Valley professor bridges the gap for students


Professor Arakelyan connects students with faculty to foster a better understanding of the needs of Valley LGBTQIA students.

By Cesar Martinez, Staff Writer

Echoing in the classroom and lecture halls, Hasmik Arakelyan voices awareness of LGBTQ+ equality among students and faculty on campus.

Teaching at Valley since 2014, Arekelyan has found a role in the Gay Straight Alliance(GSA) club as an advisor. Her involvement within the LGBTQ+ community does not stop there as she has founded her own scholarship called “Rainbow Pride.” Her goal of spreading compassion ranges from being the GSA club sponsor, lecturing in classrooms and conducting sensitivity training workshops to other faculty.

“I want people in the LGBTQ+ community to feel comfortable,” Arakelyan stated, “since a safe environment is a benefit to a healthy and successful college career.”   

Arakelyan has paired with the GSA to construct LACCD’s first ever resource page for anyone interested in LGBTQ+ matters. From education on health, coming out, info for parents, and scholarships, the resource page is the only, out of the nine district colleges, to exist. Hoping that other colleges adapt to this approach, the GSA encourages people of all spectrums to get informed.

“We all are very complex and multidimensional- no one is black-and-white,” said the Arakelyan.

Advocating the open mindedness of a modern society to her students, Arakelyan uses methods of real-world application when learning new material. The professor accredits her successors for establishing an organic feel for education.

“Which professors taught me in a personal level,” Arakelyan recalls wondering. “Who would make me reflect upon life when I’m outside of their classrooms? It was the same professors who would talk about the vulnerabilities and strengths we all shared in common humanity.”

          In May 2017, Arakelyan was awarded with two different accolades at the Above and Beyond Awards and Apple Awards. Nominated by faculty and students, the professor was awarded for being a “standout educator” and for “outstanding service & mentor to students”.

One student from commented on Arakelyan, saying how “she is very clear and brings a lot of examples from life which helps to remember material better”. Another student recalled how “[Arakelyan] makes lectures enjoyable.”

Arakelyan’s positivity impacts her students as well as her fellow colleagues. In addition to her busy schedule, the professor has taken the reins of instructing a Sensitivity Training Workshop for faculty. Opening Day and Continuing Education are two of the workshops she teaches.

Aside from her current ventures, she strives for bigger plans with the GSA as she proposed the idea for a future LGBTQ center. With more activities, guest speakers, and workshops on sexual health, the center will be a one-stop haven for all info, instead of jumping from office to office.  

“Ignorance comes from lack of knowledge, when you enlighten others, they plant the seed for curiosity and learn for themselves,” she advised .”Education is the most powerful tool for evolution. We are here to grow and evolve.”

Professor Arakelyan’s altruistic activism among the LGBTQ+ community moves her to promote equality.

“I hope we can create a very visible atmosphere where LGBTQ can not only feel safe and comfortable to embrace who they are but also thrive.”


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