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Charlene Hovanasian Academic Scholarship

1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Apr 1, 2023
Winners Announced
May 1, 2023
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior, undergraduate, or graduate
3.0 or higher
Armenian descent

An Armenian proverb once said that “if you speak too much, you will learn too little.”

As students pursue higher education, it is important that they understand the value of listening to others and learning from their experiences. This applies to school settings and in everyday life. Students in the Armenian community have the opportunity to learn from each other and support one another throughout their personal and educational journeys. The Charlene Hovanasian Academic Scholarship will help encourage students of Armenian descent to work hard, while also lifting up others in their community. 

High school seniors, undergraduates, and graduate students are eligible to apply if they have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and are of Armenian descent. To apply, write about your involvement in the Armenian community and how you will contribute to this community in the future.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published September 7, 2022
Essay Topic

Please describe your current involvement in the Armenian community, and how you plan on giving back to the community in the future.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Natalie Shepherd
Cornell UniversityBrookline, MA
My mom is Armenian and my father is Iranian. The strongest way I’ve been able to connect with my cultural background is through food. My grandma lives near my family and makes amazing Armenian food for my brother and me. She plays Armenian music and dances with me and my brother. When things quiet down, my grandma loves listening to me sing the songs we just danced to. And, while there is sometimes a language barrier, we always find a way to communicate through music and art. I was baptized in the St. James Church in Watertown, MA. We also attend the Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, MA. Being in the Armenian church moves me and reminds me of the stories I've heard of the heroes of the past, carrying two halves of a hand-written Bible on their backs to save the books, now displayed in the Matenadaran Museum in the capital of Armenia Yerevan. I'm learning Armenian. I love the language, the letters, the history, the songs. My family is going to visit Armenia this summer, and my brother and I can't wait!! As a young girl, I was shy but curious about the world. Through robotics, I found my passion and my voice. When I was 8, my mom picked me up early from my after-school program every day for over two years to join the robotics classes she and her engineering colleagues took at work. I was the only child there. Rushing into the room, I greeted everyone with a smile, sat in the first row, and intently listened to our teachers. My favorite project was programming Arduino robots to follow lines taped on the ground. I loved plugging wires into breadboards and watching our robot execute what I coded it to do. In high school, I led my first robotics team to win a prize in FIRST Robotics competition. Today, I mentor young girls. They remind me of myself at their age. Supporting them has become my top priority. The summer before my senior year, I worked as the lead counselor at a robotics camp. I taught in multiple towns in Massachusetts and noticed significantly fewer girls enrolled in the camp than boys. Growing up, I was no stranger to this reality. It became my mission to ensure the girls were as excited about coding and robots as the boys. I coached the kids to be comfortable with making mistakes and asking for help. I circled up my students multiple times a day to share their creations and asked everyone questions about what they brought to the circle. The small things I did to be equitable helped everyone. On bustling robotics teams, I’ve grown to be tenacious and outspoken. Now, I am a talented young woman in STEM. I use my voice and work hard to lift up those around me so we can succeed together. I'm excited to start at the Cornell University School of Engineering this Fall. It's my goal to do my own research and get my PhD. I want to study Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, and Neuroscience, and advance our understanding of how the brain works. I can't wait to bring what I learn to the Armenian community through teaching, and research and business collaboration. When we are in Armenia this summer, we will visit Spitak where my mother founded a computer lab, and meet her former students. We will visit the Yerevan State University and build collaborations we will grow as I advance my education!


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 1, 2023. Winners will be announced on May 1, 2023.

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