Elif attended duPont Manual High School. Her academic honors include the US Navy Office of Naval Research Naval Science Award, Regional Science Fair Champion in Biomedical Engineering and published research in the international peer-reviewed journal “The Orthopedist.
Outside of the classroom, Elif is a leader among her peers. She is passionate about women’s rights and working to empower young women throughout her community. She is on the Steering Committee for Louisville Girls Leadership, a program which provides high school sophomores with skills for the future. She is a member of the Louisville Youth Board and founder of US Turkish Youth.
Elif has been trained in classical piano since the age of five. She has always been passionate about music and the performing arts. Elif is also a competitive swimmer. She not only holds state and regional swimming titles in Kentucky, but also competed at the national level in Turkey – and she’s a certified scuba diver!
In the fall, Elif will attend Columbia University in the CP Davis Scholars Program to study biomedical engineering. She hopes to pursue a career in reconstructive plastic surgery. Elif believes “the way we see ourselves is so important” and hopes to spread confidence by working with internal and external scarring.
Winning more than $33,000 in cash scholarships and a gold medallion, Elif will represent the Class of 2020 as the Distinguished Young Woman of America during this year.
• She is a first-generation Turkish American. Elif’s parents both immigrated to Louisville, KY, where they raised Elif and her sister.
• Elif spent two months in Istanbul, Turkey, conducting psychological research with Syrian refugees.
• Elif is a Turkish Nationals Swimming Finalist and was able to swim alongside future Olympians during her time in Istanbul.
• She is the founder and CEO of her own company. What started as an at-home hobby due to her passion for skincare and cosmetics turned into Elif’s very own natural cosmetics line, “Elyph Cosmetics.”
• Elif loves baking! She says, “although I won’t be going on Cupcake Wars anytime soon, I like to spend time with my sister making fun treats in the kitchen.”
• The first movie Elif ever watched in a movie theatre, and favorite to this day, was “Shrek 2.” Growing up, she affectionately referred to the theatre as “Shrek’s house” and even spoke about it in her National Finals interview.
• She can sing the alphaebet backwards!