I know how right that decision was.

For years, Melike Afsar had no idea she was going to be an astronomer. "I was always interested in astronomy and watched space-related documentaries with a lot of enthusiasm. I just never thought I would be an astronomer," Melike says. "When I was a high school student, I just decided to become an astronomer. And now, I know how right that decision was." Today, she is an astronomer in her native Turkey.

Melike says, "I was born at the city called Konya but I grew up in different cities since my father was a banker. We've now been in Izmir for almost 18 years." Growing up in so many cities took a toll on Melike as a kid. "I've kind of always envied people who can start a friendship when they were kids and have it for years. I could never do that. I would end up losing my friends all the time because we always had to move to another city for my father's job." Melike has also found astronomy to be a way to travel. She was a post-doctoral fellow at University of Texas at Austin.

When Melike was in high school, the first money she ever earned was because of astronomy. "There was a radio show and they had this sort of contest asking people questions and paying money to the winners. There was an astronomy question and the answer was Mars. That's how I got the money," describes Melike. "I remember going shopping and buying a Levi's jacket. They were really famous back then."

Besides astronomy, Melike enjoys dancing. She also likes hiking and swimming. If she wasn't doing astronomy, Melike says she would still be doing something science related. "My favorite classes have always been math, physics, chemistry and biology. Maybe I would do genetic engineering. I am really glad to be doing astronomy, though. I'm just fascinated by it."

Melike Afsar
faculty, Department of Astronomy and Space Sciences, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
PhD, Astronomy, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
MS, Astronomy, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
BS, Astronomy, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey