Changing of the Guards: Introducing Dr. Ayça Özdoğan Atabay


This fall the Department of Economics welcomed Dr. Ayça Özdoğan (PhD '10) as our new director of undergraduate studies. 

After finishing her BA in economics and BS in mathematics at Koc University in 2003, and her MA in economics at Sabanci University in 2005, Ayça completed her PhD in economics at the University of Minnesota in 2010. Before working at the U, she worked as an assistant and associate professor at TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Turkey, from 2010 to August 2023. She served as a vice chair at the Department of Economics and was responsible for graduate studies from 2018 to 2020 at TOBB University. Her fields of interest are economic theory and game theory. She loves formulating models, solving problems, and teaching economics.

When asked about what she is most looking forward to in her new role, she said building relationships with students and TAs was among her top priorities. “The impact I am able to have while in this job is what drew me to the role,” said Ayça. “As Director of Undergraduate Studies, I can impact 100 students positively in just one semester.”

She has been a grader, a TA, and an instructor for several semesters when she was a graduate student between 2005-2010 at the department. This allowed her to engage with undergraduate education closely and understand the unique mechanism in which undergraduate and graduate programs complement and support one another. 

Ayca Ozdogan, 2006

She is interested in sustaining an inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment with a dynamic curriculum design that incorporates the needs, challenges, and opportunities of the changing world.

Ayça took over for Dr. Simran Sahi, who served the department from 1991 to 2023. When asked about her time at Minnesota Economics, Simran said "I have loved every minute of my time at the U. I always came to work with a smile because I did what I loved and worked with all whom I loved- the undergrads, the fabulous staff, and my “kids”—the TAs that I worked with.

Ayça  was our TA for about 5 years; so she is familiar with the department and will do a fabulous job. I wish her all success."


Ayça at a graduate student retreat, University of Minnesota, 2006






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