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WHAT’S KOOYRIGS?

Kooyrigs is an organization dedicated to promoting education and providing resources to our sisters around the globe. Our digital safe space aims to elevate Armenian voices and raise awareness on issues that impact Armenians worldwide.

With every purchase made from Kooyrigs.com, a portion of the profits will be donated to NGOs and projects that aim to further the women’s rights in Armenia.

By establishing education initiatives, crushing stigmas and providing funding for women’s rights NGOs, Kooyrigs aims to be a catalyst for the women’s rights movement in Armenia and internationally.

Karine Eurdekian, Founder

B.A. Political Science & Law, Michigan State University (2019)

 

Meet the Team

 

Blogging & Journalism

 
MARIAM AVAGYAN  PhD in Electrical Engineering, Columbia University (currently)  B.S. Engineering, Trinity University 2018  Mariam grew up in Yerevan, Armenia. She moved to the United States five years ago to continue her education. She now lives in New York and is working on her PhD. Mariam has experience working as a journalist and is passionate about de-stigmatizing the Armenian community through her work.  “I love exploring and rediscovering my Armenian-ness and femininity from new perspectives.”

MARIAM AVAGYAN

PhD in Electrical Engineering, Columbia University (currently)

B.S. Engineering, Trinity University 2018

Mariam grew up in Yerevan, Armenia. She moved to the United States five years ago to continue her education. She now lives in New York and is working on her PhD. Mariam has experience working as a journalist and is passionate about de-stigmatizing the Armenian community through her work.

“I love exploring and rediscovering my Armenian-ness and femininity from new perspectives.”

ALEXA GRIS  B.A. Political Science & French Studies, University of Portland 2018  Growing up, Alexa recognized the double standards and social pressures that were placed on her. Focusing on topics like “Armenian-ness” as a half Armenian, she is a resounding voice that is ready to discuss diversity, equality, and freedom.  “I am most deeply interested in issues like domestic violence against women in Armenia, race relations here in America, the weight of white privilege, and diversity (or the lack thereof) in academic institutions.”

ALEXA GRIS

B.A. Political Science & French Studies, University of Portland 2018

Growing up, Alexa recognized the double standards and social pressures that were placed on her. Focusing on topics like “Armenian-ness” as a half Armenian, she is a resounding voice that is ready to discuss diversity, equality, and freedom.

“I am most deeply interested in issues like domestic violence against women in Armenia, race relations here in America, the weight of white privilege, and diversity (or the lack thereof) in academic institutions.”

SARINE SOGHOMONIAN  International Studies (International Relations) & Media (Communication & Journalism), University of New South Wales (currently)  Sarine is a strong advocate for equal rights, particularly when concerning Armenian women and those marginalized from their local cultural communities due to social standards. She has spoken out regarding a need for cultural change in breaking the current status quo to form a society where those who have felt unwelcome can feel at home. As an active member of many Armenian community organizations, Sarine’s familiarity with the Armenian community provides deep insight and perspective into what life is like for many diasporans.  “I hope to empower young people, and Armenian girls- in particular, to be confident in their ability to succeed.”

SARINE SOGHOMONIAN

International Studies (International Relations) & Media (Communication & Journalism), University of New South Wales (currently)

Sarine is a strong advocate for equal rights, particularly when concerning Armenian women and those marginalized from their local cultural communities due to social standards. She has spoken out regarding a need for cultural change in breaking the current status quo to form a society where those who have felt unwelcome can feel at home. As an active member of many Armenian community organizations, Sarine’s familiarity with the Armenian community provides deep insight and perspective into what life is like for many diasporans.

“I hope to empower young people, and Armenian girls- in particular, to be confident in their ability to succeed.”

ARAXIE CASS  Creative Writing, University of Chicago (currently)  Published author and feminist activist Araxie has worked the past three summers of her life in Armenia. She is the co-founder of Rebirth Armenia, an organization that focuses on preserving stories of nonviolent resistance in Artsakh and the border region of Tavush. She writes about integral stories of creativity and survival.  " I am passionate about LGBT+, feminist, and other issues of exclusion because I believe that Armenians cannot thrive without a strong and welcoming community."

ARAXIE CASS

Creative Writing, University of Chicago (currently)

Published author and feminist activist Araxie has worked the past three summers of her life in Armenia. She is the co-founder of Rebirth Armenia, an organization that focuses on preserving stories of nonviolent resistance in Artsakh and the border region of Tavush. She writes about integral stories of creativity and survival.

