The Right Fit: 2012 AUA Interns Discuss Experiences

Beno Balian from Aleppo, Ani Hovasapyan from Los Angeles and Nora Minassian from Boston

YEREVAN, Armenia — Several interns brought their enthusiasm and determination to American University of Armenia (AUA) this summer to tackle projects related to their field of study, interest, and profession.

Typically, the AUA intern program attracts candidates from throughout the world. This year was no exception as interns from the United States: Gabriel Armas-Cardona, Ani Hovasapyan, Nora Minassian, Taylor Phillips, Mary Topchyan, Christine Serdjenian, along with Patil Halajian and Araz Boghossian from Canada and Syrian native Beno Balian, worked alongside faculty to conduct research and analysis.

New York University Law School graduate Gabriel Armas-Cardona chose AUA’s internship program not only because of the university’s prestige, but also because of the engagement of the faculty. “The opportunities here are not just for the students; the excellent faculty and events ensure lively intellectual discussion that anyone with a desire for knowledge can plug into,” he explaind.

With a keen interest in engineering, Southern California native Taylor Philips was thrilled to be placed in the engineering department at AUA. “I had a great and enriching experience. The faculty members were all engaging and knowledgeable, and they helped to foster and expand my interest in engineering. I cannot wait to return to AUA in the future,” stressed the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) intern.

For University of Aleppo graduate Beno Balian, the internship at AUA was an opportunity to visit Armenia for the first time and to forge new bonds. “I am doing an internship at the American University of Armenia and having fun with my new friends,” gleams the mechanical engineer who was placed at AUA through the AGBU Yerevan Summer Internship Program, along with fellow interns Phillips and Topchyan.

Through her internship, Anna Aghajanian revealed she was “pleasantly surprised” by the similarities between her California-based university and AUA. Besides her duties in AUA’s Extension office, Anna also worked in an English instruction class. “I found the teaching method in this course to be very similar to those used in California. I learned so much about the different opportunities AUA offers to help students succeed,” she explained.

Born in Yerevan, Ani Hovasapyan moved to Los Angeles and currently attends University of California Berkeley. She chose the AUA summer internship to “best utilize the skills that I’ve acquired through my education at UC Berkeley, while at the same time benefiting Armenia,” stressed Ani. 

With a commitment to doing just that, Ani also worked at the Women’s Resource Center, Armenia.

Having worked at a centralized application processing company, Boston resident Nora Minassian felt fortunate to gain an internship working for AUA’s Accreditation Director and Director of Admissions and Recruitment.

“The experiences I have gained at AUA are immeasurable. Working in both the accreditation and the recruitment offices, I helped in developing policies and procedures for the launch of the Fall 2013 undergraduate program.” Nora also had the opportunity to visit local villages to fulfill recruitment efforts for the new program. “It was a gratifying and truly mutually beneficial,” stressed the Armenian Youth Federation intern. 

True to her roots, Luys Foundation Fellow and Birthright Armenia Board Member Christine Serdjenian provided valuable assistance in launching AUA’s Fall 2013 undergraduate program.

“We are fortunate to have such talented interns,” stressed Sharistan Melkonian, Director of Accreditation. “Their perspective and enthusiasm to tackle our many projects are immeasurably valuable.”  

Melkonian noted the special relationship between AUA and AGBU, Birthright Armenia and other entities in placing just the right person: “These institutions provide utmost help to place the right candidate in the ideal position. They help fulfill our mission to provide an equally beneficial experience for candidates and the university.”

The American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia.  Founded in 1991, AUA is affiliated with the University of California.  Through teaching, research, and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region by supplying high-quality, graduate and undergraduate education, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting democratic values.

The American University of Armenia is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001.