Özlem Elgün Tillman


  • Program Year
  • 2006-07
  • Country of Current Residence
  • U.S.A.
  • City/Town of Current Residence
  • Chicago
  • Current Position
  • Associate Director, Quantitative Reasoning Center
  • Organization
  • DePaul University
  • Profession(s)
  • Academic

  • Sector(s)
  • International Affairs, Political science
  • Language(s)
  • Turkish, English
  • Interest(s) / Expertise
  • film, research, screenwriting
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Özlem graduated cum laude with a BA from Smith College, in Massachusetts. As an undergraduate at Smith, she received the Ruth Dietrich Tuttle Prize and the Catherine K. Wilder Award to attend the International Symposium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in The Netherlands. She also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., working at the Population Institute. Özlem then pursued a graduate degree in Political Science from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. During her graduate studies she focused on international conflict, and gained skills in quantitative methodology and game theory.

She attended rigorous methodological training programs such as The Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models Summer Institute, at Washington University, Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, at ICPSR, University of Michigan, and Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis, at University of Essex, UK. Özlem received a Masters degree from Emory University. After the Sauvé Program, between 2007 and 2010, Özlem served as a lecturer Political Science Department at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, teaching classes in international relations, international conflict, and international political economy. In 2010, she co-authored and published “Diversion and Political Survival in Latin America” in an academic peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Conflict Resolution.

In 2010 she moved to Chicago with her spouse and took the position of Associate Director of the Quantitative Reasoning Center at DePaul University. She is currently still running this academic program, overseeing its day-to-day management and also teaching. The goal of the program is to enable students to become sophisticated and critical consumers of quantitative data and information, which is a big part of the social, economic and political aspects of our society today. Success in today’s world requires a solid understanding of data and quantitative skills. This program is designed to ensure that DePaul graduates are equipped with those skills. Özlem also teaches Political Science classes at DePaul a few times a year.

In her extracurricular activities, Özlem has taken up an interest in screen writing and after taking several courses in the subject, she wrote a short film script (Great Eggspectations), and a SitCom pilot episode (Misery Loves Company). In her free time, she is currently working on a feature-length film script called Missed Connections. In addition, she was the creator and principal organizer of a weekend-long event called PASIONAL: Third Coast Tango Marathon, which took place in August 8-10, 2014. The event had 150 participants from over 35 states in the US and two provinces in Canada, as well as London, UK and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event was a huge success and it seems that it will become an annual gathering of social tango dancing in Chicago.

As a Fellow

Özlem worked on research papers and subsequently presented them at a number of conferences and talks. She also prepared a research proposal “Authoritarian Regimes, Institutions of Leadership Tenure and Succession, and Conflict Behavior”,  which was accepted by her graduate program at Emory in May 2007, and co-authored an academic paper, which was accepted for publication in the September 2007 issue of the Political Research Quarterly, a peer reviewed journal. Özlem states that during her time as a Sauvé Scholar she had the opportunity to discuss her research and share her ideas with other Scholars, and whether in a formal discussion, or over the kitchen table during dinner, this allowed her to have different perspectives and view points on her research and allowed her to explore distinct theoretical avenues. About her Sauvé year,  Özlem says: “Being among a group of young, driven and diverse group of scholars, have fueled my idealism once more and made me aware of all the future possibilities of making a difference.”

In November 2014, Ozlem returned to Sauvé House as a participant in the first Sauvé Encore! Alumni Program. In May 2015, Özlem was awarded an Alumni Collaboration Fund grant (alongside her project partners, Sauvé Fellows Sokhna Mame Bousso Ndiaye and Tairah Firdous) to help fund the creation of an international women’s network that will generate dialogue around gender equality and female empowerment.