" I am passionate about LGBT+, feminist, and other issues of exclusion because I believe that Armenians cannot thrive without a strong and welcoming community."

 

Content Discovery & Management

CYNTHIA NAHHAS  Media Studies, American University of Beirut (currently)  Cynthia grew up in Syria and moved to Lebanon due to war. She has been an Armenian woman in both of these countries, and wants to utilize her experiences to project an accurate image of what life is like for Armenian women in Middle Eastern countries.

CYNTHIA NAHHAS

Media Studies, American University of Beirut (currently)

Cynthia grew up in Syria and moved to Lebanon due to war. She has been an Armenian woman in both of these countries, and wants to utilize her experiences to project an accurate image of what life is like for Armenian women in Middle Eastern countries.

ELIZABETH MEGRABYAN  Masters in Communication Management, University of Southern California 2017  Communication Studies, Loyola Marymount University 2014  Based in New York City, Elizabeth is writer and brand strategist who has worked for non-profit organizations and major entertainment companies building multi-million dollar campaigns. As a first generation Armenian-American, she is very passionate about inclusivity and representation for marginalized communities. Her desire to establish visibility for creatives of Armenian descent on a larger scale led her to find Hye We're Here, a collective for collaboration and representation of the Armenian community.

ELIZABETH MEGRABYAN

Masters in Communication Management, University of Southern California 2017

Communication Studies, Loyola Marymount University 2014

Based in New York City, Elizabeth is writer and brand strategist who has worked for non-profit organizations and major entertainment companies building multi-million dollar campaigns. As a first generation Armenian-American, she is very passionate about inclusivity and representation for marginalized communities. Her desire to establish visibility for creatives of Armenian descent on a larger scale led her to find Hye We're Here, a collective for collaboration and representation of the Armenian community.

NAREH VARTANIAN  Creative Advertising; Minor- Public Relations and Graphic Design. Michigan State University - Honors College (currently)  Nareh is an outspoken and creative young Armenian who aims to start conversation and clear stigmas. She has her own photography business and is interested in sharing perspectives through creative means.

NAREH VARTANIAN

Creative Advertising; Minor- Public Relations and Graphic Design. Michigan State University - Honors College (currently)

Nareh is an outspoken and creative young Armenian who aims to start conversation and clear stigmas. She has her own photography business and is interested in sharing perspectives through creative means.

 

Illustrations & Graphic Design

ALEK SURENIAN  Industrial Design Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (currently)  Since a young age, Alek has grown up involved in the Armenian community. He spent the summer of 2017 as a designer for the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation in Yerevan. He draws inspiration from Armenian culture and creates a variety of impactful works that ultimately give back to the community.

ALEK SURENIAN

Industrial Design Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (currently)

Since a young age, Alek has grown up involved in the Armenian community. He spent the summer of 2017 as a designer for the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation in Yerevan. He draws inspiration from Armenian culture and creates a variety of impactful works that ultimately give back to the community.

SONA AVEDIKIAN  Illustration Studies, College of Creative Studies (currently)  An Armenian-American from the Metro-Detroit area, Sona is aware of the many trials and tribulations that young Armenians are exposed to both in and outside of the Armenian community. Her art speaks to this, as she communicates hope and the mission of Kooyrigs in her works.

SONA AVEDIKIAN

Illustration Studies, College of Creative Studies (currently)

An Armenian-American from the Metro-Detroit area, Sona is aware of the many trials and tribulations that young Armenians are exposed to both in and outside of the Armenian community. Her art speaks to this, as she communicates hope and the mission of Kooyrigs in her works.

KAROUN CHAHINIAN  Journalism & French Studies, Ryerson University 2018  Karoun is a graphic designer and journalist from Toronto. She is a bright voice who channels both culture and wit in her graphics.  “From my frizzy curls, to my not-so-cute unibrow, to my pungent lunches, I never felt like I could fit in amongst my peers when I was younger. Now, I see that as more of a strength than a vice.”

KAROUN CHAHINIAN

Journalism & French Studies, Ryerson University 2018

Karoun is a graphic designer and journalist from Toronto. She is a bright voice who channels both culture and wit in her graphics.

“From my frizzy curls, to my not-so-cute unibrow, to my pungent lunches, I never felt like I could fit in amongst my peers when I was younger. Now, I see that as more of a strength than a vice.”

