GLENDALE—Earlier this week, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR) kicked off its 2013 Summer Internship Program for the eighth year, taking in five young and enthusiastic community activists. Throughout the next 10 weeks, Marissa Bazikian, Anoush Djrbashian, Stephen Ghazikhanian, Ani Isayan, and Paulina Safarian will take on a wide range of responsibilities within the organization and participate in weekly workshops and lectures; allowing them to learn the nuts and bolts of grassroots mobilization and community organizing.
“The Internship Program is one of the most important initiatives taken on by ANCA-WR as it trains the future leaders of our community and provides them with a pipeline of support to sharpen their skills, develop a network of contacts, and get a true hands-on experience in government affairs, community organizing, media relations, and fundraising,” stated ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan. “We are delighted to have such an incredibly talented group of young adults join us for what promises to be a productive and exciting summer,” added Asatryan.
Bazikian, a rising Journalism and Public Relations student at Glendale Community College (GCC), has been involved in the community from an early age. She is a dedicated member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), a longtime volunteer at the Armenian Relief Society, and a former Homenetmen scout. During the internship program, Bazikian will be given responsibilities dealing with media and public relations, amongst other projects in an effort to help her gain hands on experience in her field of interest. “I am excited to join the ANCA-WR internship as it will allow me to improve my leadership skills as well as have the opportunity to learn from and get to know the inspiring leaders of the community,” said Bazikian. “I feel that youth involvement is essential to move our community forward and this specific opportunity will provide me with the necessary tools to help engage others in my age group,” she added.
Second year GCC student Djrbashian is a former ANCA-Glendale intern and a graduate of Clark Magnet High School. She previously served as the Treasurer of GCC’s Psychology Club and is currently a member of the Students Talk About Race (STAR), which is designed to connect GCC students to local middle and high school students, and Alpha Gamma Sigma. As a Political Economy major, Djrbashian hopes to learn more about the inner workings of government and the ways in which state and federal political and economic policies affect the Armenian-American community. “I am grateful for the opportunity to intern for the ANCA on the regional level. Having completed the ANCA-Glendale internship program, I know the opportunities that will be available to me to expand my knowledge and prepare myself for a future in public service,” she said.
A sophomore and Pre-Health student at Duke University, Ghazikhanian is excited to give back to the Armenian-American community in his hometown. Ghazikhanian has held committee positions in various community-service organizations throughout his high school and college career, including the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society. While he has always demonstrated an interest in medicine by volunteering at the Glendale Memorial Hospital and working with the Pain Prevention and Treatment Research Team at Duke University, the ANCA-WR Internship is his first involvement in an Armenian-American organization. “After a year of living on the East Coast, I am eager to become an active member in my hometown. I look forward to having a meaningful experience through which I can both give back and learn
more about the history, the needs and the issues facing my community.” Ghazikhanian will work with the ANCA-WR Grassroots and aide to the preparation of the much anticipated event scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend.
Isayan, a senior Cultural Anthropology major and Armenian Studies minor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is looking forward to understanding the cultural assimilation of the Armenian-American community through the internship program. As a Cultural Committee Member within the UCLA Armenian Student Association (ASA), Isayan helps plan events, which educate the university population about Armenian history and issues of importance to the Armenian-American community. “The incredible work of the ANCA inspires me to be more involved and engaged in my community. I am confident that this internship program will give me the strong foundation and knowledge needed for me to pursue a career in public health and of course to give back to my community in a more organized fashion,” said Isayan.
Safarian, a sophomore at GCC is no stranger to the ANCA-WR office as she has been a dedicated volunteer of the organization’s Hye Votes program and the ANCA Burbank GOTV efforts for the 2013 municipal elections. In addition to her involvement with ANCA, Safarian has also volunteered on the campaigns of GUSD Board member Greg Krikorian and Glendale City Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan. Safarian and Djrbashian will work directly with Tereza Yerimyan on government affairs related matters. “This opportunity allows me to be more connected with my roots and enables me to meet different members of the community and learn from their experiences while also developing my leadership skills.”
Established in summer 2006, the ANCA Western Region Internship Program is a selective part-time leadership program, which introduces high school seniors, college students, and recent college graduates to all aspects of the public affairs arena. The program provides an opportunity for student leaders and activists to gain an in-depth understanding of the American political system, Armenian-American issues and advocacy efforts on the local, state and federal levels.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.