Skip to main content

29.06.2021 | Hochschule für Technik

«Diversity is simply richness»

Prof. Dr. Arzu Cöltekin is lecturer for human-computer interaction and Extended Reality at the FHNW School of Engineering. Her curiosity about science and technology has led her to conduct fascinating research in a diverse environment.

Professor Cöltekin, what is the most interesting project you’re working on right now?

I find all my projects interesting! 😊 But if I have to pick one, I’d highlight one of my research tracks in which we are trying to improve technology for older adults, specifically using technology at the service of improving cognition and visual/spatial memory, along with other things. We try to understand specific needs of older adults in varying cognitive health conditions, and work on improving usability and usefulness of technology for them.


What was your motivation to go into computer science and tech as a professional?

I always felt the impact of technology on my own life, and through my lifetime things changed a great deal. A lot of what we have today was science fiction when I was a child: The Internet, self-driving cars, cell phones, voice interaction with computers - I’m old enough to remember the pre-internet times. The Internet changed my life as well as those around me in profound ways. Before that, technical innovations such as radio and television were revolutionary developments and - I would argue - created existential shifts in life as we know it. Cars, trains and planes have always fascinated me too: What makes them move, and how can something so heavy fly? To this day I find genuine fascination in all these things. This part of my personality made me infinitely curious about science and technology, which is also what drove me to where I am now. Of course, my primary school teacher father and nurse-midwife mother were big “knowledge fans” and I am sure they had something to do with all of this too!

How important is diversity for you?

I feel that it’s hard to say anything original but at the risk of repeating a cliché, I will say that diversity is simply richness. I sometimes think in a nutrition metaphor, yes eggs are rich in protein but we all know that eating varied food is necessary for our health. Same can be said for our intellectual and emotional lives. Having people around us from different walks of life, different schools of thought, different qualities enrich us. My Finnish PhD advisor Henrik Haggrén, in a professional context, once said: “One can learn something from everyone.” This was sort of a life lesson for me that made me rethink whatever professional (or other) prejudice or arrogance may have been in me. I have since personally experienced that we can indeed learn something from everyone, and this is independent of all the ‘group identities’ like age, gender, nationality or race. I value diversity and have been in mixed groups for so long that can’t imagine being a completely homogeneous group.

Diversity und Gleichstellung an der Hochschule für Technik FHNW

Die Hochschule für Technik bekennt sich im Rahmen der Diversity-Politik der FHNW zur Anerkennung und Nutzung der Vielfalt ihrer Studierenden und Mitarbeitenden sowie auch ihrer unterschiedlichen Fachbereiche als Potenzial und Ressource.

Mehr dazu

Mehr zur Person

Prof. Dr. Arzu Çöltekin
Prof. Dr. Arzu Çöltekin Leiterin Institut für Interaktive Technologien FHNW, Dozentin HCI & XR
Telefon +41 56 202 84 73 (Direkt)
Diese Seite teilen: