From Maths to Chemistry. How Harutyun Came to Love Chemistry Through Ayb Hybrid Learning
Since his school years, Harutyun's love and interest in natural sciences, particularly in mathematics, led him to NPUA Yerevan High School, where he is currently studying in his first year. To acquire new skills, delve into the subjects of natural science and mathematics, and receive an internationally recognized certificate, Harutyun decided to apply for the Armenian stage of Ayb Hybrid Learning. Having passed the admission stage, Harutyun became one of 66 young people from almost all regions of Armenia and the capital Yerevan, who got the chance to study with the Ayb innovative hybrid model.
Harutyun, will you tell us what project you are currently working on with your team?
We have formed the Riotic team and are working on drug identification under the guidance of our mentor. We got acquainted with nuclear magnetic resonance and synthesized ionic liquids. Before starting the practical work, the team studied the field of drug identification and came up with the three most used drugs among our peers. Through scientific experiments, we checked the composition and purity of the drugs and tried to find out the percentage ratio of the main active substance.
Why did you choose that project and replace your favorite mathematics with chemistry?
I would never have thought that I would replace my favorite subject, math, with chemistry and moreover, would be involved in implementing a project that is entirely built around chemistry. I was sure that I would do my project within the framework of math or physics. Everything started with the presentation of the projects when the mentors told them about the projects to be implemented in their subject area. In our turn, we, the participants, had to choose the subject, therefore, the project, which was closest to our hearts, and, forming a team, proceed to the implementation of the project. As you can see, the enthusiasm of the mentor and the importance of the work to be done had a great influence on my decision-making.
Has your perception of science changed?
I used to see science as something far from real world, with complex theoretical texts that are understandable only to a gray-haired author and his associates. My perception is completely different now. During the implementation of the project, the team met with young Armenian scientists, together with the mentor discussed many scientific articles related to the topic and worked in the laboratories and the Institute of Organic Chemistry. Now I understand that science is everywhere, and science creates new knowledge, which questions facts and comes up with innovation, creating something new. I am also glad that we have the opportunity to work on a new article, which will be one of the Armenian articles on our topic, under the guidance of our mentor. I should also note that there are almost no Armenian articles about ionic liquids.
- How did you decide to participate in the Armenian stage of Ayb Hybrid Learning?
I learned about the start of the Armenian stage of Ayb Hybrid Learning from social networks. My decision was greatly influenced by the fact that the program was based on the Araratian Baccalaureate and after passing the exam, I could get a certificate, recognized by most prestigious foreign universities, in mathematics or any natural science subject. I think it would be a big mistake to have such a chance and not use it. Besides, now I can clearly say that learning is easy when you implement concrete and necessary project simultaneously, that is to say, on the "learn by doing" principle. As they say in Ayb, "project learning is the education of the future," and we are the ones who carry and create that future.
The program provides an opportunity to learn by doing. As a result, you thoroughly master a particular subject and learn to implement a particular project as a team. Apart from all this, what did you manage to achieve as part of the program?
My summer would have been colorless without Ayb Hybrid Learning. Along with implementing the project, I participated in various meetings and discussions with young Armenian scientists and successful people. And the "Identity and Values" lecture series held as part of the program was a complete revelation to me. Before that I had never participated in such discussions that help to unveil yourself, stay true to your values and clearly distinguish between the rational and the irrational.
My most memorable experience was participating in the Ayb Internship Fair. During the Fair, I got to know various companies and job opportunities. As a result, I started volunteering at the Ayb Educational Foundation and the Newmag publishing house and participated in the machine learning practice organized by the Seven Smarts company. At the beginning of this summer, I would never have thought that I would end up with such a rich autobiography.
In what field will you continue your studies and where do you see yourself in 5 years?
It's hard for me to name one area because I realized that combining several areas doesn't turn out so badly. I think by choosing chemistry I have proved that to myself. But something is certain: I will be operating in the field of information technologies. I will work on knowledge-based products because the benefits of such products are more prospective, and the result is twice as great. Let me add that I want to invest the gained experience and knowledge in the field of military engineering, which is of primary importance to our country.
What advice would you give to your peers?
Involvement in various educational programs, strengthen skills acquired before, learn something new... This summer was different from my previous summers. I really wish that all my peers could have summers like this.