Alumni Notes: Spring 2017
Posted 04/22/2017 09:00AM

All the News That's Fit

Nazli Celik

Nazli Celik ’96 recently won the distinguished honor of Best Anchorwoman in Turkey—for the fifth time! This prestigious award, voted on by viewers, is called the Golden Butterfly and is but one of over 100 awards she has earned in her career. “Awards are always a big source of motivation for me,” she said, citing that ones from universities and their students—the architects of the future—are of special importance. An award named for journalist Uğur Mumcu, who was assassinated in 1993, is especially meaningful, as is the Altın Kelebek award, voted on by the public and which she has won five times. “Whenever I am presented with a new award, I always try and take the opportunity to voice hope for relevant issues in Turkey,” she said.

Nazli’s interest in television began during her final two years at TASIS. “Media was pretty popular back then, and my curious personality and eagerness to search for the truth drew me to this business,” she remembers. She studied TV and video production at Emerson College in Boston, began her career working for NTV in 1999, and moved to Star TV (now owned by our own Ferit Sahenk ’83) in 2004, where she began anchoring nightly and weekend news updates. She is now chief editor with a staff of 43 (“Success on TV is dependent on teamwork,” she said of the colleagues she’s worked with for years) and anchors the live primetime news every night at 19:00. The 45-minute program focuses on what is happening in Turkey and around the world and prides itself on giving unbiased updates.

Political stories interest her the most as they shape the future of her country. “Turkey has a strategic location and importance, so foreign relations, the war in Syria, the refugee problem, etcetera affects and interests Turkey deeply,” she said. “Being both anchor and editor-in-chief is a special position. I don’t have the luxury of being politically correct. But as I said, it has advantages as well. As you know, our country is going through tough times. There are new developments all the time. This is where being an anchor comes in. Asking questions on the hottest news, not being restricted with a text, getting the new information on-air and relaying it to our viewers—these are all possible with having experience as a correspondent and an executive. What I do might be called news anchoring, but what I feel I do is feeling the heart of the country every night in all my veins, as it pumps its news. At times I am speechless, I am in tears, I am in shock, and in utmost emotions, but yet the news must go on.”

So what’s next for Nazli? “It never strikes me as realistic to make long-term plans in a country so full of surprises,” she said. “So I live with the flow of life rather than plans. My priority is to contribute to my country, knowing I’m doing direct and influential work in the media, the fourth power. Professional success comes with hard work, discipline, and experience.” She adds with a smile, “Plus, there are still global awards that I need to attract.”

Lessons in Service

Trond Thorrud '95

We caught up with Norwegian Trond Thorrud ’95 in 2015 when he was about to launch his nonprofit organization, Bija, with a daycare center for children who live in a train station in Gaya, India. “I took a chance,” Trond began. He had been searching for a project and put his trust in a man whose heart was in the right place but lacked the skills and mentality to do things right. “The hardest thing in my life was to shut down this project,” he said. “I tried to save it but couldn’t. I learned from this experience, and it drives me now.”

It was a difficult lesson to learn, and Trond took some time off to reassess and find the motivation to continue. In the spring of 2016, he and his legal advisor traveled through India again, searching with more skeptical eyes for a project to support. And there they found Amcha Ghar, an organization that houses, educates, and empowers girls who are abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise neglected. “It was the perfect place,” Trond said. Amcha Ghar had recently lost a sponsor, so Bija stepped in to help. “I have big plans on how to make Amcha Ghar economically and ecologically sustainable,” he said. “And after getting to know the girls there, I really want to stay involved in this project.”

We look forward to keeping in touch with Trond and Bija and sharing information about his future projects.

Seeing is Believing

Kelly Port '87

Part of the magic of films is what we see on the screen, and Kelly Port PG ’87 is one of the people responsible for wowing us with visual effects. He has worked with LA-based Digital Domain for 21 years, and his filmography is impressive: Maleficent, Thor, Star Trek, Grand Torino, We Own the Night, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Stealth, King Kong, Titanic, T2 3-D, Apollo 13, and the recent release Beauty and the Beast. His role as Visual Effects Supervisor has him reporting to the film’s director and managing teams of between 100 and 400 people to create the effects that make us feel we’re experiencing the film in real life.

Multilingual Drama

Ollie Rasini '99

Ollie Rasini ’99 continues to impress with her drama career, which has expanded from English and Italian to now include French! In January, Ollie participated in the Festival méditerranéen d'improvisation théâtrale de Grasse in Provence, France, as one of an improv troupe. The show had an artist create a set on the theme of “frontier” that would remain a secret to the troupe until the show itself. They then created a show around their interpretation of this set. Congratulations to Ollie as she continues to expand her comedy chops—and language set.

One to Watch

Yu Kanamaru '13

Racing fans, keep an eye out for Yu Kanamaru ’13, who is currently racing with Formula V8 3.5 with Teo Martin Motorsport. Yu began his racing career in 2004 and won a slew of junior championships before becoming the first Japanese to win a number of racing championships. His goal is to be the first Japanese driver to win a Formula 1 race—and with his determination he’s bound to achieve this and more! Learn more about Yu and what motivates him by watching the short film Takeover:

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