Meri Harutyunyan (MBA ’12): Paying it Forward and Doubling Her Impact2 min read
Meri Harutyunyan (MBA ’12) is a senior UX designer at Microsoft Teams. She was born, raised, and educated in Armenia. Graduating from the PhysMath School after Artashes Shahinyan, she went on to obtain her MBA degree from the American University of Armenia (AUA).
Speaking fondly about her experiences at AUA, Meri discusses how her time at the University equipped her with the ability to think critically about business objectives, work well under pressure, and respect punctuality in meeting deadlines, all of which have contributed to her success in her professional career.
During her graduate studies, Meri was a recipient of an academic scholarship, commenting that, “The idea of scholarships was a new concept for me: someone to be thankful to and something to be thankful for. As I grew in my career, I started a scholarship fund for undergraduate computer science students at AUA to pay forward the kindness.”
Meri believes that higher education plays an important role in building and growing a modern and prosperous country, adding that science and technology are strategic components that will aid our nation in that leap forward. “I think there is no lack of tech talent in Armenia. We just need to continuously acquire relevant skills in the ever-changing field of technology, learn to collaborate better, and practice open-mindedness—AUA provides that window into the outside world which brings in a large portion of this knowledge,” she says.
For students currently studying or considering an education path into the STEM fields, her advice is to nurture their curiosity, push themselves out of their comfort zone, collaborate and build on each other’s ideas, and of course, network.
As a supporter of AUA, Meri highlights how she utilized her employer’s gift matching program to maximize her impact at AUA. Many larger companies and organizations in the United States offer their employees the benefit of matching their donations, which can be found out by asking your employer or checking your benefits package. She urges others to inquire and do the same, emphasizing how easy the process is. “All you need to do is (1) check if your donation to your specific non-profit organization will be matched; (2) check how much your employer will be matching; (3) set up the payment,” she lists, also noting that donations are generally tax-deductible.
As an AUA alumna and successful STEM professional, Meri hopes to inspire others to give back to invest in the emerging talented youth at AUA and to have their employers match that support to double the impact.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.