College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

IE’s Tokadlı named Fall 2021 Graduate College student marshal

A student poses next to a status of Cy - the Iowa State University mascot - dressed up like an astronaut.
A student poses next to a status of Cy - the Iowa State University mascot - dressed up like an astronaut.
Tokadlı poses next to the “Astro Cy” statue located inside Howe Hall.

For the second semester in a row, a College of Engineering student has been selected as the Graduate College’s student marshal and this semester that honor goes to Güliz Tokadlı, a Ph.D. candidate in industrial engineering and human-computer interaction.

“I felt proud of my work,” said Tokadlı. “The news that I was receiving this honor brought me joy because the Graduate College was recognizing my hard work,”

Tokadlı’s graduate school experience differs from most doctoral students in that she is working full-time while pursuing her Ph.D. In September, she started working as the human factors lead at Locomation, a company developing human-guided autonomous trucking technology. Prior to that, while still a Ph.D. student, she worked as a user/operator experience researcher at Uber’s Advanced Technology Group, Uber’s self-driving division.

In her work, she applies the skills and knowledge she has developed though both the curriculum and her graduate research, which focuses on human-autonomy teaming development and characteristics, specifically in commercial flight operations and long-distance human space missions. Several of her projects, which have been overseen by her advisor, Michael Dorneich, associate professor in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, have been funded by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability as well as Collins Aerospace.

“By being exposed to a variety of projects, I was able to develop experience and background in sensor technologies for flight vision systems and human-autonomy teaming,” Tokadlı said.

Her dissertation research relies heavily on human-in-the-loop experiments and modeling data using various human factors methods, such as work domain analysis and decision-action diagrams. She said Dorneich’s IE 672: Human Factors in Automation Design course has been perhaps her most impactful class as a graduate student at Iowa State.

How she got here

A graduate student and a professor sit inside a military helicopter and pose for a photo.
Tokadlı (right) with Dorneich.

Tokadlı attributes her interest in the STEM field to her father, Eser Tokadli, a parachutepilot and aerospace enthusiast back in her home country of Turkey. While she initially wanted to join the Turkish Air Force, she discovered her passion for astronautical engineering as an undergraduate at Istanbul Technical University. She was part of an undergraduate research project that examined human factors in the flight deck.

After graduating with her B.S. in astronautical engineering, she pursued her M.S. in aerospace engineering, with a focus on cognitive systems engineering, from Georgia Tech. As a master’s student she expanded upon the research she did as an undergraduate. Her advisor, Karen Feigh, was familiar with Dorneich’s research at Iowa State, so she encouraged Tokadlı to consider studying under him for her doctoral degree. Tokadlı connected with Dorneich and he brough her into his lab in January 2016.

“After living in the south, the Iowa winter hit me hard but I was surrounded with really nice people who gave me a warm welcome which helped me to adapt quickly,” she said.

When the weather is nice, Tokadlı enjoys spending time outdoors, particularly playing tennis and going hiking. An Alaskan Malamute puppy, Palamut, joined her family last year and has quickly become a “hiking buddy.”

“Hiking with Palamut is not only fun but it gives me an opportunity to truly appreciate the beauty of the natural world,” Tokadlı said, adding she has also recently developed an interest in mixology.

Reflecting on her time at Iowa State University

A shot of a Alaskan Malamute with a river and buildings in the background.
Tokadlı’s Alaskan Malamute, Palamut

As her time at Iowa State University winds down, she fondly remembers “coffee breaks” with her colleagues and friends on campus.

“Whenever I felt overwhelmed or stuck in some point of research or my friends felt the same way, ‘coffee break’ was our code to distract ourselves or walk around the campus. It was a nice way of handling moments of stress,” Tokadlı said.

For any other young, aspiring engineers from Turkey, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, Tokadlı encourages them to consider Iowa State University.

“Iowa State offers an environment for collaboration,” she said. “As a grad student, you would be able to work on projects with people from different disciplines that supports professional growth.”