Enhancing AUA’s Diversity: EPIC Interns from Around the World
The Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) has partnered with Birthright Armenia and the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) to diversify its human resources by accepting interns from different parts of the world. The international experience interns bring to EPIC strengthens the networking potential and global awareness of participants. This mutually beneficial partnership allows international volunteers the opportunity to contribute to EPIC based on their diverse backgrounds and experiences while providing them a stimulating professional work environment in Armenia.
The mission of Birthright Armenia is to strengthen ties between Armenia and Diasporan youth, by affording them the opportunity to be a part of the local lifestyle and to contribute to Armenia’s development through volunteering Birthright interns develop lifelong personal ties and a renewed sense of Armenian identity. AVC also offers similar opportunities to those interested in volunteering in Armenia, regardless of their heritage or age.
Over the last year, EPIC has accepted interns from the United States, Canada, Chile, France, and Germany. The interns are not only geographically diverse, but also have different experiences and qualifications and have contributed immensely to the EPIC team. They have worked on different projects at EPIC including developing marketing plans, mentoring EPIC startups, contributing to the creation of new programs, writing blogs, doing research and strategic analyses, and so much more. Having a diverse team of interns has added benefits for EPIC startups and helped them make new contacts and expand their horizons. Below are the short profiles of several interns who have made an impact on EPIC.
Maral Valentina Baloian Castillo is a graduate of Diego Portales University in Chile and specializes in Management Control Engineering. She spent much of her internship working on growth strategies for EPIC. “It is truly something special to work in an entrepreneurial incubator, especially one that is young. You truly feel that the work you are doing is meaningful. You will definitely feel proud of the contribution you are making,” says Baloian Castillo on her experience at EPIC.
Eric Biglari is a recent marketing graduate from California State University, Northridge. During his time with EPIC, he developed a marketing plan, wrote blogs, and did research. “My experience at EPIC was nothing short of amazing. Interning at EPIC gave me a great understanding of what it takes to succeed in a professional environment. I understood what needs to be accomplished for an organization to thrive and the manner in which things need to be done to ensure success.”
Sisian Boghossian is from Toronto, Canada, and received her MBA, specializing in Marketing and Organizational Behavior from the Schulich School of Business. She has over a decade of experience in product management in senior marketing roles. She is currently overseeing the EPIC marketing activities, including creating a new program called Create Up, as well as mentoring student groups to improve their business ventures.
EPIC startup teams have in fact benefited from the diverse team of interns. Mariam Gyulumyan, founder of Worthie remarks: “The key word for Sisian would be caring. When you approach her with a question she listens to you very carefully and does everything to help you very quickly. She is responsible and very attentive to details. She also has contacts in other countries which is also helpful.”
The Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) is a platform of the American University of Armenia (AUA) for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and startup venture incubation. EPIC provides an ecosystem for emerging entrepreneurs consisting of first-class facilities and collaborative workspace, programs and events, and a network of mentors, advisors, and investors. EPIC fosters the understanding and application of entrepreneurship in students and faculty at AUA to craft high-impact multidisciplinary ventures.