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.

Maya Demirchian

Maya Demirchian is a current senior at the University of Minnesota studying physiology and Spanish with hopes to pursue a career in medicine as a physician. Maya is passionate about her Armenian culture and wants to help Armenian families in any way she can from the United States. In her free time, Maya enjoys spending time with her friends and family, running, and cooking.