Alen Amirkhanian is the Director of the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment, a position he has held since 2013. In 2014, he established AUA Center for Responsible Mining and is acting as its Interim Director. He teaches graduate and undergraduate environmental courses at AUA. Prior to AUA, he was Senior Vice President of Research at Michael Porter’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. He has consulted with the World Bank, UNDP, and the Brookings Institution on energy efficiency as well as economic and urban-growth issues. His current academic interests include urban environmental sustainability, “greening” the built environment, and circular economy esp. as it relates to “greening” cities. Alen holds a Masters in City Planning (’97) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Litta Muradyan is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator at AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. Litta organizes and coordinates the environmental education activities, programs and campaigns. Ms. Muradyan is the AUA MBA graduate with 10 years’ experience in project management, communication, publishing, and administrative position.
Tatevik Vardanyan has served as the Operations and Communications Coordinator at AUA Acopian Center for the Environment starting in 2014. She manages daily administrative and legal issues as well as communicates with partner organizations and AUA’s communications office. Prior to joining AUA ACE, she was working at the AUA Office of Communications. Tatevik Vardanyan holds an LL.M degree from the American University of Armenia and an LL.B degree from Yerevan State Linguistic University.
Norayr Benohanian is Adjunct Lecturer at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment for environmental science courses. He holds an M.Sc. in Materials Science and Engineering from the German University in Cairo. He has just completed his Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management at the AUA.
Harutyun Alpetyan, an alumni of the AUA Master’s program in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management, has been appointed as a lead expert for Waste Governance in Armenia, an 11-month project that started in November 2018. The project is funded by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs under its Swedish-Armenian SDG Expert Exchange Programme. The project is being implemented in partnership with the Government of Armenia and Swedish partners Life Foundation and Miljo & Avfallsbyran.
Aghavni Harutyunyan is the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) and AUA Center for Responsible Mining (CRM) starting in 2015. Ms. Harutyunyan is creating maps and providing data analyses through GIS. Before joining AUA ACE and AUA CRM she worked at the National Survey for Seismic Protection of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of RA. Ms. Harutyunyan holds a Master’s degree in Geography from the Yerevan State University from the Department of Geography and Geology.
Sean joined the Acopian Center in 2017 as a lecturer on Disaster Management. He has worked with both local governments (City of Palm Bay Florida) and private sector companies (Harris Corporation, Chevron) on disaster preparation, response, and impact modeling. His expertise is in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing, with a specialization in data analysis and quality control. He holds a Masters Degree in Geographic Information Science from Florida State University. Sean came to Armenia initially in 2008 as a United States Peace Corps volunteer working on environmental awareness at Halidzor Secondary School in Syunik Marz. He is continuing this work through teaching and other projects at ACE.
Dr. Natella Mirzoyan received her Ph.D. from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, in 2010. Later on, she joined the University of Maryland and Weizmann Institute of Sciences as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Mirzoyan is specialized in wastewater and solid waste treatment from intensive agricultural practices, as well as environmental chemistry and microbiology of anoxic aquatic environments.
Astghine Pasoyan has joined the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment in September 2015. She teaches and co-teaches courses on the interrelation of the humans and the environment, business and environmental sustainability, water, engineering green buildings, decision-making tools for energy generation and use. Concurrently, over the past twenty years Ms. Pasoyan has been heading a local non-profit Foundation to Save Energy, consulting the USAID, World Bank, European Commission, EBRD, UNDP and other donors and IFIs on energy efficiency policy, financing, planning, communications and capacity building in countries of Southeast Europe and CIS. Astghine Pasoyan is a graduate of the Brown University, Providence, RI and the Yerevan State Economic University, Armenia.
Lusine Tadevosyan is the Adjunct Lecturer at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment for the Food course. She holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the Armenian National Agrarian University and received a graduate certificate in Agribusiness from Texas A&M University upon successful completion of the Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program of ICARE/ATC. Lusine is the head of the research department of the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education (ICARE) foundation. Moreover, she has more than 10 years of working experience in research, business advisory, and consulting sector.
