Lilit Beglaryan (BSCS ‘23)
Manoogian Simone Foundation Scholarship
This month, we continue to highlight AUA’s Yes, Armenian Women Can! campaign, as well as some of our wonderful female students who are pursuing degrees in computer science and engineering. Lilit Beglaryan is one of those AUA students, a junior currently majoring in computer science. We recently sat down with Lilit to discuss her background and upbringing in Artsakh, her incentives to pursue the current field of study, and her appreciation for being a recipient of the Manoogian Simone Foundation Scholarship.
I was born and raised in Artsakh. As a student, I always knew that I wanted to be in a more scientific environment while pursuing higher education so I ended up applying to AUA because I wanted to gain quality education and knowledge. With the support of my family, I moved to Yerevan in 2019. I was very excited about my experience. Although the Covid-19 pandemic led to a traumatic time away from AUA, I was happy to meet many people and especially my professors who became a big family for me.
Prior to AUA, I didn't have any background in computer science other than the informatics subject at school. The key factor for my decision to study computer science was being keen on math. My grandmother also had a technical background which inspired me in a way. I also knew there are great perspectives with computer science in Armenia and the world, and I would have the opportunity to develop soft skills and self-discipline. I still have a lot to learn and my studies are my first priority as I know they will build the foundation for my future.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to take more opportunities and conduct research on machine learning and other programming languages to see what I will be most interested in.
I feel the need to engage more in different projects now that I am in Yerevan. I am eager to try different paths and decide which field I want to work in.
Before the 2020 Artsakh War, I had plans to go back to Artsakh and start a small initiative with my friends who also have the same background, to try to help the local youth learn about IT and gain basic knowledge and skills to kick-start their education. After the War, everything changed. I started to feel very desperate, but the collaboration with David Akopyan in the Artsakh Government reconvinced me that if we want some change, we need to start right now — everything is in our hands. There is no point in wasting time and waiting to see what the future has in store for us. After graduation, I plan to go back and maybe work for some time for an IT company to see if any ideas for a startup will come to me.
Have you ever felt discriminated against as a woman in the tech field?
I have never felt any discrimination toward me for being a woman in the field of IT. I felt quite the opposite: support and appreciation from the instructors and respect from my peers. I am the type of person who always raises questions; I’m always active in the classroom and no one disregards that. I personally haven’t felt any discriminatory behavior.
I think that both men and women can succeed in any field of specialization. Women have more responsibilities; especially that of taking care of their families. There will be many difficulties in IT as in any other field, so they should not fear them. I believe being happy in your profession is very important. They should enter the field and trust that they will get support for it.
For me, getting a scholarship was very unexpected. I was in a difficult situation after the War. I realized that the weight of this tuition would be on my parents so when I learned about my scholarship, I was very happy. I truly appreciate the help, and it has also placed more responsibility on me to work harder to justify the help from my donors and show them my appreciation. One of my first initiatives toward this was my participation in the internship program with the Artsakh Government. I showed my support for my people and showed that a citizen of Artsakh can contribute to their country with their knowledge and experience.