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ACYOA Central Council 2016-2017

Mallory Maslar

Chelsea Kress

Vice Chair

Daniel Zalinov


Lauren Piligian


Danielle Malconian

Chapter Relations

Arsen Yelegen

Public Relations

Nora Knadjian

Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries

Jennifer Morris


Lorie Odabashian


Kathryn Ashbahian


Danielle Malconian, Chapter Relations
Holy Trinity, Cambridge, MA Email Icon

Danielle grew up in Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Cambridge, MA. From the time she was able to join ACYOA, Danielle has made it a priority to play an active role in shaping the local ACYOA chapter at her church.

In her last year of Juniors, Danielle served as Chairman of Holy Trinity's Executive Committee and received the Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan Vision Award. Danielle received her Bachelor's in psychology from Salve Regina in 2013. She then became Chairman for the Holy Trinity's Seniors chapter, and served in that capacity for two consecutive years. In 2014, Holy Trinity Seniors won the Chapter A award. In 2015, Danielle won the Gregory Arpajian award for her leadership.

Recently, Danielle Co-chaired the 2016 General Assembly and Sports Weekend in Boston. She currently works at an Investment Management Firm in the Human Resources department.

Danielle hopes to continue her passion for the ACYOA serving on the National Level.

Arsen Yelegen, Public Relations
St. Gregory the Enlightener, White Plains, NY Email Icon

Since a young age, Arsen Yelegen has been an active member of St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church in White Plains, NY. He is both an Armenian School and Sunday School graduate. After graduating from Sunday School, Arsen began serving on the altar and is currently a sub-deacon. He is an active member of the ACYOA and has served as the ACYOA Juniors Chairperson as well as the vice co-chair of the Seniors.

During his time away at college, Arsen served on the altar at St. Peter Armenian Church in Watervliet, NY. There he taught the youth of the parish the various parts of the Badarak, and also volunteered his time as an ACYOA Juniors youth advisor which included chaperoning lock-ins and Sports Weekends.

Arsen has also served as a CIT and staff member at St. Vartan Camp and has attended numerous St. Nersess summer conferences as both a participant and a counselor. In 2014, Arsen was a participant in the pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the St. Nersess Deacons Training Program, along with 11 other young adults from across the Eastern Diocese.

Arsen graduated from the University at Albany in 2014 with a double major in Sociology and Criminal Justice. He is currently a caseworker for adolescents with substance abuse problems at The Children's Village.

Nora Knadjian, Programming
St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church, Chicago, IL Email Icon

Nora Knadjian moved to Chicago, IL from Istanbul, Turkey at six years old. In moving to the states, St. Gregory became her second home. On a parish level, after graduating Sunday school, she joined St. Gregory's ACYOA Juniors chapter. Later she helped rebuild the St. Gregory ACYOA Seniors chapter, in which she became the chair of in 2011. She also regularly sings in the choir at her church. On a diocesan level, Nora attended Hye Camp for many years. There, she began as a camper, then counselor, and finally became the head female counselor and taught the Armenian language class to the campers. Along with camp, she helped chaperone many regional lock-ins and retreats. Nora also attended St. Vartan Camp, as head female counselor, and St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, staffing the high school sessions. In 2012, Nora was a participant in the Armenian Service Program and, in 2014, she was a participant in the pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the Primate.

Nora is a certified Wellness Coach, specialized in dietetics. She also has an American Sport Education Program certification-which helps improve the sport experience by emphasizing athletes' development and well-being as they progress toward their goals. She strives to improve lives by pushing her clients to find success and satisfaction from every element of their lifestyle. She helps her clients find the motivation and tools to get to their physical and emotional health goals, and overall well-being. She is currently finishing a degree in Community Health. Her goal is to obtain a PhD in health and wellness education to teach similar college level courses.

Chelsea Kress, Vice Chair
St. Leon Armenian Church, Fair Lawn, NJ Email Icon

Chelsea Kress grew up in St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, N.J. After graduating from Sunday School she started serving as a teacher for the Nursery Class, which she continues to do to this day. Chelsea has been a longtime member of the ACYOA starting with St. Leon's Juniors group. In her last years as an ACYOA Junior member she served as Vice-Chairman and then Chairman. After making a transition to the ACYOA Seniors group, Chelsea became the Chairman of her chapter in 2010 and again since February 2013. Since joining the Seniors, she has participated in Leadership Conferences, Chapter Workshops, Retreats, General Assemblies and Sports Weekends.

Chelsea has attended St. Vartan Camp since the age of 13. First as a camper, then as a C.I.T., eventually working her way to head lifeguard. St. Nersess Summer Conferences have also played a part in developing her faith.

Chelsea graduated from William Paterson University in New Jersey in May 2013 with her bachelors in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. She is a member of the Communication Honors Society.

Daniel Zalinov, Treasurer
St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Charlotte, NC Email Icon

Daniel Zalinov is a member of St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Charlotte, N.C. Born in Moscow, he came to the United States at the age of 2. Since the early 2000s he has been an active participant in his local church, serving on the altar and reaching the level of sub-deacon. Daniel attended multiple St. Nersess Summer Conferences between 2004 and 2008, as well as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2011. He had an integral part in reactivating the St. Sarkis chapter of the ACYOA and was subsequently elected as its chairperson in January 2012, The following February, St. Sarkis' Parish Assembly elected Daniel to the church's Parish Council.

Daniel graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2011 with a B.S. in Biology.

