Summer is a time for rest and relaxation for many high school students, however it can also be a time of opportunity to work on oneself, engage in community work, or obtain an internship. With some research and effort, one can find opportunities that are fun, rewarding, and worthwhile! This past summer, I was able to enjoy one such extraordinary experience in the Office of California State Senator Anthony Portantino, along a fellow Pilibos Scholar, Kami Arabian. After putting together my resume and cover letter, and later being interviewed by the District Director, Talin Mangioglu and Intern Coordinator, Kim Evette, I was offered a summer internship in the Office of Senator Portantino. The internship program began with a welcoming and well-coordinated orientation, where we met the rest of the staff and interns. We were all given our schedules and were appointed a district representative who would be our mentor for the summer. In other words, we would be staff members of the State Senator’s office! Exciting right?
Interning within this office was more than answering phone calls made by constituents or putting stamps on envelopes. We truly understood and experienced what it is like to work in the realm of the local and state government. I was fortunate enough to work with District Representative, Arda Tchakian, who represents the Armenian communities in Glendale and Burbank on behalf of Senator Portantino. Attending meetings with local organizations, such as the Glendale Unified School District, and making certificates for local events were only a few of the tasks I was able to perform. We also had the opportunity to tour Cal Tech and discover many new scientific and medical innovations that will soon change the world. In addition, throughout my internship, I was able to network with many staff members and the Senator himself.
This internship was truly a great privilege and benefit because it made me realize how I can contribute to Pilibos and the Armenian community. For example, the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center—recently approved by the City of Glendale—is a major project that Senator Portantino supports. Since the Senator’s schedule is quite busy, at times he is unavailable to go to certain events. In this situation, I had the great honor of going to a Glendale City Council meeting and speaking on behalf of the Senator in support of the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Foundation. Through this entire experience, I was able to share my opinion as an Armenian young scholar and express my thoughts on what the community would like to hear from the Senator, as their legislative voice. Knowing that I have a voice within our district is beyond gratifying.
Working alongside Senator Portantino and his staff members was very educational and eye opening. It taught me the importance of the youth’s voice and the power we have to create change. I urge every single Armenian youth to find a field that they are comfortable in, get active, and help in any way they can, to individually and collectively help better our local and global communities and benefit the Armenian Cause.