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.

Hayk Margaryan

Hayk received his Bachelor degree at Minot State University in ND specializing in Computer Science. He is currently a software engineer at Digi-Key Electronics in MN. Throughout his studies Hayk received several scholarships and rewards, such as the DAAD scholarship, presidential honor list rewards. Hayk speaks English, German, French, Russian and Armenian languages, and his hobbies include traveling, programming, soccer, chess.

Ellen Mi

Ellen Mi is a student from Minnesota who has a passion for helping others. She joined SOAR’s Minnesota Chapter in order to raise awareness for global social issues and make a lasting impact on children’s lives.

In her free time, Ellen enjoys playing the flute, going on hikes with her dog, and traveling.

Kerui Yang

Kerui Yang is currently a senior at Edina High School who wants to pursue a future career in healthcare. She joined the Minnesota SOAR Chapter to contribute to and expand her passion in providing relief to those in need around the world. During her free time, Ms. Yang enjoys learning about different cultures, reading, drawing, and spending time with her family.