Marine Khachatryan, 23, has always wanted to be a journalist. From the age of 13, she followed the country’s political processes and the work of the journalists who covered them.

To achieve her goal, Marine entered Yerevan State University’s Faculty of Journalism in 2012. In 2013, she took her first professional steps when she covered news about the City Council Elections for Hetq online. Soon after, she got involved in broadcasting and starting working for A1plus.

In 2016, after finishing her bachelor’s degree, Marine applied to the Erasmus+ Program and went to England to participate in a two-week professional development training. The same year, she applied to and received FAR’s Ester Ajemian Scholarship Program just before she nearly decided to leave the country again, this time to pursue a master’s degree in journalism. Marine calls the scholarship a breakthrough and a turning point in her academic career, as it enabled her to stay in Armenia to continue her education. She’s currently working on finishing her master’s thesis at Yerevan State University.

Another one of Marine’s dreams came true at the end of 2017 when she received the one-year Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Regional Reporting Fellowship, which includes a visit to the Radio Liberty Prague Broadcasting Center this spring.

“I started my work at Azatutyun/Radio Liberty in Yerevan on November 1st. To me, Azatutyun is the best media outlet because it follows the highest standards of journalism. Now, I can see it for myself. Choosing topics, working on the material, finding sources, preparing materials and editing them—it is all of the highest standards I’ve read about in journalism books,” said Marine. Her colleagues, she said, have become her role models in the field.

“Thanks to FAR, I stayed home. I live a meaningful life now; I like my job and my colleagues, since I am surrounded by experienced journalists. I have always imagined myself belonging to this place,” she added when talking about her daily routine at the Armenian bureau of Radio Liberty. “To me, journalism is an opportunity to change something.”

Marine frequently reports on people in need, with the hope that her work shines a light on social issues and catches the attention of the public and those in power.

Established in 2010, FAR’s Ester Ajemian Scholarship Program, which is funded by Ester Ajemian Ahnert, provides full tuition and monthly stipends to female graduate students of journalism in Armenia. Currently there are five students involved in the program. So far, more than 20 young female scholars have become proud beneficiaries.