Membership Spotlight - Ariana Balayan

The Mission of NAGAP is to support, advance and engage graduate enrollment professionals by promoting integrity, excellence and collaboration through education and professional development.


Monday, December 17, 2018 - 10:45am

Ariana Balayan

Associate Director of Graduate Admissions, Suffolk University

Boston, MA

Education: BA, Wheaton College, MEd, Lesley University, EdD in Higher Education Leadership, Nova Southeastern University

Ariana knew she wanted to work in higher education as soon as she began volunteering in the admissions office during her undergraduate career at Wheaton College. Through that work, her passion for education was sparked, which led to her eventually earning both a masters and doctoral degree in the field. Now, in her role as Associate Director of Graduate Admissions at Suffolk University in Boston, MA, Ariana is responsible for strategic recruitment planning and travel initiatives, budgeting, and also manages employees in her office.

Among all of her responsibilities, Ariana’s favorite part of her job is advising applicants throughout the graduate school search process and toward their future goals. Of course, no job is without challenges. Ariana finds one of the biggest challenges in higher education, and graduate enrollment specifically, to be formalizing and strategically operationalizing the models of GEM while growing enrollment in her university. This is an issue to which many NAGAP members can relate – the struggle to diversify incoming classes and to effectively utilize predictive modeling while simultaneously meeting and/or exceeding enrollment goals.

Ariana is an active NAGAP member and currently serving on the Professional Development committee. One of her favorite organizational memories is the day she joined this committee and began planning NAGAP’s annual series of Institutes and professional development events. For her, the experience of collaborating with NAGAP colleagues and seeing each successful Institute come to fruition is highly rewarding.  Ariana is also a member of NEGAP and served in a series of progressive leadership roles within the organization – beginning as Chair of Professional Development and ending her tenure as President and then Immediate Past-President in 2017. Ariana has also attended several PDI’s and taken away a great deal of varied knowledge across all GEM areas. One of her most immediate takeaways helped her start a student ambassador program at Suffolk University.

Ariana has not only benefitted professionally from NAGAP, but she also enjoys the social elements of being a part of both NAGAP and NEGAP. She recently went to happy hour with several NEGAP friends and two NAGAP women are in her upcoming bridal party! “The professional and personal relationships I have made are some of the best of my life and I am so grateful for that,” says Ariana.