SOPHIE EURDEKIAN  Major: Packaging, Minor: Leadership and Integrative Learning Michigan State University (currently)  Sophie enjoys capturing small moments and infusing comedy into her works. As a first generation Armenian, she hopes to share her perspective of the Armenian-American experience through trippy graphics, cartoon images, and abstract characters.

SOPHIE EURDEKIAN

Major: Packaging, Minor: Leadership and Integrative Learning Michigan State University (currently)

Sophie enjoys capturing small moments and infusing comedy into her works. As a first generation Armenian, she hopes to share her perspective of the Armenian-American experience through trippy graphics, cartoon images, and abstract characters.

 

Public Health Chairs

 
NATALIE DEMIRJIAN  M.S. Integrative Anatomical Sciences - USC Keck School of Medicine (currently)  B.S. Neuroscience; Minor in Health Care Studies - University of Southern California 2017  Natalie was raised in Arizona; though this excluded her from Armenian social circles, her parents (both Armenian and non-Armenian) diligently instilled pillars of Armenian culture in Natalie’s life. Among the cacti and sandstone mountains, she grew up enjoying madzoonov kufte and sounds of the kemencheh.  “As an aspiring physician, my goal is to provide others with trustworthy information so they can make informed decisions about their health. Given the current ‘traditional’ and ‘conservative’ nature of the Armenian culture, especially in regards to health topics, I hope to act as a reliable resource for my Kooyrigs.”

NATALIE DEMIRJIAN

M.S. Integrative Anatomical Sciences - USC Keck School of Medicine (currently)

B.S. Neuroscience; Minor in Health Care Studies - University of Southern California 2017

Natalie was raised in Arizona; though this excluded her from Armenian social circles, her parents (both Armenian and non-Armenian) diligently instilled pillars of Armenian culture in Natalie’s life. Among the cacti and sandstone mountains, she grew up enjoying madzoonov kufte and sounds of the kemencheh.

“As an aspiring physician, my goal is to provide others with trustworthy information so they can make informed decisions about their health. Given the current ‘traditional’ and ‘conservative’ nature of the Armenian culture, especially in regards to health topics, I hope to act as a reliable resource for my Kooyrigs.”


RENELL SHISHA  B.S. Psychology, Michigan State University 2018  Renell is a first generation Assyrian-American who has spent a majority of her life as a close friend of the Armenian community. With an academic focus in public health and research, Renell hopes to promote education regarding taboo topics that impact women of the caucus regions.  On a recent trip to Armenia, Renell was able to connect her own culture and experiences through encounters with people sharing the same passion for a progressive future.

RENELL SHISHA

B.S. Psychology, Michigan State University 2018

Renell is a first generation Assyrian-American who has spent a majority of her life as a close friend of the Armenian community. With an academic focus in public health and research, Renell hopes to promote education regarding taboo topics that impact women of the caucus regions.

On a recent trip to Armenia, Renell was able to connect her own culture and experiences through encounters with people sharing the same passion for a progressive future.

 

Research & Education

ERIN MOURADIAN  A young leader from Massachusetts, Erin started her highschool’s first Feminist Club which boasts 45 members. The club teaches students about women’s history, discusses current controversial issues, and focuses on advocacy within the school system.  “The main event which sparked my Armenian feminist epiphany was in April of this year when I asked my father to tell me aboutmy great-grandmother, Arousiag. Arousiag lived in Adana and survived unthinkable events of the Genocide. Her unquestionable and undeniable strength is something which motivates me on a daily basis.”

ERIN MOURADIAN

A young leader from Massachusetts, Erin started her highschool’s first Feminist Club which boasts 45 members. The club teaches students about women’s history, discusses current controversial issues, and focuses on advocacy within the school system.

“The main event which sparked my Armenian feminist epiphany was in April of this year when I asked my father to tell me aboutmy great-grandmother, Arousiag. Arousiag lived in Adana and survived unthinkable events of the Genocide. Her unquestionable and undeniable strength is something which motivates me on a daily basis.”

SHOUSHAN KESHISHIAN  M.A. Post-War Recovery Studies, University of York (currently)  B.A. Political Science/International Affairs, Lebanese American University 2018  With experience as an intern for the Ministry of Diaspora in Armenia and a wide range of experience in media management and content- Shoushan is an advocate for Armenian women who aspire to raise their voices and break social norms.  “I believe that getting diaspora Armenians engaged with Armenia is crucial, and the best way to do this is through cross-cutting issues such as women's rights and empowerment.”

