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AUA Students Meet with WPI Interim President Dr. Winston Soboyejo

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On February 17, the four American University of Armenia (AUA) students studying abroad in the program realized through AUA’s partnership with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) had a remarkable opportunity to meet with WPI Interim President Dr. Winston Soboyejo. During the meeting, the students had an insightful discussion on their academic experiences at WPI and AUA, as well as their desire to make a significant contribution to their homeland, Armenia. Dr. Aaron Sakulich, WPI associate professor and one of the instructors of the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) of the study abroad program and Dr. Karen Kashmanian Oates, WPI professor, were also present at the meeting. 

The study abroad program served as a strong bridge for exposing AUA students to campus life in an international environment while making a significant impact on their academic trajectory. Reflecting on the importance of the meeting, AUA Dean of General Education Dr. Sharistan Melkonian remarked, “We appreciate Dr. Soboyejo making time in his schedule to meet and talk with Ashot, Diana, Arpi and Meri about their experience at WPI. The AUA-WPI partnership is a model for collaboration in higher education and an opportunity for students to talk with another university president is one more way in which this partnership is more than just a study abroad.” AUA Students Meet with WPI Interim President Dr. Winston Soboyejo

The meeting with Dr. Soboyejo inspired the students to continue working to bring the changes they would want in their communities. Arpi Manusajyan noted, “My journey here has been eye-opening Dr. Soboyejo’s optimistic outlook on life pleasantly struck me. He highlighted the significance of hope in the context of Armenia’s advancement as a country. It was deeply inspiring to see that Dr. Soboyejo believes in our country’s future.” 

Meri Sargsyan is determined to put the knowledge she has gained into advancing Armenia’s development. The IQP experience has allowed her to anchor that mission while also boosting her willpower and sense of duty and responsibility toward her country. Similarly, Ashot Tarumyan and Diana Sargsyan emphasized the meeting’s significant impact on valuing the role of community projects and expressed their willingness to transform the future of Armenia as they continue to pursue their academic and career goals. 

Earlier in the spring semester, AUA students Ashot Tarumyan (BSCS ‘23), Diana Sargsyan (BSCS ‘23), Meri Sargsyan (BAEC ‘23), and Arpi Manusajyan (BAEC ‘24) arrived at WPI to begin a unique study abroad opportunity, studying in a diverse environment and networking with peers from the university. Throughout their experience at WPI, these students have been working vigorously and directing great effort and enthusiasm to make the most of this unique experience. The students spent seven weeks at WPI to prepare for an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), the cornerstone of WPI’s undergraduate degree program. 

Along with 16 WPI students, the students will return to Armenia in early March to continue working on their projects aimed at solving a problem or community need at the intersection of science and society.already underway. The students will present their projects to the public in May. 

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.