SOAR - San Antonio/Austin Chapter

SOAR-San Antonio became part of the SOAR family in January 2012 and expanded to include Austin in September 2013. SOAR-San Antonio/Austin was SOAR’s first Chapter in the Southwest. While there is a small Armenian community in San Antonio, they have been organized for more than four decades, galvanized, in part, by the Armenian Church of San Antonio that was founded in 1967. The Armenian community of Austin is relatively young. It is, however, growing rapidly with about 200 Armenian families living there presently. The community has the Armenian Church of Austin, the Armenian Club at the University, and an Armenian language school.


Varduhi Pellikka

Varduhi Pellikka was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia. She graduated from the university as an English language teacher and interpreter in Yerevan. Moving to Finland in 2001, she lived there for ten years, then living in China for six months and California for ten months. Varduhi has been living in Austin for two years and loving it.

Varduhi speaks Armenian, English, Russian and Finnish fluently and understand a bit French and Spanish. She has many relatives and friends living in Armenia and is proud to let everyone know about her heritage and culture.

With a myriad of work experience in offices, IT companies, corporate gyms, and front desks in diverse and multicultural environments her work background includes project coordinator, software testing engineer jobs in Finland, a fitness instructor in gyms and corporate companies in the US, and she has taught in luxurious resorts fitness classes around the world for more than nine years. Varduhi also has more than three years experience in retail stores as a sales leader and assistant manager. She loves working as a team, creating positive environments, listening and understanding the needs of the team and customers so they can reach goals together.

Varduhi believes we can change the world by each of us doing our best and being kind and caring. She loves her country and is happy to help in small ways no matter the distance.

Nairi Papukyan

Nairi is a first-generation Armenian American from Los Angeles, California. She started her career as a Fashion Design graduate from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). She worked with Los Angeles Fashion Weeks, The Los Angeles Fashion Magazine, independent designers, and brands like BCBG and Guess. After working several years in the fashion industry, she focused her pursuits opposite of her creative path – Accounting. As an Accountant, she has served several businesses that span from sole-proprietorships to C-corporations, as well as high net-worth individuals such as a legendary singer, music producer, and movie director. Nairi has earned degrees and certifications in Accounting, Bookkeeping, Business Administration, and is currently pursuing the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Nairi’s commitment to service began early in her life when she started volunteering as a teen with non-profit organizations supporting causes like animal rights and environmental protection such as the Humane Society, ASPCA, and Green Peace. While in high school, she also served as the Director of Public Relations for the Armenian Students Association (ASA) for at least four years. In 2009, her dedication to community and civic service was recognized by President Obama with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She has later also served for the Armenian American Society of CPAs (AASCPA) as the Board Member. Nairi was then selected as the President of the San Antonio/Austin Chapter of SOAR in 2020.

Thomas Glaser

Thomas William Glaser earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in government and English at Texas Christian University, in Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1974, his Master of International management at the Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona, in 1975, his Master of Arts in U.S. history at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, in 2008.

Thomas recently retired from a 20+ year career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. While in Florida, he taught 11th and 12th grade social studies at Mater Academy Charter High School, as well as being an adjunct professor at Florida International University, and an adjunct professor of English and History at Barry University and Nova Southeastern University. Thomas was a member of the Florida Education Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education and of the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial Education Board, and a director of the Miami-Dade Council for the Social Studies and the Florida Council for the Social Studies. He has presented on the Holocaust, the Holodomor, and the Armenian genocide at local, state, national, and international professional conferences. His time teaching in Noyemberian and Kapan, Armenia, in 2009 has given him a deep commitment to the people of Armenia.

Thomas has recently relocated to New Braunfels, Texas, and is active with collector clubs in Texas and elsewhere and has regained his commission in the Texas State Guard, where he is the Personnel Services Officer at HQ, Texas State Guard..

Susan Joy-Snavely

Susan has her degree in Web Design and Development and is working toward her degree in graphic design. She is currently the Management Specialist for SOAR. Outside of her position for SOAR, she is an educator and an entrepreneur. For over twenty years she owned, operated, and taught at her licensed group home daycare and preschool. Currently, she also does freelance work with a colleague and their business “Hopkins Media Solutions“, creating websites and marketing materials for small businesses and non-profit organizations. This work spills into her volunteer endeavors as she enjoys donating her time using her skills to further their missions.

Susan has a passion for children, having five of her own and five grandchildren, and has volunteered extensively in many different children’s ministries through her church and community. She sponsors several children through different organizations, and after learning about SOAR and seeing the tremendous things that they are able to accomplish, she wanted to become a part of their work.