SOAR - Washington, DC Metro Chapter

The Washington, DC Metro chapter became indexpart of the SOAR family in April 2008 and spans the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland. The Armenian community in Washington, DC. grew as the Federal Government assumed a larger role in domestic and international affairs. Particularly after the Second World War, the Armenian community in the Nation’s Capital and surrounding areas has grown steadily. Today, well over eight thousand Armenians live in the area and are engaged in diverse professional and academic activities.

SOAR Washington DC Metro oversees the Eye Care Project

SOAR Washington DC Metro manages the Journalism Program

***See what our chapter has been doing***

Board of Directors:

Anna Seferian

Anna Seferian is the Vice Dean and Collegiate Professor, Business and Management Department, the Graduate School of the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). In her current role she is responsible for strategic development and implementation of all business and management graduate programs at UMUC. For the past 8 years she has been involved in design and management of UMUC’s award-winning MBA programs. Anna’s background includes diverse experience in marketing and marketing research fields as marketing manager and marketing consultant. She has been involved in various non-governmental organizations that support education and children wellbeing since 1997. Anna has a broad range of cultural experiences across three continents and is tri-lingual (English, Russian and Armenian). Anna believes that children are the main treasure of any nation and children’s education opens possibilities for overall economic and social development in any society. She holds a PhD in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds an MBA from the American University of Armenia and a B.Sc. in International Economics from Yerevan State University. She lives in Washington DC area with her husband, Avedis Seferian and two sons – Hovsep and Alek, who serve as a constant source of encouragement and inspiration.

Tania Odabashian
Vice President

Tania Odabashian received a B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia in 1989 and currently is the co-owner and Vice-President of Corporate Apartment Specialists, Inc. in Arlington, VA. She is also a Partner in seven (7) Value Place Hotel Franchises in South Carolina and Georgia. Tania is an alumna of the Armenian Sisters Academy in Radnor, PA, and currently lives in Arlington, VA with her husband, Ned, and two children.

Nunik Nishanian

Nunik Nishanian graduated with a Master’s Degree in Economics from Duke University in 2007, earned a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering & Systems Management from American University of Armenia and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from Yerevan State University. She is a Research, Project Management and Organizational Development specialist with over ten years’ experience working for nonprofits, for profits and Research Institutions both in the U.S. and the developing countries in mid-to upper level management and consultancy positions. Nunik has significant experience in database analysis and forecast, project design and management, operational systems development, strategic planning and organizational change management.

Marc Sabbagh

Marc Sabbagh is an analyst at Accenture Federal Services. He graduated with a Master's Degree in International Affairs and Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and History from Rice University in Houston, TX. For over three years, he has worked with U.S. embassies in the Caucasus to organize online lectures which are broadcasted live weekly to university students abroad. He has also worked at four leading policy institutes, conducting research and analysis and providing communications and administrative support. Marc has family roots in Armenia and Lebanon.

Dr. Gagik Karapetyan

Dr. Gagik Karapetyan has over 20 years of working experience in the Infectious Diseases field and over 10 years of program management experience, including management and coordination of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Program. Dr. Karapetyan has an impressive experience in technical oversight of multi-country and multi-regional grant-funded Health projects and portfolios, including standards setting, tools development, capacity building, and monitoring and evaluation. He is providing technical expertise for tuberculosis, malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) and other infectious diseases for World Vision grant proposals and project implementation.

In addition to his impressive professional and interpersonal skills, Dr. Gagik brings with him an extensive field experience for having worked in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake. During his time in Haiti, he successfully managed Health, WASH and emergency response programs within Haiti Earthquake Response Team; coordinated emergency response in Health Sector to Haiti earthquake within WV Canada and WV Haiti Response Teams; and contributed to multi-sectoral assessment to inform WV Haiti post-earthquake 2010-2015 national strategy development for Haiti post-earthquake early recovery and rehabilitation.

