September 15, 2015 | Giving Back

Serena Tchorbajian: Gentleness, Humility and Mercy

As 17-year-old Serena Tchorbajian walked across the stage to receive the 2015 Annelle Fitzpatrick Award during the Trinity School’s 306th Commencement Ceremony, her mind was on AGBU. That day, Serena was being recognized by the school faculty as best exemplifying the qualities of gentleness, humility, mercy and dedication to reconciliation within the Trinity community. With the accolade came a $1,000 award that she was asked to give to a charitable, religious or social organization—and, for Serena, AGBU was the only choice.

“I chose to donate to AGBU because it does good for people both in Armenia and in the diaspora—and that is very important to me. As a singer, the work AGBU does for cultural programs strikes a chord with me in particular.”

Serena—a native of Fort Lee, New Jersey—is already an accomplished vocalist, who has trained at both the Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. But before entering these prestigious conservatories, Serena’s interest in music budded as an eight-year-old in the Nareg Armenian School’s choir at the St. Vartanantz Armenian Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. “I first started singing in the church. The Armenian hymns we sang kindled in me a love of music and made me want to pursue music as a hobby to see where it would take me.”

Her passion for classical music and opera ultimately led her to her voice teacher, Lorraine Nubar, who leads the Pre-College Division’s Operatic Voice Program at Juilliard. Serena’s three years in the Juilliard program with Nubar cultivated in her a love of music that she knows will last her a lifetime.

Ambitious and multitalented, Serena began her four years at Harvard University in the fall of 2015 and plans to explore her dual interests in math and economics while continuing to pursue music as an extracurricular. Looking into the future, Serena hopes to go into finance after earning a joint degree (JD/MBA) in law and business.

As she plans for her career, she knows that AGBU will be there to support her along the way. “I’m really looking forward to being part of the AGBU New York Summer Internship Program (NYSIP) or the AGBU London Summer Internship Program (LSIP). I love how AGBU connects young professionals like me and helps guide us as we take our first steps in the professional world.”

Have you received an award lately? Or maybe you’re looking for a way to give back to your community? Consider following in Serena’s example with a pledge to one of many AGBU programs. Send us an email at or visit for more information.

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