AISB Alumna, Class of 1996
|25 Dec 2017|
|WM Winter 2017 edition|
WM: Regine, you are among our alumni who remembers Romania before the Revolution in 1989, tell us about your experience.
RM: Before moving to Romania in 1994, we lived in Monaco which is a small principality in the south of France. I moved to Monaco from the United States at the age of 7 because my parents established a business there. At the time, we used to visit family in Romania every summer, so when we eventually moved there, I certainly did not feel foreign to Bucharest since it was a place lled with memories from my childhood.
Every summer my parents and I would come and visit our family: aunts, uncles, and cousins. My earliest memory was during the communist reign of Ceausescu; I must have been 11 years old. Here I was coming from a place where no one knew what rations, standing in line for meat, and making sure you went early enough to buy bread at the store before it ran out, meant.
During my visits to Romania before my family moved there, I recall playing with the kids in the playground and them feeling mesmerized by the colors I was wearing. In Romania at this time, when you went to a clothing store, all of the clothes looked the same and there was not much to choose from. I was a giver and a helper from an early age and this has followed me through to my life today. I would take all my colorful clothes and disperse them to all the kids.
It felt so good to see them so happy over small things. It gave me a perspective of appreciation that most children do not have at that age. I recall my family sending me to the meat line one vacation to buy the meat for the week since I felt that was exciting and new – this was not something I would do in Monaco. My family became upset because, not only did I wait in line for 2-3 hours, but, I also gave away our meat portion for the week to the person standing next me. It was a mother with ve children and all I could think was, ‘it's ok we do not need it, they need it more’.
WM: What was AISB like back then, or should we say ASB? What are some of your fondest memories?
RM: When my family eventually moved to Bucharest in 1994, it was a di erent feeling because now we were staying for good. I adjusted very well since I already spoke Romanian and had family in Bucharest. I attended 11th grade at the French School in Bucharest but because I planned on coming to the US for University, I decided to transfer to ASB. At the time, ASB was in a cozy villa-like building. The sta and student body was not large, hence everyone knew each other. My fondest memories were with my classmates and since our 12th grade class had only 6 students, we were immersed with the 11th graders.
Diversity is what stood out at ASB and the cohesiveness of our cohort meant that the relationships I built back then continued on until today. I loved being on the basketball team, traveling with my class, and the strong multicultural friendships we created. In our senior year, we also had the opportunity to all go to Larnaca, Cyprus as a graduation trip which was a lot of fun.
WM: You attended the school between 1995-1996, what came next?
RM: I came to the United States in 1996 and attended the University of Southern California majoring in International Relations and Business. I was drawn to this major due to wanting to pursue a diplomatic career and being uent in 6 languages, English, French, Romanian, Hebrew, Spanish and Armenian.
After receiving my Bachelors, I was o ered a position in Washington DC. Due to personal reasons, I decided that was not the path I was going to take and knew there was something else for me. I then pursued my Masters in Clinical Psychology, graduating in June 2002 and continued on to receive my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2006.
WM: What is your profession now? What exactly are you specialized in within psychology?
RM: Right now, I live in Los Angeles. I have been practicing as a Clinical Psychologist for the past 8 years working with children, teens and their families. It is interesting but not surprising that I found myself pursuing a career in the helping profession. Each day is a rewarding challenge which I embrace and it is a blessing to love what you do. Besides my private practice, I also teach graduate level students clinical skills to prepare them for success once they are out on the field.
This year I started a new venture with a very dear friend. It is a special relationship in that we are able to bring our connection and professional experiences together.
In a nutshell, GENERATION EMPOWERMENT CENTER (GEC) is a one of a kind learning establishment. Under construction and scheduled to open its doors in January of 2018, GEC will be the rst educational center designed to o er a wide variety of enriched courses, programs, seminars, and workshops year- round all under one roof for youth between the ages of 9-17 and their parents. The curriculum will not only address some of the most pressing issues a ecting teens today, but also teach solid and e ective ways of thinking and behaving to overcome these adversities.
Conducted in non-clinical group settings as well as individualized one-on- one's, GEC's sessions are designed to not only foster exciting interaction and learning between its students, but to also encourage building leadership skills and the ability to think critically and independently as demonstrated by its "team leaders" facilitating the courses.
Generation Empowerment Center's year-round curriculum will focus on engaging very speci c interests and topics concerning tweens and teens today.
The program will explicitly explore and focus on a tween's or teen's:
1. interest to understand the external world/social in uences around them and how it can affect them,
2. their inner world and how to stay in control of their true sense of self through all hardships,
3. their innate abilities to 'know' their purpose in life and how to construct an actual 'vision plan' for their future; and,
4. their leadership skills, and how to develop the character required of a true leader vs. follower.
At its heart, GEC's purpose is dedicated to changing lives, one student and parent at a time. GEC's vision is to not only be the leader in creating a thought provoking, fun and compelling curriculum that impresses all generations, but to create a unique place of 'change' that will make an impact. Founded by two entrepreneurial moms, a psychologist and an attorney with successful practices and teens of their
own, the center was created with love and a deep desire to see all children learn and grow in a healthy environment conducive to their greatest potential for success.
GEC hopes to be that "home away from home" where all tweens and teens who walk through its doors can feel accepted, heard, and recognized for their goals and dreams.
WM: If you could come back to Bucharest and AISB, what would you like to see and do?
RM: I have not been back to Bucharest since 2000. Romania holds a very special place in my heart and it is the rst country we will be opening the franchise of our business G.E.C. in. Although I have lived in the US for the past 11 years, not one year goes by that I don’t miss the amazing memories built in Bucharest. The connections, friendships, culture and way of life cannot be replicated. I would love to bring my three children who are now ages 12, 10, and 6 to visit the homeland, show them Bucharest and the mountains, Slanic, where my grandparents lived and all the treasures I got to experience. However, one thing I miss and cannot wait for is our food: mititei, ciorba, shopping at the farmers market and tasting real food!
WM: What advice would you give to current AISB students or young alumni who are considering a career in your eld?
RM: I get this question quite often and I nd myself asking the person - what is their reason for going into this field. You need to have the heart of a rose and the skin of an elephant. You need to be able to build mental strength and be present with whomever comes through the door.
I recommend whomever wants to go into this eld to rst work on themselves to weed out weaknesses and triggers. It is not uncommon to
see people drop out of the program. A typical day starts at 9am and can go until 5pm sometimes until 8pm. By the time my 8pm patient comes in, it never fails to see the anxiety on their face, “Dr. Muradian do you need a break since I am your last patient! Are you okay? I nd myself baffled but understand their concern, ‘How on earth can she do this all day listening to people’s problems?’
My response is the same every time and comes from the heart, “I am okay and when you love what you do, time does not exist".
If you are able to feel that and mean it, you know this is the right eld for you. ASB, my family, friends and close relationships have brought me here and for that, I am truly thankful.