Watermark Reflections by Scholarship Recipient Mariamane Akopyan

10333785_514584448667670_1672990838016820150_oMariamane Akopyan is one of 5 scholarship recipients who was able to attend the 2017 Watermark Conference for Women. The AIWA-SF participants spent an extraordinary day at the conference and participated in the Young Women’s Program, a track designed specifically for high school junior and senior girls. Ms. Akopyan is a senior at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton California. She was born in Armenia and moved to New York when she was 7 years old. She speaks Armenian, Russian and English fluently. She recently moved to Pleasanton her sophomore year and has been living there since. She loves writing and wants to become a journalist in the future. She is currently the Editor in Chief for her journalism program and has been involved with publications for the past 4 years. She loves kids and works with them for their birthday parties at Pump It Up.

The Women’s Watermark Conference was such an inspiring and empowering event for a young women like me. Although I had previously assumed that I was confident and strong, there I learned what confidence truly is and the power it holds behind it.
Being a high school senior I have been preparing for the past couple months for college, from applications to mental preparation to be my own person and live as an adult. Our first session covered a crucial issue that persists in our nation; rape on college campus’. As an AIWA-SF Scholarship recipient, I had the opportunity to participate in the Young Women’s Program. After opening remarks and fabulous keynote speakers, myself and other high school junior and seniors attended our first session breakout. Our speaker, a Co-founder of End Rape on Campus (EROC), shared her story and even brought tears to my eyes. She continued to teach us the rules that college campus’ must follow following an event. I wasn’t aware of any of these rules and felt much more educated after hearing her speak. Knowing these facts, such as that colleges might try to prolong a legal process till either the victim or perpetrator graduate, made me upset but empowered with the knowledge that I now possess.

The second session we attended also really impacted me. Luvvie Ajayi spoke about her career and how she became successful. She taught me that your starting salary after college is crucial for it will shape the rest of your paychecks. She continued to talk about the importance of confidence in not only your workplace, but your life and how it can either make or break where I will end up in my future. She taught me to price my work with exclamation points rather than question marks to ensure my position. I also fell in love with her humor and personality which make her so much more admirable.
I am so fortunate to have attended this experience all thanks to AIWA-SF. Our amazing chaperons that dedicated their days to help us learn and grow as young women and I couldn’t be more thankful for them! I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity that has shaped me and helped me grow as a person.
One of the focus areas of AIWA-SF is education, with many active projects in the Bay Area and Armenia. To contribute to our educational initiatives, please click on the donate link on the top right corner of our home page: https://aiwasanfrancisco.com. We appreciate donation contributions in any amount. Thank you!

To learn more about AIWA, please visit http://www.aiwainternational.org. To get involved with the AIWA-SF affiliate, please visit http://www.aiwasanfrancisco.com or send an email to aiwasanfrancisco@gmail.com.

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