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College of Health Solutions student earns prestigious PhD scholarship

Having the right advisor can make all the difference when choosing a PhD program.

It was a chance to work with Xin Luo that helped persuade College of Health Solution PhD candidate Niyazi Arslan to leave his home of Instanbul, Turkey to come to ASU.

That relationship paid off as Arslan was selected to receive the prestigious Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders scholarship. The award comes with a check for $12,000.

Arslan, fifth-year PhD student, is completing work on his thesis "Influence of Neural Health on the Efficacy of Electrical Field Shaping Techniques in Cochlear Implant Recipients” with plans to finish in spring 2025. He said the additional funds will be used to help collect data so he can complete his work on schedule.

"My adviser, Dr. Xin Luo, really helped me, not only with this scholarship but since the first day I started working on my PhD at ASU,” Arslan said. "He helped me with everything. I'm still learning and appreciate every day being a student of his.”

Part of what helped form the relationship between Luo and Arslan is the similarities in their work. Luo has done extensive work with cochlear implants (devices that stimulate auditory nerves to help hearing impaired people hear). His current work on understanding pitch perception in acoustic and electronic hearing fits with what Arslan is studying.

Luo said Arslan's performance has exceeded his initial impressions based on his PhD application materials.

"He has a strong ability of critical thinking that helps him find knowledge gaps in the literature review, and he learns new techniques quickly and explores new ideas boldly to fill the knowledge gaps.” Luo said via email. " . . . I am so glad to have taken him on as a PhD student.”

Another of the reasons Arslan chose to come to ASU didn't have anything to do with research or what would happen in the labs and classrooms.

Coming from a small college in Turkey, he wanted to experience life at a large U.S. university.

Even though he started his journey at ASU during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly found what he was hoping to experience here.

"The Tempe campus is amazing,” Arslan said. "It's more than what I expected. The first thing is the diversity in the campus is amazing. You can find people from all over the world. Beyond that, there are many different student associations you can join. When I first got here it was difficult to meet people, but there were some student associations that were organizing online meetings. It helped me socialize and meet people.

"Sometimes when I get bored or just work too much, I can walk around the campus and it's beautiful. It makes me feel great. I really like the experience so far.”

As is the case with many people in his position, Arslan isn't 100 percent sure of what his next steps will be once he finishes his PhD.

"I would like to continue my research,” Arslan said. "I'm not sure if it will be in academia or with some company, but I would like to go on with my research. My first goal is to complete my PhD and after that, if possible, I might do some post-doc work. Later in life, I haven't decided yet.”