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Alumni Success Story: Mariam Hakobyan Shares her Experience

How did you come to study at AUA and what influenced your choice of profession?

Mathematics and its applications in Computer Sciences were one of the major fields that I was curious about during my high school years. I liked to do long and complex mathematical calculations, but while calculating, I always thought I should invent machines to calculate and solve the problems for me. So this is where I am now, involved in the data science world, where five exabytes of data are produced from human activity every two days. We need to use technology and find methods to deal with the huge amount of data to make significant inferences from uncertainties. AUA, with its well-organized academic plan, was a great point to start my studies. That’s why I chose AUA nearly four years ago and I am very happy for having done that!

As an AUA alumna, how would you evaluate AUA’s contribution to your current achievements?

My bachelor studies at AUA have had a big impact on my development. Above all the concepts and theoretical ideas that are necessary to enter into my career, AUA has taught me how to learn and teach, how to become a better individual, how to search and find new knowledge, how to try new things, perhaps  fail sometimes but never to give up, and finally how to try again and to succeed. These are the experiences that no life-school shares without compensation. I appreciate my seven semesters at AUA, with professors, new peers, and friends.

Tell us a bit about your current status and how you got there.

I have recently started my Master’s studies in Data Science at EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), one of the world’s leading teaching and research universities, a school driven by a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in emerging fields of science that are set to have a major impact on society.

While browsing papers for my research, I came across one that had the name of the EPFL university on its cover page. The paper was so interesting that it drove me to google the university and check the study programs. Their courses and internships in the best companies motivated me to apply and see whether my qualifications met the expectations of the admissions committee.

I followed the same principle while applying for EPFL as for AUA I disregarded my financial issues and gave it a try. And not only was I accepted to one of the most innovative universities, but I then also applied for and received scholarships from both the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) covering almost fully my educational and living costs in Switzerland. So, now I am at EPFL and I am very excited to be a part of 11,000 students and researchers.

I am very grateful to everyone who has inspired, motivated and helped me to get to this stage in my professional life.

Please, tell us about your experience as an Erasmus+ exchange student.

The Erasmus+ exchange program was my first experience of living and studying abroad, far from my home country. I couldn’t have imagined what a wonderful experience I was going to have spending half a year in Lisbon, Portugal, a hot city, with warm and welcoming people. I made international friends who were always around to chill me out. I enjoyed my studies at Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST) and did my capstone research project with a motivating professor. The knowledge that I have gained at IST, strengthened my understanding of key mathematical concepts and their applications in a data science driven world. I was studying and at the same time discovering western Europe. Is there a more creative environment for a student?

What advice would you give to AUA students?

Do your best and follow the path life will lead you to! Appreciate your qualities and every small improvement that you experience. And last but not least, think positive and smile even when you fail! It will give you positive emotions to generate effective solutions!