Ada Ates: Social Media and Web Manager


Ekran Resmi

Ada Ates

Ada Ates is a fourth-year who managed the Review’s social media and website from summer 2021 through fall 2022. Her dedication to curating the Review’s online presence gave every writer the sense that their stories were meaningful, and made everyone in the office feel like their contributions were valued.. Ada is graduating with a Neuroscience and Computer Science degree and a concentration in Data Science. She has been working part-time with the Van Valen Lab at the California Institute of Technology since spring 2022 and will be transitioning to full-time after graduation. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.  

How did you start working at the Review

We don’t really have freedom of speech back in Türkiye, so I’d been wanting to get involved with the Review, but I knew I wasn’t a strong writer in English. Editor-in-chief Kushagra Kar was talking to me during the end of spring semester, and he was like, “We have this position [for Social Media Manager], and you should apply.” I had the passion for graphic design, so I was like, “I’ll give it a chance, and maybe I’ll be able to stay over here for the summer and hang out with friends.” I always wanted to be a part of a community. Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I made here. 

What do you think was your greatest accomplishment while you were a social media and web manager? 

I think the greatest accomplishment is that the Review gets recognition now, because that’s what I wanted when I got the job. From Kar, I knew how much work you guys were doing, but not many people understand and appreciate that. 

Tell me a little about your majors.

I wasn’t thinking of doing neuroscience — I knew I was interested in the brain, but I was determined not to become a doctor like my parents. I was just gonna do computer science. 

I started doing computer science and my question was, “Why are we not interested in how computers learn like humans?” Because the human brain influences computer science a lot. I’m really interested in the point where both of these come together because I think they can be really helpful for a lot of things.

For the longest time, I wanted to build these prosthetics that you can just use with your brain. I want to be a researcher that will create helpful things in health care.

Can you tell me a little bit about your neuroscience work at the Van Valen Lab at Caltech?

We’re getting funding from Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s, funded by Michael J. Fox. Our job is to develop a model that will trace 3D neuron images so that we can map neuron networks in the brain so that we can understand how Parkinson’s arises, and detect it and treat it better. 

What I’m doing is basically going through the literature, finding data, standardizing it, and putting it into the workflow. We are only on the first phases of it, so it’s mostly data-based right now. 

Looking back at your time at Oberlin, what advice would you give your first-year self?

You don’t have to do everything. I understand fear of missing out is a real thing with COVID-19 and double majors and minors and everything, and I know that’s like literally every Oberlin person’s experience. But just make mistakes, you know? 

I feel like I didn’t really go into that, and this week I’ve been like, “What am I doing? I’m never gonna go back to college again.” So what if you did this one mistake, or it wasn’t the best decision, or you stayed out instead of studying for your exam the next morning? 

What do you think you will take away from your time working at the Review

People are unpredictable. I would try to do polls — they didn’t seem to attract attention, but the thing you guys are doing now where people put their opinions seems to be attracting people. You would think since you’re probably swiping through stories, it would be easier to do polls. Stuff like that was really interesting. I learned a lot and also improved a lot with graphic design.

I got used to being out of my comfort zone, which was nice, but also I had supportive people with me, so I didn’t feel like I was going to get trashed or anything.