Lauren Piligian, Secretary
Holy Translators, Framingham, MA Email Icon

Lauren Piligian went to undergraduate, as well as graduate school for teaching. After completing graduate school she worked as a preschool teacher for a year. After realizing her passion was with elementary aged students she took a job as a third grade teacher's assistant at St Stephen's Armenian School in Watertown, MA. Recently Lauren has moved on to a job in the public school system as a reading specialist. Lauren is a member of The Armenian Church of the Holy Translators in Framingham, MA.

After her family joined The Armenian Church of the Holy Translators when she was 13 years old, Lauren became active in her ACYOA juniors chapter. Lauren attended Saint Vartan Camp as a camper, CIT, as well as counselor where she was able to work with children, which became her passion. After finishing working at Saint Vartan Camp, Lauren stayed active in her ACYOA and was chairman for one year. Lauren has enjoyed representing her parish at various leadership conferences, as well as chapter workshops. Last summer Lauren was awarded the opportunity to go on the ACYOA Diocesan pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

After experiencing wonderful times of education, growth, and spiritual guidance in the ACYOA, Lauren would be honored to serve on the central council and give back to the community that has provided her with so much.

Mallory Maslar, Chair
St. Hagop, Pinellas Park, FL Email Icon

Mallory Maslar has been a member of St. Hagop Armenian Church in Pinellas Park since she was a little girl serving on the altar and attending Sunday School. When Fr. Hovnan Demerjian became the priest at St. Hagop he helped establish an ACYOA chapter. Since then she has served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of St. Hagop's ACYOA. She has also attended leadership conferences, chapter workshops and general assembly. She attended St. Vartan Camp as a counselor and served as head counselor.

For the past 3 years Mallory has worked with Central Council to help coordinate the annual Chapter Workshop at St. Hagop and help organize the service project portion of the weekend. Every year the participants of the weekend make sandwiches for Pinellas Hope, a local homeless shelter. She also currently serves as the Sunday School superintendent and Vice Chair for St. Hagop's Parish Council. This past March she organized St. Hagop's first annual 5K Run to help recognize the Genocide.

Mallory graduated from Florida State University with a degree in business finance and business management and currently works for an insurance company in Tampa. She is also currently treasurer for her sorority's Tampa Alumni chapter.

Jennifer Morris, Diocesan Director, Youth and Young Adult Ministries
Email Icon

Jennifer has her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Teaching. Upon completing her education, she was an elementary school teacher for 7 years. As a third generation Armenian, she was born and raised in the St. John Detroit community and benefitted from the Sunday School and ACYOA programs. Jennifer's involvement in ACYOA began as a junior, and has remained an integral part of her life over the years. She took on leadership positions and was later elected to the ACYOA Central Council where she served as both treasurer and chairman. Jennifer loves to travel! Her first overseas experience was in Paris when she represented Detroit in the 1995 AGBU Armenian Olympics. In college, she participated in overseas studies programs in both Hawaii and Italy. In addition, she has backpacked solo through Europe. She traveled on the Pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the summer of 2000, and then to Armenia in the summer of 2001 during the 1700th Anniversary of Christianity. In 2003 she was one of forty-five educators selected worldwide to travel to Japan and explore the Japanese Educational System. Then in 2004, Jennifer traveled back to Armenia as an assistant leader for the Armenia Service Program (ASP). Jennifer joined the Diocesan staff in July of 2005 as the Coordinator of Youth Outreach for the Department of Education and Youth, where she oversaw the ACYOA Juniors and Diocesan Summer Camp programs, St. Vartan Camp and Hye Camp. In September 2013, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian developed the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and named Jennifer the director. With the assistance of Lorie Odabashian she is now responsible for both ACYOA Juniors and Seniors programs, both camp programs, and all other youth and young adult related programs. Jennifer is proud to be an Armenian Christian, and she would like to ensure that the Armenian Church continues to grow and strengthen for future generations of young Armenians.

Lorie Odabashian, Coordinator, Youth and Young Adult Ministries
St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Church (Wynnewood, PA) Email Icon

Lorie Odabashian graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in Communicative Disorders. Prior to joining the Diocesan Staff, she worked as the manager of an artisan jewelry store in Philadelphia. She joined the Diocesan Staff in the fall of 2013 as Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Lorie has been involved in the Armenian Church her entire life. She hails from St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Church in Wynnewood, PA, where she has served as an acolyte and has been involved in both Sunday School and ACYOA Juniors and Seniors committees. In 2001, she traveled to Armenia for the 1700th Anniversary of Christianity. An active leader both locally and nationally, she was provided the opportunity to be a group leader for the Diocesan sponsored Alternative Spring Break program for Habitat for Humanity in 2009, and co-chaired Philadelphia ACYOA Seniors General Assembly and Sports Weekend in 2011. Lorie has also grown up in the St. Vartan Camp program, starting as a camper at age 9 and continuing as a CIT, counselor and then Staff member. Lorie loves working with the Diocesan staff to facilitate programs that have been meaningful to her throughout her life.

Kathryn Ashbahian, Associate, Youth and Young Adult Ministries
St. Leon Armenian Church (Fair Lawn, NJ) Email Icon

Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Kathryn has called St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn home her whole life. Growing up, she was an active participant and leader at St. Vartan Camp and St. Nersess Summer Conferences. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in both English and Women & Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey, Kathryn decided to act on her passion for youth and for the church by entering ministry full time. She graduated from St. Nersess Armenian Seminary and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in 2015, earning a Master of Arts in Theology. Following her seminary studies, she joined the Diocesan staff as an associate of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Kathryn wholeheartedly enjoys working with the youth of the Armenian Church and sharing with them everything she has learned about the way Armenians beautifully express their theology.

Central Council Meetings

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