Since early childhood, Satenik Meloyan, 24, has tried to explore the world of technology and electronics with the hope of creating something worthy and innovative in the future. “At the age of four, I had a penchant for poking my nose where it didn’t belong at all. Once, I took the back off of our TV to see what was inside. Next, I opened up the power plug, then the extension cord, and so on,” recalled Satenik, who added that her parents had to take measures to keep her away from potential electrical hazards, or from cutting the power every time they left the house.

When she got older, she decided she wanted to carve out her place in information technology and applied to the National Polytechnic University of Armenia in 2012, but was soon upset when she learned about the price of tuition. “We were five in the family with only my dad making money in Russia with a seasonal job. Therefore, we couldn’t afford the tuition. Yet, both my mom and dad wanted me to get the degree as they had to leave the university when they were younger because they couldn’t afford it,” said Satenik.

Still, she applied anyway and when she went to the university to check the results of the admission exams, she had hoped that she would find her name on the list of the very few students whom Armenian universities typically admit tuition-free. It was not there, however. Yet, she did see the FAR Mathevosian Scholarship call for applications. She applied. “At first, I was skeptical of the selection process, but when Mr. Karapetyan visited us and told me that high scores and academic performance mattered most, I decided to do my best to achieve my goals,” she said, referring to the home monitoring visit and interview from FAR’s Educational Programs Director after she applied. Thanks to the scholarship, Satenik’s family was able to send her to school.

Satenik was supported by the Mathevosian Scholarship for the first two years of her studies, until she earned the grades for her school to waive her tuition in 2014. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 2016, and is now in the last year of her graduate studies at the National Polytechnic University of Armenia’s Department of Computer Systems and Informatics, where she is still a tuition-free student. Originally from the village of Kuchak in Aragatsotn Province, Satenik now lives with her husband’s family in Aparan with their 10-month-old daughter, Anna.

In 2016, when the Union of Information Technology Enterprises opened an Armat engineering laboratory in Aparan, she applied to be a supervisor and was selected after two rounds of interviews. The laboratories are free of charge and run for teenagers, ages 12-16. Equipped with a 3D printer, computers and items for robot construction, the Union provides a modern engineering education and the opportunity to acquire skills in programming and robot construction. In Aparan, Satenik is doing all of these.

A truly great start for a brilliant student. All of us at FAR are proud of you, Satenik jan!