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Graduating Senior Reflects on How Armenian Studies Made a Difference in College Career

Evelyn Demirchian
Staff Writer

Evelyn Demirchian Photo: Cary Edmonson
Evelyn Demirchian
Photo: Cary Edmonson

It’s fitting that my last class at Fresno State ends the same way it began—in a small lecture room with Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian.

When I first transferred to Fresno State, I didn’t expect to dive into the Armenian Studies Program. It happened on a whim. I knew plenty about the Program and how deeply it was connected with the local Armenian community, but it wasn’t until the last weeks before my first semester that I decided to add an Armenian language class. It fit perfectly into my schedule, and that led me to add Dr. Sergio La Porta’s history course, for the same term.

On another whim, I decided to walk into a Hye Sharzhoom meeting. I have always had an interest in journalism, and thought this would be a good way to test the waters, to see if it was something I could really excel in. It was those first few experiences with Hye Sharzhoom that became the primary reason that I eventually switched my major to print journalism and committed to an Armenian Studies minor.

Hye Sharzhoom let me test out the waters with a variety of writing styles: event writing, opinion writing, and interviews. I can’t emphasize enough how influential my spring 2011 interview, with writer Mark Arax, was in my choice to go into writing.

Hye Sharzhoom, and the Armenian Studies Program, opened me up to the Armenian community of Fresno, in ways I hadn’t thought of before. I had left the Armenian Church years ago, and had unintentionally kept an arms length of distance from my own. I was not only distant, but incredibly naïve about my own history, until I chose to write for Hye Sharzhoom.

As an Armenian-American, understanding the history of my community in the United States has led to personal growth and gave way to meeting some of the most interesting individuals, who are working and teaching in Armenian academics. Not to forget, my peers are some of the most enthusiastic, intelligent and hard-working friends I’ve made during my time at the university.
My experience at Fresno State wouldn’t have been nearly as dynamic without Professor Der Mugrdechian, Dr. La Porta, my ASP peers and Hye Sharzhoom. Thank you all for the opportunity to be involved. I hope to see Hye Sharzhoom continue for as long as there is an Armenian student community at Fresno State.