Since September 2013, the doors of the American University of Armenia (AUA) have opened for more than a thousand undergraduate students. As of today, the University offers three undergraduate programs: English and Communications, Computer Science, and Business Administration. In addition, the students of AUA come from very different extracurricular backgrounds. All of them have hobbies and interests that are an inseparable part of their lives parallel with their studies at AUA. This article features three talented and successful students.
Tatevik Kyurkchyan is a sophomore student at AUA majoring in English and Communications. Tatevik is a writer. “I began writing before I even knew how,” Tatevik recalls. She would ask her parents to write down the stories she had invented. Her writing developed from short storybooks to a three hundred page novel called Light after Darkness. The story is a science fiction novel, which portrays the future of our planet with a new half-human, half-fish species called Humfish. This species is divided into two rival groups; and even though they have many similarities, they have been at odds since the very beginning. The novel follows the journey of a protagonist, Maddeline, as she tries to figure things out, while not conforming to the tradition of hatred toward the opposite kind. The plot focuses on the importance of breaking barriers in situations of love, friendship, and peace. The publishing of Light after Darkness in 2013 gave Tatevik the inspiration to start writing another novel, which she is still working on today.
Tatevik sees inspiration everywhere. She admits that even the tiny bubbles in a glass of water give her new ideas and thoughts soon to be transferred onto paper. Her greatest dream is to become a best-selling author, and believes that majoring in English and Communications will help her the most. Eventually, Tatevik wants to enter the world of magazine editorials and write novels. Thus, she does everything to further her creativity. Ever since Tatevik started her studies at AUA, she wanted to join the creative writing club, but, due to her studies and active writing activities she never managed to do so. “I hope that this year I will manage to join the club and share my thoughts with other talented writers, who I’m sure we have at AUA,” says Tatevik.
Dalita Avanessian is another successful and talented student from AUA. She is a freshman majoring in Computer Science. Besides programming, she has another passion, which is singing. She first stood on stage when she was almost five years old, as a participant of a beauty pageant. She loved the stage. Later, Dalita started attending vocal training classes and she also began learning to play two different instruments: piano and guitar. As a result, she became a professional musician successfully graduating from the music school she was attending. “Of all the contests and concerts I participated in, I consider the Junior Eurovision Contest to be my greatest achievement,” says Dalita. Her participation in the competition not only enhanced her professional skills as a singer, but also gave her recognition that opened up new opportunities. She received invitations from different countries to participate in festivals, beauty contests, concerts and other similar events. Dalita admits that she had her first recital abroad in Beirut after receiving an invitation from the Armenian community of Lebanon.
The list of her professional achievements goes on, but she decided that music is not enough. Being inspired by her uncle, who is an AUA alumnus as well, she currently continues her studies at the Computer Science department. “Due to our relatively flexible schedule, I have the opportunity to take art-related classes despite my specialization, which enables me to continuously learn more and more about art,” says Dalita. Though she is still a freshman, Dalita is keen on joining one of the music clubs at AUA. She confesses that the workload is intensive, but she is enjoying it so far. In the future, she wants to link her two professions and create something new. “CS is not only about writing codes, but it is also innovation, and innovation itself is art.”
Shushanna Knyazyan is a third-year English and Communications student interested in textile art. She inherited a love of art came from her aunt, who works with beads. She decided to deviate a little bit, and at the age of twelve, she started learning tapestry at a local art school. According to her teachers, she was a very talented student and soon after graduation, she received an invitation from the staff members of the school to work there.
However, Shushanna preferred to continue her education at AUA. “My major, English and Communications, gives me as many opportunities to stay close to art. So far, all of my research papers and essays had an element of art in them,” Shushanna recalls. Despite the fact that several years have passed since her graduation from the art school, she still visits her teachers regularly and even volunteers to teach weaving. Till today, she has created five full tapestries and many small ones that have found their place in apartments of her closest friends and relatives. Her works have been presented during numerous expositions and exhibition-sale events. “Tapestry lets me express my feelings and emotions through art,” says Shushanna.
AUA is not only a place where students come and specialize in their fields of study. It is also a source of inspiration and encouragement for most of them. Each student is granted an opportunity to connect their studies with their daily lives, passions, and hobbies. This makes learning not only enjoyable, but also practical, by letting students apply theories into practice. This approach to education reminds us of the Chinese proverb that states “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”