SOAR - New York Chapter

The New York Chapter became part of the SOAR family in April 2013 and encompasses the five boroughs of New York City. The history of Armenians in New York City dates back to 1834 when Khachadur Osganian arrived from the Ottoman Empire. Osganian, with a Protestant missionary education, came to New York to study at the newly established New York University. In 1841 the first immigrants from Armenia began arriving in New York. Over the course of the next few decades, thousands of others came settling mostly in New York (and Massachusetts). Unlike most other ethnic minorities who settled across the city and relocated fairly frequently, Armenians, and other Eastern Mediterranean people, settled in the southern tip of New York (known today as the Financial District). This area soon became known as the Syrian Quarter dominated by Syrian and Lebanese Christians, as well as Armenians. Today, New York City is home to approximately 40,000 Armenians.


Kristina Chevian

Kristina Chevian is a proud Armenian, and loves being involved in the community and being surrounded by her Armenian friends and family. She holds a role in the advertising industry and has a degree in Consumer Behavior from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From a young age she had always wanted to be involved in working with and helping children as her mom was a Montessori school teacher. Kristina saw how fulfilling and necessary it is for young children to have adults that support them and want them to flourish.

Nicole Tirakian

Nicole Tirakian is from New York. As a first generation Armenian, her culture and religion remains a constant in daily life. She is working in the real estate development industry and attends the NYU Master’s program on a part time basis, while working full time. Her love for children has been apparent since a young age. Children remain very close to Nicole’s heart and she has worked with children of disabilities, which are seen as “gifts”,  since early education. She wanted to help children, specifically orphans, in an impactful way causing her to join SOAR.

Tigran Tovmasyan

Tigran is a seasoned content creator and marketing leader with over 15 years of experience branding advertising campaigns for a broad range of industries including financial services, technology, entertainment and fashion. Tigran was born in Yerevan, Armenia and grew up in Mexico before his family settled in California where he attended the University of California in Irvine to pursue a Biology degree. Post graduation, he soon started his professional career as a photographer which has led on an entrepreneurial journey working with prominent companies, leaders and influencers. Currently serving as the Chief Marketing Officer at Investall Group, he oversees business development and UX/UI design for world-class financial technology apps based in NYC.

Sophia Medzoyan
Social Media Director

Sophia Medzoyan is an Armenian student completing her first year at Barnard College of Columbia University, where she plans to pursue a joint major in Human Rights and Gender Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. She hopes to contribute positively to her community through SOAR while she is in New York City.

At college, Sophia is a member of the Columbia Armenian Society and participates in a dance group that performs traditional Armenian folk dance.

Ripsime Biyazyan

Ripsime is a nonprofit and international development specialist with 10 years of experience working. Ripsime consults nonprofits in fundraising, event planning, and management with her LLC, St. Hripsime Consulting.

Ripsime holds a Masters of Arts from Columbia University in Global Thought with an emphasis on Development Economics and a Bachelors from Occidental College in Los Angeles in Diplomacy and World Affairs.

Emma McKinney

Emma is a proud second-generation Armenian and native of the New York City area. She recently received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and graduated with honors from Yale University, and has worked in both clinical research and life science strategy roles. Emma is inspired by both her family ties and love for working with children in her involvement with SOAR’s efforts towards supporting orphaned Armenians.

Christine Papazian

Christine is a first-generation Armenian, living in New York City. Her mother’s incessant compassion exposed her to the plight of Armenian orphans at a young age, through visits to Armenia’s Kharberd Orphanage for children with special needs. Her familiarity with and passion for the cause inspired her to join SOAR’s Board of Directors in 2017.

Christine is an IT Sales Executive, working for a Fortune 100 tech company. She holds an MBA from Bentley University. Prior to moving to Manhattan, she lived in Boston and San Francisco.

Lilit Paranyan

Lilit is an experienced SEO content writer, linguist, and creative wordsmith with a passion for crafting compelling content, captivating copy, and flawless translations that resonate with diverse audiences worldwide. She is currently employed with Jansen Webconcepts.

Lilit earned her Bachelor of Russian Language and Literature and Foreign Languages from Yerevan State Linguistic University and earned her MA in Faculty of International Relations and Law from the China Foreign Affairs University. She is fluent in English, Russian, and Armenian.

Tsoler Terzian

Tsoler is a native of Beirut, Lebanon and moved to America when she was four. She attended the University of Georgia and received a Bachelors of Business Administration in Supply Chain and Operations. After graduating from UGA in 2017, Tsoler volunteered in Armenia for four months with the Birthright Armenia organization in Yerevan and Gyumri. Currently, she works as an Implementation Project Manager and resides in NYC. Tsoler is super excited to continue her contributions to Armenia through her involvement in SOAR.

Maria Yeghiazaryan

After graduating from Montclair State University with a degree in Business Management and Hospitality in 2015, Maria has been working with several Marriott hotels in New Jersey and New York City as a guest services manager as well as an assistant front office manager. She participated in the Birth Right Armenia program from from July 2018 until November 2018 volunteering and interning at Greenlane NGO as well as Marriott in Yerevan.

Maria enjoys cooking, traveling, reading and hiking in her spare time.