SHOUSHAN KESHISHIAN

M.A. Post-War Recovery Studies, University of York (currently)

B.A. Political Science/International Affairs, Lebanese American University 2018

With experience as an intern for the Ministry of Diaspora in Armenia and a wide range of experience in media management and content- Shoushan is an advocate for Armenian women who aspire to raise their voices and break social norms.

“I believe that getting diaspora Armenians engaged with Armenia is crucial, and the best way to do this is through cross-cutting issues such as women's rights and empowerment.”

GAYANE KALIGIAN  International Relations, Boston University (currently)  Gayane has been involved with social justice movements for just about as long as she can remember. She’s worked on a multitude of campaigns and aspires to someday move to Armenia and establish more initiatives regarding Equal Pay. As an avid writer she focuses on several forms of social justice advocacy including women's rights, Armenian Genocide recognition, gun control, and LGBTQ+ rights.

GAYANE KALIGIAN

International Relations, Boston University (currently)

Gayane has been involved with social justice movements for just about as long as she can remember. She’s worked on a multitude of campaigns and aspires to someday move to Armenia and establish more initiatives regarding Equal Pay. As an avid writer she focuses on several forms of social justice advocacy including women's rights, Armenian Genocide recognition, gun control, and LGBTQ+ rights.

TALAR KAKILIAN  Master of Health Administration, University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy 2017  B.A. History; Minor- Public Policy, University of California - Berkeley 2014  Talar is an Armenian-American woman who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in Armenia and worked for Homeland Development Initiative Foundation. She is an active member in the Armenian community and uses her voice to speak out about social justice issues that impact Armenians around the globe.  “My life goal is to move to Armenia to develop women’s healthcare initiatives in remote communities to educate and empower women to take a more active role in their health.”

TALAR KAKILIAN

Master of Health Administration, University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy 2017

B.A. History; Minor- Public Policy, University of California - Berkeley 2014

Talar is an Armenian-American woman who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in Armenia and worked for Homeland Development Initiative Foundation. She is an active member in the Armenian community and uses her voice to speak out about social justice issues that impact Armenians around the globe.

“My life goal is to move to Armenia to develop women’s healthcare initiatives in remote communities to educate and empower women to take a more active role in their health.”

MEG MOUGHALIAN  B.A. Psychology, Minor: Women’s Studies, California State University-Northridge (currently)  In 2014 at the age of 15, Meg joined the Los Angeles Fire Department. As the only girl cadet, she is no stranger to sexism and inequality in the workplace. Meg is a beacon of empowerment and she hopes to spread that energy through her work with Kooyrigs.  “I did not know how to stand up for myself without sounding too harsh. Now, I don’t really care what [they] think…There was never any special treatment for me…I am much stronger and not afraid to stand up for myself and what is right.”

MEG MOUGHALIAN

B.A. Psychology, Minor: Women’s Studies, California State University-Northridge (currently)

In 2014 at the age of 15, Meg joined the Los Angeles Fire Department. As the only girl cadet, she is no stranger to sexism and inequality in the workplace. Meg is a beacon of empowerment and she hopes to spread that energy through her work with Kooyrigs.

“I did not know how to stand up for myself without sounding too harsh. Now, I don’t really care what [they] think…There was never any special treatment for me…I am much stronger and not afraid to stand up for myself and what is right.”

KARNIE ISKEDJIAN  B.A. Political Science, University of Toronto (currently)  Karnie is from Toronto but is a proud Musa-Lertsi & Sassoontsi. She is involved with her local Armenian community and hopes to share her passion for political science with the rest of the Kooyrigs family.

KARNIE ISKEDJIAN

B.A. Political Science, University of Toronto (currently)

Karnie is from Toronto but is a proud Musa-Lertsi & Sassoontsi. She is involved with her local Armenian community and hopes to share her passion for political science with the rest of the Kooyrigs family.

 

Marketing

MILENA HAKOPYAN  M.A. Global Marketing Communication and Advertising, Emerson College  B.S. Economics, Yerevan State University  Milena is an operational analyst who lives in the Greater Boston area. She is an Armenian feminist who aims to create a strong and welcoming community for the Kooyrigs family. She believes that inclusion is a necessity and that change is brought upon by individuals working hard to make a difference.

MILENA HAKOPYAN

M.A. Global Marketing Communication and Advertising, Emerson College

B.S. Economics, Yerevan State University

Milena is an operational analyst who lives in the Greater Boston area. She is an Armenian feminist who aims to create a strong and welcoming community for the Kooyrigs family. She believes that inclusion is a necessity and that change is brought upon by individuals working hard to make a difference.

