Instructor Story: Checking in with CSE’s Shoghakat Stepanyan
Dr. Shoghakat Stepanyan joined the American University of Armenia (AUA) as an adjunct lecturer in the Fall semester of 2018. She teaches Discrete Math and Linear Algebra. Dr. Stepanyan is a junior scientist at the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.
What has influenced your choice of profession? Tell us about your career options in student years.
Roughly speaking, I chose my profession listening to my heart. I didn’t even notice how I chose to become a mathematician, I had the desire to study math, so I did it.
As for my student year career options, I must be honest, I had no intention of becoming a lecturer. I just didn’t find my personality to be suitable for it. At that time there were several thoughts in my mind, but, overall, I could see my future in doing scientific research. That was the option that attracted me the most.
What brought you here to AUA? Tell us about your experience as a member of the AUA faculty. How do you like it?
My first step at AUA was years ago when I was asked to take the position of a teaching assistant. Though my personality and teaching seemed to be far apart from each other (as I had mentioned earlier), I took the chance. Now I have years of experience in teaching and what amazes me is that I really enjoy what I do. During these years at AUA, I discovered a person inside me, who really likes teaching and sharing knowledge with students.
What do you think of today’s Armenian youth, judging from what you see at AUA?
I adore them. Compared with my generation they win us in most aspects of life. Of course, the information that is readily available today and the relatively more stable situation in the country (to the extent that students in this generation didn’t experience war in their childhood) may be a few of the major reasons for that; but I would prefer talking about results rather than about underlying reasons. They are smart, clever and mature, and there is so much to learn from them. I can definitely tell that during these years at AUA I learned something from every single student I had. They even broke some stereotypes I used to have, which is a real challenge.
Of course, there are also some downsides typical of today’s youth. The major one is that their minds are overloaded with information, some of which are unnecessary. As a result, sometimes they fail to store the most important information in their minds. That is why they need to be led not to be lost in the ocean of information.
In conclusion, thanks to today’s accomplished youth I see the education system in Armenia becoming much more flexible in the future than it is now, but, it goes without saying, this can happen only in collaboration with other generations.
What does a professor at AUA dream of?
It’s not easy to answer this question. I think we all want to see an educated population. We want our students to find their places in life and to be successful. Those wishes are natural, but what I actually dream of is something more. Besides being educated and successful I would like to see my students always be as bright as they are now. I mean, I wouldn’t want success to damage their amazing minds and personalities, and I wouldn’t want arrogance to limit their unlimited minds. My dream is to see as many bright and wise people in our country as possible.