SACRAMENTO—Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Canada-Flintridge) administered the oath for the State Bar of California to Anahit Sargsyan, the first Walter and Laurel Karabian Fellow and former Legislative Assistant in his Capitol office.
“Anahit was an outstanding choice to be the inaugural Karabian Fellow,” commented Senator Portantino. “She served our Sacramento office and the 25th Senate District extremely well. I also appreciated her dedication to and support of Artsakh. I had the opportunity to meet her terrific family and the privilege of swearing her into the State Bar of California, where she will continue her stellar service as an attorney,” he added.
Sargsyan was selected as the first Walter and Laurel Karabian Fellow in 2016 and placed in Senator Portantino’s 2016 State Senate campaign. Shortly after, she was hired as a Legislative Assistant in his Capitol Office. During her time at State Senate, she had an opportunity to assist the Senator on a number of important projects, including securing state funding for the Armenian American Museum and the formation of the Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia, and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art, and Cultural Exchange.
Initiated by the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region, the Walter and Laurel Karabian Fellowship is a nine-month experience in California that offers young Armenian-Americans the opportunity to enhance their leadership and professional skills. The purpose of this fellowship will be to produce professionals in the public policy and political arena.
Sargsyan earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the University of California, Davis, where she studied History, with an emphasis in Western Civilization. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 2020 and is currently working as an associate at a California law firm’s Los Angeles office, focusing her practice on litigation, elections, state legislation, ethics and conflict of interest, and education matters. While attending law school, Sargsyan worked as a judicial extern at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and as a litigation fellow at a firm in Los Angeles. She also spent a summer interning at Republic of Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender’s Office in Shushi.
Inspired by her experience of advising Senator Portantino on education policy matters, Ms. Sargsyan developed a passion for teaching and mentorship. She worked as a Graduate Student Instructor for the Freedom of Communication course at UCLA and also served as a mentor for the UCLA Law Fellows Program and as Vice-President of UCLA Armenian Law Students Association.
“Working in environments that invest in your growth early in your career is crucial,” said Sargsyan. “I am so thankful to Senator Portantino for his mentorship and to the Karabian Fellowship for the invaluable experiences they have provided me. We have many opportunities to create pathways for Armenian students interested in politics and public service. Being introduced to Senator Portantino through Karabian Fellowship was the beginning of that path for me. I encourage all young professionals to seek out mentors and programs that inspire them,” she added.
Sargsyan moved to California from Yerevan, Armenia in 2010, where she also studied law at the Yerevan State University. She joined her family in Sacramento, relying on their support to overcome the challenges of being an immigrant and navigating the educational system in the U.S. Sargsyan maintains strong ties with the realities in Armenia. She remains active in the Armenian American community, supporting various advocacy efforts for the Armenian cause, including those programs that invest in extending access to high quality education for Armenian students.