Our students: here and there
Last week, the front page of this paper carried a story about the Ukrainian National Association's scholarship program which highlighted the top scholarship recipients for the 1997-1998 academic year.
This week, our paper features a story on the work of the Ukrainian Student Association of the U.S.A. (USA/USA), which helps students from Ukraine study at universities in this country.
The two efforts serve different constituencies, but both efforts are noteworthy - and praiseworthy.
The UNA scholarship program, which has been in existence since 1964 (although stipends were provided to needy and deserving students almost since this fraternal organization's founding in 1894), this year allocated $70,300 to 186 undergraduate students. During the past 33 years the UNA has awarded $1,619,200 in scholarships to more than 4,100 grant recipients in the United States and Canada who are UNA members.
Some of the UNA funds, in recent years, have been augmented thanks to bequests and donations by members of our community. For example, a bequest by the late Joseph Wolk provides money to help further the education of Lemkos; a $2,500 scholarship provided by Dr. Susan Galandiuk in memory of her late parents is intended for a single student who excels in the sciences or accounting; funds from the now-defunct Ukrainian National Home Corp. of Blackstone, Mass., are awarded to students from Rhode Island or Massachusetts. Thus, the UNA's efforts to support our students in North America are supported by the acts of individuals.
The USA/USA effort, on the other hand, is aimed at students from Ukraine. It is a program that advises and recruits some of Ukraine's top students for the purpose of providing them with an American college education. In what is basically a "how to" course, the students are advised on choosing a college, filling out applications and writing entrance essays, and applying for scholarships, financial aid, etc. At present, 17 of the best and the brightest from Ukraine are studying in the United States on full scholarships.
The success of the USA/USA program cannot be measured in numbers alone, however, as the program fully expects students who have succeeded in entering U.S. colleges and universities - and those who have graduated - to come back and advise the next group of aspiring candidates. In addition, they are asked to help the promote USA/USA's placement program by establishing contacts with the educational institutions where they studied.
USA/USA, which was established in 1992, has been assisted by the Ukrainian National Association via start-up funds for its first years and, more recently, by the Coordinating Committee to Aid Ukraine. Both organizations have recognized the crucial function of USA/USA which, in the words of founder Dr. Bohdan Oryshkevich, seeks to "develop world-class skills and experience" among the next generation of Ukraine's young adults.
The next step, says Dr. Oryshkevich, is to set up a placement agency in Kyiv that will maintain contact with students in the U.S. and then help reintegrate them into Ukrainian society upon their return from studying aboard. Also on the drawing board: an agency that would provide internships in Ukraine for students still studying in the U.S.
Both the UNA and USA/USA, it is apparent, have seen the future of the Ukrainian nation: our young people. And whether those students are here or there, they deserve our support.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 10, 1997, No. 32, Vol. LXV
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