SOAR - Baltimore Chapter
The Baltimore Chapter joined the SOAR family in May 2013. Baltimore has a small but growing Armenian population, where approximately 120 families regularly gather for church services and where the Greater Baltimore Armenian School allows young people to grow familiar with their language and heritage. The Armenian Association of Greater Baltimore (AAGB) is the organization under which the Greater Baltimore Armenian School falls and is that which coordinates two annual events in the Baltimore area - the Armenian Christmas service in January and a Father's Day Picnic in June.
Board of Directors:
Sophia Shahverdian Hawit
Sophia Shahverdian has an MBA from the Robert H. Smith School at University of Maryland and is an experienced management and communication consultant in the Baltimore/Washington area. She has experience working with both domestic and international clients. She earned her B.S. in Business Administration, International Business from Towson University.
Originally from Maryland, she is a former student and teacher at the Great Baltimore Armenian School. She was a Birthright Armenia participant in 2009, volunteering with the National Competitiveness Foundation through Armenian Volunteer Corps, and helped lead Birthright Armenia's DC alumni chapter. She is an active member of St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Washington, D.C.
Lara Ohanian, along with her husband, currently lives in Baltimore, MD. She was raised in upstate New York, where she was a member of the Armenian Church of Rochester. Lara is an educator, with over 15 years of experience, the last 7 years focusing on educational reform. She is currently the Director of Differentiated Learning for Baltimore City Public Schools. Lara graduated from SUNY Geneseo in Biology and Philosophy, received a Master’s degree at the University of Houston in Bioethics and eventually received an Educational Specialist degree from Virginia Tech in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She is appreciative of the opportunity to support orphaned youth through the efforts of SOAR.
Stella Kocharyan, born and raised in Armenia, is a citizen of the world! At the age of 24 met her husband and choose the life of an expat! They lived in Africa, Middle East and now Baltimore, MD! She has graduated from Armenian State Agrarian University and has a Certificate from Texas A&M University. She also graduated from University of International Economic Relations of Armenia with a Master's Degree.
She was a part of many International Associations during this years, provided probono services for CRS and was a Treasurer of International Women's Association of Malawi. Now she is an energetic Realtor in Maryland area and is very excited that can bring happiness to many families! She is raising two amazing Armenians in her family and is excited to be a part of SOAR Family!
Ava graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2015 with a degree in Public Health. Since then, she has been working on international clinical trials. She grew up in the Armenian community in Baltimore, graduating from the Greater Baltimore Armenian School and later volunteering with the pre-school and kindergarten classes there. Continuing her passion for her culture and working with youth, Ava volunteered at Tufenkian Foundation's Zangakatun Social Services NGO, through the AYF Internship program and Birthright Armenia in 2011. Having developed strong relationships in Armenia, Ava is still in touch with children at Zangakatun and fellow volunteers.
Narineh graduated with a Bachelor of Science in community health at the University of Maryland. She currently works in Baltimore, MD as a Research Program Coordinator for the Genitourinary Oncology department at Johns Hopkins University. With this passion, she will continue her education to obtain her Master of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins University with a minor in global health.
As an intern through the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Internship with Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) in Yerevan, Armenia, she developed and implemented a various set of healthy lifestyle activities for COAF-supported summer camps for 6-17 year olds. Narineh was a former student of the Greater Baltimore Armenian School and remains active in her community as a member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), Washington, DC Chapter and Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church.
Emma was born and raised in Armenia, Masis town. She attended Yerevan State Medical University from 2005-2011. After graduation, she won the Chinese Government Scholarship to pursue a Master Degree in ophthalmology at Jilin University, China. After Emma returned to Armenia, she worked as an ophthalmologist in Yerevan and Ejmiatsin before joining the Zvart Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development of the American University of Armenia. There she performed vision screenings and free eye exams in orphanages. Last year she received a Fulbright scholarship study in the Master of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which brought her to Baltimore.
Yervant was born and raised in Damascus-Syria, moving to Lebanon in 2011 to complete his higher education at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He earned his BS degree in Biology, and following that, his Medical Degree in 2018. Recently Yervant moved to Baltimore-MD to pursue his post-doctoral research training in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
While living in Damascus and Lebanon, Yervant was an active member in the Armenian community.
Pic and Bio coming soon
Lena Tashjian is a Baltimore City public school teacher who teaches English and is the founder and director of the Baltimore City College High School Writing Center. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia where she co-founded the Armenian Cultural Society. She went on to earn her Master's degrees from Duke University and Middlebury College.
Lena is a Fulbright alumnus and ambassador who has lived, traveled and taught all over the world. She received a Teaching Excellence and Achievement grant to travel to Armenia where she had the opportunity to learn more about the Armenian school system while teaching in Kajaran. Lena is looking forward to continuing her work supporting Armenian youth by joining the board of SOAR.
Rimma Zakharyan resides in Baltimore, MD, where she is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland: Baltimore County. She is pursuing degrees in Biology and Sociology, with a pre-medical track. In the future, Rimma hopes to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. Rimma currently volunteers at Shepherd's Clinic, one of Baltimore City's free clinics, and assists with autism research at Total Child Health.
After being involved with various volunteer organizations, Rimma began to discover volunteer opportunities that benefit her Armenian heritage. She hopes to participate in Birthright Armenia and volunteer in Armenia upon graduation.