GILLIAN TAHAJIAN  Marketing & Management; Minor- Mandarin Northeastern University, D’Amore-McKim School of Business (currently)  Gillian is from Belmont, Massachusetts. Her Great-Grandparents moved to the U.S. shortly after the Armenian Genocide began. As a third generation Armenian-American, Gillian is eager to learn more about her culture and give back to the Armenian community. Through connecting with the Kooyrigs community, she hopes to utilize her skills in order to promote awareness and connect individuals from all over the world.

GILLIAN TAHAJIAN

Marketing & Management; Minor- Mandarin Northeastern University, D’Amore-McKim School of Business (currently)

Gillian is from Belmont, Massachusetts. Her Great-Grandparents moved to the U.S. shortly after the Armenian Genocide began. As a third generation Armenian-American, Gillian is eager to learn more about her culture and give back to the Armenian community. Through connecting with the Kooyrigs community, she hopes to utilize her skills in order to promote awareness and connect individuals from all over the world.

DONARA SAHAKYAN  Master of Science in Management, Otto-Von-Geuricke University Magdeburg (currently)  Sociology-Public Relations, Yerevan State University 2013  Donara is passionate about helping other Armenians. She grew up in Armenia, but moved to Germany to continue pursuing her education.  “My goal is to let every single Armenian women know their worth. Women are not just for the kitchen and baby delivery. They are smart and strong and can achieve great things in life besides just marriage.”

DONARA SAHAKYAN

Master of Science in Management, Otto-Von-Geuricke University Magdeburg (currently)

Sociology-Public Relations, Yerevan State University 2013

Donara is passionate about helping other Armenians. She grew up in Armenia, but moved to Germany to continue pursuing her education.

“My goal is to let every single Armenian women know their worth. Women are not just for the kitchen and baby delivery. They are smart and strong and can achieve great things in life besides just marriage.”

Tech

COMMUNITY & EVENTS

TATIANA SANTOS  Computer Science; Applied and Computational Mathematics, University of Southern California 2018  Tatiana lives in New York City and is currently working as a software engineer. Though she is not Armenian by blood, she is a close friend of the Armenian community. Tatiana is an intersectional feminist who is an advocate for female empowerment and women in tech.

TATIANA SANTOS

Computer Science; Applied and Computational Mathematics, University of Southern California 2018

Tatiana lives in New York City and is currently working as a software engineer. Though she is not Armenian by blood, she is a close friend of the Armenian community. Tatiana is an intersectional feminist who is an advocate for female empowerment and women in tech.

VICTORIA DOCHOGHLIAN  B.A. Political Science, University of California-Irvine 2016  In 2006, Victoria moved from Lebanon to California. As cultures clashed around her, she began to discover her own voice along with her passion for social justice. She currently works for the State of California as a field-representative for the 43rd Assembly District (the cities of Glendale and Burbank). Victoria calls attention to critical Armenian issues within her community.  “Growing up in both Lebanon and the States has made me who I am today, someone who constantly supports women in their endeavors, encourages them to speak up when need be; and an unapologetically strong woman.”

VICTORIA DOCHOGHLIAN

B.A. Political Science, University of California-Irvine 2016

In 2006, Victoria moved from Lebanon to California. As cultures clashed around her, she began to discover her own voice along with her passion for social justice. She currently works for the State of California as a field-representative for the 43rd Assembly District (the cities of Glendale and Burbank). Victoria calls attention to critical Armenian issues within her community.

“Growing up in both Lebanon and the States has made me who I am today, someone who constantly supports women in their endeavors, encourages them to speak up when need be; and an unapologetically strong woman.”

Product Development

TALAR BILEMJIAN  Fashion & Apparel Design, ESMOD Dubai 2013  After attending university, Talar became the founder and CEO of her very own clothing line: Talar Nina. Talar is an artist that combines her love of culture with her passion for providing aid and empowerment. Though she lives between Dubai and LA, she visits Armenia frequently for service projects.

TALAR BILEMJIAN

Fashion & Apparel Design, ESMOD Dubai 2013

After attending university, Talar became the founder and CEO of her very own clothing line: Talar Nina. Talar is an artist that combines her love of culture with her passion for providing aid and empowerment. Though she lives between Dubai and LA, she visits Armenia frequently for service projects.