Pitzer Spotlights

Yvonne Hong ’05, Fulbright to Turkey

Yvonne Hong '05
Yvonne Hong '05 will be researching smoking and women in the country of Turkey

Yvonne Hong is the ninth Pitzer College student to receive a Fulbright scholarship, tying last year’s record in which Pitzer achieved the record for the highest number of Fulbrights awarded per capita among all colleges and universities.

Yvonne Hong devoted most of her undergraduate years studying smoking-related disease and will continue her pursuit in Turkey fulfilling her proposed study of research: Kicking the Butt: Anti-Smoking Initiatives and Cultural Perceptions in Turkey. Why will she research smoking-reduction initiatives with women and women professionals in Turkey? Hong says, “Women are at a pivotal moment in Turkey’s smoking culture and I intend to research women’s responses to anti-smoking initiatives in a society where both smoking and gender play a significant role in daily life.”

Hong’s research will be both questionnaire- and interview-based in which she will conduct research in villages, gecekondus (squatter settlements), and cities sampling also from various regions to be fully inclusive of Turkish society. She will also conduct research with female faculty members and female university students—those women who are Turkey’s future professional women.

Hong says that women are influential in Turkish society. She further explains, “The trend of more and more Turkish women beginning to smoke can be likened to those in the United States. After WWII, there was a rapid growth in the number of U.S. women smokers and as a result, an increase in the incidence and prevalence of lung cancer as well as other smoking-related diseases in women.”

According to Hong, the importance of studying this issue is to use the information collected to create more effective anti-tobacco programs to stop the incline of female smokers in Turkey.

While at Pitzer, Hong was a student mentor, a member of student senate, a member of ILY, and a member of the External Studies Committee. She also studied abroad in the Pitzer in Turkey program and the Pitzer Summer Health Program in Costa Rica, and worked in the Admission Office. Hong says, “My long-term career plan is to get my masters in public health with a focus on epidemiology. Pitzer professors that have inspired/influenced/helped me in my time of need include Ann Stromberg, David Sadava, and Nigel Boyle.”

—Susan Andrews