Last year, we sat down with the Papazian Family to learn more about their experiences at Temple University. Susie Papazian, a Temple alumni, Navy Veteran and soon to retire USPHS officer, is the mother of two sons (Christopher and Ryan) who currently attend Temple University.
Before joining the Navy, Capt. Papazian attended Temple in the Fall of 1989 majoring in Physical Therapy. She stated, "Growing up in Philadelphia, and with my parents close by, influenced me to apply to Temple University." Not only was she influenced by her location, but her friend was a part of the Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority at the university. After living at the house, she learned to enjoy the campus life and sorority experience. However, she altered her potential career path, changed her major and subsequently decided to take a semester off.
In 1994, Capt.Papazian graduated nursing school, but at that time was not ideal for hiring in the medical field. Papazian stated, "My student loans couldn't be deferred anymore, so I took a leap and went to the Navy recruiter office." When asked why she decided to enlist in the Navy, she simply said, with a small chuckle, "I love the water!" Laughs aside, she read about the other branches of the military and knew she didn't want to be assigned to a fleet hospital. She had tours to Lithuania and Sweden and stated, "I absolutely loved my time in the Navy." Eventually, she transferred to the USPHS service and will soon be retiring, after 26 years of total service. "Starting my career in the Navy and ending it in the USPHS has been an amazing journey."
Not only does she come from a military family, but she is also the proud daughter of immigrant parents, with her father being from Lebanon and her mother being from Syria. As her brother and father were dedicated to America through their services, her mother took education very seriously. Capt.Papazian stated, "my mom was an inspiration." Even though her mother had a language barrier, she taught Capt.Papazian how to overcome obstacles thrown her way. Eventually, her mother attended Temple University's Special Education Graduate Program and graduated in 1990.
Now, both Capt. Papazian's children are attending Temple University with her eldest son, Christopher (Junior) and Ryan (Sophmore). Christopher is studying Neuroscience and was offered the Presidential scholarship at Temple University. When asked how he felt about changes made due to COVID-19, he said, "It was a challenge to adapt to online classes, but most of my classes did it right and it became the new norm." While her youngest son, Ryan, had experienced his first semester this past Fall of 2020. He mentioned how he was looking forward to the social aspect of college, but he understood the need to follow safety protocols. Both sons had a good attitude and understanding that "things happen sometimes that no one can really fully prepare for." With their mom growing up in Philadelphia and having attended Temple, she was a major influence on their decision.
Before COVID-19, Ryan and Christopher would visit Temple often when their mom took them to see their grandparents. It was an opportunity to get a sense of which colleges were the best fit for each of them. Ryan said, "One of our times we visited Philly, we toured Drexel and Temple. But, we actually left in the middle of the Drexel tour...it seemed very stuffy and far
away from the city...Temple was just a solid option and the more my mom kept talking about it, it just became clear that Temple was the best."