Dream Turns Real When MCC Employee Becomes A Citizen

DREAM TURNS REAL WHEN MCC EMPLOYEE BECOMES A CITIZEN

Mohave Valley News, NV
June 25 2006

BULLHEAD CITY – A decision was made, determination set in and the
dream was realized Saturday as Mariam Yesayan was sworn in, by a U.S.
District Court judge in Phoenix, as a naturalized citizen of the
United States.

"I live here, I like it here and I wanted to be a part of this nation,"
Yesayan said. "I had to wait five years to begin the process of
becoming an American citizen and 20 more months during the process
of becoming an American citizen.

"I have been waiting a long time for this day to come," she said. "I am
grateful to this country and proud that I had and took the opportunity
to become a citizen."

Yesayan, who is the Mohave Community College coordinator for the
English Language Acquisition for Adults (ELAA) program, was born in
Yerevan, Armenia, which was a part of the former Soviet Union.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in English language and literature
and her master’s degree in linguistics from Armenia State University.

After completing her master’s degree, she taught English language
and literature at the same university.

Yesayan traveled to California in 1997 to visit her only sister. She
liked California and the United States and, at the request of her
sister, she decided to stay.

It was in California in 1999 that she met Sergiy Kuzminsky, a Bullhead
City resident who was visiting California on vacation. The two married
in 2000.

As the newlyweds approached Bullhead City together in 2000, Kuzminsky
pointed out that the city was small and that it had a small college
and a small-city atmosphere.

"As I drove by the MCC campus, I had a feeling I would work there;
it was an enchanting campus," she said.

In California, Yesayan had worked as an interpreter in a paralegal
office in Burbank, helping out the Russian/Armenian community in
the area.

At MCC, she started in 2000 as a member of the associate faculty
teaching ELAA English courses, and, in 2004, she obtained her present
post as college coordinator of ELAA.

The ELAA program helps non-English-speaking newcomers to learn spoken
and written English.

"The object of the program is to see that not a single adult in the
community is left behind and that we help them learn or improve their
English skills so they are able to contribute to their community
through their knowledge of written and spoken English," she said.

"Then they can become United States citizens, too."

In 2002, Kuzminsky became a naturalized American citizen in the same
courthouse in Phoenix, and Yesayan said she couldn’t wait to join
him in obtaining citizenship papers.

"Now I feel that I am a real part of this blessed nation," she said.

"The United States gives a motivated person the tools available to
accomplish their goals, no matter how high those goals are."

The family’s Bullhead City home now includes Yesayan, Kuzminsky and
their children, Paul, 5 and Anna, 4, who are both American citizens
since they were born in the United States.

Yesayan had to live five years in the United States before she could
apply for her citizenship papers.

Once the process was started, she had to be fingerprinted in Las Vegas
for a criminal background check, had to interview with officers of
the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Phoenix, pass U.S.

history and civics tests in Phoenix and then take the citizenship oath
in Phoenix. She took that oath last weekend along with 82 others from
around Arizona.

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