SOAR - Minneapolis Chapter

Minneapolis joined the SOAR family in December 2015. The first Armenian families settled in Minnesota after the Armenian Genocide. They were later joined by refugees from Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Egypt. St. Sahag Armenian Church has been functioning in the city of Saint Paul for more than 10 years, while the Armenian Cultural Organization of Minnesota (ACOM) preserves and promotes Armenian culture, language, history and heritage in Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Founded in 1980, ACOM is the oldest and largest Armenian organization in the state.


Dr. Caroline Melkonian Ylitalo

Dr. Caroline Melkonian Ylitalo was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria where she attended the AGBU Armenian school. After high school she moved to California and enrolled in UC Berkeley earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Later she earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University. In 1992 she moved to Minnesota to work as research scientist at 3M company. Dr. Ylitalo has over 90 issued and pending patents and 22 journal publications. Examples of her inventions include inks and films for digitally printed graphics and traffic signs, antimicrobial wound dressings, foam earplugs and disposable respirators.

Dr. Ylitalo has always been an active volunteer in various organizations, especially those involved in science encouragement. She served for five year on the 3M Foundation advisory board for health and human services, she co-founded the Discover/3M Young Scientist Challenge program, and chaired various scientific symposia and events. Currently she is a member of the Twin Cities regional science fair scientific review committee.

Dr. Ylitalo is a member of St. Sahag Armenian church in St. Paul, where she served two terms in the parish council. She is an active member of the church women’s guild and regularly sings in the choir.

Ani Arakelyan

Ani was born in Vanadzor, Armenia. Participated in Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program and spent one academic year in the USA as a high school exchange student. Upon return to Armenia, Ani became FLEX program City Representative in Vanadzor and implemented a number of community development projects. After finishing high school in Vanadzor, Ani came back to the USA to pursue higher education. Ani graduated with a double major in Business Administration and Spanish from Berea College and is starting her career at Deloitte, Minneapolis.

Shreshth Shrivastava

Shreshth Shrivastava is a senior at Eden Prairie High School who wants to pursue a future career in computer science. He joined the Minnesota SOAR Chapter to contribute to and expand his passion for extending aid and support to elder populations across the globe. During his free time, Shreshth enjoys playing soccer, coding, golfing, and spending time with his family.