WASHINGTON, DC – Recent university graduates – participating in the first-ever virtual class of the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program – praised the ANCA’s signature job-placement initiative for helping them kick-start their careers in Washington, DC amid a national health crisis.
For the first time in its 17-year history, the Gateway Program went fully virtual, working online with nine fellows from across the U.S. seeking to start careers in Congress and across the ever vigorous policy-making and political landscape of the nation’s capital.
“Being a part of the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program has helped me expand my network in DC and has allowed me to visualize my career path there,” explained Shant Arzoumanian, an alumnus of Lafayette College with a degree in Economics and Government and Law. “It’s a very well-connected community that is very welcoming to young professionals seeking to start a career in DC.”
Adrienne Tazian Schwartz, who has degrees in Informatics and Economics from Indiana University, explained “I’m thankful for my experience participating in the ANCA Capital Gateway Program and I highly encourage any individual looking to start a career in Washington D.C. or otherwise become more involved in the Hai Tahd community to apply. The guidance I received from mentors within the ANCA community and connections I made will carry with me the rest of my career.”
Participants appreciated Program Director Sipan Ohannesian and the Capital Gateway Program Advisory Committee’s (CGPAC) coordination of a series of career placement workshops on a range of issues including resume and cover letter preparation, effective interview strategies and networking. The CGPAC – comprised of a rotating group of successful program alumni – also connects fellows with mentors most closely aligned with their career goals for one-on-one advice and encouragement.
For Tania Eprem, who holds a Business Management degree from Farmingdale State College, these customized programs “established a great foundation for my job search process in Washington, D.C. They helped prepare me with professional development seminars, mentoring, and an invaluable network of professional Armenians in the area.”
Thanks to the program, Davit Petrosyan strengthened his professional ties in Washington, DC, expanding his LinkedIn network by 300%. “I began reaching out and talking to a manager, director, supervisor level employees in different organizations who, to my surprise, not only found the time to speak to me but also helped me to improve my applications, suggested where to look for positions that match my background and skills and encouraged me to reach out at any time I believe they might be helpful,” said Petrosyan. “Even though the program lasts only three months, its lessons contribute to a lifetime of professional growth and success.” Petrosyan came to Washington, DC with a Masters in Security Studies from Charles University in Prague.
“I’m grateful to the Capital Gateway Fellowship for guiding me through my D.C. job search. Our networking, professional development, and mentorship seminars gave me the skills and confidence to pursue my dream career on Capitol Hill,” explained Flora Adamian, who has a Bachelors in Diplomacy and World Affairs and a minor in German from Occidental College. “It’s so important to have young Armenian-American representation in our nation’s capital, and I’m proud to be an alumna of the fellowship.”
“The Gateway fellowship has truly given me the tools to establish myself as a professional in this saturated market,” explained Gary Jamgotchian, who has a Bachelors in Economics with a minor in Sustainability from California State University, Northridge. “I will always cherish the friends I was able to make in this program and the wonderful experiences it has given me. I look forward to continuing my journey with the ANCA while creating positive changes for my community.”
Gevorg Novshadyan summed up his experience this way: “As a recent graduate looking for opportunities in a tough economy, I knew I had to get professional help to make myself a more attractive candidate. The ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program taught me vital skills about resume building, networking, and giving effective elevator pitches. I am now better prepared to enter and succeed in DC’s competitive job market.” Novshadyan has a Masters in International Affairs (Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies) from Middlebury Institute of International Studies of Monterey.
Applications for the upcoming Winter and Spring 2021 sessions, are available at anca.org/gateway/application. Winter 2021 applications are due on December 31st, with a session start date on January 11th. The Spring session application deadline is February 20th, and will start on March 29th. Additional information about the ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program is available at anca.org/gateway, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (202) 775-1918.
“Starting a career in the middle of a pandemic can be a challenge, but one we have been eager to tackle in partnership with this remarkable class of bright, ambitious, and hard-working graduates and our incredible alumni,” said ANCA Programs Director Sipan Ohannesian, a seasoned policy professional with international experience in the defense industry. “As each finds success in their chosen field, the Armenian American community’s voice grows ever stronger in the nation’s capital.”
Launched in 2003 with a founding grant by the Cafesjian Family Foundation, the ANCA Gateway Program has emerged as the pre-eminent Armenian American career development program in the nation’s capital. When the program is not virtual, fellows are offered three months of free housing at the ANCA’s Aramian House, located in the heart of Washington, DC, in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, just blocks from the ANCA offices.
The ANCA Gateway Program is named after Hovig Apo Saghdejian, a beloved young community leader who lost his life in a tragic car accident and whose eternal memory continues to inspire new generations of Armenian Americans. His family generously established the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Memorial Fund in his memory and, over the past decade, has played a vital role in the expansion of the program. Substantial support has also been provided by longtime ANCA benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Barbara Hekimian and the Armenian American Veterans Post of Milford, Massachusetts (AAVO).
The purchase of The Aramian House was made possible through a generous donation by the family of the late community leader and philanthropist Martha Aramian of Providence, Rhode Island. The Aramian family – led by sisters Sue, the late Margo, and the late Martha – have long been among the most generous benefactors of ANCA programs as well as of charitable projects in the Armenian homeland and the Diaspora.