AUA and WPI Collaborate on Projects in Armenia
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AUA and WPI Collaborate on Projects in Armenia

2 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — On May 3, students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts presented the projects they had been working on since January 2022. This marked the third year of partnership between the American University of Armenia (AUA) and WPI. Through this partnership, students and faculty from AUA and WPI have collaborated in a program that provides solutions to issues brought forward by organizations in Armenia. 

Dr. Sharistan Melkonian, Dean of General Education at AUA, noted, “The AUA-WPI collaboration continues to provide our students and faculty with an incredible opportunity to work together on the real problems that our communities face, while putting the students’ learning into action.’’ 

This year, thirteen WPI students were divided into four teams to work on their projects remotely, while receiving advice from AUA and WPI faculty. Additionally, many AUA students also collaborated with WPI students on those teams. Dr. Aaron Sakulich, WPI associate professor and faculty advisor, elaborated, “This is the third year that I’ve worked on projects with our friends in Armenia. These projects are a great learning experience for our students, and I hope that the results of their work will be of use to some very deserving organizations.’’ He added, “Every year, I learn something new from the students. I very much appreciate all the work that faculty and students at AUA put into our collaboration, and I look forward to a strong AUA-WPI relationship for a long time to come.” Dean of the Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at AUA Dr. Aram Hajian concurred, “the synergy created between faculty and students from both institutions is impressive. Project-based-learning is a great vehicle for both learning and creating innovative solutions to real challenges here in Armenia.”

Using an interdisciplinary approach, the students in each team provided solutions to the respective issue put forth by the organizations in Armenia. The four projects that the teams worked on included the design of a low-cost hydroponics system in Armenian communities for the Armenia Tree Project, choosing an effective fundraising platform for Orran, developing interactive data visualization to improve accessibility of information for the Armenian EyeCare Project, and making recommendations for implementing robots to assist nursing home staff and provide emotional support to the nursing home residents for Alzheimer’s Care Armenia

Reflecting on the work that has been done by the students throughout this semester, AUA adjunct lecturer and faculty advisor Norayr Ben Ohanian remarked, “I believe the students did a high-quality work. It was especially pleasing for me to see the collaboration between AUA and WPI students, and I hope that this has enhanced the learning experience for the students from both universities.”

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.