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female graduate student on left discusses research and education with Dr. Berna Hascakir on right
Dr. Berna Hascakir, (right) is heading an exchange program encouraging female doctoral students to explore diversity and cultural understanding though international academic experiences. | Image: courtesy of Berna Hascakir

Dr. Berna Hascakir is one of five Texas A&M University faculty members chosen as fellows for the 2021-22 ADVANCE Administrative Fellows Leadership Development Program. ADVANCE is under the Dean of Faculties office and endeavors to “create a psychologically healthy workplace at Texas A&M where all faculty can thrive and succeed.” Hascakir, associate professor and Flotek Industries, Inc. Career Development Professor in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, will serve as the College of Engineering Administrative Fellow. The College of Engineering will fund her fellowship in ADVANCE.

Each of the five new fellows will lead an individual project. Hascakir will direct a new partnership program between the College of Engineering and Texas A&M University at Qatar. The program will promote and mentor female doctoral students in engineering on the College Station campus and encourage them to complete part of their academic requirements on the Qatar campus to gain international experience. The goal is to support and promote diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Texas A&M.

"Engineering is all about innovation, and innovation happens best when people from diverse backgrounds are able to interact in meaningful ways," said Hascakir. "Solutions to difficult engineering problems often come from a combination of different perspectives, and this exciting program provides opportunities for students to learn how multicultural approaches can help them advance."

Hascakir is a firm believer in student engagement and success. She regularly uses her leadership skills to direct and mentor the graduate students involved in her independent research projects and her Heavy Oil, Oil Shales, Oil Sands, and Carbonate Analysis and Recovery Methods (HOCAM) research group. She also participates in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program funded by the National Science Foundation, serving as a summer mentor and research professor to students from universities with no research facilities.

In addition to their individual endeavors, the five fellows will also participate in two joint projects: a national leadership development program and an internal leadership development program organized by the Dean of Faculties office.

"This announcement comes at a time when the university is taking important steps to address racism and systemic bias," said Dr. Cynthia Werner, director of ADVANCE. "I am confident that each of these ADVANCE administrative fellows will help lead these important changes as they take on these new leadership roles at Texas A&M."