Yunus Kovankaya

Yunus Kovankaya is from Tallahassee, Florida, graduating from Lincoln High School in 2019. He plans to major in civil engineering with a minor in sustainability. He desires to work on international development projects to improve the infrastructure of impoverished countries in the future.

While in high school, Yunus developed passions for both service and analytic problem solving. In 2017, he worked with Florida State University Department of Civil Engineering to conduct a GIS based analysis on the infrastructure disruption caused by hurricane Hermine in the Tallahassee area. This research was presented at the Annual National Transportation Research Board conference in 2018, as well as the mayor of the city of Tallahassee, in order to coordinate a more effective response to future natural disasters. Following this project Yunus worked with Florida State University’s department of mathematics to conduct a topological analysis on Turkish Makam music, a project inspired by his musical and cultural background. In this project he was able to help create a methodology to effectively classify the different types of Turkish music within their correct sub-genres. He was published in the journal of mathematics and musics as a co-author of this project.

In addition to his research, Yunus has started initiatives to help address social issues within his community. He founded a Muslim Cultural and Heritage Club to host lectures and dialogue about misconceptions and controversy surrounding the religion of Islam and different countries within the Muslim world. He also started the Kebabs for a Cause charity event to change perceptions about muslims by teaching participants about the role of charity in Islam, and raising over $2,000 for Syrian refugees through the sale of middle eastern cuisine. In addition to these social justice projects, he has also been an active member of his school’s Mu Alpha Theta team, placing at various National and State competitions and spending 2 hours a day tutoring kids of all levels math.

In his free time, Yunus enjoys playing soccer and recreating recipes from Turkey and Taiwan (his father and motherland respectively).