• Portrait of Prof. Dr. Selin Arikoglu, Brain City Berlin

    Prof. Dr. Selin Arikoglu, Katholische Hochschule für Sozialwesen Berlin

As a professor of child and youth welfare at the Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin (Katholische Hochschule für Sozialwesen Berlin, KHSB), Prof. Dr. Selin Arikoglu consciously reconciles theory and practice. In her research, she deals mainly with the biographies of offenders and their relatives in order to derive recommendations for action – especially for social work. 

Prof. Dr. Selin Arikoglu has brought her own  life experience to science. “I grew up in a socially deprived area and was confronted with the delinquent behaviour of the neighbour’s children, classmates and friends.” The focus of her work today is therefore on child and youth welfare and on the subject of delinquency. “First of all, I ask myself the following questions: What do the relatives of the offenders experience and how do they cope with such experiences? Secondly: Why do people act across borders to meet their own needs? And which coping strategies are missing or have to be learned? My concern is to formulate action recommendations for science, especially for social work in the areas of child and youth welfare and in prisons. With my research I would like to contribute to the further professionalisation of social work.”

Since spring 2022, Selin Arikoglu has been researching and teaching as a professor of child and youth welfare at the Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin (KHSB). In doing so, she purposefully links theory with practice: “In my courses and projects, those affected have their say, for example former prisoners or care leavers. They are given the opportunity to tell prospective professionals about their experiences. In this way, I arouse the interest of future social workers and social educators for the fields of action of delinquent work and child and youth welfare”. In addition to the theoretical discussion of the topic, students in Selin Arikoglu’s courses can discuss things with guest speakers – for example with former prisoners, employees of the General Social Service (ASD), probation officers or lawyers.

Selin Arikoglu herself also brings extensive professional and voluntary experience to her research and teaching. For several years she worked in juvenile and adult prisons for men and in the youth welfare office as a social worker and social pedagogue. And for another eight years she taught as a lecturer at various technical colleges in Lower Saxony. In addition, she was involved as a local politician in the areas of youth welfare, equality and integration committees. And she is still an honorary advisory board member in two prisons in Lower Saxony. In 2019, Selin Arikoglu also founded a non-profit association: the “OYA e.V. Straffälligen/-Angehörigenhilfe” (OYA e.V. Help for offenders/relatives) – named after her mother, who set an example for treating all people on the same level. OYA will soon also be located in Berlin. This has a special reason. “Among the students are relatives of former and current prisoners. These have expressed a desire to volunteer because of their previous experience.”

Berlin offers multiple research focus areas. That makes the city even more attractive and interesting.

So far, Selin Arikoglu has experienced the city of Berlin as impressive, cosmopolitan and diverse. “Berlin treats people without prejudice, i.e. regardless of age, gender, origin, appearance, religious beliefs or social status. The city also makes scientific dreams come true – as well as networking among scientists.” According to Selin Arikoglu, the diversity of the city is also reflected in the wide range of Berlin universities of applied sciences. “Researchers have the opportunity here to reconcile theory and practice. Students are therefore trained on a scientific basis in a practice-oriented manner. Berlin also offers multiple research focus areas. That makes the city even more attractive and interesting.” The universities are places in the city that are important for education, “because they stand for a critical, unprejudiced and interdisciplinary transfer of knowledge. That also speaks for Berlin.”

Selin Arikoglu advises young scientists who want to come to Berlin to be open to the city and its people: “You can look forward to diverse science and a city that is not afraid of change. Be courageous and bring your research project and practical projects to different levels. In Berlin there are a wide range of networking opportunities, one example of which is Brain City Berlin.” (vdo)

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