New Assistant Professors Hired with Support from the 200 ChangeMakers of AUA Campaign


The American University of Armenia (AUA) is happy to announce the recent addition of three exemplary academic professionals to its roster of Assistant and Associate Professors. The hiring of these faculty members was made possible through the 200 ChangeMakers of AUA campaign, which also powers the AUA Open Centers of Excellence

Learn more below about these new professors, their backgrounds, and what they hope to accomplish in their positions at AUA.

Asadi Somayeh, Ph.D. 

Louisiana State University, Engineering Science emphasis on Construction Engineering

Dr. Asadi Somayeh joins the AUA community as an associate professor. She holds a BS in civil engineering from Semnan University in Iran, an MS in industrial management from Shiraz University in Iran, and a Ph.D. in construction engineering from Louisiana State University. 

“I learned about this vacancy online. As soon as I saw the job opportunity, I was very excited as I knew about AUA. The job description intrigued me, and I was interested in learning more about the program. I am looking forward to collaborating with the faculty members at AUA and working on different research projects related to building and transportation electrification.”

Rafayel Petrosyan, Ph.D.  

ETH Zürich, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering

Dr. Rafayel Petrosyan recently joined AUA through the Assistant Professorship program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Yerevan State University, an M.Sc in nanobiophysics from Dresden University of Technology, and a D.Sc. in biophysics from ETH Zürich, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering. 

“I knew about AUA since I was a child, as I grew up in the AUA neighborhood and saw the building from my window and heard about the excellent reputation of the university,” he said. 

“This is a great opportunity for me to contribute my knowledge and experience to the prosperity of my motherland. Our long-term research goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind processes in living systems and the dynamic order far from equilibrium, as well as discover new laws in nonequilibrium statistical mechanics and stochastic thermodynamics and find their manifestations in the living systems. I would like to educate the future generation of scientists, industry professionals, businessmen, and government workers. I believe that in collaboration with the AUA community, we can establish exciting new research directions and improve the research capabilities of the Zaven and Sonia Akian College of Science and Engineering.”

Hripsime Mkrtchyan, Ph.D.

A. Alikhanian National Science Laboratory (Yerevan Physics Institute)

Dr. Hripsime Mkrtchyan has just started her role as an assistant professor at AUA. She had previously worked at the Acopian Center for the Environment at AUA as a researcher in 2019. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied physics and mathematics, as well as an MS in nuclear physics from Yerevan State University. She also holds a Ph.D. in physics from the A. Alikhanian National Science Laboratory (Yerevan Physics Institute).

“From my brief experience at AUA, I acquired a firm understanding that it is a place with strong discipline and a different educational system, which fills the existing gaps​ in Armenian education. I decided to join AUA once again to develop the scientific environment of the University and connect it with the international scientific community,” she says.

“My research is devoted to the study of fair-weather atmospheric electricity, thundercloud electrical structure, and lightning activity and its electromagnetic radiation during storms. In general, lightning is an essential indicator for monitoring climate change, and atmospheric electricity provides natural frameworks for doing that with the global electrical circuits. Thunderstorms and related phenomena, along with particle flux enhancements, are sources and modulators of these circuits. AUA has established an excellent environment to extend my research interests and serve my quest for solutions to environmental problems.”

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