WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America’s (Assembly) Terjenian-Thomas Internship Program in Washington, D.C. kicked off this past month. Educational workshops, lectures, meetings, and activities are planned for the participants throughout the summer. This year’s internship class hails from across the United States, representing Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, and Utah.
Founded in 1977, the Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program is the first internship program offered by an Armenian organization in our nation’s capital, and has over 1,000 intern alumni. For eight weeks each summer, the Assembly gives college students of Armenian descent an opportunity to learn about the policy-making process by interacting with government officials, policymakers, and local leaders.
The Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program class of 2019 includes 17 college students:
- Lillian Avedian from Woodland Hills, CA attends the University of California, Berkeley and is interning with the United States Agency for Global Media’s Voice of America (VOA) Armenian Service. Last year, she participated in the Armenian Assembly’s summer internship program in Armenia where she interned with Hetq news agency as an investigative journalist.
- Gayane Baghdasaryan from Yerevan, Armenia and recent graduate of Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government Graduate School is interning with the Eurasia Foundation. She earned her Master’s Degree through the United States Fulbright Student Scholarship, and is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program.
- Lucine Beylerian from Upper Saddle River, NJ attends the University of Southern California and is interning with Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chair Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).
- Dikran Damar from Istanbul, Turkey attends Istanbul University and is interning with the Armenian National Institute (ANI).
- Serena Hajjar from Lexington, MA attends the University of Pennsylvania and is interning with the Armenian National Institute (ANI).
- Isabelle Kapoian from Bedford, NH attends the University of New Hampshire and is interning with Lowenstein Sandler LLP law firm.
- Armen Kaprelian from Scottsdale, AZ attends George Mason University’s Graduate School and is interning with the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Permanent Mission to the United States and Canada.
- Samuel Karabashian from Ventnor, NJ is a recent graduate of Biola University in La Mirada, CA and is interning with the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the United States.
- Brooke Kersten from Oxford, MI attends Michigan State University and is interning with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Victoria Khederian from Bloomfield Township, MI attends the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and is interning with the Republican National Committee (RNC).
- Mihran Markarian from Fountain Valley, CA is transferring from Irvine Valley College to the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is interning with the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) think tank.
- Ani Matevosyan from Van Nuys, CA is transferring from the California State University, Northridge to the University of Southern California. She is interning with the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the United States.
- Michael Melkonian from Glendale, CA attends Glendale Community College and is interning with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).
- Alec Muradliyan from Newport Beach, CA attends Chapman University and is interning with House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA).
- Alexander Nargizian from Franklin Lakes, NJ attends Fairfield University and is interning with the Armenian National Institute (ANI).
- Aram Sahakyan from Rockville, MD attends Colorado State University and is interning with In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East.
- Olivia Zorayan from Irvine, CA is a recent graduate of the University of California, Irvine. She is interning with Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chair Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA).
Following the success of the past two years’ week-long high school internship pilot program, Tioné Hoeckner from Salt Lake City, UT and Elena Martinez from Boynton Beach, FL will be interning in the Armenian Assembly of America’s office and joining the university-age summer interns at Assembly-organized meetings and events.
“Since I participated in the Armenian Assembly’s summer internship program last year, I know how educational and valuable the summer will be for this internship class. I am impressed by how enthusiastic and intellectually curious the 2019 interns are, and look forward to a very productive program,” stated this summer’s internship coordinator, Arianna Cruickshank. Arianna participated in last summer’s Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program, where she interned with Congressman Pallone. Originally from Edgewater, NJ, she is a senior at Ramapo College in Mawah, NJ.
Through the Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program, participants are offered extensive educational opportunities via the Capital Ideas program, which provides interns a forum to ask questions to elected officials about current topics, national and international in scope.
Since the start of this year’s Program, the internship group has already met with House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the office of Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), U.S. Homeland Security Program Manager Noris Balabanian, and Armenian Church of America (Eastern) Diocesan Legate Archbishop Vicken Aykazian who participated in the signing ceremony at the White House regarding the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, with many more meetings planned throughout the summer.
The program participants attended a lecture on Administrative Law at The George Washington University Law School taught by Visiting Associate Professor of Law Aram Gavoor, Armenian Assembly of America Board Member and Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program alumnus. Professor Gavoor’s administrative law scholarship was cited by the Supreme Court this week in Department of Commerce v. New York. The program participants also enjoyed a picnic on the National Mall organized by the Congressional Armenian Staff Association (CASA).
Interns also participated in a presentation by Armenian American author Michael Bobelian on his latest book, Battle for the Marble Palace: Abe Fortas, Earl Warren, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and the Forging of the Modern Supreme Court. Bobelian is the author of Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-Long Struggle for Justice in which he discusses the Armenian Assembly of America and its work with former Senator Robert Dole (R-KS) on the Armenian Genocide resolution.
The Armenian Assembly of America Summer Internship Program has been celebrated and strongly supported by the Armenian community with major gifts from the Richard Tufenkian Memorial Fund, the John Hanessian Scholarship Fund, the Armen Astarjian Scholarship Fund, the Ohanian Memorial Fund, Ann Hintlian, Ann Nahigian, James and Connie Melikian, the Knights of Vartan, the Estate of Haig J. Boyadjian, and the Estate of George Judge Karabedian (George Kay), as well as generous contributions in memory of former Assembly Board Members Dr. Lionel Galstaun, Peter Kezirian, and John O’Connor. In 2003, the Armenian Assembly’s Summer Internship Program was renamed in honor of Aram and Florence Terjenian and Annie Thomas after the announcement of their pace-setting $1 million donation to the program.
To find out more about the 2019 summer interns’ journey in Washington, D.C., follow the Assembly’s Intern Blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Stay tuned for updates on the Armenian Assembly’s Summer Internship Program in Armenia.