About us

11128614_10152792351061969_2085257269029987717_nSerda Ozbenian – Executive Director

Serda is a native of Maryland but frequently visits and works in Armenia on various environmental and wildlife projects. Serda holds a BS in Animal Behavior and Photography from Towson University and an MS in Environmental Science and Policy from George Mason University. Her graduate research was a survey of attitudes toward and conflict with wolves and bears in rural villages in Armenia. Serda is a Birthright Armenia alumni and a Fulbright fellow with a research focus on population surveys of wolves and bears in Armenia.


Armine Sargsyan – In-Country Director

Armine is originally from Yerevan but moved to Fresno, CA in 1992. In 2011, Armine returned to Armenia as a Birthright Armenia volunteer. During that time she became aware of AEN, and her experiences through Birthright influenced her to become more conscious of the state of Armenia and its environment. Hence, joining AEN became a natural union for her.

In 2013, Armine completed her MFA in pictorial arts and relocated to Armenia to serve as AEN’s Office Director. Her artwork is greatly influenced by all things nature, as she creates abstract landscape paintings.  Through her volunteer experience with an NGO called Veggielution, Armine has learned to become an urban farmer.


lena2Lena Tachdjian – Environmental Writer and Co-Manager of The Thousand Leaf Project

Lena Tachdjian is a certified nutritionist and writer who splits her time between Canada and Armenia. She writes about nutrition, food, culture, travel, and animal rights for various publications and her blog. For AEN, Lena writes about AEN projects and environmental topics and co-manages The Thousand Leaf Project.


995938_10201053428729782_1792451372_nNver Khachaturyan, Ph.D. – Environmental Researcher and Writer 

Nver is a research-engineer and is originally from Armenia. He holds a BS and MS in environmental engineering and a Ph.D. in environmental and chemical technologies from the State Engineering University of Armenia in Yerevan City. During his University years, his research areas were wastewater treatment, protection of metals from corrosion and getting methanol from methane with propane additions. Now he is focused on wastewater treatment technologies, design and operation. Moreover, in general he is interested in all kinds of environmental issues in Armenia, that’s why he has joined AEN to invest his experience for improving the current state of Armenia’s environment.

Advisory Board

Henry S. Cole, Ph.D.

Dr. Cole has more than 35 years of experience as an environmental scientist, writer and leader. He has broad experience on environmental issues as a college professor, as an EPA senior scientist, and as the national Science Director of Clean Water Action. Since 1993, Dr. Cole has served as principal of Henry S. Cole & Associates, Inc. an environmental science and communications consulting firm. The firm under Dr. Cole’s leadership has focused on efforts to improve the environmental health and sustainability of communities and to promote ecologically sustainable practices and technologies in a wide range of economic sectors.

In 2002, Dr. Cole was honored as a co-recipient of the prestigious EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his scientific advocacy for an arsenic-free and chromium-free outdoor wood preservative. Dr. Cole also conducts research and writing on the systemic dynamics of economic and ecological systems and their interrelationships.

Cole graduated from Rutgers University’s College of Agriculture with high honors with majors in soil science and climatology. He earned his Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences at the University of Wisconsin.

Charles Dunlap, Ph.D.

Dr. Dunlap has worked for over a decade directing international development and university programs in the sciences and conducting research in environmental geochemistry. He received a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Geology (Summa Cum Laude) from Amherst College in 1989. He received a Ph.D. in Geology/Geochemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1996, where he was a U.C. Regents Scholar and IGPP Fellow at Los Alamos National Labs.

Following post-doctoral work in the Environmental Toxicology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he worked from 1999 through 2004 as Director and Assistant Professor of the Environmental Conservation and Research Center at the American University of Armenia (AUA; a U.S.-accredited graduate university affiliated with the University of California).

While at AUA Dr. Dunlap conducted and published research on lead contamination and health threats in Armenia, established the University’s Certificate Program in Environmental Science and Conservation, oversaw training for the City of Gyumri to establish a GIS lab for earthquake reconstruction planning and urban development, and served as a consultant on USAID and World Bank programs.

From 2004 to the present, Dr. Dunlap has worked at CRDF Global, where he is an Associate Program Director responsible for scientific institution capacity building, national virtual science libraries, and a professional skills program curriculum for scientists and engineers in 20 countries throughout Eurasia and Africa.

Dr. Dunlap has overseen the development of non-governmental science foundations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova and provided training and support to international foundations in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He has also overseen the development of national virtual science libraries in Afghanistan, Armenia, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia and provided guidance and consultation for programs in Egypt and Oman.

Dr. Dunlap taught short courses in proposal writing for graduate students at the University of Vermont and faculty at Texas Tech University. He has also taught professional skills workshops in areas in research management, technology commercialization, peer-reviewed publication, research ethics, and proposal writing for international audiences of scientists in Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.


Raichle (Rai) Farrelly

Raichle (Rai) Farrelly currently lives in Vermont, USA and works as a professor in the Applied Linguistics Department at Saint Michael’s College.  She received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Utah and to this day, considers Utah home. From 2013-2015 she was a professor in the MA TEFL Program at the American University of Armenia. During this time, she fell in love with the geography and wilderness of Armenia. She spent most of her weekends exploring in the mountains, documenting and sharing images of beautiful Hayastan. Her commitment to making the world a better place led her to the Armenian Environmental Network. Even from afar, she hopes to continue increasing awareness and activism for a better environment in this gem of a country.

Bryan Hall

Bryan Hall has over ten years of experience in the nonprofit realm, mainly environmental and community-based organizations.  He holds a BA in Biology -and- Environmental Science from Clark University.

For three years, Bryan was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia.  His primary works were with a regional environmental organization to implement regional and local projects which aim to increase information and knowledge about environmental problems facing Armenia -and- with a Yerevan based organization to increase their operational capacity to serve their constituents.  As secondary projects, he has used his past experience to train Armenians the full lifecycle of project management, operational excellence, and volunteer engagement.  Also, Bryan worked with the Armenian Environmental Network and Talin Music School & Friends Foundation to create five year strategic plans.

Previous to his Peace Corps service, Bryan worked at the environmental organization U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for over seven years.  During his tenure at USGBC, he mainly worked in the operational realm with five years direct experience in project and program management.  During this time, Bryan worked in all facets of the project lifecycle – ending his USGBC career as the main Director responsible for project and program development/implementation throughout the organization.