Gayana came to the states at 9 years old on an F-1 student visa to live with her grandmother. Her parents stayed in Russia where they had all immigrated after an earthquake in Armenia devasted their home. Prior to living in Armenia, she and her family lived in Azerbaijan but had to flee the violent war that was raging.
As a young girl, she worked hard to find her place in America. She started fourth grade toward the end of it not knowing any English, but her determination pushed her to learn the language and by the time she started fifth grade, which was only a few months later, she was fluent.
She had to return to Russia after she graduated high school for a short period of time to eventually get her green card. She hadn’t been there since she first left, and she was able to experience how vastly different the countries were. Even though she spoke Russian, not much else was familiar anymore, and she was far away from where she felt her home really was. She later returned to the U.S. along with the rest of her immediate family, and with the same determination she had as a young child she has continued to work hard to create a good life for herself and her family.