Vardan Hayrapetyan serves as the Environmental Laboratory Technician at the AUA Center for Responsible Mining since 2015. He also is a Teaching Associate of several environmental courses, including ENV 170-Chemistry in Everyday Life, ENV 203-Environmental Monitoring.
Valentin Mahou-Hekinian, from Paris, joined the AUA Center for Responsible Mining as a geography researcher in a short-term project to identifying and profiling sites in Armenia with acid rock drainage (ARD). He conducted research on methodologies on profiling sites with ARD. He piloted his method for the Tandzut mine exploration site near Vanadzor, Lori region.
Valentin holds a Master’s in Natural Hazards and Geography from Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University. Valentin has experience in working with governmental and nongovernmental institutions in France and Armenia and developed skills in project management, education and research related to environment and climate change issues.
The American University of Armenia (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment is hosting its first Fellow, Dr. Christine Sturm, who will focus her work on sustainable energy issues. The term of her fellowship started in September 2018 and will end in April 2019.
Dr. Sturm brings to Armenia her many years of professional experience and her PhD research on Germany’s energy transition, Energiewende. Her career started in 1984 at the Institute for Chemical and Biochemical Energy in Bucharest. She coordinated a pilot project for coal gasification from planning to operation. Then, in 1987, she worked in Romania’s Electricity and Heat Generation planning department, which optimized Romania’s power plants.
Between 1992 and 2004 she worked in the central energy departments of large and energy-intensive paper manufacturers (Stora Feldmuehle AG, Duesseldorf; Haindl Papier GmbH, Augsburg; UPM Kymmene OY, Augsburg). At these manufacturers, she was responsible for developing new power plant concepts and energy procurement.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, while working for Haindl Papier GmbH, she led negotiations for the deregulation of the German gas market on behalf of the Federal Association of Germany’s Industry (BDI) and the Association of Large Industrial Energy Consumers (VIK).
From 2004 to 2016 she held several high-level management positions within the renewable energy arm of RWE, one of Germany’s largest utility companies. She led various departments including Energy Management, Feedstock Management, and Fuel and Disposal Management.
While working at RWE, Dr. Sturm enrolled in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability and was awarded her Ph.D. in May 2018. She intended to use her experience in the energy sector to analyze Germany’s energy transition and why it failed to achieve its decarbonization goals. The Ph.D. research allowed her to set her broad experience with the Energiewende within relevant academic literature and analytic frameworks.
Her research and dissertation focus on problems related to Germany’s energy transition and the lessons political and industrial decision-makers could learn to pursue more successful methods of decarbonization.
Arman Smigielski will be spending the next 9 months in Yerevan on a US-Government sponsored Fulbright Fellowship working at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment and teaching English at Brusov State University. He holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science from Tufts University and is interested in environmental policy. At the AUA Acopian Center, he will be assisting with communications as well as grant and report writing.
Christopher is currently a Fulbright Grantee in Yerevan, Armenia for the 2018-2019 academic year. He recently received his Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Rutgers University, New Jersey. His background includes extensive research in the fields of developmental biology and structural biology. At the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, Christopher will work with Dr. Natella Mirzoyan conducting research on alternative methods of assessing human exposure to heavy metals.
Fall 2018-Spring 2019 Intern at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment Yeva Petrosyan, an Armenian Volunteer Corps volunteer from Nantes, France, will spend next eight months in Yerevan working at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. Yeva holds a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Economy, and a Master’s in Economics of Environment, Sea, and Energy from the University of Nantes.
Yeva is interested in renewable energy technologies and their implementation, as well as sustainable aquaculture development. Currently, she is working on a publication about the Perception of Degrowth on a heterogeneous population sample with the help of Q Methodology.
At the AUA Acopian Center, she will be assisting with report writing and data analysis on the statistics related to mining and Sustainable Energy Academy 2018.