire others in the direction that they choose. YouthMappers network has been a facilitator for me in this sense, as it reminds its members that young people have the capacity to make a positive change in the world; they already have what it takes to follow their vision.
I had the opportunity to engage with the YouthMappers network while I was doing my PhD. Prior to PhD, I studied computer science and engineering and then slightly changed my course of studies by studying and working at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Politecnico di Milano in the field of geographic information systems. During my PhD, I focused on geospatial data visualization on the Web and current challenges associated with it. I have loved working in this field as it brings together many aspects that interest me: logic that is needed while writing software code, a visual aspect that has always been fascinating to me and using these two to communicate current challenges humanity and our friends on earth are facing. Besides the formal education aspect, PhD enabled me to get to know the institutions and people that are related to my field and as a result, truly understand it.
Merging my technical skills, environmental and social awareness, with a strong sense of connectedness, I decided to go on in a similar line of work after graduating from Politecnico di Milano and YouthMappers. I currently work as a consultant at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. I write software code for developing visualizations of data, whether geospatial or non-geospatial, that pertain to the past and current, environmental well-being of the earth and social indicators for its citizens, that inform its users and through which policy- and decision-makers can take informed actions. In this way, I can use my technical skills for the benefit of the earth and its citizens, a vision that the YouthMappers network has strengthened in me.
Besides these experiences, many other factors played a role in my career. Traveling, which sadly comes with an environmental footprint, and being a foreigner in the Western world have led to a new perspective that I believe has had and will have an indirect impact on what inspires my work and my work itself. In the end, a person’s disposition and everything a person goes through in life affect their career path. I am grateful for all of them.