WASHINGTON (ANCA)–For 21 years now–the Leo Sarkisian Summer Internship has brought together interns from across the nation and Canada to provide them with the skills necessary to effectively advance Armenian American concerns in their hometowns and campuses around the country.
The eight-week program provides an opportunity for proven student leaders to hone their grassroots activism skills by attending seminars–participating in an intensive lecture series–and working on designated projects.
The ANCA Eastern and Western Region Boards chose this year’s interns from a pool of applicants based on leadership and academic merit. The Leo Sarkisian Internship Program is an integral part of the ANCA Capital Gateway Program–which provides Armenian Americans greater opportunities to explore careers on Capitol Hill–in the US Foreign Service and key Washington–DC foreign policy think tanks. Now approaching its third year–the year-round program is designed to help university students and graduates find internships and permanent positions in Congressional offices–government agencies–and policy groups by providing temporary housing and assistance in transitioning from student to professional.
The 2005 Leo Sarkisian interns–under the supervision of intern coordinator Megan Young–are Khajak Boghossian–Felicia Garver–Talin Gregorian–Nazareth Markarian–and Tamar Meguerditchian.
"This year’s intern group–hailing from throughout the US and Canada–is a testament to the exceptional pool of Armenian American student leaders committed to strengthening US-Armenia relations and increasing diasporan grassroots political power," said Young–a recent political science graduate from Roger Williams University. She is a member of the Providence Homenetmen and an executive member of the Providence AYF.
Coming from different backgrounds and bringing unique skill sets–each intern aspires to gain a clearer perspective on Hai Tahd activism.
Khajak Boghossian–from Toronto–Canada–is in his third year at the University of Toronto where he is specializing in political science. As the former vice president of the Armenian Students’ Association at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus–he has helped create awareness of Armenian history and culture on campus. Also–as a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Youth Organization of Canada and a frequent aid to the Canadian Armenian Network–Khajak works to further advance the Armenian cause. "I am grateful to the ANCA for affording me this excellent opportunity. Working in a grassroots environment is a wonderful way to instill activism–and to get the youth directly involved in the American political process," Khajak said.
Talin Gregorian–a recent communications studies graduate of the University of California–Los Angeles–is from Glendale–CA. She serves on the executive committee of the Scouting Division of Homenetmen Glendale "Ararat" Chapter–where she manages the Cub and Brownie troops. She has also interned at the ANCA’s Western Region office. "The opportunity that I have been given by the ANCA is one that will be an experience of a lifetime. I plan on using the knowledge that I gain during my time in Washington to further my activism at home," she said.
Another Californian–Felicia Garver–is going to be a freshman at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre–PA–where she will study neuroscience. She was a member of the Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter and a member of the local AYF chapter of Glendale. "This is such a wonderful experience. I am very pleased and honored to have this opportunity to come to Washington–DC and work directly with the legislators. I strongly encourage all Armenia’s to participate and get involved," Felicia said.
Nazareth Markarian–a native New Yorker–is a deacon at St. Illuminator’s Armenian Church. He is a senior history major with a minor in political science at Queen’s College. "The Leo Sarkisian Internship has given me the opportunity to work with Armenia’s who share a similar interest–as well as gain insight into the lobbying and activism process in the nation’s capital," he said.
Tamar Meguerditchian–a native of New Orleans–LA–is entering her second year at Louisiana State University where she is doing her master’s in mass communication with a concentration in public relations. She is an active member of the growing Armenian American community in Louisiana where she serves as the church secretary and has aided in getting the new church and community involved on the national level. "As a summer intern–I have a unique opportunity to get my community involved in the legislative process and the Armenian American cause–networking with some of the most influential individuals present on Capitol Hill," Tamar said.