Helping Two Local Women Get Ahead

When fall classes start at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, over 25,000 students will be exploring the campus, meeting new professors and preparing for their futures. Jasmin and Milena Avagyan, sisters and recipients of the Emerging Leadership Award for Women, will be among them as they take the first steps to prepare for careers that will create a better community.

United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN) supports children, families and individuals in our community from cradle to career. An important part of that mission is ensuring that local students are educated and empowered to enter the workforce, ready to succeed and contribute to our economy. UWSN’s Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) is leading the charge with the Emerging Leadership Award for Women, a four-year scholarship awarded to two local women so they can attend the Southern Nevada college of their choice.

Jasmin, a junior, and Milena, a freshman, both chose to stay in Las Vegas and attend UNLV because of the authentic culture of the Southern Nevada community. “The people here are very united, open and honest, which is unlike anything I have experienced,” said Jasmin. “I made the choice to stay because I know I have the opportunity to give back to my community and make a positive impact here.”

They are already planning how they can each make their mark and create a stronger community after college. Milena is impatiently waiting to start her business and management classes so she can complete a project management certification in the future. “This is something that will never get boring for me,” Milena says. “There will always be room for improvement and a daily challenge!” After graduating from UNLV, she wants to earn her MBA so she can plan and complete projects that are friendly to the environment and attract a wider audience to environmental issues.

Jasmin’s major in biology is preparing her for four years of dental school and extensive training after college. Her ultimate goal is to open a nonprofit organization to offer dental care for those who cannot afford it. “I believe everyone has the right to feel confident every time they smile, no matter their income,” she says. She knows that by earning her degree, she can use her knowledge to help others and improve healthcare in Southern Nevada.

Growing up in Las Vegas has shown them both the importance of giving back to the community and helping to make it a better place for future generations. After seeing how a committed group of people like the Women’s Leadership Council can change lives, they have decided to follow their example. “The women of this organization have shown me tremendous leadership skills,” Jasmin shares. “I admire the bond between these women and how they showcase their strength in the community.”

Milena credits the WLC for her ability to pursue her dreams. “These women each have left an influential and inspirational mark on me and my future actions,” says Milena. “Not only do I get to share the opportunity with my sister Jasmin, but I also get to be a witness of multiple women making changes on a daily basis to improve our community. I will always be grateful to each council member for seeing potential in me.”