International student goes to great lengths for achievement

By MELINA CASILLAS

Sergey Harutyunyants, 25, was born in Russia but lived most of his life in the small country of Armenia, located just north of Iran.

He moved to the United States in 2014, when he was 22, to live with his father in San Francisco. Five months later, they found themselves in Tucson, as Harutyunyants’ uncle lived there and his brother received a scholarship to the University of Arizona.

In the summer of 2014, Harutyunyants began taking non-credit English as a Second Language classes at UA. He began ESL classes at Pima the following fall.

“My English sucked at that point,” he said. “I didn’t know any kind of English when I first came here, just ‘hello’ and ‘how are you?’”

Three years later, he is graduating from Pima with honors.

Harutyunyants is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and an All- Arizona Academic honoree. He will be one of three multicultural convocation speakers for graduation celebrations this month.

His involvement with Pima has been vast. To be selected to the All- Arizona team, students must have stellar grades and be involved with community and endeavor projects.

For his endeavor project, Harutyunyants partnered with four friends to begin a Student Interaction Club at Pima. “We bring people together and have fun,” he said.

Club activities include playing soccer at a park, bringing food for social get-togethers or going to places like the Get Air trampoline park.

Harutyunyants served as president of the club when he and his friends first started but resigned this semester because he is graduating.

He encourages students to participate in the club and says they can find more information at the West Campus Student Life center.

Harutyunyants’ passions include political science and foreign affairs. He already has a bachelor’s degree in foreign affairs from Armenia, but he wanted to pursue school in the States because there were better educational opportunities.

He applied to four universities and was accepted into them all. The universities were UA, Arizona State University, Harvard Extension School and Emery University in Atlanta, where his father now lives.

Ultimately, he decided to stay in Tucson and attend UA. “I don’t want to leave from Tucson, I just want to stay here,” he said.

He considers his time at Pima well spent, and will never regret starting classes at a community college instead of directly heading to UA when he first had the chance.

Since he was a child, he has wanted to change the world for the better. Harutyunyants is considering becoming a politician one day to fight injustices he sees in the way corporations treat employees.

He also hopes to move his mother and younger siblings to the States soon, to give them the life and education they deserve.

Harutyunyants has big dreams, but plans to stay motivated and accomplish them all. He’s grateful that he moved to the U.S. and fell in love with its education system.

His motivation? Himself.

“People say I’m full of myself,” Harutyunyants said. “What motivates me is myself. There’s a saying in my family, ‘Do not look for any successful person to follow, just look into the mirror and look at yourself.’”

Student Sergey Harutyunyants prepares for his STU 210 presentation about his journey at Pima Community College. Harutyunyants will be transferring to the University of Arizona.

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