By: 2014 ANCA WR Summer Intern, Gerard Khatchadourian
When I first began my internship, I never thought it would be such a great experience. I thought my work would just be sticking to the basics, like finishing simple lists on a computer. But it has proved to be so much more than that. This internship has exceeded my expectations in more ways than one.
I have had the opportunity to participate in real committee meetings, meet elected officials, and give my thoughts about initiatives taken by the Armenian National Committee of America -Western Region (ANCA-WR). Committee meetings have been especially interesting, considering that anything discussed during the meeting has a real world impact. I had never participated in a meeting prior to the ones in the ANCA-WR, and I learned about all the necessary procedures in a meeting. I even was able to give some ideas during the meetings, I felt like I was really involved and able to participate. I attended the government affairs meetings, something I am very interested in and the Near East Relief meetings where I learned about previously undiscovered pages of Armenian and American history.
Only on my second day of the internship program, I met Congressman Adam Schiff! It was such a great surprise, suddenly they told us to get up and shake hands with the congressman. I was so stunned afterwards; I had to take time to process that after only working a few hours I was able to meet a congressman. I also met several local community leaders, including city councilmembers from Los Angeles. I was able to sit down with them during meetings as they talked to me about leadership skills and how they came to be involved in civic life. Siting down and talking with them taught me so much about what it takes to be a community leader. I also met the directors of Armenian newspapers; I have always been interested in journalism so this was especially mind blowing. They told me all the day-to-day tasks they complete and I learned how a newspaper functions and the challenges they face. Meeting with such a wide variety of people has not only inspired me to pursue my endeavors regarding politics, but to also be an avid part of the ANCA-WR. The internship has opened many doorways for me in the future.
My favorite part of the internship thus far was going to the Los Angeles court house where we sat in an ongoing trial. I learned so much from that one trip including how our judiciary system works. The hands on experience in the office far surpasses the information in a textbook, and working so closely with such prominent members of the ANCA-WR it is easy to get any question answered.
I have been able to make new friends at my internship. I know these are the friends that stay for life. Being involved in the ANCA-WR with them has been such a great experience; I know that I will continue my work with the ANCA-WR in the future long after I finish my internship.