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UC People: Kaya Mentesoglu

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Kaya Mentesoglu
Kaya Mentesoglu has been the UCLA International Institute’s IT director for 22 years. (Photo: David Esquivel, UCLA)
By Taleen Ananian, UCLA Newsroom

Kaya Mentesoglu’s technological creativity helps UCLA map its global impact

For more than two decades, Kaya Mentesoglu has served UCLA’s International Institute with key IT technology support, including creating and enhancing the web presences for the institute’s many centers and programs. Directly supporting goal 2 of the UCLA Strategic Plan — expanding our reach as a global university — Kaya is developing exciting, multi-dimensional ways to bring our worldwide impact to life. Here, he discusses his work as a digital storyteller and pride in his true Bruin family.

What specifically do you do in your job?

I have been the IT director for the UCLA International Institute for 22 years. Led by Vice Provost Cindy Fan, the institute has a dual mandate to promote the study of the world at UCLA and to represent UCLA to the world. We like to say we are UCLA’s State Department.

My team and I support all things technology-related, including tech support for the faculty and the interdepartmental academic programs that fall under the institute, including global studies, international development studies and a global health minor. We also create a digital presence for all the websites under or related to the International Institute and its 29 centers and programs, as well as multimedia production such as the video series featuring international student profiles.

What is a project you’re working on — and why is it important?

My work includes leading a data team that directly supports UCLA’s strategic goal to expand our reach as a global university. We are actively building on an existing data warehouse and collecting numbers, facts and impact stories. The International Institute’s activities, specifically our interactive global map, address some of the near-term priorities of the strategic plan, including coordinating global activities across UCLA and assessing and documenting the impacts of UCLA’s global engagement.

The data we are collecting represents the past 15 years, so trends are visible. By hovering over each country in the interactive map on the website, you can see various types of data as well as detailed information in each country’s profile. This site houses rich and dynamic information about international students, study abroad opportunities, international visitors to campus, formal international agreements, faculty interests, alumni abroad, more than 950 projects and programs, impact stories and more.

By collecting this information in one place, we now have a database of UCLA’s vast global engagement and reach — and can better tell stories about our international footprint and impact. It brings to life just how far-reaching UCLA’s global partnerships and engagement extend. My team and I look forward to continuing to expand this database and improving it over time.

What do you love about working at UCLA?

I am proud to say that my family are all Bruins. My wife also works at UCLA and we get to commute together. My son is a fourth-year electrical engineering major, so it is fun having all three of us on campus at the same time. Being a Bruin family is an amazing feeling and getting to work on a college campus is very fulfilling. The intellectual stimulation of being in an academic environment is very important to me. Knowing that I can contribute to UCLA’s global role and impact is also quite rewarding.

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