The need for highly-qualified labor in the field of biotechnology has gradually increased in Armenia, thanks to new start-up companies that have opened their doors in the country over the past several years. As such, FAR donors Antranik and Betty Berberian have focused their support on those studying in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics, informatics, and applied mathematics.

For more than six years, the Antranik and Betty Berberian Scholarship Program have helped young Armenians to pursue degrees in science and technology at Yerevan State University (YSU). To become a Berberian Scholar one has to go through a rigorous and highly competitive selection process. The FAR Scholarship Selection Committee gave that privilege in 2016 to five more young and talented people: Sergey Varosyan, Liana Tadevosyan, and Tamara Avetisyan from Yerevan; Hovsep Poghosyan from Armavir Province; and Alexandra Mangasaryan from Kotayk Province. They join the eight other students (four sophomores and four juniors at YSU) who are currently supported by this scholarship. Not only will their tuition will be covered 100%, but they will also receive a small stipend to support them throughout the academic year.

The newly selected scholars were happy. They could hardly find the words to express their appreciation to their benefactors. “We hope one day that we will be able to thank them personally,” they said. “We really want to see them and learn more about their lives.”

Most Berberian graduates demonstrate excellent academic results and continue their studies in graduate and post-graduate programs, conduct PhDs, find employment in their chosen fields, and even give back by volunteering for many of our social programs.

Twenty-year-old Armine Tanqamyan, the second daughter of a single mother living in the town of Echmiadzin in Armavir Province, is a third-year Berberian Scholarship student. She studies biochemistry, and this year has chosen to specialize in microbiology.

“Microbiology is in greater demand in Armenia than biochemistry. While biochemists can mainly work in the laboratory, microbiologists are highly appreciated in many food production companies. Technologies are changing and we—the microbiologists—are the ones who are taught how to work with these new technologies,” said Armine.

Armine’s mother is the only person in their family who has a consistent income. Yet, she makes less than $150 a month. This is one of the reasons why Armine is very serious about her studies. She always has high grades, as it’s one of the important guarantors that she continues to receive the scholarship.

“The most difficult are the midterm exams but I’ve managed to overcome them very well so far,” said Armine. “I study with great interest actually. But I also dream about participating in international seminars and conferences. Recently there was one organized at Yerevan State University where I study, the Armenian Scientific Symposium. It was a great experience for me.”

In addition to enriching her scientific knowledge, Armine also tries to learn practical skills. That’s why she volunteered this summer at Yerevan’s Pathological Laboratory. “I hope to one day work there, but I know it’ll be a long way for me to get there. I need to study and develop my knowledge now.”

Currently, five of FAR’s Berberian Scholarship students study biology, four study pharmaceuticals, and four study informatics and applied mathematics.