I was looking for a new challenge in my career and was interested in returning to a public university. UNLV is going through many institutional changes and initiatives, and I am very proud to be a part of this journey. During my interview process, I felt very connected to the peers and the administration through their demonstrated interest and commitment to international students and scholars.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the beautiful City of Roses – Pasadena, California. I was born, however, in Armenia when it was part of the Soviet Union.
What inspired you to get into your field?
As an immigrant myself with a language barrier many years ago, I encountered many challenges while navigating the U.S. educational system. The director of admissions and records at Pasadena City College, my mentor Carol Kaser, introduced me to the world of international education and exemplified a true student services professional dedicated to helping students. The rest is history...
What kinds of matters does your office handle for the international students and scholars?
We act as a liaison with the U.S. governmental agencies that have a say over their stay here. We offer a comprehensive array of services, including immigration advising and counseling, preparations for visa adjudications, university compliance with federal regulatory requirements, authorizations for employment, cultural adjustment, and cultural immersion programming.
What can members of the campus community do to help our international students and scholars succeed at UNLV?
Continue to engage with the office of international students and scholars, and get to know our students and scholars. International students and scholars have left their home countries, with no support system here at UNLV. Our students and scholars are navigating myriad challenges like homesickness, adaptation to the American culture, coping with different teaching models and course structure, and much more. I know that as a campus community we embrace our diverse student population, which includes international students and scholars from 78 countries from around the world.
From which foreign nations does UNLV have the most students?
China, Korea, and India.
Who was your favorite professor or teacher and why?
Marc Dollinger, my history professor during my undergraduate studies at Pasadena City College. He is not only a phenomenal scholar, but also an inspirational mentor who helped me in the development of my character, and supported my dreams. He has cheered me on for over two decades and continues to be my friend and an “academic uncle” to our children.
Finish the sentence, “If I couldn’t work in my current field, I would like to…”
Open a bakery or small restaurant
Tell us about an object in your office that has a significance for you and why it is significant.
There are many objects/tokens in my office from my students over the years. Each tells a story and each reminds me of my students and the relationships that I created along the way. One of my favorites is a beautiful painting by Opoku Acheampong. His daughter was my student and I have fond memories of him and his family and the stories of the times that he spent with (management consultant and educator) Peter Drucker in Claremont.
Equally important is the photograph of my dad and my son from years ago. A reminder that he is always with me deep in my heart. I miss him dearly and always reflect back on our wonderful relationship and his wisdom. He was an incredible dad and polyglot who lived in seven countries across four continents, and genuinely an incredible human being. We lost him three years ago.
Who is your hero?
My wonderful husband Raffi is my hero. He has an insatiable appetite for life, is always positive, and never gives up. He has taught me to be strong, to work harder in pursuit of my dreams and always keeps me grounded.