Name: Armineh (Dalar) Abolian
Year in school: sophomore
Major: political science
Hometown: Born in Tehran, Iran; moved to Germany at age 2 and Burbank at age 7
Future aspirations: Law or graduate school
Standout accomplishment: Recipient of the 2009 Nicholas Aeberhard Award for Outstanding Freshman at UCI

Why UCI?
I originally wanted to go to UCLA and stay close to home, but when my plans changed a bit, my parents really pushed me to checkout UCI.  It was far for me, but still close enough to go home every weekend.  So, thankfully, I gave in and decided to give Irvine a chance.

Have you faced any major challenges on your road to success? 
Prior to college, I’d say not moving to the U.S. until I was 7 definitely hindered me in a lot of ways.  My parents didn’t have the opportunity to fully establish themselves here, so it was hard, and still kind of is, because I don’t have a lot of perks that other kids do. Moving away from home was also really difficult for me to get used to when I came to college.  But once I gave UCI a chance, I fell in love with it!

Why did you decide on a major in political science?
In high school, I really enjoyed my history and English classes.  My senior year I took AP Government, and it was honestly the greatest class only because it was so interesting to me.  The topic was so fun (I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating, but it was truly intriguing to me).  So that’s when I figured, “political science it is!”  Then I started UCI and fell absolutely in love with political science – all of my classes have been nothing short of extraordinary.  The enjoyment I got out of all my readings reassured me that this was right for me.

What is one of your most memorable experiences from your freshman year at UCI?
Professor Petracca does this thing where he takes his students that got an A on his midterm to lunch.  I had him my first quarter here, and I actually did get an A on his midterm.  When I got the email about the lunch he wanted to have with us, I seriously just took a breath and realized that college isn’t what everyone makes it out to be – people actually notice when you do really well.  That gave me such a boost of confidence and really made me want to strive for the absolute best.  I definitely owe him for working so hard; if it wasn’t for his genuine urge to really meet his students instead of just lecturing away, I would have never considered UCI as home.  But now I know I’m working toward something, and it feels good to see hints of results here and there.

What is your biggest accomplishment at UCI thus far?
The Aeberhard, easily!

Are you involved in any UCI programs or clubs?
I was involved with ASA (Armenian Student Association) last year and I plan on being a lot more active this year in every way.  I’m interning for Global Connect this year, so I’m really excited about that.  It should be fun!

Where can you be found in your free time on campus?
I’m always, and I mean always at the Gateway study with a Starbucks cup, reading.  Sometimes I consider working at Starbucks just so I can drink it all day every day.  Coffee and tea are my soul mates.  Either one gives me the extra boost I need for anything; I just feel like they’re so therapeutic.

Are there any major role models who have played a big part in your life?

Definitely my parents. They’ve struggled so hard and given up so much to give my siblings and myself a lifestyle they couldn’t have, and as I get older I learn to appreciate them so much more for everything they’ve done. 

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