Visiting Fulbright scholar shares story, research about visual impairment

September 27, 2022

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) recently hosted Önder İşlek, a visiting Fulbright scholar from Aksaray University in Turkey who is currently conducting research at the University of Hawai’i. He is an Assistant Professor of Special Education.

İşlek’s presentations centered on his research with visually impaired people and schools’ role in preparedness and promoting independence with students living with disabilities. İşlek was born visually impaired.

In his personal story, İşlek shared how he experienced and dealt with stigmas in his native culture related to disabilities. Besides wanting to prove his peers wrong, İşlek shared how he overcame a lack of resources during his primary schooling to become a successful, world-traveling scholar. His main goal is to be the type of educator he says he didn’t encounter during his schooling to improve circumstances for scholars living with disabilities.

İşlek spent several days at PNW delivering guest lectures and talks with Education and Social Work students, Student Athlete Advisory Committee members, and faculty and staff in the PNW Accessibility Center and Center for Faculty Excellence.

İşlek has worked as an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Aksaray University since 2017, He earned his bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Atatürk University in Turkey; his master’s degree in Special Education from San Francisco State University in the U.S.; and his Ph.D. in Disability, Inclusion, and Special Needs from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

Group of people pose together in a classroom

Önder İşlek, visiting Fulbright scholar from Aksaray University in Turkey, far left, visits with a Group Therapy class led by visiting assistant professor Robin Miller at PNW’s Westville campus.