Student Star: Omer Turkomer

FSU junior aims to establish a legacy of ‘ethical and passionate leadership’

Name: Omer Turkomer
Major: Political Science
Graduation: Spring 2023
Hometown: Sarasota, FL

“Whether through policy research, legislative analysis, lobbying, political science research or acting as a legislator within the student Senate, my involvement at FSU has given me the opportunity to pursue my passions.”

Fast Facts

  1. FSU Student Government: Chair of the Programming Allocations Committee
  2. Favorite Spot: Dodd Hall
  3. Accomplishment: Awarded the Thomas Dye Award for Academic Excellence by the political science department
  4. Favorite weekend activity: Going to Doak Campbell Stadium for football games
  5. Most excited about: Being a part of the first student Senate to hold meetings in the new student union

Inspired by his own experience of immigrating to the United States from Turkey, Florida State University junior Omer Turkomer has immersed himself in campus clubs and organizations to help FSU in its mission of making campus more welcoming and cohesive to students of all backgrounds.

Turkomer has found a passion for advocacy and bringing diversity and inclusion to the forefront of the university. He has done so as a political science major in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, chair of the Programming Allocations Committee for FSU’s Student Government Association and president of the Turkish Student Association.

Turkomer already has made his mark on campus as a recipient of an IDEA Grant to further his thesis project’s research on state electoral institutions and voter turnout during presidential elections, which he will present at the President’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence. He also has served as a learning assistant in the political science department.

Yet he aims to continue supporting student learning and success at FSU.

“I want to leave a legacy of ethical and passionate leadership, highlighting that what matters most should not be one’s title, but rather what one can do in their position,” he said.

How has your identity as a Turkish-American student impacted your service involvement within the FSU and Tallahassee community?

As someone who moved to this country from Turkey right before starting high school, I deeply empathize with the feeling of finding yourself in an unfamiliar and completely new environment. I wanted the Turkish Student Association to be an organization where students like me could find mentorship or guidance that could help make them feel at home.

FSU has been extremely generous in helping the Turkish Student Association spread Turkish culture on campus. As a result, we have hosted several events to connect to Turkish students in our community and to educate the rest of the student body about Turkish culture and traditions.

How has your experience serving as a senator for the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy helped shape your leadership skills?

Being given the chance to serve on the student Senate encouraged me to challenge myself and my leadership abilities. The college environment and the leadership expectations that come with serving the student body ultimately pushed me to learn from my mistakes and grow as a leader. Through this experience, I have learned the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone, remaining steadfast in the face of failure and remembering the inspiration behind my desire to lead.

What skills did you gain from serving as director of legislative research for the FSU Office of Governmental Affairs?

That was one of the most fulfilling leadership experiences I have had on campus. By collaborating with the other OGA leaders, I was able to discover different ways of tracking legislation and work on simplifying complex legislation so that it was more understandable for the general student body. Being a member of OGA also taught me how to organize and execute lobbying efforts to state legislators on behalf of the student body.

In what ways has your leadership involvement at FSU influenced the kind of mark you hope to make in your intended field?

My leadership opportunities have given me the chance to interact with politics from a variety of perspectives. Whether through policy research, legislative analysis, lobbying, political science research or acting as a legislator within the student Senate, my involvement at FSU has given me the opportunity to pursue my passions.

Throughout my leadership opportunities, especially during my time serving on the Programming Allocations Committee, I have advocated for the inclusion of all students. This experience has helped me decide to pursue a career in law and advocacy. I want to devote my life to helping others who may not have the time, ability or resources to help themselves.

How has your thesis project on voter trends reinforced your passion for electoral advocacy?

My thesis project focuses on examining the effects of state electoral institutions on voter turnout during presidential elections, providing me with a unique opportunity to combine my interests in electoral advocacy and political science research methods. As I worked on the project, I learned more about electoral institutions and their impact on voter turnout, which reinforced my convictions about how essential it is to be an advocate for electoral accessibility across the country.