Empowering Education: Martin Mirakyan’s (BSCS ’19) Journey to Founding Profound Academy3 min read
YEREVAN, Armenia — Martin Mirakyan (BSCS ’19) is an alumnus of the American University of Armenia (AUA) Zaven P. and Sonia Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE) who graduated with his bachelor of science in computer science in 2019. Now the founder of Profound Academy, Mirakyan went on a journey from student to entrepreneur that underscores his ability to merge theoretical knowledge with practical application.
Mirakyan’s trajectory into the technological world commenced over a decade ago, when he began practicing competitive programming and participating in the International Olympiad in Informatics as a student at Ayb High School. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in computer science at AUA, he immersed himself in the machine learning field. His career started at Picsart and then continued on to the YerevaNN research lab for deeper research into machine learning. Subsequently, Mirakyan obtained his master’s degree from Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal, furthering his research in this domain.
With the intention to pursue a Ph.D. in the future, Mirakyan ventured into the ed-tech sector, teaching computer science at high schools during the pandemic. His dedication to nurturing young talent led him to develop a curriculum that bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. This initiative resulted in the establishment of Profound Academy, an educational platform aimed at facilitating a hands-on learning experience with in-depth knowledge of computer science for students at schools and universities. Initially adopting the B2C model as a scalable coding bootcamp, the startup later transitioned into a B2B model, providing support to educational institutions, such as universities and schools, in teaching computer science. This strategic shift facilitated a broader impact on more students and a focus on delivering comprehensive education.
Profound Academy is at the forefront of technological advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), like ChatGPT, integrating tools that enhance the efficiency of both teaching and learning processes. Mirakyan notes, “We think that the future of education will be a hybrid between professors teaching and digital platforms assisting them in that process, ensuring the students receive the best possible knowledge.”
Emphasizing mastery-based learning, the Academy encourages students to engage in continuous practice to achieve a comprehensive understanding of theoretical and practical aspects of the subjects taught. The Academy offers an interactive platform, which automates 80% of the work done by professors, including checking homework and providing feedback, helping teachers focus on teaching and assisting students. Currently, the Academy collaborates with universities, offering a high-quality curriculum that meets university needs, an interactive platform that promotes an engaging learning experience, and teacher training that facilitates teachers’ exposure to the platform and curriculum.
A significant milestone for Profound Academy is its partnership with FAST Foundation, supporting 16 high-school students in Armenia in learning Python and the basics of AI. Additionally, Profound Academy has embarked on international expansion efforts, forging collaborations with Indian universities and schools.
Reflecting on his journey, Mirakyan acknowledges the pivotal role AUA has played in shaping his career trajectory with the opportunity to undertake a practical internship, as well as acquire an English-medium education with a holistic understanding of academic-specific phrases and industry tendencies in computer science. His advice to current AUA students is to nurture their curiosity and seek real-world experiences. In Mirakyan’s words, the fields of technology and computer science are constantly evolving, and the strong curiosity for not only learning new technologies and programming languages, but also the problems they try to solve in the real world, are crucial. Besides, gaining practical experience through internships and projects is vital for applying knowledge practically and learning more about personal preferences for a future career.
Looking ahead, Mirakyan notes that Profound Academy aims to further develop, preparing courses covering the whole spectrum of a university-level computer science curriculum, with an eventual focus on offering master’s degrees, as well. The Academy also aims to broaden its scope to include resources for all STEM subjects.
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 and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.