Doris Turkel is interested in many things and has not yet declared a major at Binghamton University (BU). She has enjoyed courses in journalism, law and policy, education, and environmental studies. After graduating in 2024, Turkel would like to craft policy in education, prison, or the environment and be involved with organizations dedicated to social justice issues that align with her passions. Her interest in education stems from her belief that schools are central to communities and equitable education is a crucial tool to fighting poverty and incarceration.
“Different systems of oppression and inequality are connected in that they result from an unequal distribution of resources and the cycle that perpetuates. I am particularly interested in equality in education, as it is connected to socioeconomic status, employment, and housing equality.”
As a visual artist and writer, she believes strongly in the intersection between art and activism, and envisions interacting with students, incarcerated people, and others who share her passions. She may attend graduate school for law or journalism.
At Binghamton University, Turkel is the assistant editor for the opinions section of Pipe Dream, the student newspaper. Writing for the opinions section has allowed her to raise awareness about social issues. She also volunteers with Justice and Unity for the Southern Tier (JUST), an organization fighting mass policing and incarceration. Her work has included speaking weekly with incarcerated persons at the Broome County Jail and writing reports to aid in advocating for the incarcerated. Turkel said this was an “eye-opening experience” that have her “a firsthand look into how neglectful and corrupt the U.S. prison system is.”
In high school, Turkel realized how her own educational experience had been shaped by the segregation in New York City public schools. She took part in protests against the admissions processes and zoning policies that segregate city schools. She also attended panels with the Department of Education and other government officials through Teens Take Charge. After arriving at BU, Turkel chose to research and focus on this topic in her academic writing.
The very first article Turkel wrote for Pipe Dream was about an incident in which a BU student had harassed a Black teaching assistant. The student was not punished, and Turkel’s article held the administration accountable for lack of proper response to racist incidents. She researched the history of racism at predominantly white institutions, including those in the Binghamton area, to contextualize the incident and show greater patterns of inequity in the educational system. Turkel also brought previous incidents at BU to light, exposing the university’s failure to protect minority students and respond to their needs.
“I received some backlash from my article, especially from a man who wrote an article in response to mine in which he rejected my claims of campus wide racism at Binghamton University,” Turkel said. “However, instead of actually addressing the research that I had done and my discussion of the issue, he had reverted to petty insults and backless claims.”
Professors shared Turkel’s article, “BU must do more to address racism on campus and locally,” in BU’s antiracist town hall Facebook group and circulated it through email. She received a response from the university’s president and Board of Diversity and Inclusion.
If granted one wish for herself, Turkel would wish for her current and future work to be productive in helping people, and to create art that inspires.
For the world, Turkel would want to see equality and accessible resources for everyone.
Turkel resides in New York City and enjoys visiting museums and art galleries, film festivals, and social events. Other relaxing moments would include hanging with family and friends, running and playing soccer, creating art, reading, and watching movies. The number one thing on her bucket list is to have her art shown in a gallery or having her own art collective where she could showcase her work and that of her friends.