ELAC Washington D.C. Hilda Solis Internship Program and ANCA Summer Fellows Share Capitol Hill Experiences

MONTEREY PARK – East Los Angeles College (ELAC) Washington DC Hilda Solis Internship and Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) summer fellows discussed their experiences in the nation’s capital and opportunities for future cooperation at a networking dinner celebrating public service.

“Youth exchanges like this are crucial to building bridges between our communities and programs,” explained ANCA Program Director, Tereza Yerimyan. “The ANCA welcomes the partnership of youth programs whose mission is to build capacity and empower our youth. We applaud ELAC for their ingenuity in establishing the Hilda Solis Washington DC Summer Internship program and look forward to collaborating in the years to follow.”

The meeting with ANCA allowed the Hilda Solis interns the opportunity to network, collaborate, sharing ideas on developing their professional and personal identities and become better advocates in assisting each other’s respective underrepresented communities. The ELAC Foundation hopes to broker new and fostering current collaborations with non-profit organizations such as ANCA in hopes of broadening our student’s experience in Washington D.C. and developing future career pathways.

The ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship (LSI) and Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program (CGP) is hosting the largest summer class in its 30 year history, comprised of 16 students from across the US and Canada. Fellows engage in a wide range of research projects tailored to their areas of interest while increasing their political understanding through Congressional meetings, think tank talks, and bi-weekly lectures by members of the diplomatic community and public policy experts. Summer interns in need of housing stay at The Aramian House, located in Washington DC’s historic Dupont Circle neighborhood, just a short walk from the ANCA headquarters.

The 2017 Leo Sarkisian interns include Shant Eulmessekian, Shushan Gabrielyan, Hagop Housbian, Harout Manougian, Taleen Simonian, Mari Tikoyan, and Leonardo Torosian. They are joined by CGP fellows Anna Avannesyan, Gregor Bayburtian, Monique Bolsajian, Stephen Boursalian, Sevana Dombalagian, Garen Kosoyan, Hasmik Krikorian, Marie Papazian, and Noor Varjabedian.

Established in 1986 and named in memory of the late ANCA Eastern U.S. community leader who spearheaded Armenian American grassroots advocacy for more than four decades, the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship program now has hundreds of alumni across the world, spreading the message of truth and justice for the Armenian Genocide, freedom for Artsakh, and a secure, prosperous, and democratic Armenian homeland.

Launched in 2003, the ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program helps secure permanent employment and professional internships in Washington, DC for young Armenian American professionals and students. Through the years, the ANCA has developed many relationships in and around Capitol Hill and identified a wide range of opportunities in the Washington, DC area. The CGP utilizes these resources and contacts to help candidates identify and secure jobs that fit their interests and needs.

ELAC students Sophia Ayala, Hunter King, Javier Lopez-Quintana, Jacqueline Vela, and Shannon Wu have now returned home, having successfully concluded the innovative program, which offers East Los Angeles College students a six-week internship to work in the nation’s capital directly with members of the House of Representatives. Students have the opportunity to participate in the legislative, political and administrative process gaining a firsthand experience on how to pursue a career in government service. Students were housed at the George Washington University dormitories, with round-trip airfare to Washington DC and stipend provided by the ELAC Foundation.

The highly qualified and civically engage ELAC students came from diverse academic backgrounds and a range of majors, including sociology, political science, engineering, and journalism. Each student experienced a variety of opportunities through the various offices they were assigned to, which helped reshape their perspective on politics, society, and life.

History major Jacqueline Vela found her internship with Congresswoman Nanette Barragan (D-CA) to be insightful and empowering. “Working for a strong and educated Latina in office who fights to protect and serve the immediate South Los Angeles neighborhoods I grew up in was a transformative experience that reaffirmed my desire to continue pursuing my studies,” said Vela.

“My time in Washington D.C. has helped me grow as a leader, community organizer and researcher,” said Javier Lopez-Quintana, who interned for Congresswoman Lucille Royal-Allard (D-CA).

Shannon Wu found her experience interning for Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) to be “tough and stressful; but, every critique I received meant I would learn how to better myself as both an intern and individual.”

“With the continued support of the ELAC Foundation Board of Directors and our generous donors, every Husky Intern will help transform and reshape the landscape of higher education, philanthropy, politics, and economic, workforce and career development to help better serve the needs of future generations to come”, said Paul De La Cerda, Dean/Executive Director, ELAC Foundation.

“It was inspiring to hear the phenomenal stories that our remarkable interns experienced. This program is a true testament of the great opportunities in which the ELAC Foundation is committed to providing students outside of the classrooms and laboratories of East Los Angeles College” said Marvin Martinez, President of East Los Angeles College.

Photo: East Los Angeles College (ELAC) Washington DC Hilda Solis Internship and Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) summer fellows at our inaugural networking event in the nation’s capital.