Glendale’s Yeprem Chavdarian recognized for environmental effort

Glendale’s Yeprem Chavdarian recognized for environmental effort

New York – AGBU Generation Next mentee, Yeprem Chavdarian and his team are saving the environment, one project at a time. Recently they were the first-place winners of the coveted Lexus Eco Challenge, which awarded them with $70,000 in prize money for their environmental research.

December 20, 2011: KCAL 9 News recently reported that a group of high school students from Glendale purchased their own marine robot from the prize money they won from a national contest on food research. Clark Magnet High School, where Yeprem Chavdarian, AGBU Generation Next (GenNext) mentee is a senior, was part of the winning team of the Lexus Eco Challenge.

“These students are saving our environment. They made maps and analyzed data to make sure that what we eat is safe,” reported KCAL 9. The group collected lobsters from 5 local locations looking for contaminants. What they found was shocking. Arsenic levels were as high as 35 parts/million, whereas FDA safe levels are at only 0.005 parts/million. “It was shocking but then again I’m not really surprised because contamination is not regulated, no one really looks at what’s going into our water,” says Yeprem.

Last year, the Clark Magnet team, lead by Yeprem, took home the grand prize of $50,000, plus an extra grant of $20,000, for their study of the global organic and inorganic contamination in lobster after they discovered metal pollutants in California lobsters in 2010. This year, the same team is at it again, this time investigating the effects of an earthquake on waste management facilities, nuclear reactors and schools in the Glendale area.

Yeprem Chavdarian is a shining example and success story of the AGBU GenNext mentorship program. “I remember how shy and quiet Yeprem used to be,” says Saro Ayvazians, interim director of GenNext. “When he first joined GenNext 3 years ago, he always kept to himself and did not interact with anyone at his school or at GenNext. He has definitely come a very long way. He is talking to news reporters, presenting his ideas and projects to large audiences, and he does not even look a bit nervous! That is truly amazing! This is yet another example of an extremely bright kid who, with a little bit of guidance from the right person, can do amazing things,” says Ayvazians.

Using a program called Hazus-MH, the team is going to simulate an earthquake in the Glendale area, and note which schools are prone to earthquake damage. Hazus will also determine the number of casualties likely to occur in the Glendale area, the amount of economic loss, and the effects of potential fires. “We hope to raise awareness of earthquake safety,” Chavdarian said.

By providing positive role models through one-to-one mentorship for at-risk youth of Armenian descent in Southern California, GenNext is playing a vital role in the lives of countless youths. By giving youth the tools and the confidence to be productive and positive contributing members of the community, GenNext is building a better tomorrow for all.

For more information and how you can support AGBU Generation Next and other programs, please visit www.agbuca.org.