Esen is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, with particular interests in higher education institutional research and international and comparative education studies. She holds a master’s degree in Linguistics with a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature with a Certificate to teach in K-12.
Esen has experience working in various higher education systems such as Turkey, China, and the United States. Most recently, before joining the Grad Grants Center, she was holding a full-time position as the Assistant Director of the International Center for Intercultural Communication (ICIC), a world-leading education hub with cutting-edge empirical research and programs in applied linguistics at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. In her role, she was responsible for planning, teaching, and managing ICIC’s global and local education programs while she served as their key research associate. With her team, she produced numerous competitive research and education grant proposals (e.g. NIH, NSF, NEH, CPC, CHEP, ADA, US Department of Education, Fulbright Scholar) and has presented at professional academic and industry conferences. Esen has also presented and developed content for grant-writing and academic publication workshops; all of them received financial support from the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Research at IUPUI. From 2015 to 2018, Esen, with four other members, served in the grant proposal review committee in ICIC's Joan and Larry Cimino Award for Excellence in Intercultural Communication at IUPUI.
Esen's primary research interests lie in the realm of globalization and internationalization in higher education of the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Using large datasets, she conducts both quantitative and qualitative research on student engagement and learning outcomes and high impact practices. Some of the competitive fellowships Esen has been awarded as a graduate student include Charlie and Jeanette Nelms Professional Development Fellowship, Drs. William W. & Carol E. Malloy Fellowship, Peking University Health Science Center Six-Month Visiting Fellowship, The Graduate and Professional Student Government Fellowship, Comparative and International Education Society UREAG Fellowship, and IUPUI Office of International Affairs Travel Fellowship. She has published her work in peer-reviewed journals, including, but are not limited to, Elsevier's EAP and Language and Linguistics.
At the Grad Grants Center, Esen serves as one of the senior grant proposal development specialists and conducts in-person and online consultations with graduate students across IU for applications to major external research awards. She has reviewed, critiqued, and provided feedback to numerous grants and fellowship applications, including Fulbright-Hays, SSRC, Mellon, Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Spencer, Boren, AAUW, Ford, NIH, and NSF.