Ukrainian Freedom Scholar Program

0% of $40,000 goal
This campaign ends on May 31 at 09:19AM EDT

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As a result of Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, many colleges and universities in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine moved to an online-only format, relocated to western parts of the country, or closed their operations. Russian missile strikes destroyed dorms and other university buildings in some areas of Ukraine. Thousands of high school graduates from Ukraine were displaced and unable to enroll in higher education institutions in their home country.

 In June 2022, a small group of faculty and staff volunteers from Ashland University and Ashbrook Center partnered with the Ukrainian Global University (UGU) to support displaced Ukrainians interested in pursuing their undergraduate education in the United States. UGO identified 35 high school graduates who had successfully passed college admission exams in Ukraine, demonstrated English language proficiency, and met other criteria specified by Ashland University and the Ashbrook Center. Following a series of interviews with candidates, five applicants were selected and admitted to Ashland University beginning in the spring 2023 semester.

Launched in October 2022, the Ukrainian Freedom Scholar program will offer safe haven to five students from Ukraine to pursue their undergraduate education at Ashland University. Each student will receive four-year financial assistance of about $40,000 per year, including Ashbrook Center scholarships and other funding from Ashland University.

Maksym Polianskyi

Maksym is originally from Odesa. The war forced his family to move to Constanta, Romania, though his grandparents stayed in the Odesa region. While in high school, Maksym participated in the Ukrainian Leadership Academy, a U.S.-based nonprofit supporting Ukrainian youth through civic education programs. 

“The war indeed affected both my family and my inner self, although it should have been predictable that the war was up to begin. I lost my grandfather as well as several friends who courageously fought against the terrorist state army. The thing that I'm genuinely looking forward to is organizing an international cultural exchange event where my colleagues and I will represent real Ukrainian culture by debunking the myths that constantly occur in foreign media,” said Maksym.

121 days ago by Kyle Vaughn
Dana Krukovska

Dana is originally from the town of Kakhovka in the Kherson region. Her hometown was occupied by the Russian forces in March. She and her family moved to Lviv in western Ukraine. Her grandparents stayed behind, in the area that was under Russian occupation until November 2022. Dana has always been politically active and participated in the UN Youth Delegate program. 

“I spent two months under the Russian occupation, but my family managed to escape, except my grandparents. I had part of my life and everything I love stolen, including my home and school.
One thing I want to do when I arrive at Ashland University is to get to know American culture better and introduce Ukrainian culture to the AU community,” said Dana. 

121 days ago by Kyle Vaughn
Oleksandra (Sasha) Bibik

Oleksandra (Sasha) Bibik

After spending the first months of the war in western Ukraine, Sasha and her family returned to Kyiv, her hometown, this summer. While in high school, she participated in extracurricular research projects through the Junior Academy of Sciences, a program for Ukrainian students funded by UNESCO.

 “I feel that the war greatly affected the values of my country, my family and me. We cherish the time we spend together more and try to make the most of our days. I’m looking forward to get a high-quality education and being in an amazing community, where we’ll always help each other with self-growth,” said Sasha.

121 days ago by Kyle Vaughn

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