Dr. Karapetyan’s professional experience and expertise in the medical field and public health are enhanced by his impressive educational achievements. He received his Medical Doctor (MD) Degree of Infectious Diseases Specialist - Pediatrician from Yerevan State Medical University in Armenia. He also holds Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) Degree from Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine (SPHTM) in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. In 2003, he was the winner of the highly prestigious Fulbright/Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship on Public Health Policy and Management.

Izabella KhachikyanIzabella Khachikyan

Pic and bio coming soon

Kara Marston

As an Entrepreneur in Residence at Matchfire Co., Kara Marston contributes to identifying and launching new ventures and products and provides strategic direction and mentoring to portfolio companies. Before joining Matchfire Co., Kara developed brand and digital solutions for key clients as a Senior Brand Strategist at Booz Allen Hamilton. She began her career at the National Geographic Society, where she most recently served as the organization's Director of Engagement.

As a 2011-2012 U.S. Fulbright Fellow in Armenia, she researched the role of media in improving the socio-economic status of women. Kara authored two winning grant proposals— for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women and the U.S. Embassy Democracy Commission— to produce and broadcast 12 public service announcements and short form documentaries on violence against women. With nearly a decade of experience in the media, she has worked for renowned organizations such as The National Geographic Society, America's Most Wanted/FOX, and Discovery Communications. Kara received her Bachelors of Science, Business Management from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2007 with Degree Citation from CIVICUS Living and Learning Program—an invitational academic citation program built on five themes of civil society: citizenship, leadership, community service learning, community building in a diverse society, and scholarship.

Karine Megerdoomian, PhD

Karine is a Principal Computational Linguist at the MITRE Corporation, a federally-funded research and development center, specializing in social media analytics with expertise in Persian and Armenian linguistics. She is also an adjunct professor at the Communication, Culture and Technology department at Georgetown University. Her current research focuses on the relationship between language in online media (blogs, Twitter) and associated socio-political issues. Karine has volunteering experience in California where she was in charge of developing education and outreach programs for various electoral and issue campaigns.

Mania Missirian

Mania teaches in the Prince George's County Public School System in Maryland as an ESOL (English to Speakers of other languages). She currently teaches in two schools as an itinerant ESOL teacher. Mania works closely with parents and staff to improve English Proficiency Levels of ESOL students and is ivolved in volunteer efforts with both schools. She strongly believes in the mission and vision of S.O.A.R and is excited to be a part of the Washington DC chapter!

Ararat Stepanyan

Ararat is an economist as his first profession (Master of Economics from Yerevan state University). He received his M.A. in Human Sciences from Hood College (Frederick, MD) in May 2014. Having worked in the food delivery industry, he then leased/managed two pizza stores. Ararat worked for and later acquired in 2010, The Beekeepers - a company specializing in the removal of stinging insects in the DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas. As an owner and general manager Ararat has expanded The Beekeepers into not only mosquito/tick, bed bug and general pest control but also termite treatment services. Ararat's interests include, but are not limited to, industrial and organizational psychology, Armenian studies, apiculture, business and finance, chess, and public speaking.

Law Volunteers:

Tanya Abrahamian

Tanya Abrahamian is a second year law student at Georgetown Law. She is originally from Orange County, California and received her bachelor's degree from UCLA in business economics. Tanya is also Treasurer of Georgetown Law's Armenian Law Student Association. Upon graduating, she intends to pursue a PhD in public policy.

Deena Dulgerian

Deena Dulgerian is a second year law student at Georgetown University Law Center. She grew up in Maryland and moved to Burbank, California in 2006. After attending UCLA, she worked in a small law firm before starting law school. She aspires for a career in education policy and coming back to California to practice. With five other Armenian students at Georgetown, Deena help found Georgetown's Armenian Law Students Association in 2014. She was also a member of Georgetown's International Migrant's Bill of Rights Initiative where she researched and drafted indicators for human rights abuses regarding family adhesion in detention centers for Mexican minors that were intended to be submitted as an amicus brief to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.